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carole
carole
6 years ago

brilliant, thank you!

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

These audios are such a gift to us who couldn’t make it — thank you!

Re 1. Child Communion @ about the 35:00 mark — do you not hear a bit of the disconnect / inconsistency?:

Your baptized 1 year old grandson Rory had the elements withheld from him until he passive-aggressively demanded them, right?
And your reasoning for the prior witholding is so the elders could be respected in their position of holding the keys — “confirming” Rory’s applicability.
Why would you need to confirm what you already had authorized in his baptism??

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

Re the 2. Church Discipline talk — How about addressing the elders’ authority to discipline in the first place? Who & when do they have it? Doesn’t the practice of close & closed communion (PCA, RCUS, many Lutherans) assume elders don’t have authority to discipline unless the parishioner-attender first actively gives it to them? Therefore these groups keep baptized Christians away from the Table — even when no “disciplinable” behavior is evident — until those persons have authorized the elders to take the reigns. The theory = elders have no authority to discipline such, therefore preemptively use the same actions… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

addendum to the above: Thank God for your 2. Discipline @ 40:45 “There’s a common practice of people suspending themselves from the Lord’s Supper — which I think they have no business doing. If you are not suspended or excommunicated by the lawful government of the church, you have no right to pull back from the Supper. You have no authorization to not eat … You must eat, in other words.” So great! But what of us who are denied access because the elders tell us they haven’t been given authority over us — by us — in the form… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

3. Church Government — did you imply that the elders of the church first were given to the church only after several thousand years of the church’s existence? (From 4000+BC to 30AD — no elders?)

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

“… elders have a defined flock … there’s church membership right there” Yes. And (I Thess 5) “Recognize those who labor among you and who are over you …” — but what if those who call themselves elders won’t & don’t recognize those of us who are under them? Or rather, they claim that a public vow of membership (in addition to baptism and regular attendance “among” them) is required before those elders will acknowledge their eldership over me. Is there a Biblical process whereby I should call those specific elders (in fact, I fear, the whole PCA denomination by… Read more »

Keith LaMothe
Keith LaMothe
6 years ago

> “Last month the elders at my PCA politely met with me to say it would be best if I and my family not take communion because I have some exceptions I’d take relative to the formula they have in their vows”

If you can do so in wisdom (without gossip, etc), please explain the charge(s) on which they are thus excommunicating you.

I would advise against rapid or rash action in terms of changing churches, etc.

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

Hi Keith,

Because this is a PCA group, they’d say they were not ex-communicating but a-communicating such as me — unless & until such time as I become a member of this or some other evangelical church.

The presumption is that communicating requires the potential for excommunication — and I agree.
But their theory (if I may) is that until I acknowledge their authority (through their membership procedures), they have no authority.
Hence the need to keep me a-communicated.

Keith LaMothe
Keith LaMothe
6 years ago

Ok, thanks for the info. It sounds like you and/or they are getting wound around a particular point of principle, but I don’t know which from this range.

Can you explain why exactly you have not become a member of a church? Is it a belief that baptism is entry into the visible church and that membership vows are a-biblical?

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

Keith, Doug (I think correctly) cites I Thess 5 as a basis for seeing “membership” as a state of being relative to the church: “… brethren, know (ESV = respect) them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord…” So I understand that I am a member, being in Christ, and that I have the obligation to respect me elders! Me elders, however, don’t think they are me elders — because I haven’t said the vows they made up. So you are probably asking: Why not say them vows already, and be done with it?! — right?… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

The PCA Book of Order specifies 5 questions to be answered honestly & forthrightly for those seeking membership in a local assembly. Among those: 4. Do you promise to support the church in its worship and work to the best of your ability? 5. Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the church, and promise to study its purity and peace? So for me to be honest & forthright, I should say that: * I do not believe that answering these questions are or should be a prerequisite for membership ** I support this church in it’s… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

On the “support” clause — I would forthrightly add that I do not believe I have an obligation to financially support a pastor or the assembly beyond what I think it needs to operate.
Just because the elders of an assembly of 50 want to give a Teaching Elder a salary of 80+ grand does not obligate me to pony up my share.

Keith LaMothe
Keith LaMothe
6 years ago

Eric, > “So you are probably asking: Why not say them vows already, and be done with it?! — right?” Not at all. No man should make a vow before God if he doesn’t mean every word. I’m trying to understand the specifics of the problem, since both you and your elders seem to have dug your heels in pretty thoroughly. My (non-PCA) church uses the same membership vows as BCO 57-5, and the table is fenced against non-believers, but visitors and non-member-regular-attendees (there are many) are on the honor system. I imagine if the elders saw anyone (member or… Read more »

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher
6 years ago

Keith — I like your pastoral heart and good mind.
Could you give me your email address to further this less in public?
estampher at gmail