Lewis Ruff on Sacramental Observance at New Song-Salt Lake

Western Coordinator for Mission to North America Lewis Ruff stated: "I did not know that Jeffrey used language such as "this is your day of conversion" and that if you confessed Christ at this moment it would be appropriate to take the sacrament as a Christian. Although I know a number of PCA ministers who have used such language in their fencing of the table in talks I have heard over the years, I do not use such language myself and would personally not encourage it, though I do not see as invalid their right to use such language.

"Perhaps he picked that up from the former organizing pastor and was trying to be faithful to his mentor's model. I do not know. I will certainly speak to Phil Stogner and Jeffrey about it.

"I met with Jeffrey for 4 hours yesterday and made it clear that while it is fine for him to assist an ordained elder in the administration of the sacrament, he cannot conduct the administration completely on his own. The Oversight Commission meets on Saturday, April 25 and will also remain for worship the next morning at New Song. I will be administering the sacrament that day assisted by Jeffrey and another PCA teaching elder is planned to preach."

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It was a joy for me to share in the communion service with the folks at New Song on Sunday. The Spirit of Christ was present and moving in our hearts and minds as we worshipped Him. Keep abiding in Him and growing through His Word.

Lewis Ruff <LewisRuff@aol.com>

Pleasanton, CA USA

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The Attempted Interview

We were encouraged by Dr. Cortez Cooper, Coordinator of Mission to North America, to speak with Mr. Lewis Ruff, the MNA Western Coordinator, regarding the New Song-Salt Lake situation. Dr. Cooper especially wanted us to contact Mr. Ruff, so he could give us his explanation regarding the e-mail correspondence which came into the possession of Central Georgia Presbytery. On May 30, 1998, the following conversation took place between the Editor of P&R News and Mr. Ruff:

P&R News: "You encouraged me a few weeks ago to be in touch with you, and indeed I wanted to be, in terms of the stories we're covering with regard to New Song and church planting and what have you. And the first thing, I was a bit confused about-I was wondering if you had encouraged Jeffrey Szakonyi to administer the Lord's Supper prior to his ordination?"

Mr. Ruff: "I've already answered the questions that you've asked me. I've already communicated twice, and I don't really want to communicate anymore with you."

P&R News: "Can I-?"

Mr. Ruff: "I mean, I've asked you questions-"

P&R News: "-I think you asked me one question-but anyway, go ahead."

Mr. Ruff: "I believe that I just don't want to answer any more questions. I'm not responsible to answer questions to you. I've already been as fair as I've been able to with you. I've answered at length your questions on two occasions, and I think that's sufficient."

P&R News: "But you never answered the question as to whether you encouraged Mr. Szakonyi to administer the Lord's Supper."

Mr. Ruff: "You never asked that question."

P&R News: "OK, well that's what I was asking now."

Mr. Ruff: "I'm sorry, I need to go." [click]

Among the questions we would like Mr. Ruff to answer are the following:

Did you personally encourage Jeffrey Szakonyi in any way to administer the Lord's Supper prior to his ordination?

What are the plans regarding Jeffrey?

Do you approve of the worship practices at New Song-Salt Lake?

Please explain your comments about not tolerating people who cannot accept the legitimacy of other "styles" of worship. Does this include the type of worship at New Song-Salt Lake?

Has Mr. Will McGarvey informed his church (First Presbyterian Church, a PC(USA) congregation in Salt Lake City) of his intention to join the PCA?

In an e-mail, you mentioned that Celebration of Discipline is a good discipleship book being used by New Song-Salt Lake. Why do you think that that book, which is written by a Quaker, is a good manual for prospective church members?

Did you say to men from Central Georgia that you never would have interfered with Jason Wallace if you knew an agreement was in place? Assuming that you did, then what do you mean by the statement in a January e-mail that you will have to see the agreement?