A Guest at the Diner – Craig French

Following is a guest post by Craig French.

I want to bring my own perspective of the current Genevan Commons debacle, both as an “outsider” and male voice of support. I offer somewhat of an “outsider’s” perspective having been outside Reformed/Presbyterian circles for several years now. But I’m not a total outsider. I was a deacon within the PCA until my family and I left our so-called patriarchal church. I taught often at that church and became a contributor to a then-popular blog committed to emphasizing authority and submission, and (for a time), I believed in the Eternal Subordination of the Son…until I started reading St. Athanasius and the Cappadocian Fathers. 

Once I began reading “Thick Trinitarianism” as opposed to “thick complementarianism,” my categories shifted significantly. I am not here to defend Amiee Byrd’s writing but I want to acknowledge that she raises important concerns. Reformed/Reformed-leaning “thick” complementarianism is a stagnant pond. The disconnect from historic streams of Christianity can unnecessarily limit outlook and discussion, so there is little room for questioning their raison d’etat. Complementarianism is ahistorical and a neologism offering some comfort and safety from perceived feminist influence. Complementarianism is a hunker down and hole up position. Disconnected from clean, free flowing water, some in that camp are coming to realize they’re thirsty but their water hole is just making them sicker. Leaders claim to have everything they need, but a walk through of the Complementarian Hill Autonomous Zone reveals there are no supplies. I see Aimee Byrd as searching for supplies while also identifying significant problems within CHAZ.

Genevan Commons is an activist group. We already know there are community organizers who tried sabotaging book releases by Aimee Byrd and Rachel Green Miller. Organizers have also revealed Aimee Byrd’s home church and encouraged folks to contact her session in a sort of guerilla style polity. And people did contact her session. People contacted other churches set to host her teaching as well in coordinated guerilla style activism.

Wouldn’t you know it, activism like this did get her session’s attention. One or two of Aimee Byrd’s elders reached out to GC. Rev. Peter Jones confirmed this through Twitter here and here. Click through and take a look, noting especially the contradictory public posture of innocence vs private acknowledgement of their failure to respond to this letter in a timely fashion. They waited until after Aimee Byrd’s session dealt publicly with fallout resulting, in significant part, from GC moderators’ refusal to enter into a reconciliatory conversation. Peacemaking ought to be a way of life and marker of a minister’s character. To date, I have not seen this character modeled by prominent members and moderators from GC. 

All of what I’ve described serves as relevant context for what GC Screenshots revealed. 

I do not agree with the “doxxing” of all GC members. I may even see places where the blog misunderstands context for some of the collaged posts. That should not be surprising. That said, confessional Christians reject any economic accounting of sin where one group’s potential sin somehow cancels out another’s actual sin. Presbyterian elders should not use the “But MOM!” argument. The merits of the claims should be examined on a case-by-case basis rather than prejudicially dismissed, which is functionally how Rev. Wedgeworth’s article advances. I don’t blame him exactly, he has some level of interest in deflecting scrutiny from a group he participated in. That is to say, his account is not “above the fray,” rather, it comes squarely from within.

When an attorney argues in court, he directs the jury’s attention to carefully selected issues. Opposing counsel will insist “those aren’t the issues, here are the issues! Look here!” and they’ll pound the table, repeatedly if necessary. The tactic is effective with convincing rhetoric, discrediting of (and distraction from) the other issues. Here’s the interesting thing about Rev. Wedgeworth’s post: he makes himself a witness to the other parties’ argument. He says:

“Over time, it became increasingly clear to me that an unhealthy ethos and tone was dominating the group. This was a gradual process, and some of my friends recognized it before I did. I ‘unfollowed’ the group (which means I no longer saw its content) sometime in June of 2019, and I fully ‘left’ (which means I deleted my membership) in early 2020, as a part of a general Facebook cleanup decision.” (emphasis my own)

Rev. Wedgeworth summarizes GC as having an unhealthy ethos and tone that was so dominating (synonyms: pervasive, or definitional) that it led him to unfollow and eventually leave the group. 

This does not mean that a majority of GC’s members engaged in this unhealthy behavior. Wedgeworth acknowledges this in his conclusion. If it wasn’t pervasive numerically, then it’s reasonable to surmise this is a qualitative assessment on Rev. Wedgeworth’s part. This pervasive and dominating culture was established through influential members. 

