I have not addressed many of the other underlying theological problems of the nature of homosexuality and how it is to be viewed and treated in individuals, but I believe that if we do not confront the errors of aberrant sexual beliefs and practices will change the course of the PCA. It can happen. There are several things every PCA member can do now.
The time has come to take action to stop the pro-homosexual agenda that is pushing for control of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). For all PCA members like-minded as me, there is something you can do today! It is an emergency, and it demands your immediate attention.
Presbyterianism has built-in safeguards in its Book of Church Order (BCO) to protect the rights of all of her officers and churches. I think this is good. However, it means that court procedures of the Church move very slowly. The process of making decisions by the courts take time. The good news is that today there is already in process action to protect the PCA from the control of a dangerous minority.
Since the last General Assembly Meeting (2019) there have been several presbyteries that have taken action to reverse the direction of the PCA. Two presbyteries have sent “references” to Missouri Presbytery asking for an investigation of Rev. Greg Johnson.
Two presbyteries have sent overtures to the upcoming 2020 General Assembly asking the Assembly to assume original jurisdiction in the investigation of Rev. Johnson (see here and here). This means, these overtures will be sent to the Standing Judicial Commission, which will determine if there is a strong presumption of guilt against Rev. Johnson, and if so, it will conduct a trial.
Lastly, the Lowcountry Presbytery of South Carolina has sent an overture to the General Assembly asking to amend the BCO to prohibit the ordination of anyone identifying as a “homosexual Christian.” The overture specifically requests that the BCO plainly state that “Men who identify as “gay Christian,” “same sex attracted Christian,” and/ or “homosexual Christian” shall be deemed as unfit for ordination in the Presbyterian Church in America.”
In my opinion, the two “references” to Missouri Presbytery did not accomplish anything substantial. Their recent open letter indicated their continued support for the views and actions of Rev. Johnson and the Memorial PCA Session. With regard to the two overtures requesting the General Assembly to assume original jurisdiction over Rev. Johnson, the SJC, if the overtures are found in order, will be responsible to conduct an investigation under BCO 31-2 and conduct a trial if found necessary. There is a precedent case that came before the General Assembly at the 2000 General Assembly that will help make the argument that these two overtures should be accepted and that the Standing Judicial Commission should handle the matter.
I believe that the most credible avenue for change in the PCA is in the proposed change to the Book of Church Order. This must be approved by a majority vote of two consecutive General Assemblies and the approval of 2/3 of the presbyteries.
The result of this proposed change to the BCO is that it puts Missouri Presbytery on notice. If the amendment is approved, then it would be out of order to ordain men as teaching or ruling elders who do not meet the qualifications of the BCO. To ordain men as elders deemed not to be qualified would violate the BCO and would open the perpetrators to church discipline. Rather than face church discipline, I contend that many of these men would leave the PCA.
Of course, this does not address many of the other underlying theological problems of the nature of homosexuality and how it is to be viewed and treated in individuals, but I believe that if we do not confront the errors of aberrant sexual beliefs and practices that they will change the course of the PCA. It can happen.
There are several things every PCA member can do now.
- If you are a ruling or teaching elder, you or your church should have received a Commissioner Registration Form from the PCA Office of the Stated Clerk for the 48th General Assembly to be held in Birmingham, Alabama June 16-19. Be sure and go. As a retired elder, I have not gone to the GA in years, but I plan to go this year. I have already sent in my registration form. We must be sure we have the majority vote at the GA in order to approve the proposed change to the Book of Church Order.
- If you are a member of the PCA and not an elder, then contact your pastor and elders today and remind them of their responsibility to be there. Too many elders in the PCA just don’t think it is that important or think we have already lost the battle. Be aggressive and demand (in a Christian spirit) that they attend. If you are afraid to do this, then just download a hard copy of this article and give it to your elders or send them a copy via email.
- If money is an issue, then help raise the funds for them to attend. Hopefully, your Church will have the funds, but many churches don’t. These men should not have to pay out of their own pockets. I know for a fact that this fund-raising effort is already happening in some places. If you need funding assistance to attend GA, go here to get helpful information: https://www.moreinthepca.org/
- Encourage your elders to attend every presbytery meeting in the coming year. Each church has the right to send two ruling elders to every presbytery meeting. Your pastor is already a member of the presbytery and has a responsibility to attend.
- Assuming that the proposed Book of Church Order changes pass this year’s General Assembly and the 2/3 of the presbyteries approve it, then it still needs to be approved by the following General Assembly in 2021 in St. Louis, Missouri. Remember, there must be a majority vote in two consecutive General Assemblies.
Years ago, my seven-year-old grandson went to Mayo Clinic to have major heart surgery to save his life. My wife and I took money from our savings to be present there. We drove for days in order to be with him. It was that important to us. He survived and today he is one of the great joys of my life.
I have other grandchildren who are part of the PCA. Their spiritual condition is just as important to me. I want them to be raised in a denomination that stands on the authority of the clear teaching of the word of God. It is that important to me. The course of the PCA must be changed. This is an emergency. Take action today!
Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.