Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Connecting the Dots: Craig Higgins, Dominic Aquila and NAPARC

Since my last post I've been mulling over the whole situation concerning TE Craig Higgins and an article that was critical of him posted on The Aquila Report.  As I reported in my last post Metro New York Presbytery sent word to Dr. Dominic Aquila's presbytery, Rocky Mountain Presbytery, requesting that they investigate him for violating the 9th Commandment.  As is well-known by now, Rocky Mountain Presbytery exonerated Dr. Aquila. 

What's interesting to me is that that TE Craig Higgins is not just your average pastor serving in some backwater community who would normally be overlooked as insignificant or eccentric.  TE Higgins serves a prominent congregation in a prominent community (New York City).  But more than that, last year he served as one of two PCA ministers sent to represent the PCA to NAPARC (North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council).  Why is this significant? 

Well, just read the linked article and consider what TE Higgins has written about  observing Lent, reformed episcopacy (bishops), and baptism as an instrumental means of grace.  Then ask yourself, "Why was this man representing the PCA in any capacity? This might explain why Dr. Aquila posted the article in the first place.  Perhaps his goal was to alert Metro New York Presbytery in the hope that it would look into his views.  Perhaps Dr. Aquila wished to alert the entire denomination that it was not being respresented very well by TE Higgins.  I don't know. 

All I know is that Selective Subscription was used in an attempt to silence Dr. Aquila and divert attention from TE Higgins.  I think that the repeated use of the 9th Commandment to go after critics is wearing thin.  After all, you won't read these sort of things on the pages of our denominational magazine, byFaith.  If it weren't for the Aquila Report and bloggers a lot of this stuff would never see the light of day.  I'm well aware that the blogosphere is filled with lot's of vitriol and snarkiness.  But that doesn't mean that it is all bad and should be dismissed out of hand.  To that end both Rev. Otis and Dr. Aquila ought to be commended for bringing these matters out into the light. 

I had hoped to attend the NAPARC meeting last November in Grand Rapids, Michigan but a scheduling conflict prevented me from being there.  In hindsight I'm glad I missed the meeting. I have no idea if our NAPARC brethren knew of TE Higgins' views at the time of that meeting: I can only imagine what they think of him now.  Worse, I can only imagine what they think of the PCA.  Sadly, based on our most recent General Assembly, I get the feeling that much of the PCA heirarchy doesn't care what our sister NAPARC denominations think.


Anonymous said...

1. Denominational magazines always avoid controversies. Nature of the beast. And hard-hitting journalists are always unwelcome at denominational headquarters.
2. If you are going to be a citizen journalist, do some spadework--shouldn't be too hard to contact and interview NAPARC reps from other denominations. Then report back as to their perceptions.
3. Probably nothing to this, but Trinity meets on the premises of the School of the Holy Child, an RCC school. Have to at least wonder what that's like?

Anonymous said...

I understand the intent and the reason for bloggers to publish their concerns BUT... I do struggle with the method.
Does this follow a Mathew 18 aproach?
It seems we have a bibical procedure to deal with brothers who drift... Mathew 18 is not efficient, not fast... but it is bibical
If bloggers first talk to the brother first, and then follow the church courts and then at the end of the process do a blog that seems ok, but it seems they often use blogs to build their case.. before the court has completed its dutys, or before the court has even started.

If we protect the flock from heretics, but skip Mathew 18 it seems we have done the Church no favors

I would benefit from a bibical justification of why the blog is an approved way to protect the church from wolves or weak brothers.

Dave Sarafolean said...

Anonymous #2,

Blogging and Matthew 18 - I don't see any connection. This post was a follow-up to an earlier post on the same subject. Furthermore, both reflected on a public news story.

If you are concerned that The Aquila Report was obligated to follow Matthew 18, there is no merit to that line of reasoning. Craig Higgins' views are not a personal offense per se. Furthermore, New York Metro Presbytery has jurisdiction in this matter. Publicly writing an article is one way of calling attention to a matter. So is contacting that presbytery and requesting an investigation (BCO 31-2).

Going back 4 years I served on General Assembly committees that have requested New York Metro Presbytery to comment on and defend certain practices. They have been less than cooperative. There is no evidence that they are concerned with his views in the least. Thus, in my estimation, The Aquila Report did the next best thing by posting the original article critical of Rev. Higgins.