Contrary to the assertion of some (e.g. RE Shane Anderson and Rev. Michael Spangler), Rev. Wedgeworth’s testimony tends to confirm the group was not being moderated particularly well. It also tends to bolster Aimee Byrd’s (and others’) contention that the moderators themselves fostered this “unhealthy” culture. Let’s not use terms like “unhealthy,” though. Call it what it is: sinful. This sinful enculturation came from members and moderators which include officers within confessional Presbyterian churches. This has been the issue that is consistently brought out by GC’s critics. Rev. Wedgeworth’s own testimony confirms the validity of this criticism. 

I find it curious that GC members and supporters have retweeted Rev. Wedgeworth’s post. At most, his post offers a particular defense of himself and his boss, Rev. Mark Jones. While he attempted to minimize sins within GC, he did not hesitate to describe the entire ethos as unhealthy – sinful. That is the broadest of brushes one can paint with. That is damning. Far from discrediting the collages from the whistleblowing blog, Rev. Wedgeworth gives church courts reason to investigate more thoroughly. I trust that Rev. Wedgeworth, in keeping with Leviticus 5:1, can be depended upon by church courts seeking testimony regarding activity from their own officers.

Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.

Rev. Wedgeworth has given testimony which should be taken seriously. Much more seriously than any sleight of hand which distracts from the actual issue. Aimee Byrd has written an excellent rebuttal to such sleight of hand. I echo what she says while also driving home the gravity of Rev. Wedgeworth’s testimony against GC.

One such bogeyman issue is the one of “privacy.” This is a tricky issue to raise and, to Rev. Wedgeworth’s credit, he doesn’t spend much time here. But others do raise this issue. Private can mean many different things, so it’s important to define the term – which no one from GC has yet to do. Take for example private clubs. Private, in this case, means “exclusive.” 

Other notions of privacy have to do with “privileged information.” Think attorney client privilege, medical records, financial information. The very nature of the data creates an obligation for protecting that information. This is an example of legitimate and necessary confidentiality.

GC does not host what anyone would reasonably consider “protected information.” Expectation for privacy is more of a courtesy than anything, and it is reasonable to maintain some level of privacy, but certainly not to the extent of a secret society. Each of us has private conversations but few private conversations are treated like sworn secrecy. Most often, privacy has to do with intimacy. Privacy is a fabricated right and is not the same as confidentiality. It would be a rash vow to promise to maintain secrecy of future discussions you may find questionable. Such a requirement is illegitimate and unenforceable. Especially for Christians. I also question the validity of legal grounds for any torts. 

As Christians, we do not consider “privacy” a right, and certainly not something absolute. Claiming privacy merely sidesteps the actual issue. It enables sin to lurk in the shadows, sin which we are supposed to expose (Eph 5:11). Let’s not leverage the logic of Roe to sidestep legitimate concerns of how teaching and ruling elders conduct their lives. The higher standard for church officers can’t be casually wiped off when they enter an online discussion forum.


An Open Letter to the Contributors/Creators of the GCScreenShots

An Open Letter to the Contributors/Creators of the GCScreenShots website:

I write this letter for the purpose of expressing my concern, specifically with regard to the published membership list which is found on the website GC Screenshots. The full membership list, which includes names and places of employment for most members, has had what I must assume to be, some unintended consequences.

It is true that a man is known by the company he keeps. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” (1 Cor. 15:33, NASB). Having said that, some members have been erroneously caught up in the fray that is the Genevan Commons.

• Members who previously were part of the group, but have left it.

• Members who were added to the group without their knowledge.

• Members who rarely logged onto their Facebook account and were unaware of the egregious banter which takes place in the Genevan Commons.

• Members who, like many very busy pastors, are quite clueless about the ins-and-outs of social media, especially Facebook groups.

I’ve recently learned of a pastor who left the Genevan Commons over two years ago, but his name was included on the published list. The employer of this pastor’s wife has been harassed and now her job may be in jeopardy.

Was this your intention GC Screenshots?

Another pastor is also under fire because he was a former member of the Genevan Commons. He shared, “Not only did I not participate in any of the vile things said in the Genevan Commons, I didn’t even know the names of the people who did until last week. Nevertheless, my ministry (in an urban setting with many young believers who tend toward being skeptical of Christian ethics anyhow) is put in jeopardy because of guilt by association.”

