Thursday, September 28, 2000

CREC Minutes

The following text is taken verbatim from pages 3–5 of the Fourth Annual Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals Presbytery Minutes, dated September 28, 2000:

6. Motion (DW/TL) to receive Cornerstone Reformed Church, Carbondale, IL into membership (Burke Shade, pastor). Doug Wilson gave the floor to Doug Jones, who gave a presentation concerning the committee report about Burke Shade and the events surrounding his discipline in the Illiana Presbytery. Doug briefly described the critical failings in the case of Illiana Presbytery against Burke Shade. Doug explained that Christ Church would like to recommend adopting the statements regarding this case. Chris Schlect admonished the men to be very careful in this situation, given the significant nature of the events. He explained Christ Church’s investigation into this case. Chris invited questions from the floor. Doug Wilson described the state of the church; Burke Shade is minister, and the church has three elders. The spiritual state of the church is very good. Doug described the close personal relationships between members of Christ Church and Cornerstone Reformed Church. Greg Bero asked if the Illiana Presbytery has given any additional recent comments about this situation. Doug Jones answered that they have, and that the Illiana presbytery has warned the CRE about their actions. Dennis Tuuri asked if Mr. De Jong gave a report from Christ Church to the Illiana Pres. The answer was yes. Dave Hatcher asked for clarifications about the dates of these events. Doug Jones and Chris Schlect answered his questions. Dave asked for background about the formation of Cornerstone and these events. Doug Wilson explained the history of Cornerstone’s formation. Dennis Tuuri asked when Cornerstone was formed. Burke Shade answered Feb. 14, 1999. Brett asked Chris to address what our response to the warning from the clerk of the Illiana Presbytery is, and how we should proceed. Chris answered that the warning is not a formal position, but a private one. Brett asked if CRE’s receiving of Cornerstone would cause continued discussion with the Illiana Presbytery. Doug Jones answered that he would like our report to get into the hands of a number of the presbyters of Illiana well before their presbytery meeting. Doug Wilson stressed that there were no minutes kept by the Illiana Presbytery. He believes that the CRE will be in a strong position as a result. Dave Hatcher mentioned that there were records of this case in transcripts, though not minutes, and asked how this affects Doug Wilson’s point. Doug Jones responded that the transcripts are not minutes and cannot be considered as such. Chris Schlect described a hair-splitting technicality from the Book of Church Order that had been used by the Illiana Presbytery against Burke Shade. It was hearsay, and thus a hypocritical call by Illiana. Dennis Tuuri asked if Cornerstone has met the qualifications for membership in the CRE. Doug Wilson explained that it does meet the qualifications, given the history of the church. Dave Hatcher asked about condition of the church. Burke Shade answered that the church adopted the Christ Church constitution in March of 1999. Dennis Tuuri asked that, even with all the changes the church has gone through, do they still meet the qualification of entrance into the CRE. Doug Wilson responded affirmatively. Doug Jones asked Eric Sauder to comment. Eric reported that he was not aware of the content of the trial until he read the transcript. He described his close relationship with Burke Shade for the past five years, and Burke’s attempt to resolve these issues biblically. He believes that Burke is a godly man. He was astonished at what happened at presbytery. He has no qualms about receiving them into the CRE. Brett Baker asked if there is an appellate court over the PCA to deal with such situations. Doug Wilson replied that there is a way to appeal to the General Assembly, but explained the inherent difficulties in doing so. Dave Hatcher asked about the charges against Burke Shade related to his views of the sacraments. Doug Wilson and Chris Schlect responded that these charges were groundless. Doug Jones referred to page 7 of the report, where it is recorded that the Illiana Presbytery acknowledged that Burke Shade does not hold heretical views, thus exonerating Burke Shade. He explained that the charges had been changed. Doug Wilson and Doug Jones explained Burke Shade’s position on the sacraments and defended the orthodoxy of his views. Dennis Tuuri wanted to note that Burke Shade is a minister in good standing in the FoRC. We are not trying to remove his “defrocking” we are just accepting him from the FoRC. He called for the question. There were no objections. Brett Baker summarized the situation of Burke Shade and Cornerstone Church. Motion passed unanimously. Brett welcomed Burke to the table.

7. Motion (DW/GH) to adopt the report from the Christ Church session concerning Burke Shade and the proceedings with the Illiana Presbytery. Chris Schlect described the report briefly, and explained that they were moving to adopt pages 1–10. He defended the motion by explaining that the CRE has taken action to receive Burke Shade contrary to the actions taken by the Illiana Presbytery. In the interests of good order, and in defense of Burke Shade’s good name, they made this motion. Dave Hatcher asked if this motion makes this report part of these minutes. Doug Wilson responded that they should not, but only put into the minutes under executive session. John Appel asked if the report would be sent from the CRE to the Illiana Presbytery. Doug responded that we have not considered this, but perhaps we would. Dennis Tuuri asked if the adoption of this report means that we accept the ten reasons for overturning Illiana’s actions included in the report. He is concerned, since he has not had time to digest the information. Doug Wilson and Doug Jones suggested that we adopt this for the sake of giving a reason for our accepting of Burke Shade. Doug amended his motion: that the CRE moderator inform the Illiana Presbytery that the report is under consideration, and we will inform them when we have taken action on the report; noting that we have found substantial reasons to receive Cornerstone into membership, reasons including Burke Shade’s character, and have received them. The moderator of the CRE will distribute copies of the report to the members of the Illiana Presbytery immediately. Dave Hatcher seconded the amendment. Doug clarified that we may accept it as written, or may amend it later. Dave Hatcher asked what the Illiana Presbytery will do when they receive this. Doug Wilson responded that we do not know. Brett Baker summarized, asking if the approval of the report will wait until the next CRE presbytery meeting, or an ad hoc meeting. Dave Hatcher asked if we could have such an ad hoc meeting before the Illiana Presbytery’s October meeting. General agreement was that it was possible. Dennis Tuuri suggested that we not do this in a hurry, that we take time to work through this in a pastoral way. All agreed. Motion (DW/GB) to amend the motion by dropping the word “subcommittee” which had been included. Dave Hatcher called for the question. Motion passed unanimously. (Minutes, Fourth Annual Confederation of Reformed Evangelicals Presbytery, September 28, 2000, pages 3–5)