Appendix B - Letters from Pastor Bruce Robinson (former moderator of the Reformation Presbyterian Church) and Dr. Jerry Crick, proving that none of the original members (except the Rowlett Session) of the pretended Presbytery believed that constitutional vows were taken.
The following letters are circulated by permission of Pastor Bruce Robinson. Pastor Robinson is presently not affiliated with the Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton (PRCE) in any way and the views expressed in the following letters are not necessarily to be understood as those of the PRCE. My sole purpose in publishing this letter is to show that Pastor Robinson is in agreement with the PRCE session and affirms along with us that no vows were ever taken to constitute the pretended presbytery of the RPC. In addition to his letter of dissociation (Dec. 9, 1996), Pastor Robinson has graciously provided us with an additional remonstrance regarding the recent unseemly behavior of the Session of the First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett. This article and the following letter of dissociation have not been altered in any way.
The Visible Church and her Displaced Order, or, An Open and Terse Remonstrance against the CyberUnseemliness of Rowlett, by Pastor Bruce Robinson
"...yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully." 2 Tim 2:5. "...so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Pr 26:20. "...a busybody in other men's matters" 1 Pt 4:15.
Since this minister's declaration was originally emitted nearly one year ago, his judgment (which Edmonton did not influence, as opposed to the chimera of Rowlett's session) has not changed regarding the past or current legitimacy of the RPC [Reformation Presbyterian Church GB] presbytery (sic) as a true judicatory. The FPCR [First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett GB] session purports that a duly constituted presbytery (sic) existed, and even continues... Through its web pages, however, the FPCR session strangely omits that its particular claim respecting the RPC'S lawfulness is not that of other participating ministers and elders from that prior association.
Yet it is more puzzling upon what proper justification the FPCR session now webposts primary and derivative information from that association (reader's note: information for public review may only be released by express permission of both a presiding officer and secretary of a society). The sites also record instances of previously sent "minutes" of the RPC, and forwarded information to an individual regarding another's censure. An idle browser might conjecture that the FPCR session either considers itself a duly constituted classical presbytery, or perhaps, an ecumenical council to the church universal.
The former unlawfulness notwithstanding, Rowlett's specific web posting of Kevin Barrow's letters (previously addressed to, and received by, the PRCE session) was a singularly ignoble act. The FPCR session alone possessed neither the jurisdiction, nor the freedom to receive and disseminate the letters on its websites without the prior release and consent (which Rowlett did not obtain) of the Edmonton session. The Texas session may have judged Edmonton's position as an aberration from true presbyterianism, and requiring rebuttal. Still, this dispute was not so extraordinarily injurious to the visible church that the Rowlett presbyters were liberated from observing the canons of rectitude and propriety. Contrary to the practice of Messrs Bacon and Seekamp, "all is not fair" when battling antagonists even those derided as proselytes of David Steele.
By illegitimately receiving and publicizing Kevin's letters, the FPCR session and The Blue Banner have needlessly displaced outward order and peace in the visible church. The web pages of FPCR and The Blue Banner owe a written amendment to its browsers, and particularly to the Edmonton session. This formal apology unquestionably includes a complete retraction of Kevin Barrow's letters.
To this writer, the aforestated misdeeds of whispering and meddling validate that before FPCR accedes from independency, a receiving presbytery is obliged to address extensive interrogatories to the FPCR session concerning these, and other unsettling occurrences.
To: Presbyters David Seekamp, Richard Bacon, Greg Barrow, Lyndon Dohms, Greg Price, and Jerry Crick
From: Presbyter Bruce Robinson
With brokenness of spirit, humiliation of face, and invoking the help of the Strength of Israel, I, the undersigned, on this ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred ninety six, cease my duplicitous participation in the society of ministers and elders heretofore known as the presbytery of the Reformation Presbyterian Church. In keeping with this certification, I formally request a record of my transferred [sic] credentials.
This testimony is not a judicial secession; I believe there is no due judicatory from which to secede. Neither is this attestation a personal withdrawal to initial independency; I believe, and lamentably acknowledge, that our entire fellowship has resided in independency almost two years. (This admission is also the studied consensus of three additional presbyters).
What was the nature of our group? I believe we were an aggregation of ministers and elders desirous of presbyterian doctrine, worship, and polity. Though never duly constituted as a presbytery through regular vows, and subsequently, with a single session, we persistently regarded our fellowship as a due presbytery. We later complicated our errors through a "provisional adoption" of new affirmations of doctrine, worship, and polity (viz., The FPCS [Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland GB] MANUAL). We borrowed the nomenclature and emulated the practice of a de jure presbytery. I believe the aforesaid actions were altogether specious. Again, it is not inconsequential that, at least, three ministers (including myself) and two elders now concur with this determination.
