Mooresville, NC (October 25, 197)-The 71st Stated Meeting of Central Carolina Presbytery was hosted by Shearer Presbyterian Church, located on Presbyterian Road. Pastor Lonnie Barnes of the host church led a service of worship, with TE Charles Reece preaching from Ezekiel 37 and Psalm 137. Moderator Robert Stevenson, a ruling elder at New Hope Presbyterian Church, China Grove, presided over the meeting.
Mrs. Barbara Holt of North Carolina Right to Life addressed the court on the current status of abortion. Organizing Pastor Bill Heard (Norman Harbor Church, Mooresville) led in prayer. Mrs. Holt was given an honorarium by Presbytery.
An overture asking General Assembly to study the matter of Creation was approved (see box).
The Bible Presbyterian Church Session had requested that "Presbytery, for the peace and purity of the church, forbid T. E. James White to teach or preach his unconstitutional views regarding the Christian Sabbath." A motion to table this request "until Mr. White can be present, once he moves into the bounds of presbytery," failed on a show of hands. The court by voice vote passed the following: "to postpone any action until Mr. White responds in writing or in person before the next stated meeting so that presbytery can accurately ascertain whether his views are constitutional." (Mr. White remains as Pastor of New Hope Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, NY, while he waits for his house to sell.)
A protest from TE Stephen Stout was spread upon the minutes (see box). Also signing were two ruling elders (Dennis Drennen and Buford Price) and the following ministers: Harry Reeder, David Frierson, Ron Colemann, Dewey Murphy, Mike Ericson, Patrick Womack, and Lonnie Barnes.
Mr. Barnes, Mr. Coblentz, and Mr. Stout were appointed as Presbytery representatives to attend the funeral of the wife of Dr. C. Gregg Singer, scheduled for October 27th.
Presbytery approved a 1998 budget totaling $140,606. MNA's share of that budget is $115,000.
Presbytery approved on first vote two changes to its Manual. The first allows for up to two deacons to serve on the Stewardship Committee. The second adds the following language: "Calls to church planters issued through the MNA committee shall identify anticipated sources and amounts of funding, including presbytery's contribution."
MTW missionary Bill Carr was heard by the court.
The Presbytery committed to the establishment in 1999 of a Piedmont/Triad Presbytery, and to the establishment of a Sandhills Presbytery in 2000; each with no less than seven organized churches and one mission church. The Covenant Family Mission of East Charlotte was received as a mission church, and Harry Reeder and Jerry Currin are to appoint an oversight team of officers from nearby churches.
Presbytery initiated an internship for Mr. David Dickson at the Southpoint Church, Gastonia, with TE Dan King as mentor. Mr. J. R. Foster was received as a candidate under care. The internship of Mr. Richard Harper was approved, and he was examined for ordination. Having passed his exam, his call to the University City Church as Assistant Pastor was approved (salary package of $40,534.80), and a commission was appointed to ordain him on November 2nd. Oral or written reports were heard from the Presbytery's interns.
Presbytery transferred TE Joe Sullivan from Western Carolina Presbytery to receive the call of Christ Covenant Church, Matthews, to be Mission Pastor (salary of $50,000 plus benefits). Also received by transfer was TE Steve Jackson, from North Georgia Presbytery, to become church planter at First Reformed Mission, Charlotte (salary package of $65,016). Transferred to North Georgia was TE Gilbert Moore.
Presbytery approved the slate of PresWIC officers for 1998, as well as the proposed WIC Constitution and Bylaws.
In executive session, a report was heard regarding a teaching elder of the Presbytery. "Due to the sensitive nature of the report, it was collected, and the Stated Clerk was directed by the Moderator to keep in the presbytery archives for review by the GA, if necessary."
TE David Frierson, Stated Clerk
1282 Clayton Carriker Road
Ellerbe, NC 28338
A PROTEST TO CENTRAL CAROLINA PRESBYTERY
When I first read the Confession of Faith, I was excited to find a doctrinal statement which agreed with my understanding of the Word of God. At my ordination, I rejoiced to subscribe to that Confession as a reflection of my own beliefs.
I was also excited to become a part of a confessional church, where every ordained officer vows to "receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and Catechisms of this Church as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures"; it has been a delight to fellowship in a body of such accord.
But recent decisions by my own presbytery at the July 19, 1997 meeting, have given rise for alarm that these foundational principles have been undermined. It has been expressed that our presbytery does not seem to have a source of common agreement, despite what we have vowed to uphold, that our oaths are "to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reservation."
