Eastern Carolina

Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC, hosted the fall stated meeting of Eastern Carolina Presbytery, on October 17, 1998. Moderator RE Jeff Smith called the meeting to order and presided.

Host pastor Terry Traylor led worship and Mr. Kevin Thumpson, candidate for ordination, preached from Revelation 5:1-14. The minutes state: "Mr. Thumpson exhorted us that the Church needs her vision restored as the tumor of pride has blurred our vision. We do not need to make up creatively our vision but rather to re-align ourselves with God's vision for the Church. He noted that God has all authority and then proceeded to show us how Jesus exercises His authority. The application was specifically looking at the four things for which the Apostle Paul prayed: (1) that doors of opportunity would be opened to him; (2) that he would have the courage to walk through those doors; (3) that he would have the boldness to speak as he ought to speak; and, (4) that Satan's kingdom would be pushed back by the gospel." Presbytery later examined Mr. Thumpson for ordination as an evangelist and approved the exam. His theological paper was "Challenge of Theological Communion", and his exegetical paper, "Understanding the 6 Days of Creation."

Mr. Guy Waters was enrolled as a candidate, pending transfer of candidacy from Philadelphia Presbytery. His internship proposal was approved, as was one for Mr. Chris Garrett.

Presbytery voted that Pastor Bill James not be received as a candidate under care "but ask him to apply for transfer [from the Southern Baptist Convention] when he has a ministerial call."

It is the custom of Presbytery to hear reports from various teaching elders reporting on their life and ministry. James Routzsong "reported that his prayer life has been enhanced." After serving as de facto organizing pastor of an Orthodox Presbyterian congregation in New Bern, he became an interim pastor of the Terra Ceia (NC) Christian Reformed Church. He is laboring with the 60 per cent of folks from that church which recently left the CRC to form a new Reformed congregation. The Moderator read a report from Chip Denton, who works with the Trinity Classical Christian School in the Raleigh-Durham area.

Eastern Carolina reconvened for an adjourned meeting of its stated meeting on November 7, 1998, at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Raleigh. Moderator Jeff Smith called the presbytery to order constituting the assembly with prayer. Then the presbytery read responsively Psalm 42 and 43, followed by singing "Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus". Present were 11 TEs, 12 REs with 10 Churches represented.

TE Jeff Black presented his complaint regarding the Presbytery not prohibiting TE Byron Curtis from teaching his exceptions to the church's standards as a professor at Geneva College [see box]. The Moderator ruled the complaint to be properly before the presbytery as an approved item of the docket.

It was moved and seconded to deny the complaint. At 10:30 am the Moderator declared a 5 minute recess for private prayer and gathering of thoughts. Presbytery approved a substitute motion, "to affirm the complaint, repent of our earlier action and require that TE Byron Curtis not be allowed to teach as true, doctrines contrary to the Westminster Standards in his work at Geneva College or any other public forum save that of the courts of the Presbyterian Church in America." The substitute prevailed, 12 to 9. The main motion, as substituted, was approved, 12 to 10. Several men asked that their negative vote be recorded: TE Terry Traylor (Redeemer), TE Doug Addington (West Hills), TE Steve Bostrom (Peace), RE Dan Prins (Peace) and RE Stan Nixon (Peace). [The full text of the complaint appears below.-Ed.]

The Moderator declared a recess at 11:20 am. At 11:30 am the Moderator reconvened presbytery with the singing of "Be Thou My Vision, Lord".

With regard to Presbytery's budget, it was moved and seconded that the balance at the end of 1998 (e.g., the balance at the end of 1997 was $24,417.40) be used to reduce the askings for the 1999 budget when that 1998 balance is known. Presbytery, by a vote of 12 to 7, adopted as a substitute that the committee recommendation be denied and the Treasurer with the Committee draft a new recommendation which will maintain the integrity of line item giving, allowing funds to carry over to the next year. The main motion then carried, 12 to 4.

It was moved and seconded to receive "as a first reading recommendations to ECP that, until 2006, the ECP-MNA Prospectus (Purpose through the Guidelines and using #94 (10/19/1996) as guideline #9) be included as Appendix C in our MOO [Manual Of Operation]." An alternate amendment authored by TE Jim O'Brien regarding the ECP-MNA Prospectus as a first reading was adopted and ordered spread on the minutes.

At 12:10 P.M., Presbytery recessed for a lunch "graciously provided by the Traylor family." At 1 P.M., the Moderator reconvened the court with the singing of "Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation."

RE Ron Gilbert (of Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church, Wilmington) was added to the Committee for the Harvest Church "to assist the ruling elder as a commission in those matters for which the local RE calls the meeting." That ruling elder, Tom Phillips, later "reported that Harvest has no core due to the transitional nature of life in the military. [The church is located in Jacksonville, NC, near Cherry Point Naval Air Station and Camp Lejeune.-Ed.] The congregation is excited and confident in God's care."

Presbytery expressed "sincere thanks to Treasurer Robert McGee for his faithful service." The court voted for the Moderator to obtain for Mr. McGee a gift certificate for $100.00 for the Angus Barn.

