Savannah River Presbytery (PCA) Requests GA To Assume Jurisdiction In Revoice Case

Savannah River Presbytery requests that the 48th General Assembly assume original jurisdiction of the case of the investigation by Missouri Presbytery of Greg Johnson and the session of Memorial Presbyterian Church with regard to theological error and involvement in the 2018 Revoice Conference.

January 25, 2020

Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


    • The General Assembly will probably vote it down on technical grounds that the Missouri Presbytery already investigated TE Johnson and found him not guilty. They did something similar in the TE Meyers case and exonerated him for teaching Federal Vision before the Standing Judicial Committee could assume jurisdiction.

    • That’s how they operate! Theo Hoekstra is just a little confused, not confusing the gospel! Theo Hoekstra’s preaching caused one of the members of his church to bring this to the attention to Synod after he was exonerated by his consistory and classis. See details in the resources page under FV #37 under Essays: What Henk Navis Means to Me. Although Hoekstra is unrepentant, after subsequently pastoring in Wilson’s CREC churches for years, he is now attending a Reformed church which is working on accepting him into membership. Since he was never charged with anything but a little confusion, they will probably succeed.

    • I was mistaken if I previously gave the impression that the Missouri Presbytery already had held a trial of TE Johnson. It appears that the Missouri Presbytery had commissioned a committee to look into the ReVoice/TE Johnson matter. The committee issued 9 theological “judgments”, one of which was against TE Johnson. So the GA of the PCA could still assume original jurisdiction over TE Johnson if the overtures asking them to do so are approved by the GA at this year’s meeting in June. There are still actions which could prevent this. The Missouri Presbytery is trying to head off action by the GA with a statement which was released today and published in the Aquila Report here:

    • What does everyone make of that statement? The Missouri Presbytery makes some valid points to explain length of investigation and I appreciated that they noted what actions have been taken thus fair.

    • Conrad: If we had no knowledge of the history of the Missouri Presbytery, their statement might “seem” reasonable on its face. But the first ReVoice conference held at Memorial Presbyterian in St. Louis actually happened in July 2017. The fireworks really stated when they did nothing about it and a second ReVoice conference was held at Memorial again in July 2018. It would not surprise me if the Missouri Presbytery held a quickie trial and acquittal of TE Johnson before this year’s GA which would moot these overtures. There has been a lot of pressure exerted within particular churches in the PCA urging their leaders to deal with this at the GA level. If there isn’t some definitive action at this year’s GA, I expect to see more churches leaving the PCA.

    • This reminds me of the Norman Shepherd trial. For years the seminary tried to defend his views on justification until they were basically shamed by the protests within and without the seminary, calling for his removal from the likes of Martin Lloyd Jones and Philip Hughes and the threat of supporters of the seminary to remove their support. In the end they did not charge him but just allowed him to transfer to the CRC. It is a lack of willingness to discipline false teaching.

    • Angela: You hit the nail on the head. The Missouri Presbytery won’t discipline their own members and will circle the wagons to defend their presbytery members from any outside corrective action. Along with the ReVoice problem they have problems with Federal Vision and promotion of social justice over the gospel in one of their churches. They are beginning to have trouble keeping their TEs from bringing heat on
      the Presbytery.

    • Bob, thanks for the insight. Presbycast apparently posted something on twitter to similar effect.

  1. Wow. Absolutely ridiculous. Did you say he’s still “unrepentant?” As in, he still doesn’t see the error in this understanding of scripture teaching on regeneration/sanctification?

    Did he have a defense of any sort for his reasoning?

  2. Like Douglas Wilson he equivocates. He claims he is not FV, just a good but misunderstood reformed minister who was wrongly accused. He claims he believes in justification by faith alone but does not tell you that his definition of faith includes works or that he believes there is a final judgment where we will be judged on our works. He claims that falls within the pale of historic Reformed teaching, and that it is just reasonable, since we have to do our part. The usual excuses that Norman Shepherd that other FV have also used. The church lost its pastor due to stress related illness some months ago and the consistory is naive about the FV, in spite of efforts to direct them to the Heidelblog. They say Synod only found him a little confusing, not anything serious enough to deny him acceptance and that his previous consistory and classis exonerated him after all. They say he was not defrocked but only left to join Douglas Wilson’s network with the permission of his church without being charged with any wrongdoing. Have you read the #37 on the essays section of the FV resource page. See also the comments under the FV resource page.

    • I think this points to a serious problem in the Reformed churches. They have come out with study committees and recommendations that are sound, but they have never become policy so that they are actually effective for the discipline of false teaching. No one that promoted FV or other doctrinal error has ever been disciplined! At best they have been allowed to transfer to other denominations, with their reputations intact as ministers in good standing, so they can continue to promote false doctrine. Discipline of false doctrine is one of the marks of the true church and the Reformed churches are ignoring it to their peril because tolerating it leads to permission for another false gospel and even loss of a right understanding of the sacraments.

