FORGET NONE OF HIS BENEFITS
volume 18, number 29, July 18, 2019
“I am not pleased with you,” says the Lord of hosts, “nor will I accept an offering from you.” -Malachi 1:10
Defiled Offerings in the PCA
After the prophet Malachi’s hard-hitting prophecy to post-exilic Judah, Yahweh was silent for four hundred years before finally piercing the deafening silence in the incarnation of His blessed Son. Chapter one of Malachi is a dialogue in which Yahweh, through His prophet, brings a series of charges against His people, and answers each one. Malachi’s intention in this dialogue is to arouse them from their dangerous and deadly slumber and move them to repentance.
“I have loved you, says the Lord, but you say, ‘How hast Thou loved us?’” Yahweh responds, “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? declares the Lord. Yet I have loved Jacob; but I have hated Esau,” (verses 2,3). Then in verses 6-8 Yahweh says, “A son honors his father and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor. . . O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Thy name?’” Yahweh answers by saying, “You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled Thee?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?” says the Lord of hosts.
In other words, Judah had a form of religion but it lacked power and vitality. It was a show. It was a sham. Instead of offering the very best of their livestock in sacrifice to the Lord, they were giving the lame, the sick. They were presenting defiled sacrifices upon the altar. In essence, Yahweh asks, “Why not give that to your governor and see what he thinks about it?”
To this Yahweh asks His people if they will continue asking His favor upon their sacrifices, hoping for His grace. Are they to think that He is “okay” with what they are doing? Then with great emotion Yahweh asks His people, “Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar!” In other words, is there not someone among My people who will say, “Enough is enough. We cannot continue this way any longer. Will someone please shut the gate and not allow the sacrifice of defiled animals on My altar? Will someone shut down this folly?” Yahweh continues with a devastating declaration, “I am not pleased with you, nor will I accept your offering from you.” These people are like the ones about whom Paul warns Timothy, “. . .treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power,” (2 Timothy 3:4,5). Paul tells him to avoid such men.
We now have in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) a self-professing homosexual pastor who preaches regularly at his church and administers the sacraments. We also have a Ruling Elder who professed on the floor of the General Assembly the same homosexual lusts. These men are servants of God in Christ’s church. How is their service different from bringing lame, sick animals before the Lord, as in Malachi’s day? The fact that this pastor assures us that he is not acting on his sinful propensities is no encouragement to me. Why are so many seeking to nuance the obvious? This is perversion, pure and simple. How can we be missing this? The liberal Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), from which the PCA came, sixty years ago would not have dreamed of such a declaration on the floor of their Assembly, yet here we are in the supposedly conservative PCA cheering such a confession at our own Assembly.
My fellow PCA Elders and church members, God is not pleased with us. How can He be? We are allowing homosexual Teaching and Ruling Elders to serve unfettered in our denomination. Some will say, “We will bring charges against the pastor and his Presbytery.” Hopefully someone will bring charges against both, but I fear that nothing much will come from it. You see, the Presbytery is covering for the pastor with their 347 page paper entitled “Homosexuality and the Gospel of Grace: Faithfulness to the Lord’s Calling in an Age of Sexual Autonomy.” This is such a nuanced paper that four people could read a section of it and then write a one page paper on what they think it is saying, and each one of the four would have a different “take.” Such a charge would undoubtedly make its way to the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the PCA which would render a verdict, but I am not at all confident that the SJC would overturn the Presbytery’s action. There is too much opposition to the conservative position. There is too much at stake. To overturn the Presbytery would bring massive division in the PCA. A split would occur and the Administrative Committee and the other permanent committees at the General Assembly level do not want that to happen. They will do all they can to guard or maintain the status quo.
And the study committee which comes out of the General Assembly will surely seek to build some kind of consensus. And even if a strong statement comes from the study committee, which I think is unlikely, this by no means assures us that all will agree suddenly to submit to it. We had a strong statement on Federal Vision yet we still have pastors in the PCA who hold to that erroneous view of the gospel. We had a strong statement on women in ministry yet we still have numerous churches in the PCA which have de facto women deacons and elders. We have churches that side-step our denial of ordained women deacons by having no ordained deacons at all, but then have men and women serving in that capacity. We have women serving communion which is the role of elders.
Some are saying that the conservatives won at the General Assembly because we narrowly passed the Nashville Statement. Yes, but at what cost? We sacrificed opposition to the study committee overture in order to win on the Nashville Statement. I believe we gave up far too much to get Nashville approved. Besides, the progressives have already told us that they plan to override the Nashville Statement through the study committee.
God is not pleased with us, my friends. He will refuse our offerings of service. We are sullied with sexual perversion. We must shut the gate.