Wednesday, September 07, 2005
MEDLEY STUMBLES IN PSW GATHERING; MOMENTUM BUILDS FOR PSW SEPARATION
Dr. Roy Medley
General Secretary ABCUSA
As reported by Dennis McFadden from www.abeonline.org:
Today Dr. A. Roy Medley met with several hundred pastoral and lay leaders from the PSW in a specially called meeting at Christ First Baptist Church of Covina. He was accompanied by the current ABCUSA president, Mrs. Peggy Johnson . Together the President of the ABCUSA and the General Secretary fielded questions for more than two hours after a devotional on Biblical principles for dealing with conflict and controversial issues lead by Dr. Dale Salico, PSW Executive Minister. The crowd was comprised of pastoral and lay leaders from PSW congregations (the pastor and two leaders were invited from each of the PSW churches).
Most of the questions dealt with dissatisfaction with the lack of enforcement of the “homosexuality is incompatible with biblical teaching” resolution (the stated reason for the meeting). Of the two dozen or so questioners, one offered his services for any who “need to talk” because they feel out of sync with the majority in the room and one asked how we can repair the rupture in our relationship so that PSW won’t feel the need to leave the ABCUSA. Virtually all of the other questioners either asked questions related to the lack of enforcement of the homosexuality resolution, challenged the perceived elevation of soul competency over biblical authority, or dealt with technical aspects of Baptist polity and discipline.
Dr. Medley’s responses stayed fairly close to the answer that the genius of Baptist polity is the lack of hierarchy and the emphasis upon individuals coming to terms with Scripture as they feel led by the Holy Spirit. He opined that there were few if any mechanisms for enforcing conformity, even if he wanted to do so. He also averred that he has consistently spoken the ABCUSA position as being that of the “homosexuality is incompatible” resolution while affirming the right of congregations and individuals to dissent from that position.
The ABCUSA representatives were unfailingly gracious and essentially non-defensive. Roy listened carefully and never interrupted a speaker. The audience members frequently broke into applause at the comments by the questioners. No one became belligerant or showed obvious disrespect for the guests or the other members of the audience.
One might safely characterize the spoken comments, questions, and audience response as indicating a large majority favoring some determinate decision by VF. One pastor of a mega church thanked the guests, sympathized with their discomfort being in the "hot seat" and asked if we hadn't finally reached a point where we should simply "bless one another and move on with our separate ministries." He noted that while we have been wrangling endlessly over the issue of human sexuality, thousands of persons have slipped into a Christless eternity within driving distance of our churches.
A comment to Dennis:
Dennis, that was an accurate description of the meeting.But in some ways it is like a chemist clinically describing an explosion.
For example, when the megachurch pastor suggested it was time to part ways, the applause was thunderous and kept going and going and going.
At times the tension was overwhelming. Men next to me shifted and groaned with agony as they listened to Medley's replies. Elderly pastors, after recounting their years of service to the ABC, declared in crackling voices that they could no longer be a part of the demonimation.
At one key moment, one person dropped the equivalent of a verbal nuclear bomb, eliciting numerous gasps and sounds of shock. But then, you could probably give a better account of that one.
Something big is brewing.
What nuclear bomb??? It was a comment attached to the end of a two minute mini lecture on Baptist polity.
All I did was to declare that after more than 50 years of ABC life and 25 years on the PSW ordination standards committee, the Biennial was utterly discouraging and depressing. The experienced radicalized me (particularly Dr. Herzog's invective laded diatribe and Dr. Medley's endorsement of tolerance at any price). I simply shared that I was ordained by another group last week, one that believes in biblical authority without embarrassment. While Dr. Medley is a good and decent man, he no longer captures my willingness to follow his lead.
As to Mike's question . . . the May action by PSW was described by Dale Salico in detail. Dr. Medley only responded when directly asked by a questioner. The pastor asked why Medley was willing to use the Covenant of Relationships to deal with financial support since he answered most questions with a "Baptists cannot enforce conformity" type response? "If you don't have any power . . . if you can't enforce the resolution on homosexuality . . . if your office is limited by our polity so that you can't do much of anything, then where did you get all this power to use against PSW all of a sudden?" This brought a good deal of laughter, partially due to the manner in which the question was asked.
GWGWGW correctly captures the emotional tone of the event. Hey, I tried to write a bit more objectively about it. However, it was an amazing experience. There were people in the audience who may have agreed with Dr. Medley, but they did not speak. All but two comments (and one of them was difficult to decipher) were solidly opposed to the position of the GS (albeit quite respectfully stated).
Ironically, if the Biennial applause lines for Dr. Medley's message were all at the expense of the evangelicals, all of the applause lines (MANY of them thunderous) in Covina were in favor of separation. Dr. Medley himself acknowledged this by gently chiding the group at the end of the meeting. He indicated in response to the final question that if separation occurs it will be a grief-filled day for him, for ABCUSA, and for the Lord. Then, he noted wryly that all of the loudest applause lines were in favor of a denominational split. We should be grieving not clapping he observed sadly.
Dennis E. McFadden
My comment: as one present, I can speak for myself. I applauded when Biblical truth was stated well. The schism has already occcured, and the sexual revisionists did it, and Dr. Medley, a good and well-meaning man, was complict in the schism.
Next comment from ABE Online:
So, since the two of you were there, what is your sense of the PSW's next move??? Obviously, the GS is betting the region will back away from the PSW Board's contingency plan. It sounds as though he laid the theatrics on thick at the end... "grieving the Lord", for goodness sake! He probably wanted to add "and quenching the Holy Spirit, too", but thought better of it... there were too many in the audience who would have taken him to task about who was REALLY doing the grieving and quenching!
Mike EdwardsLaymanFBC-Everett, WA
Watch this space. Key developments will occur in the next few days...