The MOO was amended by deleting the phrase, "that his present church (pastorate) has voted to release him," and replacing it with the phrase, "there is no present pastoral relationship between the minister and a church."

Presbytery acceded to the Committee on Administration request that its three requests be spread on the Minutes (items 1-3).

Item 1. COA would like feedback from Sessions regarding ideas that would facilitate fellowship in ECP. For example: (a) Begin presbytery on Friday night and continue it through Saturday. (b) Gather for prayer in geographic areas on the Friday night preceding the Saturday presbytery meeting. (c) Have elders volunteer to be a delegate for their session at ECP on an annual basis.

Item 2. Since we are to give our attention to prayer (Acts 6:3 - the word translated as "attention" is a compound word, pros ([to or pointed toward] + karteros [steadfast] = to persist obstinately, to adhere firmly to. The elders of the church in Acts 6 sensed the need as Samuel had [1 Sam. 12:23 - As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.]}; and since those in authority rightly exercise that authority by loving, praying for and blessing those under their authority (LC 129); and since session minutes usually only record the opening and closing of our session meetings with prayer; COA requests feedback from our sessions regarding how they as a session are giving their attention to prayer.

Item 3. COA has learned that Bob McGee will be concluding his service as Treasurer for ECP. We will need another Treasurer from ECP by our winter meeting. Apparently nominees come not from ECP's Nomination's Committee nor from COA but from ECP. Please be prepared to nominate a willing member of your church.

Presbytery thanked the Wayside Church for submitting its 1996 and 1997 minutes to the COA. The Presbytery also dealt with responses to prior exceptions of substance taken to Session minutes, and reminded several Sessions of the need to respond.

TE Terry Traylor reported for the Mission to North America Committee. Presbytery voted to "seek an hour at the January meeting of Eastern Carolina Presbytery to a discussion of our presbytery's revitalization needs."

Presbytery adopted the 1999 MNA budget. The Committee had proposed that $4,000.00 be given to the Southeast Regional Coordinator. Upon questioning, Mr. Traylor offered to obtain information regarding that Coordinator's work. The Presbytery voted to replace the line item "Southeast Regional Coordinator" with "unspecified."

It was moved and seconded "to extend the powers of evangelist as stated in BCO 8-6 to TE Bill Marshall from October to the January Stated Meeting of presbytery." A substitute motion, to extend the powers from one year from October 1998, prevailed.

The next stated meeting of Presbytery was set for January 8-9, 1999 at a retreat at Fort Caswell, NC. Arrival time is 3:00 on Friday afternoon. Presbytery will formally begin at 7 o' clock. Cost is $39.50 for three meals and one night's lodging.


Whereas error is harmful to the peace and purity of the church (1 Timothy 1:3-5) having a contrasting goal than that of love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith, contrary to ministerial vow, "Do you promise to be zealous and faithful in maintaining the truths of the Gospel and the purity and peace of the Church?";

Whereas TE Byron Curtis was examined and approved by ECP in 1985 with a written record of 4 exceptions and an oral presentation of a 5th but upon attempting to transfer into the bounds of the Presbytery of the Ascension on July 30-31, 1993 he was not received having presented 5 exceptions which are apparently the same in substance as those known to ECP;

Whereas TE Byron Curtis at the July 18, 1998 meeting of the ECP did specify these 5 exceptions, said exceptions being: " (1) my doubt concerning six literal days of creation; (2) whether all recreations and all thoughts of other matters are forbidden on the Sabbath; (3) my affirmation of general cessationism rather than absolute cessationism; and, (4) the possibility that the Bible permits women to be deacons; " and (5) "...the issue of imaginings of the physical appearance of Christ, or the possibility of depicting his physical appearance....";

Whereas Paul exhorted Timothy not to let men teach strange doctrines, strange being defined in

1 Timothy 1:5 & 10 as what is contrary to sound doctrine having a polluting effect, or what is contrary to the faith which has been received (defined in our case as the Westminster Standards);

Whereas TE Byron Curtis holds a position as teacher in a college and thereby influences greatly the thought of the future generation very probably undermining their confidence in the Westminster Standards;

Whereas these exceptions are disruptive of the peace and unity of the church resulting in the anomaly that a man may be acceptable in one presbytery while being unacceptable in another, evidenced by the Presbytery of the Ascension's unwillingness to receive TE Curtis while a member of ECP and other presbyteries making resolutions regarding certain of these exceptions, such as Westminster's resolution on 144 hour creation; and,

Whereas the liberty of conscience as expounded in the Westminster Confession of Faith is freedom from the doctrines of men but not freedom from the doctrines of God's Word nor liberty to teach error;

Be it resolved that Eastern Carolina Presbytery confess its error in allowing TE Byron Curtis to teach his errors and does now repent, requiring TE Byron Curtis not to teach contrary to the Westminster Standards in his work at Geneva College or any other public forum.

Signed: Date: August 9, 1998

Teaching Elder Jeffrey M. Black


Austin Leake, Stated Clerk of Eastern Carolina Presbytery, was kind enough to point out an error in our reporting of that court's summer meeting: the call to TE Arnold Johnson is as Volunteer Coordinator / Spiritual Bereavement Counselor, and is a fulltime salaried position.