Presbyterian Pastor Says He Will Stand for Truth -- Even
at Cost of His Ministry
By Jim Brown and Jenni Parker
December 29, 2003
(AgapePress) - A Bible-believing minister in the Presbyterian Church USA may be stripped of his ordination credentials for criticizing leaders in his denomination and accusing them of denying the authority of scripture.
A committee in the Presbytery of Western North Carolina is recommending that Pastor Parker T. Williamson be removed from his position as CEO of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and editor-in-chief of its publications.
The Presbyterian Layman, a magazine that Williamson edits, recently urged Presbyterians to withhold undesignated gifts to the denomination because of its support for partial-birth abortion, homosexuality, and other practices that violate scripture. The pastor and editor has long spoken out against what he perceives as apostasy in the denomination, both vocally and in print.
A Presbytery of Western North Carolina committee recently voted to approve a recommendation to place Williamson on "inactive status." Presbytery officials call the action administrative rather than disciplinary, and claim they are concerned about the minister's character and conduct. But he believes the church leaders are simply worried about losing money.
According to Williamson, denomination officials have put up with the biblical stance of his ministry since its inception in 1965. But now that money is involved, he contends that things have "reached a new level."
"We have criticized the leadership of this denomination for its abandonment of scripture as the authority for the church's faith and life," the pastor says, "and they are having a hard time tolerating the existence of the critic."
The Presbytery of Western North Carolina's Committee on Ministry voted in a closed session on December 9 to approve a recommendation to withdraw its validation of Williamson's ministry. Next the matter will go before the full presbytery at a January 31 meeting at First Presbyterian Church in Asheville, North Carolina. The outspoken minister says he is prepared to defend himself.
"I intend to argue the case there. I'm fully prepared to lose my ordination if that's what it takes in order to stand for what clearly is God's truth," Williamson says.
Should the presbytery concur with the committee's decision, the minister would be placed on inactive status and lose his speaking and voting privileges at presbytery meetings. And if Williamson's ministry were not restored to active status within three years, then his ordination would be revoked and his name would be stricken from the presbytery roll.
Williamson became a member of the presbytery in 1971 and served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lenoir, North Carolina, before he was hired by the Presbyterian Lay Committee in 1989.