The Midway Guardian responds to yet another Session communication…
The Midway Guardian has obtained a communication written by the 8 remaining Ruling Elders of Midway Presbyterian Church’s Session that have not yet been suspended for violating the pestilential “Talley Resolution” on officer vows which promises punishment on any officer who disagrees with the Session majority. Since that communication suggested a reply would be forthcoming from the Editorial Board at the Midway Guardian, here it is, truthful and heartfelt.
The Editorial Board does not endorse blind submission to authority or encourage anyone to take anyone’s word for anything. Rather, per the recent appeal from the pulpit, encourages readers to be as Bereans, examining the Scriptures daily to see if the things they are hearing are true, lest they be swept away by the strong delusions of men.
From your Session: An appeal to support our ministers, elected officers, and ministries
This in and of itself is a worthy appeal – if the support was indeed warranted. The truth is that the Session has demonstrated a profound inability to “rule well” per I Timothy 5:17. Midway leadership is quick to remind the flock that “the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.” Is the following list of recent Session behaviors examples of ruling well?
- Divisively attempting to sever denominational ties with Covenant Theological Seminary via an overture to the PCA General Assembly that was based on provably false accusations.
- Improperly vetting candidates for local church office, and running a secret shadow Session under the leadership of the Senior Pastor.
- Leading the church into a divisive tailspin by presiding over controversial and unconstitutional methods at a congregational meeting.
- Indicting a Ruling Elder for violating the unconstitutional and problematic so-called “Talley Resolution” on officer vows before the resolution was even written.
- Scheming against and charging a Ruling Elder for offenses not proven by Scripture, with no evidence, and shown to be false by a PCA panel of the denomination’s highest court… and not even caring to apologize when shown to have committed the sin of false charges in the name of Jesus Christ and His Church.
- Consenting to, and failing to correct, written false attestations (lies) crafted by Senior Pastor David Hall.
- Consenting to, and failing to apologize once caught, having the Clerk of Session Marc Harrington tamper with evidence by crafting witness testimony after a trial’s conclusion.
- Manipulating the local presbytery to prevent judicial actions against the Session from taking effect.
- Presiding over prejudicial trials held in secret where no member of the congregation can know what is actually happening.
- In defiance of the highest court of the PCA, using church discipline to punish men for exercising their rights to make inquires of higher courts.
Compare the hard evidence published on this site to the complete lack of specifics included in the Session letter.
A complete list would be too long to convey every example, but surely the case is solid that the leadership of Midway Presbyterian Church presides over blatant mismanagement of Christ’s church. Why should anyone support men whose discernment has been shown to be so inadequate that they could not see that the charges they brought against their own member weren’t Biblical! Any of the “ministers” and “elected officers” referred to above that supported the false charges against Ruling Elder Philip Dudt should immediately resign their office. Bringing false charges in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and His Church is the definition of not ruling well. Bringing false charges in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is false teaching.
We note that the majority of the signatories of this letter were party to the indictment and voted to convict Ruling Elder Philip Dudt.
Dear Midway Brothers and Sisters: As many of you know, our Midway family has become the location of serious spiritual warfare. An anonymous blog and other social media have been publicly slandering or misrepresenting by name our pastors, elders, church, and others for some time. The authors present themselves as reformers of our church and appear to believe such fervently. Your elders disagree. To this point, we have patiently endured and prayed that the fruit of repentance would occur from those who are maliciously and deviously attacking Christ’s Bride. However, we now feel we must speak. (3 Jn. 10 So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.), Your Session publicly repudiates these anonymous media organs as clearly as we can. This public position is the expectation of the Session for everyone in a position of service at Midway. We urge every member of Midway and every Christian to help resist these deeds of darkness (Jn. 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil; and Titus 3:9-11 But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. 10 Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. 11 You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.) We call the authors and promoters of these media to repentance and continue to pray for such.
The Editorial Board at the Midway Guardian agrees – Midway Presbyterian Church has indeed become the location of serious spiritual warfare. The Session’s misuses of church discipline, slander, and the abuse of authority exhibit manifestations of these attacks quite well. Readers can decide for themselves if this website or the Session’s behavior is a manifestation of evil. The writers here have pledged to a person that they will not remain silent in an unjust cause. They see the spiritual abuse at Midway and have pledged to do something about it. The Editorial Board does not expect those carrying out the abuse to like that.
