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Archive for the ‘PCA stuff’ Category

Just heard about a proposed decision on a recent case in the PCA that had been appealed to the Standing Judicial Commission. There are a number of interesting points in the proposed decision of the majority but look at this one:

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America is of course subject to and subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. We need to be able to affirm that the use of words in our Standards is faithful to Scriptural intent and meaning. However, we cannot now argue that because the Constitution uses a word in a single way, the church must restrict its formal use of that word to the manner in which it is used in the Constitution. To do so would be to subject the Scriptures to our Standards, and effectively sever the tie that allows for our historic understanding of semper reformata. [emphasis mine]

Now a little context. The issue before the SJC panel was whether a church had violated the Westminster Standards and the PCA Book of Church Order by calling a woman who had been hired to work on the church staff, a “minister” (specifically the “minister of church life”). She was not ordained though she does have a degree from a seminary. Some members of this church’s presbytery objected to this claiming that our standards only used the word “minister” to refer to an ordained, male-only position. In their defense, the church responded that even though that is how the standards use the word, in the Bible, the term has a much broader meaning. AND, since our standards are subject to the Bible, calling a woman a “minister” is not something that should bring them under any discipline, as it is perfectly biblical though not in accord with the stipulated definition of the term as it is used in the confessional standards.

In the part of the decision cited, the SJC panel agreed with this reasoning, stating as you saw, “we cannot now argue that because the Constitution uses a word in a single way, the church must restrict its formal use of that word to the manner in which it is used in the Constitution. To do so would be to subject the Scriptures to our Standards, and effectively sever the tie that allows for our historic understanding of semper reformata.” To which I respond first with a hearty “wow” and second with a question: Does this mean that the PCA is now ready to admit the same in regard to the terms “election,” “elect,” “regeneration,” “union with Christ” and “church”? Or is it only the term “minister” which can be understood in a broader way than the Confession defines it?

And further, if this preliminary judgment is adopted by the full SJC, does that mean that the PCA is now ready to allow this kind of “confusion” and “lack of clarity” not to mention the potential such a decision has for opening the door to another “departure from the Reformed Faith which-strikes-at-the-vitals-of-religion”? Will they allow this revolutionary judgment to stand? A judgment which, as even the panel itself admits, protects “our historic understanding of semper reformanda“?

And, one more question: the panel states that “we cannot now argue that because the Constitution uses a word in a single way, the church must restrict its formal use of that word to the manner in which it is used in the Constitution.” So what has happened to bring about the prohibition of this argument now?

I don’t know . . . . all this sounds mighty fishy if you ask me.

[thanks to the Bayly brothers and John Allen Bankson for the heads-up]

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