Was this your intention GC Screenshots?

Yet another pastor shared, “As one who was doxxed and didn’t participate in the behavior at GC … I was re-added after I left in 2018, and was confused for months as to why I keep seeing GC posts. I figured maybe it went public, or I was still subscribed somehow but not a member. Then I realized what happened, but also noticed that a couple theological students from my presbytery were in it so I lurked to make sure they behaved (they did). Mostly I ignored anything that popped up like I ignore half of what appears on my feed (I would go insane if I didn’t). I left in March after I listened to MoS and heard Todd say he would confront any elders in there and tell them to leave, and because I also noticed the posts just getting more out of hand and less helpful discussions occurring. That being said I was shocked, saddened, and angered when I saw myself listed as a minister and my small church plants name listed as well, on a list that could be easily weaponized as a list of racist/misogynist churches.”

Was this your intention GC Screenshots?

I’ve learned of dozens of such messages from individuals who are now having their reputations and livelihoods threatened, though they never once participated in the sinful banter on that page.

Was this your intention GC Screenshots?

Therefore, I encourage you, in Christian charity, to remove the Full Membership Lists, both October 2019 and May 2020, from your website. I believe they detract from your central purpose and are causing unintended harm.

Thank you for your consideration.

Purely Presbyterian Posts Retraction

The following article entitled Feminism in the Reformed Churches by Michael Spangler, a teaching pastor in the OPC, was posted at Purely Presbyterian on 8 May, 2020. Purely Presbyterian contributors are: Paul J. Barth, Seni Adeyemi, drdowname, Christian Herring, Carlos Gonzalez, Nick Schoeneberger, William Sandell, Orthobilly and Zach Dotson. As of 12 May, 2020, Barth, Adeyemi, Herring, Schoeneberger and Sandell are all members of the Facebook group called the Genevan Commons. According to site contributor Paul J. Barth,

“All the contributors and n this site are RPCNA laymen. Most of our posts are excerpts from Reformed theologians.”

Note: I share this information solely as a resource for informational purposes. This is in no way an endorsement of this article, its positions, Mr. Spangler, his associates or Purely Presbyterian.

Feminism in the Reformed Churches: 1. The Leaders

Feminism in the Reformed Churches 1 the Leaders

The Reformed churches have found themselves at war. The battle lines are drawn, and the conflict is underway. This article is the beginning of a series, in which I make a plea to godly readers, to recognize the enemy, and to take up arms against it.

The enemy is feminism. By feminism I mean the ideology that disputes the following facts:

1. God made men stronger, and appointed them to public work, and to rule in family, church, and state. (1 Sam. 4:9; 1 Cor. 16:13; Gen. 3:19; Prov. 31:23; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:23; 1 Tim. 3:4; 1 Tim. 2:8, 12; 3:2; Titus 1:6; Ex. 18:21; Prov. 31:23; Num. 1:2–3)

2. God made women weaker, and appointed them to domestic work, and to submit to the rule of men. (1 Peter 3:7; 1 Tim. 2:14; Prov. 31:27; 1 Tim. 2:15; 5:14; Titus 2:5; 1 Cor. 11:7–9; Eph. 5:22; 1 Cor. 14:35; Ps. 68:12; Isa. 3:12)

A good one-word summary of these facts of nature, and of Scripture, is patriarchy, “father-rule.” Feminism is its opposite. The desire that unites all feminists is, as they say, to “smash the patriarchy.”

The oft-repeated objections to the above facts are too many to be dealt with here. Our concern here is the definition: feminism is the ideology that disputes these facts. And by that definition, feminism has invaded our Reformed churches.

Here I begin to prove this claim, by introducing the generals of today’s feminist army. They are women, and three of them in particular.

