Saturday, May 29, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 12

The body of the Strategic Plan is followed by three charts: Safe Places; More Seats; In God’s global mission. I will not address these in detail. Instead, I will make some comments on themes and specific items.

Notice, first of all, how central the CMC is in everything. You may rightfully ask what the CMC is. It is “comprised of the coordinators and presidents of PCA agencies and committees, and the past six moderators of the General Assembly” (quoted from This already sounds more episcopal than presbyterian, a problem that others also have commented on.

Under Theme 1: Safe Places consider the following: establish “prime time” forums at GA. So what happens to GA, if the pre-Assembly and early morning times are already taken up by seminars on various topics. I realize that the PCA has been moving toward making the actual actions of GA less and less significant over the years (to the extent that two years ago [I did not attend in 2009] the entire business of the GA was done in about 8 hours. This, of course, did not include the endless self-congratulatory “informational” presentations of the committees and agencies, but was limited to the items that were actually discussed and voted on. That is GA’s dirty little secret: most of the week is devoted to non-essentials and vacation time..

Under Theme 2: More Seats consider the following: “establish standards for voluntary certification of men and women for specific non-ordained vocational ministries.” What is “non-ordained vocational ministry”? The PCA, in her constitutional documents, recognizes vocational ministry to be limited to the offices of elder and deacon. There has been, and continues to be, debate over whether the office of elder is a single office or two offices (hence the two-office vs. three-office debate). But we recognize, and I don’t see any biblical defense for such a thing as certified non-ordained vocational ministry. As a result, whether the authors of this intended it or not, it begins to look like the camel’s nose under the edge of the tent for ordination of women to church offices (deacon and elder). Or it might look like the camel’s nose under the edge of the tent for the discarding of the doctrine of ordination altogether, as some evangelical churches have already done.

Also under Theme 2: consider “alternative ordination credentialing of men for constituencies.” I’m not necessarily opposed to considering such, but the strong negative here is that historically this approach has produced a two-tiered ministry, and those who have pursued the “alternative credentialing” have always found themselves on the bottom of the pile. What this produces is not an end to disadvantaged constituencies, but an institutional perpetuation of them.

Also under Theme 2: consider “Formalize CEP Women’s Ministries organization for women in vocational ministries.” What are “women in vocational ministries”? Are they women who work in the church office? Are they women who work with the deacons? Are they women who work with adoption agencies and centers that provide alternatives to abortion? We have a major problem with definitions here, and one suspects that the CMC is hoping we won’t notice it.

I won’t even go into Theme 3. It is all so drearily like a corporate organization chart, and about as spiritual as a doorknob. I know the men who produced this thing mean well. I know they put a lot of hard work into it. But it is as dry as dust.

For others comments on the Strategic Plan, see the following:

And this:

And this:

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