Two weeks ago I wrote this letter to Dr. Rosaria Butterfield. It is self-explanatory. I am publishing it now as she has not responded, nor has she responded to other similar communications from others. My blog post I note in the letter will be published shortly.
Dear Dr. Butterfield,
Grace and Peace.
Thank you for your diligent and faithful work in the Gospel, and for all the help and encouragement you have brought to so many through your writing and speaking. When I served as Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas and quoted ‘Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert’ for the first time, I was met at the door after the service by a couple who were Syracuse U grads expressing dumbfounded astonishment that I was quoting you in that context. They had not as yet heard your story and could hardly believe it. I remember the great joy they had in the discovery of your faith in Christ and their fresh amazement at God’s grace because of this wonderful news.
I wish I was writing today only to express my profound gratitude, which is very real and remains, despite some recent pain you’ve caused by what I believe to be an uninformed public judgment of Rev. Greg Johnson that you made in a recent presentation. Sadly I am compelled to write to you about this matter, doing so with high hopes that I might persuade you to at least consider a different approach than the one your presentation represents.
Please find attached a blog post I have prepared for publication concerning these remarks. In my view, your words about Pastor Johnson are damaging not only to him and the congregation he serves (which would be troubling enough) but also to the peace and purity of the Church. If I understand you correctly, your words are, I believe, inaccurate, slanderous, and make false accusations against a minister in good standing in the PCA, a denomination that is, like the RPCNA, a NAPARC member.
Here is a brief excerpt of the blog post:
In a recent talk Dr. Butterfield gave at a Christian Conference, she offered in the bulk of her presentation what I can only describe as a thorough-going, godly, Biblical account of human identity in reference to a great deal of the sexual confusion that’s making the rounds in our society. It did include an unfortunate and shaming use of humor that muddied the waters, but that aside I can affirm the content she delivered.
That duly noted, at the end of her talk, Dr. Butterfield turned her considerable verbal and intellectual guns in a different direction and offered what I can only describe as a thorough-going, ungodly, decidedly anti-Biblical slander and false witness against a Pastor. His name is Greg Johnson, and like me, he’s a Pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).
and further along –
The problem arises because Rosaria Butterfield singles out particular persons and accuses them of theological mischief-making and being false shepherds, when in fact one of those persons, namely Rev. Johnson, has already been examined on his life, theology, and practice by the ecclesiastical body to which he is accountable (the Missouri Presbytery of the PCA) and found to be innocent of anything resembling what Rosaria Butterfield claims he believes and is doing. The claims she makes concerning Greg are false and slanderous.
Dr. Butterfield, I am writing to ask two questions of you.
First, have I misunderstood your remarks in any way or misrepresented your words in any way in what I have written about them? If so, I am eager to better understand what you meant, clarify my writing as a result, or perhaps avoid posting this at all.
Secondly, have you interacted with Rev. Johnson by email or conversation to address the matters you raise? It is my understanding that so far you have not done so. Again, I will not publish this blog post if you are both discussing these issues and working on what can only be so far described as a damaging attack on a minister in good standing.
I hope you know that I have no desire to publish what I’ve written. I also believe, however, that I am required by the Westminster Larger Catechism’s teaching on the Ninth Commandment to do so IF I have understood you correctly and IF you are unwilling to deal with the matter with Pastor Johnson himself. I also hope you realize that writing this email brings me no joy at all; indeed, I am deeply grieved and concerned about the disruption and pain that surrounds this matter.
Dr. Butterfield, I have recommended your books on countless occasions and given away numerous copies as well. I have benefited very much indeed from your work, and I trust that will always be the case.
It is exactly because of my very high esteem for you and your faithful witness that I urge you to speak with Pastor Johnson and hear directly from him about his views and work. I cannot imagine that if you do so, you will reach a conclusion about him that is congruent with your already published remarks.
Rev. David Cassidy
Christ Community Church (PCA)
Categories in: General