First in prominence is Aimee Byrd. The easiest way to prove her feminism is simply to read her blog. Here she complains that women don’t write more theology and aren’t encouraged in higher theological learning, and wonders why “all the women publishing good academic works are egalitarian.” Hereherehere, and here she promotes the writings of egalitarians. Note, egalitarian is a polite term for feministHere she criticizes the Nashville Statement on human sexuality. Here she warns of the perils that attend teaching abstinence from premarital sex. Here she praises a book called “Vindicating the Vixens” for its focus on “gynocentric texts” and its teaching that “the women’s voice in Scripture corrects any promotion of androcentrism.” Here she praises an author for denying that Scripture is “a hopelessly patriarchal construction” and for explaining the “gynocentric interruption of the dominant androcentricity of Scripture.” These articles and others repeat claims basic to feminist exegesis: that women were the first heralds of the resurrection, that Junia was a female apostle, that Priscilla is a model for female theologians, that women’s voices in Scripture and in theology are historically marginalized and misunderstood, etc.

She has also shown her feminism in her books, especially her recent Why Can’t We Be Friends?, and the soon to be released Recovering From Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (here, video study here). In the first she comes out hard against the “Pence Rule” (held by our Vice President, and also by Billy Graham). She argues that adult women and men, though not married to each other, should not make rules against time alone, but rather cultivate intimate personal friendships. See the weighty critiques of this book collected here. The second book tells on itself before it even opens: its cover makes a clear allusion to the feminist short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and its title boldly challenges the book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (here), which is one of most well-known contemporary works written to fight feminism and promote masculine leadership according to the word of God. For a thorough survey and critique of the book, see Andy Naselli’s pre-publication review, here.

Byrd has spoken at many church-sponsored events and conferences (just do a Google search), and has exercised great influence as a co-host on the podcast Mortification of Spin, which like her blog is published under the auspices of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. There will be more to say about her work in future articles.

Second is Rachel Miller. She is known mostly for her recent book, Beyond Authority and Submission. As with Byrd’s new book, the title says it all, but for more, read this review. Byrd wrote the foreword to the book, calling Miller a “discerning and helpful voice on men and women in the church” (here). Miller was also for a time the News Editor of the Aquila Report.

The third woman is Valerie Hobbs. She was previously a fellow at the Greystone Theological Institute, working alongside noted Reformed ministers and professors. A senior lecturer in applied linguistics, one of her pet projects has been researching the treatment of women in conservative Reformed churches: see her journal articles hereherehere, and here. The abstracts reveal her animus against the teaching of Reformed churches about women. Her popular level articles reflect the same, e.g. this one in which she positively cites well-known feminist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Aimee Byrd, and suggests that 1 Corinthians 16:13, “Quit you like men,” might be faithfully rendered, “Act like women.” 

Moreover, these three women are not working independently. Miller in the acknowledgements of her book says, “Aimee Byrd and Valerie Hobbs are my ‘kindred spirits.’” Hobbs defended Miller’s book on Byrd’s blog (here), as did Byrd herself (here). Both Hobbs and Miller have been featured on Mortification of Spin, which Byrd co-hosts. The three are fighting together for the same goal, which appears to be the eradication of patriarchy from the church.

These women, influential as they have become in their own right, do have help in their fight for feminism from various men. A few have distinguished themselves, so as to become as if lieutenants to these lady generals. Among them three ministers deserve mention. 

First is Carl Trueman. Perhaps of all people he is most at fault for the encroachment of feminism into the Reformed churches. He promotes Aimee Byrd by being her co-host on Mortification of Spin. He gave a glowing endorsement to Miller’s Beyond Authority and Submission (see it here). And because he is a gospel minister (OPC), with a name as an historian and cultural critic, his word carries great weight. His reputation has probably done more than anything else to lift these women into the limelight.

Second is Todd Pruitt. He is also a minister (PCA), and a host on Mortification of Spin. He is a useful moderate in the feminist cause, for he expresses wise concerns about confusion over sexuality in the churches (here), but then when it comes to the confusion promoted by the feminists above, he argues they are not as bad as people think (here), and complains that the discussion needs more “sober and well-qualified voices” (here).

Third is Todd Bordow. He is Rachel Miller’s pastor (OPC), and his church hosted a conference (here) featuring her and Aimee Byrd. He’s made his own contributions to the feminist cause, one of which was arguing in public (here and here), in opposition to his church’s Confession of Faith (24.6, here), that “emotional abuse” should be added to adultery and desertion as a third cause for lawful divorce (briefly answered here). We will address more of Bordow’s feminist teaching later. 

