Monday, January 31, 2011

Anonymity Begins with the Right Letter - January 31, 2011

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



It stuck out like a pimple on the end of Jessica Simpson's nose: "The group of pastors at this point remain anonymous as the white paper is not signed and has not been widely released to the public."


Apparently, for one never knows when it's anonymous, some high steeplers in the PCUSA - that's a mainline denomination that's moved to the sidelines of America's religious scenery/relevancy for folks who don't know and really don't care - met earlier this month in Scottsdale, Arizona to save-the-denomination-from-the-infidels.

You can read more about it in the 1/28/11 edition of

Parenthetically, having been there and done that, those guys, who remind me of the Bears and Jets (see the 1/27/11 edition for context/parallels), gotta know that other pastors who don't share their perks-infested-what-me-really-worry-cause-I'm-cozy-and-you're-not-cause-I'm-entitled perches, regardless of being on the left or right of 'em, have a very natural antagonism toward 'em born out of jealousy or some kinda sense of inferiority that they reinforce by meeting in places like Scottsdale instead of Newark, Scranton, Beloit, Deadwood, or somewhere else more, uh, common. Of course, being so insulated from their, uh, peers, I don't expect 'em to get that.

Anyway, they were inspired/indigested to write a "white paper" (Hmm! No, I won't go there! Lord, lead me not into...) with this startling announcement - for them because they usually play it so safe as not to threaten their positions/perks which I understand 'cause I've been there and done that - about their anonymous intentions: "We are ready to do something different...If the denomination has the ability and will move in this new direction, we will rejoice. Regardless, a group of us will change course, forming a new way for our congregations to relate."

Just wait until Louisville - headquarters for the franchise - gets their names!

O.K., I guess that's why they're so anonymous.

They know they better circle the wagons, stick up another finger in the air to test sympathies, and get those lawyers in tow before those infidels come after their ordinations, properties, and assets.

Ah, yes, anonymity.

How courageous.

So much in the shadow of the martyrs...not to mention the cross.



You probably sense my disdain for anonymity.

Don't get me wrong.

I have only suffered from poison pens on two occasions - back when I was a high steepler and trying to move a church from being an annex of Rotary to...

After those two occasions, I have always announced something like this every now and then: "...and don't bother sending an anonymous note to me about it; 'cause if you don't have the courage of your convictions, I ain't gonna read it anyway! Besides, I've learned that terrorists and people who write anonymously have two things in common: cowardice and comfort in darkness."

Sure, some anonymous stuff is cool; like getting an anonymous HD gift certificate or cruise for the wife et moi.

Come to think of it, that all ended when I left the high steeple scene.

I wonder if it has something to do with what Perry Noble calls the big choice of pastors to be real prophets/pastors or prostitutes who sell out the real Jesus for...

I don't know.

Yeah, I've had some nice anonymities in the past; like when I was a senior in high school and this girl used to call and...

Yeah, I understand how some folks are sooooooo shy and...

Blah, blah, blah.

As somebody said, "It takes guts to go public."

I would add qualities like courage, candor, humility ('cause you open yourself to rebuke and correction), and being reconcilable ('cause you're willing to talk about it before it festers into something really awful).

Anonymity just dumps and hides.

No wonder The Oxford English Dictionary includes "illegitimate" as a definition for anonymous.

People who dump and hide behind anonymity are illegitimate; which conjures up another word that may...

Aside from those anonymous acts of charity - and I just read a really nice anonymous tribute to a peer on his website that caused another peer to ask who really wrote it because anonymity breeds suspicion - anonymous gestures are, more often than not, hit and run acts absent of accountability.



Getting back to the cracker communication, there's some really good stuff in it; but, again, it's hard to trust somebody who doesn't have the courage/guts to...

Maybe they're just floating an idea to see if anyone will float with 'em...

Maybe they're just putting it out as a working paper, like KDs, to provoke thought among folks who don't think much anymore...

I don't know.

That's just it.

It's anonymous.



I was just reading about Stephen.

You know, uh, the first martyr.

He didn't hide behind anonymity.

And before you remind me that he was stoned for his efforts, take a long look at Matthew 16:24-28.


Blessings and Love!


Dr. Ronald W. Scates said...


