An Open Letter to the PCA Missouri Presbytery

Neither I nor the other signatories sinned in the manner we handled and expressed our concerns.

Thank you for your concern over my spiritual well-being. I say this because I was one of the signatories of a letter addressed to the Memorial PCA Session, along with 32 other PCA Ruling and Teaching Elders, from a number of presbyteries, that expressed their concerns about the significant role the Memorial Session played in Revoice, and urged on them to repent of their actions.

 

Dear Brothers of Missouri Presbytery:

In the report of your Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Memorial Presbyterian Church for Hosting the Revoice 18 Conference in July 2018, you approved several recommendations, one of which stated the following:

We recommend that the Missouri Presbytery urge the critics of Revoice and Memorial to examine themselves and consider whether they have sinned in the way they have handled their concerns (Recommendation iv, p. 111).

This recommendation was in response to the many letters that had been written to the Session of Memorial Presbyterian in St. Louis regarding their hosting, supporting and promoting Revoice 2018.

Thank you for your concern over my spiritual well-being. I say this because I was one of the signatories of a letter addressed to the Memorial PCA Session, along with 32 other PCA Ruling and Teaching Elders, from a number of presbyteries, that expressed their concerns about the significant role the Memorial Session played in Revoice, and urged on them to repent of their actions.

I will put your concerns to rest by informing you that I most certainly feel at peace with God over how and what I have done. Those who worked with me, and others whom I know, prayed much over the issue of Revoice and Memorial Pres. We wrote our letter with the utmost sincerity, care and concern, and with the desire to see brothers restored to righteousness.

We took time to write to Pastor Greg Johnson to voice our concerns. One or two of the elders met with Greg at GA 2018 to share their concerns. We wrote articles, which we shared with Greg and the Memorial Session. Emails were sent, as were numerous letters from a multiple of sessions and presbyteries. After the Revoice Conference was concluded, more articles and letters and emails were sent urging the Memorial elders to repent and make things right.

It was abundantly clear that Revoice was not acceptable to the majority in the PCA and that it was highly divisive and destructive to our denomination. The denomination is in an uproar and in threat of a split. We used every means possible to inform Memorial of our concerns until we were blue in the face. We heard in their actions and inactions a consistent: “No. We don’t care.”

It came upon you, brothers of Missouri Presbytery, to act. To investigate one of your own. You did.  Now the matter of a heart and motive check comes back to you.

I must say I am quite stunned that you would presume in your recommendation that our voices were raised in a less than right and holy manner. Could that be projecting your own suppressed practices onto others? Why would you look at hundreds of words of concern, backed with Scripture and the insights of our Confession and suggest that our words were frivolously and maliciously put together? Is that what your report did?

I’ve found that those who are quick to point to some perceived sin in others are revealing the very real sins of their own hearts. Did you take your care to investigate the Memorial Session, or did you perceive us complainants as enemies and seek to engage in theological pugilism with us to protect one of your own? Did you press the defense for a reasonable excuse, or did you assume that they had already been tried enough by people you don’t like and just accept their answers? Did you see the matter as worthy of an unbiased review, or did you see the complainants as “outsiders,” stack the committee with sympathetic men, and refer to your own pre-crafted position statements?

You see, brothers, checks on the heart are indeed important, perhaps most importantly for those who are quick to point the finger at other’s failings. Jesus warned us to, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”

Brothers, I personally testify to you that I prayed about the issues raised in the letter and acted out of concern for the peace and purity of Christ’s Church. I was glad to contribute comments that were addressed to Greg Johnson and the Memorial Presbyterian Church Session regarding the Revoice conference.  Neither I nor the other signatories sinned in the manner we handled and expressed our concerns.

Blessings in the Lord.

TE Jim Shaw, Pastor
Redeemer Presbyterian Church
Brunswick, GA

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