These three men and the three women they support are, as far as I can see, the most prominent public leaders in the recent assault of feminism upon our Reformed churches. I publicly call out their names here, because their public teaching against the Bible, or their public support for such teaching, requires it. Paul did the same with Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:14), Demas (2 Tim. 4:10), and even the apostle Peter (Gal. 2:11). Christ did it with the Nicolaitanes (Rev. 2:6, 15) and “that woman Jezebel” (Rev. 2:20). God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), and every Christian has a duty, when it comes to public teachers, to search the scriptures (Acts 17:11; Isa. 8:20), try the spirits (1 John 4:1), and know men by their fruits (Matt. 7:20).

In the next three articles I will give further proof that these feminist leaders and their followers are a threat to our churches, by discussing their tactics online, in books, and in the church itself. 

Michael Spangler is a minister at Providence Church (OPC) in Greensboro, NC.

On 12 May, 2020 an unnamed author posted the following on the Purely Presbyterian Facebook page.

The post was then updated to add, “This decision was made by Seni Adeyemi, who originally made the website, although other contributors disagreed with the decision.”

Shane Anderson and the Genevan Commons

An important announcement related to the spais, permission granted to share elsewhere:
As we all know, and have always known, the things said here in Genevan Commons are monitored by Aimee Byrd, Rachel Green Miller, people connected to R. Scott Clark’s twitter gang/sect/group, and others who believe we ought not be allowed a private discussion group in which their public “ministries” are critiqued. A number of us have been subject to false accusations, and it’s been said over and over on twitter that there are screenshots that prove me and others here: “nasty” “vile” “jerk” “slanderers” “dirty-mind” etc.
Against this backdrop, Mrs. Byrd has been laboring in her own session and in the OPC to develop some way to bring charges against me and others for opposing her. To do this, they have assembled (dissembled?) snippets of this and that for years. And now, she has accomplished the removal of one of her own elders without proper discipline procedures for not adequately supporting her.
On Good Friday, members of Mrs. Byrd’s church began receiving a mailed document in which the session presented its written case against Genevan Commons to its congregation as part of its work to divest the elder who displeased Mrs. Byrd by his membership in Genevan Commons. I was unaware of any of this when it was happening, but now that they have made their intentions public, I would like to ask you all to please pray for our brother and his family and his church. He has filed a complaint against this action and more complaints are likely.
As part of the accusations, all their factual errors and embarrassing details of Mrs. Byrd’s influence over them notwithstanding, they have announced that they are in fact pursuing ecclesiastical actions against me and others in Genevan Commons. They have been being advised on these matters by OPC insiders who serve on denominational committees. Mrs. Byrd, Todd Pruitt, and others have publicly called for discipline against us.
Despite Pruitt, Byrd, Green Miller and others accusing me publicly and privately, for years, of slander, perversion, being a jerk, having a dirty mind, saying horrible things, etc, their evidence of this is nothing. You know, as they are fond of noting about Mrs. Byrd, I also am “a member in good standing.” I hold to the Westminster Standards of the OPC without exception. And I am actually an elder in Christ’s church. None of this sort of thing matters in a victim culture: as long as Byrd and Green Miller can present themselves as aggrieved minorities, victims of an oppressive system, they are allowed to say anything they want about anyone they want, demonizing all opposition. They have in fact been rewarded for it.  
Despite personal, multiple requests for evidence of the things they have accused me of, they would never provide it to me so I could respond or others could examine the claimed evidence. They have not allowed me the decency of explaining, defending, or repenting of things I’ve supposedly said. They instead have continued these public and private attacks on me while formulating an ecclesiastical attack plan in the background, monitoring my posts and comments, threatening me that they are doing such, publicly hoping I will fall into disrepute, and coordinating with various people throughout the OPC. The only things I’ve ever been provided are “concerns” that I said her agenda is evil, ungodly, feminstic, etc. Yes, I have. And, yes, I will. If I will be brought up on charges for that, so be it. #ReformedDowngrade anyone? #RememberTheCRCNA anyone? 
It has not been enough for Mrs. Byrd to publicly attack CBMW, John Piper, John Macarthur, Doug Wilson, and many others with her public “ministry” of criticizing the church of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not enough that no one in the history of our Bible-believing Reformed churches ever advocated for her teachings without leaving for churches consumed by rank liberalism. It is not enough that she is supported by the biggest institutions and names in the Reformed world. She apparently will not allow people to oppose her. And men are lining up to support her. 
It only takes a casual acquaintance with her writing to understand why men do this: her agenda is deeply rooted in feeling offended at how men treat her. 
She admits over and over in writing and interview that her impetus for writing has often been situations in which she feels offended as a woman, slighted, or personally neglected. When I think about that, I’m sorry that she has felt that way, as those sorts of feelings are uncomfortable and unpleasant and when they arise from some real situation and are fueled by self-pity often lead to false judgements and sinful actions. And I am even more sorry that her husband, elders, the ministers and elders who lead the publishers who publish her and the ones who lead ACE, Trueman, Pruitt, and others have not realized that rather than helping her, they have extended her ego into the arena of public conflict. And I am even more sorry for the churches of our Lord Jesus who must now be disturbed further by her feelings and teachings. (For some critiques: )
