or... Falling Cherry Blossom Presbytery? Near the end of the Second World War, the Japanese built a special rocket powered airplane with a nose packed with over a ton of high explosives. The plane was designed to be released from a bomber at which time the Kamikaze pilot would dive it into the nearest American ship. The Japanese called this piloted bomb, the Ohka – meaning falling cherry blossom. They gave it this poetic and beautiful name because they viewed this suicidal last-ditch and ultimately absolutely futile attempt to stop the US Navy as courageous and beautiful and worthy of several volumes of Haikus. The Americans on the other hand had a more apt name for the Japanese plane - Baka meaning fool, because they recognized that a futile and self-destructive gesture that couldn’t possibly achieve the desired objective wasn’t “courageous” or even noble, it was foolish and wasteful. I bring this up because it illustrates a fundamental difference of opinion I apparently have with Doug Wilson over whether charges “should” have been filed by one of the handful of men in the minority in the tiny theological affinity Louisiana Presbytery, a presbytery where Auburn Avenue is easily the most influential church and whether this doomed hypothetical action would have been extremely courageous or extremely foolish. Actually, the illustration fails on one level because a couple of Ohkas actually hit American vessels, while simple mathematics meant that there was never any possibility that charges leveled against the Steve Wilkins and the Federal Vision theology in LAP would have been effective. Many examples could be cited to prove this was the case; the votes against opening an investigation into Wilkins or the votes against the complaints and dissents lodged against his “exoneration” for instance, but since those are old and well known but this point, I’ll cite another example. In October of 2002 Rich Lusk, author of Paedofaith, was examined by Louisiana Presbytery for ordination as Auburn Avenue’s Assistant Pastor. During this exam Lusk expressed no fewer than 6 exceptions to the Westminster Standards including Paedocommunion, the existence of four offices, and (I’m not making this up) the validity of private emergency baptisms (which one would expect from a Roman Catholic, but certainly not a Presbyterian.) One would be hard pressed to find other PCA presbyteries that would have considered accepting this particular sextuplet in their midst, but not surprisingly Louisiana had no problem with these exceptions and ordained Lusk, with only the long suffering Jim Jones recording his negative vote. Also not surprisingly, when Lusk later attempted to transfer to the not considered to be “TR” by anyone Evangel Presbytery, he didn’t even make it out of the candidates committee and promptly transferred into the CREC (which also predictably didn’t have a problem with his exceptions). Now if the majority in the Presbytery didn’t have problems with Lusk, why on earth would they be expected to have problems with Wilkins, who certainly hasn’t exceeded his former assistants “theological idiosyncrasies”? Regarding the second part of Wilson’s post, he seems to want us to forget that at the time of the Wood case Steve Wilkins was still calling himself a “TR” and proudly standing with the other “TRs” (and yes that included individuals like Joey Pipa, etc.) in opposing things like the declension regarding women and creation, he is even in print to this effect. He also wants us to forget how small Louisiana Presbytery is and that at the time that it was leading the way in terms of trying to have Wood disciplined despite the decision of his Presbytery not to indict him, I can think of no other presbytery that passed so many overtures attempting to have justice done and Wood brought to trial. At the time, Wilkins was upset, as we all were, that that SJC had acted in a manner that effectively screened Wood from charges and prevented the possibility of a trial. The members of the SJC that he wanted removed where the ones who voted to declare the overtures from other presbyteries to bring Wood to trial out of order. The point that is indisputable is that Wilkins wanted Wood tried despite the fact that his Presbytery had declined to do so, because he and many other felt that the Presbytery was wrong and that Wood should be tried. When the SJC declined to overrule the Presbytery, the LA PRESBYTERY OVERTURE caused the GA to overrule the SJC and force them to proceed to trial. What is inescapable, and what Wilson and co. aren’t going to be able to make go away, is that they were eager to see a Presbytery decision not to indict a member overruled and a trial conducted in another court (no suggestions where made for personal prosecutor banzai charges in the TVP as I recall) but now that the shoe is on the other foot, and they know that outside of their FV friendly incubator Presbytery most of the PCA thinks that their theology is a mas grande error, they don’t want it tried anywhere else. As for Wilkins’ accusation that I’m being a hypocrite, I’m willing to let my record speak for me. I’m on record as wishing we’d never switched from cases being handled by committees of the GA to the SJC system and I still am, but I’ve always believed that the GA shouldn’t be prevented from overruling the decision of a presbytery not to indict a member and unlike some haven’t switched my positions on that. I also haven’t switched my position on BCO sections like 34-1 and 40-5 being good simply because they might be used in my presbytery. My position on PCA process, exceptions, etc. hasn’t changed since the Wood case one bit. I didn’t go from calling myself a TR to attacking men as “TRs.” I didn’t move from supporting the TR wing to supporting the PPLN wing over subscription after my theology started being questioned. I also haven’t overtured my Presbytery to leave the PCA, or prepared my church to do so with a straw vote or given interviews stating that due to doctrinal declension and deviation from the standards the PCA was unreformable and then subsequently insisted on staying in that denomination. I maybe mellower and balder than I was in 2000, but I’m the same lovable TR fuzzball (to borrow from R.L.) I’ve always been. Who has really done the about face here? Regarding the last part of Wilson’s post, I’d rather not be doing this either. I suspect that Spurgeon didn’t enjoy the Downgrade controversy much, Ryle didn’t like having to warn people about sacerdotalists like Newman and Pusey, Bonar didn’t enjoy having to respond to the modernists in the Free Church, and I’m pretty sure Athanasius didn’t like having to move every few years because of the Arian controversy. I have enough to do with just pastoral ministry to keep me plenty busy all the time, and I don’t get nearly as much sleep as I need, or spend as much time with my family as I want. But as much as I’d like to pretend the FV didn’t exist and get on with pastoring (although considering the amount of material the FV advocates generate and the problems they introduce into congregations and denominations, that would probably involve moving the church into an underground bunker) the vows I took, the directions of scripture, and my own conscience will not permit me to do so. However, if Rev. Wilson would just persuade Rev. Wilkins to join him in the CREC, I would be released from my obligation to continue the whole process of pursuing discipline, writing responses, etc. As I asked before, how is it communion when 90% of your denomination don’t agree with (or if the FV is to be believed, have the capacity to understand) your soteriology?