Specifically, I protest that presbytery has allowed exceptions in the area of Sabbath observance without receiving any clear biblical explanations from those taking exceptions. Plainly, the 4th Commandment rests on the foundation of a seven day creation week, as the Larger Catechism 120 connects Exodus 20 with Genesis 1 ("The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment, the more to enforce it, are taken from the equity of it, God allowing us six days of seven for our own affairs, and reserving but one for himself, in these words, Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:(1) from God's challenging a special propriety in that day, The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God:(2) from the example of God, who in six days made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: and from that blessing which God put upon that day, not only in the sanctifying it to be a day for his service, but in ordaining it to be a means of blessing to use in our sanctifying it, Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it." The Shorter Catechism 62 affirms the same connection: "A. The reasons annexed to the fourth commandment are, God's allowing us six days of the week for our own employments,(1) his challenging a special propriety in the seventh, his own example and his blessing the Sabbath-day.")
I also protest the allowance that presbytery is apparently making in the area of six day creation, since the plain and common sense of the Confession clearly teaches six day creation:
WCF 4.1 It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the manifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, in the beginning, to create, or make of nothing, the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible, in the space of six days, and all very good.
WLC 15 What is the work of creation? A. The work of creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word of his power, make of nothing the world, and all things therein, for himself, within the space of six days, and all very good.
WLC 115 Which is the fourth commandment? A. The fourth commandment is, Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath-day, and hallowed it.
WSC 9 What is the work of creation? A. The work of creation is, God's making all things of nothing, by the word of his power, in the space of six days, and all very good.
Fathers and brethren, there is no mistaking what the Confession teaches. As an overseer of the Church, this is precisely what you have vowed before God that this is what you believe to be the Word of God.
Therefore, I call upon every officer of presbytery to consider very carefully the vows you have taken. I also call upon presbytery [to] be careful to ordain candidates and receive ministers who sincerely receive and adopt the Confession, without equivocation. I call upon every Session to be careful to ordain men who sincerely receive and adopt the Confession, without equivocation. I further call upon those who find themselves out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, to make known the change which has taken place in their views, as you have vowed to do. Those who cannot or will not in all good conscience change your view should do the honorable thing before the Lord, and offer to resign your office.
I humbly offer this protest, and here the matter shall lie.
For Christ's Crown and covenant,
Stephen O. Stout, joined by teaching elders Harry
Reeder, David Frierson, Ron Colemann, Dewey Murphy, Mike Ericson,
Patrick Womack, and Lonnie Barnes; and ruling elders Dennis Drennen
and Buford Price
OVERTURE FROM CENTRAL CAROLINA PRESBYTERY
Whereas, Genesis is the fountain head of the doctrines of grace and the covenants of promise. The apostle Paul bases his exposition of the imputation of righteousness of the Second Adam to God's elect on the federal headship of the first Adam over the entire human race. Romans 5:17, "For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:45, "And so it is written, The first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam (was made) a quickening spirit."
Whereas, Interpretations of Genesis 1-3 have a direct bearing on the interpretation of New Testament passages. For example, Genesis 2:17, "But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.", has a direct bearing on the interpretation of the New Testament passage regarding rule of death in Romans 5:14, "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
Whereas, The PCA Digest: Position Papers 1973-1993 of the Presbyterian Church in America does not specifically address allowable exceptions to the standards regarding the exegetical, hermeneutical and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3.
Whereas, Examinations of ruling elders, candidates, licentiates and ordained ministers by Sessions and Presbyteries both in the areas of biblical knowledge and theology require clear criteria regarding the allowable exceptions to the standards regarding the exegetical, hermeneutical and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3.
Whereas, The Thursday evening session of the 25th General Assembly pointedly debated in the report of the Review of Presbytery Records the allowable exceptions to the standards regarding the exegetical, hermeneutical and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3. It is an issue affecting the peace of the church.
Whereas, The proper context for a doctrinal debate is in response to a report of a study committee's draft of allowable exceptions to the standards regarding the exegetical, hermeneutical and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3.
Therefore, be it resolved, that Central Carolina Presbytery hereby Overtures the Twenty-Sixth General Assembly to form a two year study committee funded with a budget of $10,000 to clarify parameters for exceptions to the standards regarding the exegetical, hermeneutical, and theological interpretations of Genesis 1-3.
Adopted at the Fall Stated Meeting of Central Carolina
Presbytery on October 25, 1997.