She has promoted herself as a public critic of mainstream conservative Christian teachings and practices, she has frequently mocked her critics on MOS and Twitter, she has at times attacked the most steadfast ministers of our current age, and she has openly said she is presenting a new way of thinking through gender issues, one that has benefited greatly from egalitarian exegesis. It is because of that, and her unwillingness to change course, that I became a public critic of her work and those who promote it. 
I will confess that I, at times, lack a temperance in speech. 
I have not ever claimed to be the best spokesman against this feminist cause—there are others who are clearer, less offensive, less uncouth. I completely understand that I do not appeal to people who don’t understand the issues yet, prefer genteel teas together, or have yet to become as zealous as they ought to have been in the first place to defend our churches. I don’t need nor am I requesting public affirmation of everything I have ever said. Those qualifications notwithstanding, in relation to her errors and its consequences in our lives my speech is not intemperate. I believe it is commensurate with the sadness it will bring to our congregations and the dishonor it brings on God’s Word. Yet those contemplating how they may silence me are particularly offended at certain things—things that I believe I ought to say more plainly and repeatedly as to encourage others to say the same, but with their own voices and styles. 
Let me once again publicly state for the record:
1. I think her agenda, as expressed in her books and on social media, is actually stupid—not her, not her emotions or feelings, not anything like that. Her agenda is stupid. A bad, dumb plan. It lacks a reasonable natural and biblical foundation, a faithful method of theological reasoning, and a wise and wholesome practical end. How could I possibly justify calling it stupid? Well, I’ll say it a different way: I think it is actually really stupid to encourage men and women who aren’t married to each other to have “intimate spiritual friendships” and spend time alone together. Foolish. Really dumb. Lots of other hurt-words. How can I say this more winsomely—it’s crazy! Cookoo! Really, really stupid to go on long walks with your intimate spiritual friend of the opposite sex while your spouse is at home. Really stupid to be alone with her in a car driving her to her hotel late at night. Really stupid. Stupid in real life, not in the world of Twitter grievances, used to manipulate masses—stupid in the real world where sexual sin destroys lives and draws the soul from God.
2. I think her teaching is ungodly: it does not arise from unreserved faith in God’s Word, but from dissatisfaction with her experiences. It relies on exegesis that does not start with the principle “thus says the Lord” but with “has God really said?” So, yes, I’ve used the word ungodly to describe her teaching. I really do think all of the slippery egalitarian exegetes sound ungodly, just like the devil: instead of reading a verse and thinking “how can I fully and completely believe and obey this?” They say “how can I shave down all the edges, pull all the teeth, and transform a passage that says ‘be silent’ to mean ‘we need more women’s voices?’” That’s ungodly, and I think it’s only right to call it such. 
3. I think her aims and methods are very similar to what we see among secular feminists and other Marxist-like aggrievement approaches. She has played the victim in her books, blogs, and social media interactions. She believes it to be real and actual suffering for people to say the things I’ve just said. This is a victim-culture technique, where the feelings of the aggrieved are used as justification for canceling the critics. #RememberTheCRCNA
4. I think her demand that no one have private groups in which they can talk about her public books and public teaching and public ecclesiastical support is ridiculous. Many people who are supporters of Aimee Byrd are members of private discussion groups. I am happy to be held accountable for what I say here in Genevan Commons or in other even less public settings. Surely, one should first ask if it is appropriate to share what I’ve said, if in private, giving me an opportunity to also engage, but however that goes, I am accountable and am fine being accountable. The idea that I’ve tried to create a place where we are unaccountable is foolish. Genevan Commons is a large transdenominational discussion group with many divergent opinions. We’ve sought to keep it an old, settled, happy Reformed group. In life many discussions are considered appropriately private, and yet the Christian ought to know he can be brought to account both by church discipline now and on the day of judgment before Christ. I have no problem with that, and they should stop pretending that I have some secret, hidden agenda or actions. 
5. I think the idea that one cannot warn against public sin and error done by a member of an OPC church would disallow all Christian conversation about our church. No church is perfect, and we ought to be able to publicly discuss publicly promoted sins and errors, especially those sold for $$$, and being marketed by the largest and most well funded and protected parachurch ministries. 
6. Commoners should all be aware that Aimee Byrd and those connected to her monitor people (particularly ministers) online to make sure that they don’t like the wrong tweets, use laugh emojis inappropriately, etc. Then they “advise” sessions and parachurch leaders to mark and oppose these opponents. This is a familiar and repeated reality. The National Partnership has done it for years in the PCA. Reformed parachurch organizations do it all the time. Numerous scandals prove it. It is a feature of the current Reformed world—the people on the inside use private means to control the public narrative. 
You and I, if we don’t kiss the right rings, are not free to talk. 
But the Word of God is not chained,
A link to the document from Mrs. Byrd’s session: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1U6BKavPEgdED53eQuDK2YFTO8ltxi290
A link to critiques of Mrs. Byrd’s writings (others have mysteriously disappeared from the internet.): Link removed.

