2023 PCA General Assembly: Summary of 20 Key Events

By Ruling Elder Kevin Miller & Pastor George Sayour

The Presbyterian Church in America just completed its Jubilee Assembly in Memphis, TN!  This 50th General Assembly on this 50th Anniversary year was a God-Glorifying, Christ-Exalting, Body-Edifying Time to say the least.  It was a week full of the joy of the Lord in our worship and work. The week flew by as we reconnected with old friends and made new ones. We’d say that this GA was a statement on Transparency and Accountability as many of these items will show.  Here are the Top 20 Key Actions or Impressions of the 50th PCA GA (loosely in the order they came to the Assembly).

1) TE Fred Greco was Nominated Moderator 

Implication: Fred lived up to his reputation. He ran the Assembly with precision, wit, humor, and gravitas. The assembly ended earlier on Thursday than others in recent history.  A motion was made to make Fred the Permanent Moderator for GA.  Fred ruled the motion out of order.  😉

Last Year’s Overtures Language & Presbytery votes – approved at this GA go to pages 218-230.

2) Abuse Victim Protection Provisions (last year’s Overture 2021-40)

  • Passed Presbyteries: 77-3, Passed GA near unanimously
  • Implication: Victims of Abuse don’t have to testify in the presence of their abuser.

3) Qualifications for Church Office (last year’s Overture 29)

  • Passed Presbyteries 79-1, Passed GA near unanimously
  • Implication: An Officer’s views of Indwelling Sin, Actual Sin, and Sanctification matter.

4) Ordination Requirements and Procedures (last year’s Overture 31)

  • Passed Presbyteries 77-3, Passed GA near unanimously
  • Implication: Candidate’s views of Indwelling Sin, Actual Sin, and Sanctification matter.

5) Overture 7 – Improved Reporting Requirements for Agencies and Committees

  • Passed 1271-88, Goes into effect immediately
  • Effects MNA, MTW, RUF, Covenant College, Covenant Seminary, etc.
  • Implication: There will be more transparency and accountability for the PCA’s Agencies and Committees. This helps ensure they are operating according to the desires of the Assembly.

6) Metro NY Presbytery Referred to the SJC for allowing a Woman to Preach

  • This came out of the RPR Report
  • Implication: Our System Works. Women Preachers are not allowed at Worship Services.

7) NW Georgia Presbytery Referred to the SJC for Congregational Meeting Delinquencies

  • This came out of the RPR Report
  • Implication: Our System Works. Following the process of Congregational meetings matters.

8) RUF Affiliation Agreement was flagged because it was not approved by the Assembly

  • Reformed University Fellowship will need to rework the Contract for approval next year.
  • Implication: Agencies and Permanent Committees need GA Approval on Major Policy changes.

9) Nominating Committee Recommendations – All Were Approved by the Assembly

  • The Nominating Committee Recommended Great Men who will be added to the SJC, MNA, MTW, RUF, Covenant College and Covenant Seminary, and other Agency Boards and Permanent Committees.
  • Implication: PCA Agencies and Permanent Committees will have good guidance and oversight.

For the Overtures below: 2023 Overtures Committee Recommendations

10) Overture 23 – Requiring Officers Conformity to Biblical Standards of Sexuality

  • Passed (1673-223). This must now pass 2/3 of the Presbyteries this year.
  • Implication: Church officers must communicate their sin struggle according to the Biblical standard for chastity and sexual purity.

11) Overture 26 – Titles for Officers must Not be Used for Unordained People

  • Passed (1427-481). This must now pass 2/3 of the Presbyteries this year.
  • Implication: This clarifies how terms for our church offices are used and restricts them to only those who have been ordained according to Scripture as described in our Standards.

12) Overture 12 – Condemning Practice of Surgical & Medical Gender Reassignment Statement

  • Passed (1089-793). This takes effect immediately. It will be mailed to Federal & State Governments.
  • Implication: This will put the PCA on public record as taking a stance against transgender reassignment surgeries. Having a denominational stance on this issue can potentially benefit Christians in the public sphere when they may be required to take a stance against this evil.

13) Overture 28 – Reaffirm the “Message to All Churches” from 1973

  • Passed (1158-143), takes effect immediately
  • Implication: This statemen reaffirms the PCA’s 1973 so-called Declaration of Independence, showing our resolve to be faithful to our foundational principle and call our mother denomination, the PC(USA), to repentance.

14) Overture 14 –Attempt that would have Hindered PCA Members who are Lawyers from Aiding in PCA Courts

  • Voted down by the Assembly (unanimous as part of a larger (in gross) vote)
  • Implication: This preserves that professional lawyers can participate in the church courts without undue restrictions. The language of the proposal would have severely restricted the ability of those members and elders in the legal profession from aiding members in Church Discipline cases. Language in BCO already prohibits paid counsel.

15) Overture 13 – Attempt to Allow atheists to testify in the Church courts

  • Voted down by the Assembly (1091-751)
  • Implication: This maintains the current BCO language which requires a belief in “the existence God or a future state of rewards and punishments” in order to testify in the Church courts

16) Overture 15 – Attempt to Codify that Women Cannot Preach to Assembled Christians in the PCA

  • Voted by the Assembly to refer back to the Overture’s authors (1725-139)
  • Implication: The decision to “refer back’ indicates the Assembly’s desire to address the subject of women preaching, but they would like the authors to refine and clarify the language before resubmitting the overture.

17) Wonderful Worship Services, Sermons, and Exhortations for our 50th Year

  • Ligon Duncan’s Call to “Stand Strong in the Lord or You will Fear Man” During His Sermon
  • O. Palmer Robertson’s Call for us to Be Ministers who Stand on and Preach the Word of God and to Present Christ’s Bride Sanctified before Christ.
  • Worship & Assembly Videos

18) The Gospel Reformation Network Luncheon & its Honoring of the Late Dr. Harry Reeder

  • Over 700 people were present. This represents approx. 1/3 of the whole Assembly.
  • Shows a Commitment to the GRN Vision “To Cultivate Healthy Reformed Churches in the Presbyterian Church in America.”

 19) The Administrative Committee and Host Committee Did a Wonderful Job!

  • Thank you to all involved in making PCA GA 50 a Christ-honoring success in Memphis, TN!

20) All indications lead us to believe that the PCA is heading in the right direction.

  • The last 3 GA’s have shown that Transparency, Accountability, and Faithfulness are increasing.
  • Membership, Pastors, RUF Chapters, Church Plants, and Missionaries are all growing in #.
  • Read the Stated Clerk’s Report
  • May we remain Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission.

For Full Details on each of the Above Items, visit Pastor George’s Blog and scroll to the second half of that page.

Watch Ruling Elder Kevin Miller and Pastor George Discuss in Detail each of the Above Points along with show pictures and parts of the Assembly.