Friday, March 3, 2006

Response From Burke Shade

Dear Pooh,

I would like to respond to several items of interest to me from Patrick’s letter of 3.3.06. Actually, several items of falsehood held on his part. I will intersperse my comments throughout Patrick’s letter. He says:

I should also note that this is not the first time that the Great Leader, Christ Church and the CREC have lawlessly overruled the lawful verdict of another denomination in order to admit a defrocked minister and his renegade congregation into the CREC. In 2000, the session of Christ Church “vindicated” a defrocked PCA minister, Burke Shade, and sponsored a splinter group he lead out from his previous church, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Carbondale, Illinois, for admittance into the CREC.

First of all, I did not lead out a splinter group. Cornerstone Reformed Church left EPC on February 14, 1999, over two months before I was defrocked in April. Two-thirds of the congregation left, not really a “splinter” group. I never attended Cornerstone until after I was defrocked by the PCA. Before I was defrocked, I was accepted in early March of 1999 after examination by the Federation of Reformed Churches, after they had looked into my ongoing trial, contacting parties on both sides extensively. The Federation appealed to Illiana Presbytery, after receiving me, to end the trial and let them finish it, to which Illiana declined, as according to their rights according to the BCO. I remained in the PCA until my deposition.

As the correspondence between Christ Church and the Illiana Presbytery (PCA) shows, the session of Christ Church “vindicated” Burke without ever contacting the presbytery that had defrocked him or the session of the church he had previously served (see the respective letter exchanges in this issue of P&R News, pp. 18–20, 22).

Again, another falsehood. Before vindicating me, the committee that Christ Church established to look into my trial not only read all the trial documents supplied to them by Illiana, but also had contact with the elders of EPC.

Furthermore, who appointed the Christ Church session to review this case? From whence did they derive their jurisdiction? Cornerstone Reformed Church (CRC), asked to join the CRE.

Christ Church was the natural sponsor, since Doug Wilson had spoken to our church at a conference in June of 1999.

Most telling is this statement from Illiana Presbytery’s response to the Christ Church session:

“Please understand our own concern about your objectivity when we have discovered that at least two elders from Christ Church were in communication with Mr. Shade about his reception into the CRE as early as February 22, 1999, halfway through the trial.”

This is not true. I did not even know that Doug Wilson had formed a denomination, nor had ever met Doug at this point, only having read several of his family books. I did have phone contact with him as far back as 1998, in order to arrange for him to speak at EPC’s annual theological conference. He was scheduled for March 1999, but in light of the church difficulties, the elders of EPC cancelled in February, not knowing if we would have a church by that time. I was still pastor of the church, though suspended from office, and handled this correspondence. I did not even learn of the CRE until Doug spoke at our conference in June of 1999.

If the CRE was already interested in talking with Mr. Shade about his reception into the CRE then, how are we to conclude that you were able to objectively evaluate our records since then?” (p. 20)

Again, a false assertion by Illiana. Actually, a straw man.

According to the CREC’s own website, it shows that it admitted Shade and his renegade Cornerstone Reformed Church in 2000,

Again, CRC was not renegade. Two-thirds of the church left on February 14, and formed another church. They left peacefully, taking no money or building or furniture or anything at the time. They left everything to EPC, though they were the clear majority. They were subsequently released from membership by Illiana, acting through its borrowed session. Is that the action of a renegade congregation? If so, then Illiana Presbytery is complicit and approving.

even before Christ Church received a response from Illiana Presbytery (which was dated January 7, 2001). If you read the documents from P&R News, Christ Church asked for the trial papers earlier than January 2000, because Illiana in January 2000 released them to Christ Church. Christ Church gave a response to them, dated August, 2000.

CRC was admitted to the CRE in October of 2000. Illiana did not respond to the August report until January 2001. But during all that time Christ Church had been in contact with Illiana and the prosecuting attorney, Brian DeJong.

In Shade’s case, he plead guilty I plead guilty to three charges of a personal nature, out of 16 total. and never complained about any unfairness in the trial until AFTER the presbytery had issued its censure,

For Patrick’s benefit, the trial was conducted behind closed doors, and everyone in the trial was muzzled until it was over. Even the congregation of EPC was barred from attending the trial unless they were a witness, and then only on the witness stand.

which in this case went beyond defrocking and also included a suspension from the Lord’s Supper. Mr. Shade jumped ship from the PCA and was admitted to the CREC,

If Patrick would read his own references, he would see that I was admitted to the FORC first. Also, I did not “jump ship,” but stayed in the PCA throughout my whole trial until being deposed. I did not flee. The PCA kicked me out I did not jump ship. And yes, I chose not to go back.

abandoning any appeals he might have had to the PCA General Assembly.

As for appeals, I spoke with several members on the SJC, and they all acknowledged that if I appealed, they would not rule on the substance of the trial, but only on the procedures, assuming that the lower court was right on the substance. So my best hope was to have the trial remanded back to Illiana! I chose not to go that path because I would not be able to support my family as a minister, since I couldn’t hold office while on appeal. Also, I chose not to go that way so as to not drag CRC through another trial, maybe 18 months to two years later. It was also clear I was not going back to EPC, while I had a congregation willing to have me as their minister.

Today Shade is a minister in good standing with the CREC, as is Cornerstone Reformed Church.

Yes, this is true. I am very grateful to Christ Church for all the time the commission spent reading through my trial documents, assessing them, and spending time with Illiana Presbytery in helping them understand the situation. In conclusion, I have been exonerated not only by Christ Church and the CRE, but also the FORC and CRC. I lived my life before the eyes of the people of CRC (and while they were members of EPC), and they wholeheartedly approved of my teachings and life. Additionally, PEF had to look into this whole situation, as some men tried to remove a PEF evangelist who went with CRC. PEF rejected any removal, thus exonerating CRC as well.

Thank you for the opportunity to respond to Patrick, and if he would like to call me up on the phone and talk about this, I would be happy to do so. He can find my phone number on our webpage, Please print my comments in whole, and you might italicize them if that would help clarify my answers.

Sincerely in Christ,

Burke Shade