by Pastor George Sayour (www.irreverentreverend.org) 6/27/2022
This year’s General Assembly was held in Birmingham, AL, the birthplace of the PCA. The number of voting Commissioners, TEs & REs (often referred to as Pastors and Elders), was around 2300 and was a record. The Assembly was a blessed time of co-laboring for the Kingdom with many like-minded brothers, for the Glory of God, the Good of Christ’s Church, and the Spread of the Gospel.
Here JUST A FEW highlights from the Assembly.
Pastor George’s 2022 PCA GA Update & Commentary VIDEOS:
1) Approved Petitioning the U.S. Government to End Abortion
Therefore Be it Resolved, That the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, on behalf of the Presbyterian Church in America, be directed to communicate to the President of the United States, the leaders of Congress, and the Governors and leaders of the State Legislatures of the 50 States, the following statement:
“God declares in Sacred Scripture that civil government, no less than the Church, is a divine institution and owes its authority to God. The Bible is the supreme revelation of God’s will and teaches that the unborn child is a human person deserving the full protection of the Sixth Commandment, “You shall not murder”.
We who love our nation, in the name of God who alone is sovereign, call upon you to renounce the sin of abortion, to repent of the complicity in the mass slaughter of innocent unborn children, who are persons in the sight of God, and to reverse the ruinous direction of both law and practice in this area. The obedience to God which places us in subjection to your rightful authority, requires of us to proclaim the counsel of God as it bears upon the same God-given authority.”
2) Taking Abuse Seriously
- The PCA Study Report on Abuse was Presented.
- Overture 2021-40 To Allow Victim Protection Provisions – This ammends BCO 35:1-5. The gist of this is that victims of abuse don’t have to testify in church courts in the presence of their alleged abuser. This is common sense, but there was previously no provision in our BCO for this. This will have to pass 2/3 of the presbyteries.
3) Voted (1030-699) to Leave the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals)
- This is Good. We don’t need this outside Political Organization speaking on our behalf. There are no other NAPARC (North American Presbyterian & Reformed Churches) Churches in the NAE. We have very little in common with these other member churches.
- This will save the PCA an estimated up to $50,000/yr
- Christianity Today Article Reporting on this News
- Floor Speech in Favor of Leaving the NAE
4) Clarifying HOW the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) will Take Original Jurisdiction of a Case
This is good, since some Presbyteries don’t do discipline on ministers who create public scandal and the SJC couldn’t previously assume original jurisdiction if Presbyteries conducted an investigation. In the low point of the Assembly, there was a Minority Report on this Overture which was ruled Intemperate for Impugning the motives of those who wanted the Overture. It implied there was an issue with their honesty in a number of places and fear-mongered unnecessarily. Thankfully, the Minority Report failed and the Overture passed. This will have to pass 2/3 of Presbyteries.
Floor Speech by TE Fred Greco in Favor of this Change. TE Greco Chairs the SJC, and is in the best position to know the affects of this Overture and he is for it.
Overture 8 – (Key Lines)
BCO 34-1 as amended would read
34-1. Process against a minister shall be entered before the Presbytery of which he is a member. However, if the Presbytery does not indict in either doctrinal cases or instances of public scandal and at least ten percent (10%) of Presbyteries request the General Assembly to assume original jurisdiction for a case of process, the General Assembly shall do so. The General Assembly may assess the costs thereof equitably among the parties, including the petitioning Presbyteries and the Presbytery of the minister.
BCO 33-1 would be amended similarly for Presbyteries to take Original Jurisdiction over Church cases.
5) Officer & Ordination Standards (These will have to pass 2/3 of Presbyteries)
These are the Overtures meant to replace last year’s Overtures regarding forbidding the Ordination of Gay Pastors. The point in these is not to disqualify a man from holding office for simply having Same-Sex Attraction(s) but it is how he views those attractions as they relate to his identity, being, sanctification, and repentance.
- Overture 15 (Passed 55% – 45%)
BCO 7-4 as amended would read: Men who identify describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America
Floor Speech by O. Palmer Robertson in Favor of Overture 15
- Overture 29 (Passed by 90 % )
Pastor Greg Johnson of Memorial Presbyterian Church was the only floor speech against this Overture. He said he can affirm everything in it, but doesn’t want it in the Book of Church Order because enough harm has been done to the gay community. It should be noted, this does not make mention of any particular sin. This overture passed overwhelmingly (1922-200). Here is what it says:
BCO 16-4 as amended would read: Officers in the Presbyterian Church in America must be above reproach in their walk and Christlike in their character. While office bearers will see spiritual perfection only in glory, they will continue in this life to confess and to mortify remaining sins in light of God’s work of progressive sanctification. Therefore, to be qualified for office, they must affirm the sinfulness of fallen desires, the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, and be committed to the pursuit of Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations, inclinations, and actions.
- Overture 31 (Passed Unanimously)
BCO 21-4.e as amended would read: Ordination Requirements and Procedures
In the examination of the candidate’s personal character, the presbytery shall give specific attention to potential notorious concerns. Careful attention must be given to his practical struggle against sinful actions, as well as to persistent sinful desires. The candidate must give clear testimony of reliance upon his union with Christ and the benefits thereof by the Holy Spirit, depending on this work of grace to make progress over sin (Psalm 103:2-5, 15 Romans 8:29) and to bear fruit (Psalm 1:3, Gal. 5:22-23). While imperfection will remain, when confessing sins and sinful temptations publicly, the candidate must exercise great care not to diminish the seriousness of those sins in the eyes of the congregation, as though they were matters of little consequence, but rather should testify to the work of the Holy Spirit in his progress in holiness (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
BCO 24-1 would be amended similarly for Ruling Elders and Deacons.
6) Miscellaneous Items.
- Overtures Condemning CRT, Secret Orgs in the PCA, & Political Violence ALL FAILED.
- Floor Speech Against Secret Societies (While I’m not sure the language of the Overture was good, This speaker makes some important points and he quotes some released emails of a secret society that are cringeworthy)
- Floor Speech Against the Statement re Political Violence (I agree with this speaker)
- Reduced Fee for Ruling Elders to $300. Teaching Elders increased to $500 (or $550?) This is good as REs have to take vacation and often pay out of pocket. Hopefully this will encourage more REs to attend.
- Nominating Committee Nominees for Permanent Committees, Agencies, Boards, Standing Judicial Commission were mostly Conservative Confessional Men. This will have a long-term impact.
- A lot of Overtures passed around our BCO Processes for how we do things within churches, presbyteries, and church discipline.
- Last year’s Overtures that passed the Presbyteries were all approved.
- 50th Anniversary Plans underway for Next Year’s Assembly