South Florida Presbytery Overtures PCA GA to encourage action on Sanctity of Human Life issues

Abortion is wrong; it is sin. God as the righteous and holy Judge will not permit sin to be justified by human “situations.”

Over the years the PCA has received a number of overtures and requests on the issue of the Sanctity of Life. At one stage there were three significant votes in a row which ultimately defined the denomination’s position on abortion. The PCA found abortion to be murder at any time, for any reason:

Abortion is wrong; it is sin. God as the righteous and holy Judge will not permit sin to be justified by human “situations.” Thus the practical application in each of these cases is the consistent application of God’s absolute prohibition and the comfort derived from the knowledge that our greatest good is dependent upon our obedience to God. (6th General Assembly, 1978, Appendix O, page 270)

Although the 2010 overture from South Florida does not explicitly so state, it has been some time since the GA has spoken on the issue. Thus the timing of this overture appears understandable. (Read entire overture: [Editor’s note: the original URL (link) referenced is no longer valid, so the link has been removed.]

The overture does stress the fact that the issue needs attention now for political reasons: “Whereas a considerable number of our elected and appointed government leaders want to make and keep legal the killing of the unborn for any and every reason.”

In what appears to be a strategy to avoid arguments against the overture on the basis of the long-held by many Southern Presbyterian position of the Spiritual Nature of the Church, the appeal of the overture is NOT to ask the General Assembly to make a statement to these government leaders. Rather, they call upon the members of the denomination to take the requested action.

Actually, the call is to take action IMMEDIATELY: “…that we will encourage all our members to immediately begin to approach professing Christians in all denominations…”

Notice the call to action is ‘to approach professing Christians in all denominations.” Not to ‘participate’; but rather to ‘approach’. To take the lead. To be the one that begins the discussion.

The list of actions needed from members of all denominations (which clearly does not exclude Roman Catholics, who tend to stay out in front of this issue) is quite clear:

· To join with the entire Body of Christ for the protection of the unborn, acting in solidarity with other denominations in prayer and obedience to God, by whose sovereign might alone the scourge of legalized abortion will be broken;
· To speak prophetically against the culture of death, confronting it in the power of God’s truth;
· To hold our culture accountable before the binding and unchallengeable authority of God’s Holy Word over every man, woman, institution, and nation, in every area of life;
· To lovingly call offending parties to repentance in Jesus Christ, and restoration by the Holy Spirit to new obedience;
· To proclaim the authoritative truth of God, both to our own members and in the public square, concerning God’s righteous demands upon the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of our government at every level.

This Overture has been assigned to the Committee of Commissioners on Overtures (OC), which is an enlarged Committee with two members allowed from each Presbytery and special rules for presentation of recommendations to the General Assembly.

This is the Committee that also will be dealing with the issue of the ministry of women (especially in diaconal functions), the use of ‘intincture’ method of distributing elements during the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper during General Assembly, and several requested changes to the Book of Church Order.

The OC has also been assigned one overture dealing with the issue of the proposed change in the U. S. Military ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy of dealing with homosexuals in the services, while the MNA Committee of Commissioners on Mission to North America (whose Permanent Committee oversees the role of Chaplains) has been assigned two other overtures on this topic, as well as a recommendation from the Joint Commission on Chaplains. (This issue will be a topic for a later story from The Aquila Report.)