  3. What does everyone make of that statement? The Missouri Presbytery makes some valid points to explain length of investigation and I appreciated that they noted what actions have been taken thus fair.


    The letter is squid ink.

    • Can you imagine what the liberal media will do if they actually charge him? They and the LBGQT will have a frenzy. Maybe that’s part of the plan. Either you accept his agenda or be the target of the liberal’s accusations of hate and bigotry.

    • I expect some procedural dismissal of these overtures or dismissal on the grounds that we have to wait for our study committee to explain to the teaching elders what the Bible says about homosexuality. I think the most telling vote was when TE Johnson received a rousing ovation at last year’s GA after recounting the sad story of his homosexual journey.
      Dr. Clark urged that we hope and pray that these leaders of the PCA will do the right thing. I’m sorry but I don’t have enough faith to pray that prayer believing I will receive.

      • Bob,

        Scripture says that hope believes what it doesn’t see. Cynicism is not a virtue but a vice. Let us seek to mortify our sins and vices while we wait to see what happens. As a pastor, I have often been pleasantly surprised by the work of deliberative bodies.

  4. Scripture says that hope believes what it doesn’t see. Cynicism is not a virtue but a vice. Let us seek to mortify our sins and vices while we wait to see what happens. As a pastor, I have often been pleasantly surprised by the work of deliberative bodies.

    In 20 years of being a Calvinist, I’ve never seen a Calvinist minister make himself a lightning rod as Greg Johnson. Even if he thinks he’s right, his callousness and deafness towards those imploring him to turn-about is astonishing.

    When I became a Calvinist and joined and OPC, little did I know there would be so much controversy and drift with the culture as I’m seeing now in the PCA and even parts of the OPC. I thought I’d left all that stuff behind.

    I don’t think we’re cynical, we’re realistic about what has so far been accomplished by deliberative bodies in the PCA and the last 20 years of its drift. I think Andy Webb and Dewey Roberts are right. If the men in the “mushy middle” fight the good fight of faith, then this can be turned-around but not otherwise. The rest of NAPARC needs to prepare to limit the damage from another orthodox denomination going bad if that happens.

    • Walt,

      NAPARC excluded the CRCNA.

      My perception is there is a will within the PCA to deal with Revoice/Johnson.

      Andy & Dewey make good points. There is a difference between saying “it’s too late” (Dewey & Andy) and “they won’t do anything.”

      I am in a separating federation, which left the CRC in ‘96. Some thought that was too soon. I don’t think the PCA is where the CRC was in ‘96. It might get there but it might not. Hence the need to pray and urge officers to act biblically, confessionally. & orderly. If they don’t the PCA, also a separating body, will fond itself greatly diminished.

  5. We all suffer from a limited time perspective on things. But since our Dear Moderator is a historian maybe you can respond to this ‘perspective’ question: Is the current sodomy debate, (previously the FV debate, previous to that the Inerrancy debate, and all the other debates about the Divine Simplicity, etc.) just the way it has always been in the Church since the Reformation? In other words, should we all just pipe down and not get too spun up, or, have things been getting crazy since the late 19th Century and we need to prepare for hard times ahead?

    • Since Genesis 3:15 the struggle begins between Satan and the seed of of the woman. It is always the debate about, “has God really said?” He that overcomes, is he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God. 1John 5:5. In other words, the Truth of the Word. Eph. 6:10 Put on the armour of God…. God’s people are called to defend the Truth. God’s people have always had to be prepared for the hard times ahead. Rev. 22 To make sure nothing is added or subtracted from God’s Word. Whether it is about the prophets condemning idolatry, FV, ordination of women, the acceptance of sodomy, the inerrancy of Scripture or the Reformers calling out the evils of the Roman Catholic Church, we are always called to defend sound doctrine, the Truth of God’s Word, and the gospel is at stake.

    • I’m highly interested in this as well. Where do the ethical and doctrinal behaviors of modern Western laity and clergy rank historically? Have there been Greg Johnsons and Nadia Bolz-Webers in the past? How about her successor – the homosexual married to the transgender man named “Fruit Bomb”? It’s easy to think that the Western church is plumbing new depths of depravity but maybe this isn’t so.

      • Walt,

        What we are experiencing is, in certain respects, new but not in every respect. The immorality of the clergy before the Reformation was, as the kids say, “off the chain.”

  6. I think the present controversies are just the latest chapter in God’s purification of the church. 1Cor. 11:19. God uses false teaching to show who is approved. Like the Bereans Acts 17:11 we are to search the Scriptures to test for the Truth. Jude 1:13: only then can we contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. How we value the Word will show whether we are aligned with the Seed of the woman or with Satan.

  7. All along I suspected these requests for the General Assembly to assume original jurisdiction over the Greg Johnson and his Session would be found out of order on a technicality. It looks like that is exactly what the Standing Judicial Commission concluded concerning his Session…

    A committee was appointed to study whether the requests to assume original jurisdiction over TE Johnson are in order. I would not be surprised if the committee concludes these requests are out of order.

Comments are closed.