Why is NWGP resorting to control tactics employed by Stalinist Russia, and is that appropriate for representatives of Christ?
During the Father’s Day worship service at Midway Presbyterian Church on June 17, 2022 (prior to the benediction), Teaching Elder Robbie Hembree, on behalf of the NWGP and its Shepherding Commission, issued the following call to members to inform against each other:
The anonymous “Have You Heard the Latest News About Midway Presbyterian Church?” mailer, as well as the Midway Guardian and other social media vehicles are neither biblical nor proper and work directly against the purity, peace, unity, and edification of Midway Presbyterian Church. These completely wicked stratagems and those who are behind them, which we ascribe ultimately to the Deceiver himself, should be exposed to the light of God’s truth. We therefore encourage any brothers or sisters with knowledge of those involved to bring their information to our NWGP Shepherding Commission.TE Robbie Hembree, June 17, 2022 Midway Worship Service
We would argue that false balances (Prov. 11:1) and unequal weights (Prov. 20:23) work directly against the purity, peace, unity, and edification of the church.
Hembree also tried to stifle any and all public discussion of the behaviors and actions of the Midway Session. He said, “Continued character assassination through various media vehicles, as well as through the verbal spreading of bad reports concerning anyone involved (emanating from anyone – officers, members, and former members of Midway) will only serve Satan’s goal of dividing your local church and diminishing its Gospel message and its kingdom impact for years to come.”
Hembree strongly condemned the mailer and this website, stating “This anonymous, evil, ‘hit piece’ to put it mildly, and also the Midway Guardian are unbiblical, unwise, mean-spirited, and sinfully aggressive assaults on the reputation of your properly elected and called senior pastor, Teaching Elder David Hall. The slick mailer and the Midway Guardian also serve to demean your session.”
The NWGP has deployed a strategy reminiscent of Russia under the leadership of Stalin. Citizens informed on each other and denounced their neighbors to the “party.”
As one article described life under this misery, “First, every citizen learned never to utter their thoughts aloud, even in the bosom of their family, and never to express the mildest criticism of the regime. It was safe to speak only in murmurs. The second kind of whisperers were, of course, the great legion of informers, who told their mad tales to the NKVD (Moscow’s enforcers) and then watched their victims swept away to their fate.”
The NWGP announced that it wants the Midway members to act like the children in Orwell’s novel, 1984: “…for hardly a week passed in which the Times did not carry a photograph describing how some eavesdropping little sneak–‘child hero’ was the phrase generally used–had overheard some compromising remark and denounced his parents to the Thought Police.”
Instead of denouncing parents to the Thought Police, the NWGP wants members to report people to them who may utter any compromising remark, whether in church, in private conversation, or on social media.
The Northwest Georgia Presbytery does not want anyone to publish their thoughts online anywhere or even to speak about the issues to their brothers and sisters in Christ. They want members to feel guilty for “spreading bad reports.” The NWGP wants to control the source of information and the message, and it wants people to blindly trust only the version of events spread by the NWGP.
Name-Calling Without Addressing Facts Is Manipulation
TE Hembree accused the flyer and this website of “character assassination” and being of “the Deceiver himself,” but he did so without providing any facts or discussing the serious issues. Here is a short list of facts included in the mailer. Are they true?
- The Midway Session under David Hall’s leadership has been unconstitutionally manipulating the officer nomination process for years – True (read the SJC decision and a 40-5 report from 2013)
- The Session is refusing to apologize to RE Dudt and the congregation – True
- The Session did not like that RE Dudt shared the SJC judgment against them for unconstitutionally manipulating the officer nomination process – True (read the indictment)
- The Session passed an unconstitutional bill of attainder called the Talley Resolution that declared RE Dudt guilty of his actions without the benefit of a trial or fair hearing – True
- The Midway Session under Hall’s leadership subjected RE Dudt to an all-night secret trial – True
- The Northwest Georgia Presbytery allowed a Midway pastor to unconstitutionally add evidence to RE Dudt’s record after the trial was over – True
- The NWGP unconstitutionally chose to ignore RE Dudt’s reasons for appeal – True
- The Midway Session’s conviction of RE Dudt was unjust, unbiblical, and baseless – True
- The PCA’s highest court overturned RE Dudt’s conviction in full – True
- Senior Pastor David Hall and the members of the Midway Session have refused to acknowledge RE Dudt’s ruling and his restoration – True
- Even though they quickly announced RE Dudt’s guilt and conviction to the congregation – True
- The Senior Pastor won’t apologize – True
- The highest court ruled that TE David Hall as Moderator was prejudicial in RE Dudt’s trial – True
- The SJC ruling overturning RE Dudt’s conviction is being withheld from the congregation – True, even though letters like the speech from TE Hembree quoted above and letters from elders calling the mailer “demonic” have been distributed to the Midway Congregation.
The record shows that multiple judgments from independent judges concluded that the Midway Session and the Northwest Georgia Presbytery have butchered justice, and they’ve done so repeatedly and unapologetically. They continue to do so now with more secret trials.
Bearing false witness is a serious crime, especially when committed by members of a church court. It is the unrepentant attitude and lack of concern shown by Midway’s “leaders” for committing such serious transgressions that many members of the congregation are upset about.
Strategy of Silence
The Midway Session and the NWGP ignore the facts mentioned above, as well as many others, because to engage with them is to look into a mirror and be confronted with their sin.
Just one pastor has apologized to RE Dudt, and he resigned his position at Midway, surrendering his stable salary to extricate himself from the corruption. While unapologetic Midway Session members have called the Midway Guardian writers divisive, demonic, and even prayed that God will destroy us, the same pastor who apologized to RE Dudt concluded that the Midway Guardian writers “obviously care a whole lot about Midway.”
The NWGP, instead of addressing the problems within its jurisdiction, is trying to silence any competing source of information that it cannot control.
And this is why they publicly ignore the source of the problems in the church and instead focus their energy on shutting down competing sources of information and viewpoints.
If not for this website and others, the Midway Congregation would have no access to the facts in the trial of RE Dudt and the heinous abuses committed by so many men to silence his voice and those Christians he represents on the Session. They would have no access to information regarding the secret trials of the three other elders that the Session under David Hall’s leadership have tried to suppress.
They would not have access to the SJC’s decision that definitively shows the courts at Midway and the NWGP are little concerned about justice, and more concerned about silencing opposition.