Are the divisive actions of Midway’s Senior Pastor and Session a threat to how you worship?
Through The Midway Guardian, the attention of thousands of readers monthly has been captured by the events unfolding at Midway Presbyterian Church. What this wide readership may not know about Midway Presbyterian Church is that in addition to its long history, it has always stood as a beacon of Word-Centered Worship.
But is this commitment to Biblical worship threatened by the ongoing division perpetrated by the leadership of the church? The Editorial Board of The Midway Guardian presents the following thoughts to you based on feedback received by our readers.
The Regulative Principle of Worship as an Essential
The Regulative Principle of Worship, despite being a wordy term, is merely the idea that Christians must worship God in the way that He has revealed and commanded us to worship Him in His Word.
Implicit to this directive is that, against the man-centered trends that come and go, Christians ought to approach God according to His timeless instructions. Midway Presbyterian Church has been at the forefront of advancing and promoting this form of worship as an essential factor in sharing the Gospel – and it is.
In an age where each seeks their own “truth,” and behavior (even in worship) is governed by subjective consumeristic sentiments – adherence to the Regulative Principle becomes increasingly important.
Reformed Theological Seminar (RTS) Chancellor and Covenant Seminary graduate Dr. Ligon Duncan has referred to the Regulative Principle of Worship as “Radically Word-Centered Worship.”
If you are a member of Midway Presbyterian Church, you most likely agree, and it is most likely one of the reasons you chose the church as your home. But have you considered that the wonderful Radically Word-Centered Worship you have come to appreciate is threatened in West Cobb by the corruption that has crippled Midway Presbyterian Church’s Session?
Disturbing the Peace, Harming the Witness…
The Midway Guardian has faithfully documented the divisive actions, misuse of the church courts, and ongoing mistreatment of its own members and officers at Midway at the hands of Senior Pastor David Hall and his Session majority.
The division is deepening and worsening with each passing day. The Session of the church, refusing to take any responsibility whatsoever, has sought to blame this division on certain members, and has lashed out with church discipline against Ruling Elders that pursued accountability according to the Constitution of the church. Even now, the remaining Session presides over secret prejudicial trials that have lasted for months.
Much of this abuse of authority has been justified by the iniquitous “Talley Resolution” on officer vows, which promises discipline on church officers who disagree with the majority. David Hall and his Session’s clinging to this errant and divisive motion only continues to deteriorate the situation at the church.
Despite a judicial panel of the highest court of the denomination declaring the Talley Resolution to be divisive and unconstitutional, expect no apologies from those who even now use it to harm others. These are the same men who are asking God for the “destruction” of this website’s editors from Midway’s pulpit.
No matter how many times David Hall and his Session are shown to be in error, it is always someone else’s fault, a “mere technicality” unworthy of your attention, or just honestly “saw things very differently” than another court.
Such dismissive sentiments are an insult to the intelligence of any free-thinking person and are little more than attempts to self-justify wrongful actions to avoid the repentance that is owed. Exhibit A of this pattern of behavior is the Session’s response to RE Philip Dudt’s exoneration by a panel of the highest church court. The decision–which is a stunning repudiation of the Session and the Northwest Georgia Presbytery’s ability to discern right from wrong using God’s Word, showcasing either their ineptitude or complicity in a plot to ignore the constitution of the church–in short shows that the Session charged a man in Jesus’ name for violating God’s Word when he had not. This is a very serious error.
About the Regulative Principle
What does this have to do with the Regulative Principle of Worship, you may ask? Consider the disruption of trust the RE Dudt court decision exposes. The Session, under the guidance of a Senior Pastor who has written books on church polity and is widely regarded as an expert “parliamentarian”, were unable to discern right from wrong or follow correct procedures. They were unable to determine what was and was not a sin. This is a failure to apply the Scripture properly and worse than that – it’s a gross misuse of God’s Word.
Does anyone believe David Hall didn’t know better? Or is it more likely that he and his followers on the Session schemed to get rid of RE Philip Dudt? Either way, what the leadership of the church has done is disturb the peace of the church by violating its purity through misuse of the church courts and other dishonest practices. There is no way around it – this harms the witness of Jesus Christ, and here’s why:
How can anyone expect visitors or prospective members to understand and adopt the Regulative Principle of Worship as Biblical, when the same men who so say its Biblical at Midway are the ones who failed so fantastically to properly apply the Scriptures in their charges and prosecution of RE Philip Dudt?
Why would anyone believe anything these men have to say? Midway’s ability to effectively point others to truth is helplessly compromised in the absence of repentance, for they have provably perpetrated great evil against their brother RE Philip Dudt.
If you are a member at Midway, here are some questions you can pray through as you ask the Lord to reveal the truth to you about what is going on at the church:
- Is the Biblical form of worship at Midway threatened by the divisive actions of the Senior Pastor and his Session?
- Is Midway’s witness for the Gospel damaged by the divisive behavior of the Senior Pastor?
- Has Midway’s ability to promote Radically Word-Centered Worship been hindered by the distraction that is the Session’s Radically Submission-Centered theology?
- Have you been susceptible to hearsay that the besieged Ruling Elders, who helped maintain Midway’s dedication to the Regulative Principle of Worship for decades at Midway, somehow represent a threat to the church such that they need to be removed from office?
The Midway Guardian’s Editorial Board suggests that all those interested in preserving the traditional style of worship at Midway, and to see it advanced as proper in the community, should demand Senior Pastor David Hall’s repentance or removal.