The anonymity of the Midway Guardian’s Editorial Board and its many authors has been the topic of much fan mail received. One needs only to read the history of the sinful mistreatment of the flock meticulously documented on this website at the hands of Senior Pastor David Hall and his Session to see why anonymity is necessary. Remember these are the same men that have indicated by policy that mere disagreement with their edicts is to be punished via church discipline. Praise Jesus that this papal attitude was repudiated by a SJC Panel of the denomination’s highest court recently.
The Editorial Board wishes to remind the Ruling Elders who penned this letter that many in their congregation “have patiently endured and prayed that the fruit of repentance would occur” amongst the Pastoral leadership and Session who are “maliciously and deviously attacking” their own brothers on the Session with false charges and slandering their good names that they have a solemn duty to protect as if they were their own. Readers can decide for themselves if the Midway Guardian represents attempted reformation of Christ’s Church or or an attack on Him.
We similarly feel “we must speak,” as failing to do so in the face of the corruption crippling the church and bringing it low would represent sinful neglect.
Such anonymous media sources sow discord among the brethren, and regularly employ strategies as old as Genesis 3 when Satan worked to cast doubt on God’s provision for Adam and Eve by suggesting to them: “Did God really say...?” Such Satanic approaches use simple but powerful innuendo and suggestion ...mixed with small portions of truth in order to appear legitimate and righteous. If you are a regular consumer and promoter of this anonymous material targeting the spiritual leadership God has provided for you at Midway, we urge you to stop and to consider this: --you simply do not know who is speaking to you ...neither their trustworthiness... nor by what authority they speak, --this is a serious, spiritually dangerous, and vulnerable position to place yourself in, --such deceivers are not above using human personalities/situations for their own ends. It would not be surprising if even our heartfelt communication to you here ends up being partially quoted, ridiculed, and mocked online. Rather, if you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to take the Biblical approach and speak with your elders or pastors...and more than one if that would help you.
The Midway Guardian Editorial Board is not sure which “brethren” are being referred to here by the Session authors. After all, they have made very clear “you are not their brethren.”
Be Bereans dear readers… think when the Session calls evil good and good evil (as they do with false charges), and they do so in the name of Jesus Christ your Lord… Ask yourself “Did God really say…?” It turns out in the Session’s charges against Ruling Elder Philip Dudt – God most definitely did not say… They refer to this site as “Satanic,” but their charges against their brother have been shown to not be of God – so who else could they possibly be from?
Readers can discern the truth for themselves. As Jesus reminds us “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me…” The Session missed Jesus’ voice in their zealous indictment of Ruling Elder Philip Dudt. The situation at Midway Presbyterian Church is rather easy to understand. The leadership has become authoritarian and abusive. We do not expect the Session, being the source of every instance of litigation and church discipline in the history of the church, to agree.
But hey – is anyone surprised that they are asking you to just “trust them“? Given the outcome of Ruling Elder Philip Dudt’s secret trial was shown to be a kangaroo court, what makes anyone believe that the ongoing secret trial against Ruling Elder Clay David is any different? Readers can decide who to trust, the Session who has been shown to be in error by their peers at the Northwest Georgia Presbytery as well as the experts in Presbyterian polity and government on the Standing Judicial Commission of the PCA multiple times… their actions have been weighed and found severely wanting…
A short review of the Westminster Larger Catechism (#144) shows how sinful such publications are when the catechism decries false witness by requiring: “the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for, and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; . . .” The catechism’s next question (Westminster Larger Catechism #145) also forbids “all prejudicing the truth and good name of our neighbors . . . speaking the truth unseasonably or maliciously to a wrong end or perverting it to a wrong meaning.” False witness is regularly and hatefully being born against our pastors. Anonymous and distorted blogs are also cowardly. Pretending to guard our church, they are clearly sin compared to this WLC standard. We call on all who seek holiness to have nothing to do with such darkness and to end shameful slander (Eph. 4:29-31 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.). It is never a light thing to criticize the work and provision of God, and we regret that some have presumed unto themselves a role for which they are neither rightly called nor prepared. In Scripture, Our Lord takes a dim view of those who grumble or take on a level of authority not assigned to them...examples being the children of Israel, Dathan, or even Moses when he struck the rock for water in Numbers 20: 9-12.
The Midway Guardian Editorial Board finds it refreshing that the Session is reading their copies of the Westminster Larger Catechism… their selected passages on false witnesses and slander are timely given that they themselves were shown to have schemed to bring false charges in violation of the Ninth Commandment against their equal, Ruling Elder Philip Dudt. They did so with no evidence and by assigning a false malicious motive to him. They prosecuted this deed “cowardly” in secret, even disallowing his wife from being at his side. Clerk Marc Harrington then fabricated witness testimony against his brother.