Michael Horton & Two-Stage Justification?

In a recent Twitter discussion regarding John Piper’s teaching on two-stage justification, it was suggested that Dr. Michael Horton also espouses this error. I reached out to the radio ministry, White Horse Inn, for clarification on Dr. Horton’s position on this issue.

Dr. Michael S. Horton

“Thanks for contacting us. You asked about a quote where some have suggested Dr, Horton espouses two stage doctrine of justification: “The New Testament lays before us a vast array of conditions for final salvation. Not only initial repentance and faith, but perseverance in both, demonstrated in love toward God and neighbor Holiness, which is defined by love of God and neighbor…is the indispensable condition of our glorification: no one will be seated at the heavenly banquet who has not begun, however imperfectly, in new obedience.” That quote is from page 182 of God of Promise: Introducing Covenant Theology. There, Dr. Horton is explaining that sanctification is inseparable from justification. Here he distinguishes himself from the legalistic view that sanctification or obedience is necessary precondition for obedience and from the Roman Catholic Church that teaches that justification and sanctification are an identical process completed at the resurrection. Instead he is only saying that sanctification is a necessary result in the life of those who are justified, that obedience necessarily follows being declared righteous. This is consistent with Paul’s teaching in Galatians 5 about the fruit of the Spirit. The language of “condition” in this context is not meant to carry the theological weight that some are attributing to him since he is not using the term to imply condition of entrance into the covenant of grace or for remaining in but simply to show the logical relationship between various parts of the order of salvation (justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification). Each of these parts of the order are like a chain with logical relationships. For example, Justification is prior to sanctification. In this sense justification would be a condition for sanctification; a person can’t be sanctified who isn’t justified. This would also mean that for justification to have really happened, for a person to be genuinely justified in the eyes of God would mean that they would have received the Holy Spirit and begun a process of sanctification that will not complete until glorification. Dr. Horton’s view is distinct from a two-stage theory of justification and he has written against the view in The Christian Faith on pages 630 through 642. See especially his criticism on NT. Wright’s view that there is a final justification based on a person’s whole life lived on page 636. I hope this helps to clarify that passage.”

Silverio Gonzalez

Associate Producer Core Christianity

The Bible’s Very Clear On This?

In a tweet dated 17 February, 2020, Amy Spreeman stated:

“Yep, [Patriarchy] is a dreadful movement that distorts the patriarchs we read of in God’s Word, and it distorts biblical complementarianism. I will remain a complementarian who btw has never once spoken favorably about this movement.”

However, her comments from the 23 Oct, 2019, Word Fitly Spoken podcast seem to demonstrate otherwise:

“I mean think about it, how delightful to just walk away from [Biblical womanhood], and claim that this so-called Patriarchy thing needs to go and, “I don’t have to do what God‘s Word says, I’m free.”

