Friday, June 10, 2011
Insider Study Committee Passes Overwhelmingly
The MTW Committee of Commissioners brought a revised motion back to the floor of General Assembly on Friday morning, recommending (with MTW) that the Assembly condemn "Insider Translations" which remove references to God as "Father" and Jesus as the "Son of God." They also (against the wishes of MTW) revived Potomac Presbytery's suggestion to create a study committee. Dr. Paul Kooistra spoke against the study committee, saying it was unnecessary.
Dr. Kooistra's speech against the study committee proposal did not seem as polished as usual. He is a very gifted communicator and effective leader. But I think he lost people on a couple of points. He admitted that MTW had not produced any materials for churches (not that it was their job to do so). He told the Assembly that MTW had been aware of the issue for seven years. When asked by a sympathetic commissioner what MTW's response had been and what materials were available, Dr. Kooistra said that Scott Seaton (author of the overture calling for the study committee) had first made MTW aware of the issue and that "an article that has been helpful to me has been 'Five Problems with Insider Movements'."
One brother speaking against the study committee said that pastors could just study for themselves. The chairman of MTW's Permanent Committee said that such a committee would need a theologian, exegete, missiologist and Muslim background believer on it. Opponents of the motion seemed to be saying that the issue was too hard for a study committee, but easy enough for a pastor to read up on.
Scott Seaton, former MTW missionary, spoke of the vital gospel issues being raised. Travis Hutchinson testified to his unsuccessful efforts to get materials from MTW and the unique gifts of the PCA in examining such an issue. Finally, Bill Nikides, visibly shaken by the issue, spoke of his interviews with over 200 "Insider Christians," and the reality of baptized Christians leaving the church for the mosque with the encouragement of Western missionaries.
The overture passed strongly on the first vote and overwhelmingly on the second. Praise God.