The Presbytery of the Siouxlands (PS) holds its 88th Stated Meeting on Friday, January 22 at 9:00 a.m. at the WatertownEventCenter in Watertown, South Dakota. The Presbytery of the Siouxlands includes North and South Dakota and Minnesota, and so Watertown is a central meeting place for the Presbytery.
As of this meeting, there are three vacant churches, two in the Sioux Falls area (in Lennox and Chancellor) and one in Duluth. TE David Young has resigned from the Lennox hurch to plant a church in Crestview, Florida (more info at http://www.thecrestviewproject.org).
While two churches near Sioux Falls are vacant, another is petitioning the Presbytery to particularize. Living Water Community PCA started in Sioux Falls a couple of years ago with several families who left the local CRC looking for a more Reformed witness to the community. Last January, TE Brad Wheeler, formerly of San Antonio, Texas, was called as an organizing pastor. This January, TE Wheeler and several ruling elders-elect come with a petition from the congregation for particularization.
As previously reported in The Aquila Report, PS continues to deal with issues related to the so-called Federal Vision. In October, PS held a called meeting to answer two complaints and deal with an overture arising out of these controversies.
PS received two complaints at that October meeting after having chosen to reject a committee report that recommended that the Presbytery find a strong presumption of guilt in the doctrine of baptism in one of its ministers at its 87th Stated Meeting. The Presbytery responded by nullifying its previous decision and appointing a new committee to look at the issue again. This new committee will report at this meeting.
In addition, PS received an overture at the October meeting from FoothillsCommunityChurch in Sturgis, S.D., requesting an investigation of another member of the Presbytery based on comments made in defense of the minister mentioned in the previous paragraph. The Presbytery heard statements from the minister affirming his commitment to the Westminster Standards and declared that there was no strong presumption of guilt.
The pastor of Foothills PCA, TE Brian Carpenter, issued a complaint against this action. TE Carpenter argued that there was an insufficient investigation and that the evidence available pointed to a strong presumption of guilt rather than a lack of one.
Good Shepherd PCA of Minnetonka, Minn., believes that TE Carpenter so misrepresented the minister in the Foothills Community Church overture and in other statements he made that they have overtured Presbytery to “find a strong presumption of guilt that Mr. Carpenter has publicly sinned…by violating the ninth commandment.”
Of course, many of these things are discouraging and difficult. However, they are being dealt with in the church courts as they should be. We can be thankful that we have a deliberative process for dealing with matters of disagreement in an orderly way.
PS has several difficult issues to consider at its upcoming meeting. Please be in prayer for our Presbytery and for the PCA elders as they convene in assembly this month and throughout the year in Presbyteries all over our continent.
Wes White is pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Spearfish, S.D.