I love your stuff….your in-your-face graciousness…….but you missed it on this one.As one of the TS pastors (and I fit that title about as much Marv Throneberry belongs in the Hall Of Fame)….the anonymity was not for protective reasons (some of our folk had already put the original draft before the folks in Louisville, in person,back in the fall.They know well who we are).The anonymity is to take the focus off of names, in the hope that the grass roots will grab onto this and a movement will emerge.We’re simply not looking for credit.We just want to find a way for all Biblically orthodox folk to remain in the pcusa without participating any longer in the toxicity that is killing everyone.The current TS folks are vastly different than when you were in that category…….believe me,I am well-acquaited with both generational groups.I know of no one in the present group that fits the caricature of us that you put forth.We don’t travel in style,stay at fancy places (we were invited to meet at the church in Scottsdale……but it could have been Newark).We don’t talk bodies,bucks,and buildings at our meetings…..but what’s Jesus doing in your life and ministry.We are off of trying to save the denomination,but are refusing to both leave and/or play the dysfunctional pcusa game anymore.This is simply a humbly bold shot at an alternative.I speak only for myself,not the rest of the pastors.We need your support……not put downs……..especially equating not looking for limelight with cowardice.Come on……everyone of us has laid our ministries on the line numerous times over the years and paid the price in presbyteries across the country.Putdowns--like heterodoxy and schism--are sin……especially if they’re just to make you feel good.Give this thing a chance.If its not of the Lord….it will fail.But maybe………
Feel free to use my name as one of the not-intending-to-be-anonymous.I fear no one but the Lord.

Dr. Ronald W. Scates, Senior Pastor
Highland Park Presbyterian Church

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Dear Ron,

I really appreciate your comments; and having your permission, I will forward this to Kathie and Hans with the request to post your comments with this accompanying note of acknowledgment and affection on and

While I have always affirmed your courageous witness and personal integrity concomitant to the highest ideals of our Christocentric ethic rooted so clearly in Holy Scripture, our brothers in the high steeples need more than gentle reminders that their occasional epistles do not resonate well in the trenches.

Your firm yet fond affirmation and rebuke of some of my comments warm my heart, correct my mind, and give me hope for our increasingly decreasing part of the Kingdom.

Blessings and Love!

Reformed Catholic said...

FWIW ... there is a small grassroots group started by some pastors in Eastern Pennsylvania that is trying to do this sort of thing.

Problem, as always, is getting the word out, and getting the relationships with others started.

The Biblical Presbyterians Network can be found on Facebook:

Perhaps a visit by those who met in Arizona would be in order ?

John Hastings said...


as for, "I've learned that terrorists and people who write anonymously have two things in common: cowardice and comfort in darkness...", I am sure that you have received anonymous letters and calls. I have received two anonymous voice mail messages in the last six weeks telling me that what I am looking into ruined Christmas for the daughter (who ruined her septuagenarian mother's credit rating) and then told me he hoped I will burn in hell. (Time to forgive since caller ID and google told me exactly who it was!) My father told me (when I got a seemingly anonymous letter from an angry former girlfriend) that anonymity deserves no attention for the very reasons you stated, and often bespeaks the sender's sickness. Working discretely, however, is different than challenging the opposition openly but anonymously, so let's pray that the "STD's" (that's Save The Denomination people) will eventually come into the light after discretely planning where they are going...and be courageous about it. The STD's may be looking at the Anakim and saying, "We feel like grasshoppers", forgetting who is on their side. Ps. 91 comes to mind...10,000 to my right and my left but the Lord saved me.

In Him, John

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Amen, brother!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Ah, yes, considering the blizzard about to hit us!

Nav said...

Ron and those Tall Steeplers, those at the Presbyterian Coalition, and the Biblical Presbyterian Network folks---might as well thrown in there the Presbyterians for Global Fellowship even though I don't know if they are really functioning any longer-----to all you folks in the above----I beg of you one thing---can you all meet at the same general time and place so those of us with limited travel money and time could make all the meetings and maybe, just maybe (here is a biggie) maybe you could all agree to meet at least part of the time as one group.
Pretty please.
Matt Ferguson, pastor
Hillsboro, IL

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

You're right!

We're not mushrooms!