Prejudice and sin commensurate to these aforementioned are actively on display in the ongoing secret trial of Ruling Elder Clay David. “We call on all who seek holiness to having nothing to do with any such darkness and to end shameful slander”.
The Editorial Board is aggrieved that the Session has assigned a malicious motive to the work of their authors when, like Ruling Elder Philip Dudt’s letter that led to his indictment, the motive of this website is clearly stated for all the read. Readers can discern for themselves who has exhibited a pattern of assigning malicious motive to others.
Given that the authors at the Midway Guardian remain anonymous, how can the Session know that “they are neither rightly called or prepared“? The authors at the Midway Guardian are experts in church polity in their own right, and the Session would be surprised to discover the depth of the resumes within Reformed circles that contribute to the ongoing work here. It is a painful contradiction to assert that they don’t know who our authors are, and yet they insist they aren’t qualified to have an opinion. Our readers may disagree with that.
We assert resolutely that the “Lord takes a dim view of those” who take his name in vain to charge and assign malicious motive their brothers falsely in violation of the Ninth Commandment. Despite the assertion above, no one on the Editorial Board or amongst the authors at the Midway Guardian are attempting to take any official role or authority in the church. This is a weird and baseless lie, but readers are encouraged to decide if they believe that all Christians have the liberty to write and shed light on the purity of Christ’s church.
We also wish to take this opportunity to express to all members and friends that we have great and continuing confidence in our Sr. Pastor (who is often targeted by the envy or hatred of these postings). This Session is united to resist all current and confirmed efforts to fire him, besmirch his name, or wrongfully attempt to dishonor or humiliate him and his family. It would be quite mistaken to think that the Elders will hesitate to arduously defend the ministry of the gospel as it is being carried out here and has been for nearly two decades. We ask you to support your elders and pastors and not join in crusades to overturn this important ministry (1 Tim. 5:17, 19 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching. 18 For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” [a] and “The worker deserves his wages.” [b] 19 Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses.). We would also remind and encourage you, that in God’s Sovereignty, He is not surprised by this current situation at Midway. He will work His purposes in/through it. He has advised us ahead of time: “James 1:2 Brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” This leads to our ongoing sanctification. Know that your imperfect Session strives to be led by Scripture, prayer, and God’s faithful Holy Spirit as we strive to guide and defend the Midway family. Know that we desire and are charged to shepherd and guide every member of our Midway family, even those that may not desire it. We call on the many who are regularly fed and built up by our church to pray for your church, seek the whole counsel of Scripture, speak encouraging words to your Midway brothers and sisters, avoid gossip, and resist and discourage sinful media attacks and distorted allegations against your senior pastor. And join with us as we worship our Risen Lord. Thank you for your prayers and support. Ken Dewhurst Paul Fish Ernie Hawley Scott Keesee Russ Knight Rodney Pritchett Wes Richardson Bob Whitaker
The Midway Guardian Editorial Board is not surprised that the Yes-Men of David Hall’s inner circle are willing to support his ministry of exclusion, discipline, and contempt for the church’s constitution. We wish for the congregation to continue to hold their leadership accountable. This includes the Senior Pastor, whose $175,000 a year salary is considerable. The Midway Guardian is aware that there is a petition circulating to dissolve pastoral relations with Senior Pastor David Hall. Given his divisive demeanor, we believe it was time to dismiss him long ago. We remind our readers and the authors of the Session letter above that, despite what David Hall has preached, it is not the Elders of the church who select and maintain the leadership at the church – it is the congregation. Time will tell if the belligerent Session and Pastoral staff will accept their decision regarding David Hall’s employment in the coming days.
In closing: The Midway Guardian Editorial Board is committed to truth. Even painful ones. We are aware that some may not prefer the rhetoric of some of our authors who write opinion pieces. We assure you that we are committed to truth in all things. We invite all readers to please write to the Editor outlining any factual errors discovered in our reporting of the news for correction. We remind our readers and critics on the Session of Midway Presbyterian Church that the truthfulness of the reporting here was confirmed as authentic by a former Midway Associate Pastor and a Ruling Elder who saw the inner working of David Hall’s power structure. Readers however, can and must, decide for themselves who they wish to believe.