The genesis of my doubts concerning our due constitution occurred during our July, 1995 meeting in Atlanta. My doubts amplified after our June, 1996 meeting in Charlotte. Last week after much prayer and anguish, I acknowledged without reservation our state of independency. Once realizing this, my continued participation as an official presbyter with an unlawful judicatory would have only compounded my offenses.
I entertained lofty expectations for our embryonic association in October, 1994; my hubris was foolish and deceitful. The history of our group was a workshop of variance, imprecision, hastiness, arrogation, dissension, disorder, and peevishness. As much as any, perhaps more, I bear a sizable share of culpability. Please forgive me of these sins and errors, and others I may have committed.
I would be open to a future meeting with a minimum of three sessions (including our original society of ministers and elders) to discuss the feasibility of "beginning again." May Christ have mercy upon us.
In a feeble effort to maintain a good conscience, amend my dissimulation, and lift the ensign of presbyterianism. I am,
Yours in Christ Jesus,
The following letter is circulated by permission of Dr. Jerry Crick. Dr. Crick is presently not affiliated with the PRCE in any way, and the views expressed in the following letter are not necessarily to be understood as those of the PRCE. My sole purpose in publishing this letter is to show Dr. Crick's agreement with the position of the PRCE session that no vows were ever taken to constitute the pretended presbytery of the RPC. One section of the original letter was removed for the purpose of protecting the confidentiality of certain individuals. The removal of this section in no way affects the opinion of Dr. Crick regarding the present controversy.
December 5, 1996 A.D.
Elder David Seekamp
Clerk of Session
First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett
6501 Mesquite Tr.
Plano, Texas 75023
Dear Elder Seekamp:
Having given considerable time, effort, and thought with much prayer and supplication before God, I desire to inform you of the following conclusions to which I have finally come:
1. In keeping with the plain declaration and teaching of Holy Scripture, historic Presbyterianism has always set forth the view of a plurality of elders in the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. This also applies to a plurality of Sessions constituting a Presbytery. With the departure of the Edmonton Session, there remains only one Session in what has been called the Reformation Presbyterian Church. As such, there does not exist a Presbytery.
2. Although at the April meeting in Charlotte, I had thought that vows had been properly taken, I have since reexamined the issue and have concluded that, in fact, no vows were taken. At the April meeting, I had thought that the PCA BCO section on the Constitution Defined was sufficient justification; however, I have since come to the realization that that section was only a definition and not an instance of taking or making vows. Therefore, I now acknowledge and own that I was in error in coming to that conclusion at that time. It is also the fact, that no one of any of the officers has officially or formally taken any vows; and I recognize that this claim has been and might still be contested. As such there never existed a true Presbytery as we thought ourselves to have been.
3. Considering 1 and 2 together, it is my firm conviction that we have been in a state of independency since the time of transferal of ministerial credentials from our former respective denominations. I also am convinced that my departure from the PCA was hasty, improper, and schismatic, which conclusion is based partly on Rutherfurd's material printed in Naphtali Press' Anthology, vol. 2, number 2, as well as on other materials by Scottish Presbyterian theologians.
4. Therefore, it is my intention to seek denominational affiliation in the near future; however, I am unresolved at this time as to the specific direction I will take.
5. As to the Edmonton Session, even if we did constitute a Presbytery, there is nothing of a judicial, ecclesiastical, disciplinary nature which could be done with reference to them. It is impossible to discipline a Session and Congregation which have removed themselves. This is not a matter of dismissing to independency as has been claimed by reference to the PCA BCO related chapter and sections. I have received corroboration on this point from men who are highly seasoned in their ministries.
I have no resignation to tender or to propose, since there is nothing from which to resign, either formally or informally. Therefore, I fully acknowledge my present and past condition of independency which sin, by God's grace, I hope to rectify as soon as is practicable. In light of these conclusions and present circumstances, I would be most grateful if you would be so kind as to forward to me my ministerial credential file so I will have it readily available.
Please be assured that there is no tone of anger, cynicism, malice, contumacy, subterfuge, disrespect, or any other like disposition in this communication. I pray that God will give each of us the necessary wisdom and humility to labor faithfully for the Gospel and advancement of the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
I do desire to make it certain and clear that my conclusions have not been influenced or precipitated by the events involving the Edmonton Session. I have not communicated with them since before the April meeting, excepting only to receive the email which they sent and to order books from Still Waters for my own instruction in Presbyterian history and theology.
Finally, I humbly ask forgiveness for the errors I have made in attempting to pursue that which I now firmly believe to be improper and without Scriptural justification. I do understand the awkward situation in which each of us is; and it has not been my intent to increase the awkwardness but simply terminate my contribution to it at this time.
Please exercise the liberty to copy and forward this communication to whomever you may desire, and of course, especially to those with whom we have had association over the past two years.
Respectfully, and for Christ's Crown and Covenant,
Jerry W. Crick