In this portion of the discussion from the Word Fitly Spoken podcast, Amy used the terms Complementarian and Patriarchy interchangeably.

Amy then accused Christine Pack of lying and slander, more than an overreaction to a question which would offer clarification on Amy’s confusing position on Patriarchy.


1.5 lbs ground beef (I prefer 80/20)
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs or crushed cracker crumbs
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup beef stock (I prefer Swanson)

1 tsp Goya Sazonador Total Seasoning (may omit)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 dashes cayenne pepper

1/4 all purpose flour

Olive oil

1/2 stick butter, sliced into pats
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 cups beef stock
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tbsp lemon juice

• In a large bowl mix together the eggs, bread crumbs, milk, beef stock and seasonings. Add the ground beef and mix well. Form into patties.

• Season the flour with Goya Sazonador Total Seasoning. Lightly dredge the patties in the flour to coat.

• Heat a pan to medium and then add oil. Brown the patties 4 minutes on each side.

• Pour the cream soups, 2 cups beef stock, mushrooms and lemon juice into the slow-cooker. Stir well to combine and season if desired.

• Place the browned patties into the slow-cooker and top with the half stick of butter sliced into pats.

• Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or until the patties are done. It makes a savory, rich gravy.

• Serve with mashed potatoes or over wide egg noodles with green salad or vegetable. Makes great leftovers.

Intentional or Unintentional?

In a post published shortly after the release of the Founders Ministry trailer at the Founders Ministry website titled ‘About That Trailer’, Tom Ascol stated, “Some expressed concerns about a 1-2 second clip of Rachael Denhollander, accusing us of presenting her as demonic. Certainly, no one at Founders Ministries believes that and we did not foresee people taking it that way. That was not our INTENTION [emphasis added] and, admittedly, not our wisest editing moment. We regret the pain and confusion we caused by this unwise alignment of image and idea. We have removed the clip and have reached out to her and to her husband, Jacob. We are grateful for so many of Mrs. Denhollander’s efforts to serve victims of abuse.”

On 17 December, 2019, David Shannon, director and editor of ‘By What Standard?’, the Founders Ministry cinedoc, was a guest on the Canon Calls (affiliate of Canon Press) podcast. During the course of the hour and 26 minute long broadcast, Mr. Shannon categorically stated the following, “I knew you would know who [Rachael Denhollander] that was. Okay. Wasn’t surprised by that. It was INTENTIONAL [emphasis added]. That was the whole point.”

Respectfully Mr. Ascol, which is it? Was it intentional or unintentional? Was Mr. Shannon acting as your paid employee, under your direction or not?

After weeks of slandering individuals on Twitter, repeatedly calling people liars, Ascol’s son, Joel responded to the facts above with an unabashed admission.

“”And now the fact that it was intentional, which I already established months ago is some big reveal?”

Mr. Strachan said, “We’re always having the powers, the SPIRITUAL powers and principalities exert pressure on us. That’s not new.” NOT human authorities and principalities. “SPIRITUAL POWERS.” This is a clear an unquestionable reference to DEMONIC INFLUENCES. The defense that Strachan wasn’t referencing demonic powers and principalities is literally disproven with his VERY OWN COMMENT!

“We’re always having the powers, the SPIRITUAL POWERS AND PRINCIPALITIES (a/k/a demons and demonic influence) exert pressure on us. That’s not new.” – Owen Strahan

“Some expressed concerns about a 1-2 second clip of Rachael Denhollander, accusing us of presenting her as demonic. Certainly, no one at Founders Ministries believes that and we did not foresee people taking it that way. That was not our intention and, admittedly, not our wisest editing moment. We regret the pain and confusion we caused by this unwise alignment of image and idea. We have removed the clip and have reached out to her and to her husband, Jacob. We are grateful for so many of Mrs. Denhollander’s efforts to serve victims of abuse.” – Tom Ascol

“She [Rachael Denhollander] was in an image, basically blurred, it was an out of focus shot that had some artistic design to it to show that there’s something going on here. I knew you would know who that was, okay? I wasn’t surprised by that. It was intentional. That was the whole point, to say exactly what Owen Strachan was saying, over the top of this and with others involved in it.” – David Shannon/Chocolate Knox