The following was adopted unanimously by Louisiana
Presbytery at its 57th stated meeting on April 18, 1998, held
at the Delhi (La.) Presbyterian Church
RESPONSE OF LOUISIANA PRESBYTERY TO
THE LETTER OF ROBERT BENN VINCENT, SR.
WHEREAS, Robert Benn Vincent, Sr., a former teaching
elder in Louisiana Presbytery wrote a letter dated December 29,
1997, containing significant errors and false accusations concerning
the issue of theonomy in Louisiana Presbytery, which letter was
filed in the minutes of Presbytery;
WHEREAS, this letter was a continuation of previous
errors evidenced and false accusations made by Mr. Vincent, who
is no longer a member of the Presbyterian Church in America;
WHEREAS, Mr. Vincent's errors and false accusations have been distributed to other members in the Presbyterian Church in America and have wrongfully cast aspersions against Louisiana Presbytery and have
struck against the peace and purity which had existed
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that Louisiana Presbytery adopts the following as its response to the letter of Robert Benn Vincent, Sr., dated December 29, 1997, and that this response be filed in Presbytery's
In 1979, the Committee for Christian Education and
Publications studied the issue of theonomy in the PCA. Its report
to the Seventh General Assembly included the following language:
There is no single well-defined school of thought known as "Theonomy." The term simply means "God's law." Great difficulties arise in defining the term in our present theological climate because it has been used in a great variety of ways by thinkers as liberal as Paul Tillich and as conservative as Herman Ridderbos.
The Psalmist proclaimed, "Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day." (Psalms 119:97) Every true Christian loves the law of God, and in that general sense should hold to some view of theonomy.
The extremes which Biblical Christians must always avoid are antinomianism and legalism. Antinomianism means being "against the law;" legalism is seeking to be saved by keeping the law. We are not saved by law keeping but for law keeping.
M7GA, 1979, pages 194-195.
Responding to that report, the Seventh Assembly adopted
a. That since the term "theonomy" in its simplest definition means "God's Law" the General Assembly affirms the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 19, and Larger Catechism, Questions 93-150,
as a broad but adequate definition of theonomy.
b. That no further study of the subject of theonomy be undertaken at the General Assembly level at this time, but that individual Christians, sessions, and presbyteries having particular interest be encouraged to
study the subject in a spirit of love, kindness, and patience.
c. That the General Assembly affirm that no particular view of the application of the judicial law for today should be made a basis for orthodoxy or excluded as heresy insofar as this view is in accord with
paragraph a above.
d. That the General Assembly encourage pastors and sessions to instruct their people in the law of God and its application in a manner consistent with our confessional standards.
M7GA, 1979, page 115 and M10GA, 1982, page 340.
Mr. Vincent correctly admits that his views are "out of accord with the Assembly's position." We agree. Sadly, Mr. Vincent followed this admission by setting forth his own subjective notions of what he
perceives theonomy to be and what he falsely accuses other men of believing. His statements are erroneous and make false accusations against members of Louisiana Presbytery who have directly denied to Mr.
Vincent that they hold the heretical views he accuses them of holding.
Louisiana Presbytery has never made theonomy an issue for any candidate and does not intend to ever do so. Only Mr. Vincent raised this issue shortly prior to his departure. Presbytery will continue to
examine candidates in accordance with our constitutional standards and not according to any one person's personal standards or notions.
Louisiana Presbytery denies the charge by Mr. Vincent that it has a "theonomic vision" which dominates our Presbytery other than our continuing commitment to uphold the Word of God to the people of our state in our preaching and in our private and corporate lives.
The only point at which we are able to agree with Mr. Vincent's grounds for leaving our denomination is his stated disagreement with the ruling of the General Assembly in which the Assembly declared that theonomy was not a heresy and should not be viewed as a test of orthodoxy. If indeed
Mr. Vincent cannot agree with this, as he has stated,
then he was correct to withdraw from our denomination.