Saturday, June 06, 2015

Wrap-Up on GA Overtures

TVP and Sabbath Recreation

North Texas Presbytery produced an overture urging the formation of a study committee to rethink the “recreation clauses” in the Westminster Standards’ treatment of Sabbath observance. Tennessee Valley Presbytery duplicated the overture, but added a brief paper. In this paper, it is argued that there is neither a direct command against Sabbath recreation, nor is there a good and necessary consequence argument against Sabbath recreation. The chief problem with the paper was that the paper utterly failed to address the essential question: What is recreation? The paper specifically rejects dealing with the historical situation: “It is our belief that the case for or against recreation on the Sabbath must be made from Scripture. For that reason we do not enter into the historical situation that gave rise to the Assembly dealing with this specific matter.” But it is only in the historical particulars that we can find out what the divines meant by the word “recreations.” Unless we understand what that word means in the context, we have no business stating a difference with the Standards, because we don’t know what we are differing from. We might even be in full agreement with what we think we differ from.

There are more problems with the TVP paper, but I’ve already said enough. In sum, I don’t think the TVP paper forwards the discussion at all.

From the Potomac to Paraguay

Potomac Presbytery has brought an overture asking that a commission be formed in order to form “a provisional Presbytery in Paraguay with the goal of establishing an indigenous Presbyterian and Reformed Church.” While I have no principial objection to the idea, the supporting rationale makes me wonder if maybe this step is coming a little too early in the process. As far as I can tell from the rationale (which is less forthcoming than it should be), there is one church and three active church plants. But we have no idea of the size of any of these works. We have no idea what “active” means. There is one pastor, so it’s not clear who is doing the church plants. There is one pastoral candidate. So there seems to be a total of four churches, three of them plants, and two pastors, one of which is only a candidate. I appreciate the vision for the future, but it seems things in Paraguay need to get more established before the PCA starts talking about establishing a provisional presbytery there.

No comments: