The actual wolves are misusing church discipline at Midway to actively devour their own sheep…
In a sermon preached the morning of June 5th, 2022 at Midway Presbyterian Church, Senior Pastor David Hall sung the virtue of preaching “the whole counsel of God.” Citing various attributes of Reformed Theology as characteristic of this virtue – he did seem to leave out some very important mentions that should be top of mind for his congregation.
Chief among these are repentance and confession of sin. There are hundreds of references to these concepts in the Scripture… perhaps thoughts of apologies are too close to home for a pastor who has not apologized to his congregation for the false charges he participated in bringing against a Ruling Elder at the church. Perhaps continued silence and a refusal to admit wrongdoing is the way the shepherd has chosen to lead the sheep placed under his care?
A Warning to Wolves and the Leader of their Pack is an Act of Love…
After borrowing themes from a previous article at The Midway Guardian on Puritan icon Richard Baxter, consider David Hall’s other relevant point from another Puritan:
“Puritan Charles Simeon said to warn men of their danger is the kindest office of love. Let me repeat that. To warn a fellow Christian of their danger is a kindness, the kindest office of love. For to ignore doctrinal error is actually to be cruel, no pastor or elder should do that to his flock – and Christ’s follower’s love the whole counsel of God.”Senior Pastor David Hall, 06-05-2022
Following this, Hall went on to again reaffirm his oft repeated theme that the Holy Spirit and not men select the elders of a church, and reaffirmed his role as a pastor is to be one of these “overseers” protecting the flock saying:
“…and he warns here, you must take this seriously, that savage wolves will come in among the flock. What must a shepherd do whose guarding the flock when a wolf attacks? Does a shepherd seek to have conversation with the wolf and say ‘well let’s discuss our different perspectives, let’s see how we can mutually support one another, let’s study this.’ No. The shepherd who loves the sheep must pull out his staff and whack the wolf. To do anything other is to not love the flock. Those who follow Christ must be willing to whack the savage wolves…”Senior Pastor David Hall, 06-05-2022
Just who does David Hall think the wolves are? Who has he attempted to “whack” and drive away from the flock in recent times? Remember this is the same man who practices ”Blessed Subtraction,” preaches that “pruning“ the congregation is a good thing, and has joked at higher courts about the complaints and appeals against his misbehavior… This is the same pastor who has presided over a shrinking of the church body since his arrival at Midway.
Members should ask themselves ”who are the actual wolves at Midway?” Despite the Session’s assertion that there are a few troublemakers out there and everything is fine – remember that it is ONLY the pastors and elders who have brought divisive litigation and charges. No members have done likewise.
Is it not then the Senior Pastor and members of his Session who so zealously wield the sword of church discipline against their own fellow elders that are the wolves? Does David Hall believe he is protecting the members of Midway from gentle and faithful servants of the Lord Philip Dudt, James Scott, Clay David, and Don Barnett? Men, whose time at Midway far predates his own, and were chief participants in the building of Midway to its peak that, under David Hall’s leadership, has shrunk into a mere shadow of what it once was? Surely this is how ”Blessed Subtraction” and congregational ”pruning” work…
In terms of misused church discipline, first David Hall and his supporters on the Session came after Philip Dudt. They abused their authority in an all night secret trial to perpetrate what the world now knows to have been false charges supported by no evidence. But to borrow the words of Roald Dahl in his infamous poem about Little Red Riding Hood:
And Wolfie wailed, “That’s not enough!
I haven’t yet begun to feel
That I have had a decent meal!”
He ran around the kitchen yelping,
“I’ve got to have a second helping!”
A second helping indeed… Emboldened by a complicit presbytery’s upholding of their false charges, the wolves wanted more. Only a second helping alone would not do. No, no. They needed a third and a fourth helping of sheep and charged additional elders Clay David, James Scott, and Don Barnett.
For this the Senior Pastor and Session of Midway Presbyterian are in sin, and they are actively called to repent for this wrongdoing. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not one of subtraction and persecution. Christ exhorted His people to make ”disciples, not victims.”
To this end – return your attention the word of Charles Simeon. David Hall did not share the entirety of his words in his sermon quote, but The Midway Guardian will:
“That to warn men of their danger is the kindest office of love—will any one doubt whether it was an act of love in St. Paul to warn the Ephesians: to warn them individually as well as collectively; to warn them ”by night and by day,” as often as he could gain access to them; to warn them with such earnestness as scarcely ever to address them without floods of ”tears;” to do this incessantly, for three years together, when there was perhaps no other Church with whom he made so long an abode?…Shall it be thought harsh then and unkind to warn our hearers?…If we appear earnest at any time, ought we to be blamed as too zealous, or needlessly severe? No: you have infinitely more reason to complain on excess in our fidelity and earnestness. What little zeal we do shew, should be esteemed the fruit of love.”Rev. Charles Simeon, 1832 – Horae Homiletice – page 520
Many, certainly the pastors and Session at Midway dislike The Midway Guardian. Others similarly may disapprove of its messaging. The Editorial Board however feels called to an increasing urgency to call for the repentance of leaders who are sinning against their brothers and dividing Christ’s church. To remain silent in such an instance would be unloving. Consistent with the stated purpose of this website, love for the brethren and love for the purity of Christ’s church compels this action. Therefore we will continue to warn them collectively by night and day such that, even if it takes years, the world might see Midway Presbyterian Church restored.
False Charges = False Teaching
One might argue that the point of David Hall’s sermon was that the wolves in the flock referred to are false teachers, and therefore the point in this article is itself a misapplication. Consider that the wolves who have styled themselves as shepherds at Midway brought false charges against Philip Dudt. False charges are a misapplication of scripture. A misapplication of Scripture is false teaching. False teaching is doctrinal error. The Midway Guardian agrees with David Hall that ”to ignore doctrinal error is actually to be cruel.”