A Letter from Arlyn Wilkening to the Presbytery of Philadelphia
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May 31, 2003
Dear Gentlemen of the Presbytery of Philadelphia,
On May 10, 2003 the presbytery allowed Mr. John O. Kinnaird, with the consent of his counsel Rev. Thomas Tyson, to distribute papers to the members of presbytery. Those papers contain false and misleading statements and partial quotations of myself and Mr. Carl Hayes which I desire to correct with this brief letter.
Mr. Kinnaird "quotes" a letter to the Bethany session dated 6-22-2002 written by Mr. Carl Hayes on page 1 of Paper Number 3 saying, "The dominion of sin is not destroyed in sanctification." His counsel refers to this same "quotation" on page 3 of Paper Number 2. It is not clear who the author of Paper number 1 is, but it is again referred to on page 15 of that paper. The full quotation of Mr. Hayes, which casts a very different light on the matter is :
"The dominion of sin is not destroyed in sanctification. The opposite of sanctify is pollute. The dominion of sin is broken (its grip on us) by regeneration and the power and pollution are overcome and diminished during sanctification." (emphasis in the original)
It appears to me that this is the view of sanctification that is expounded in the Bible and the Westminster Standards. The statement in context is very different than Mr. Kinnaird and Rev. Tyson have represented it to be.
As to Mr. Kinnaird's objection to being identified as "simultaneously just and sinner throughout all eternity future", he is simply arguing with history. Not one of us can change the fact that we are and have been sinners. Will we sin in the future after this life? Of course not. Mr. Kinnaird and Rev. Tyson should know that Mr. Hayes has not said, and does not advocate such a view.
Rev. Tyson states in Paper number 2 on page 5 (discussing Romans 2:13) that at the trial I testified "that there will be no Christians present at the last judgement." Mr. Kinnaird in Paper 3, page 1 repeats this same statement. For your information, here is the section of the paper I read for that section of the trial (commenting on Romans 2:13) that Rev. Tyson and Mr. Kinnaird object to:
Paul defines the two categories of people who will be at the Judgment: those "who sin apart from the law" and those "who sin under the law." First of all, please notice both groups are sinners. There will be no individuals who are law-keepers at the Last Judgment.
Their conclusion that I testified that there will be no Christians at the Judgment brings into sharp focus the doctrine being adjudicated. I maintain, with the agreement of the Scripture, that there will be no law-keepers among men at the Last Judgment. My definition of a law-keeper has been consistently James 2:10 and Galatians 3:10. In agreement with Romans 2:13 only sinners will be at the Judgment. Within those two groups (those under the law and those who sin apart from the law) there will be the elect, who rely on the perfect law keeping of their Mediator Jesus Christ imputed to them for their righteousness.
In contrast, Mr. Kinnaird and Rev. Tyson argue that there are also law-keepers, according to what they have done in this life, present at the Last Judgment. As I do not identify ANY human (apart from Jesus Christ in his humanity) in this category, according to what they have done in this life, they conclude that I testified that Christians will not be at the Judgment. It should be noted that in the course of the trial it was asked by myself and others what definition they use to determine who is a "law-keeper." I see that Rev. Tyson attempts to define this somewhat on page 10 of Paper number 2. My question is where has he drawn this definition of "doers of the law" from? It is quite different than the clear statement of James 2:10. Further, was the Apostle Paul himself unaware of his own writing when later in life he refers to himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15)? Surely if the Apostle had meant in Romans what Rev. Tyson writes, he would have thought of himself as at least a "sometimes" “doer of the law.” He did not categorize himself as a “doer” or “keeper” of the law as he knew that this category was false.
Another assertion of Rev. Tyson must also be answered. That appears in Paper number 2, page 1 in section 1.b. He complains that the prosecution was allowed to make statements while not under oath and subject to cross-examination. He appears to overlook the fact that the prosecution is the counterpart to his role as the defense counsel. During the trial Rev. Tyson also was allowed to make statements and present papers while not under oath. On the other hand, he and Mr. Kinnaird cited me, my wife, Carl Hayes and Pastor Foraker as witnesses for the defense each day of the trial. They could have placed each of us on the witness stand. They did place me on the witness stand under oath on 11-30-2002 where I was questioned. So this complaint of his needs to be viewed as the red herring issue that it truly is.
Much more could be written, but I do not view it as necessary or profitable. I trust that this correction of the record will be taken note of by the members of the presbytery.