Wednesday, June 14, 2017

PCA GA 2017

Debate on the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church. This committee was formed at the behest of last year's General Assembly, amid concern that women were not getting their rightful due in the PCA. The Committee was appointed and did a great deal of hard work over the last year to get the report ready. For that, they are to be commended. There are three parts to the report. There is first what is called the narrative part of the report. This consists of the following chapters: I. Introduction, which explains the origin of the committee and its purpose; II. A Biblical Foundation for the Roles of Women in the Church; III. Ordination--A Definition, With Special Reference to the Office of the Diaconate; IV. Encouraging a Robust and Gracious Complementarian Practice; V. Pastoral Letter and Recommendations. This portion of the report is about sixty pages, so it is not a brief document.
The second part is the recommendations. The third part is the rationale that the committee provided for each of the nine recommendations.
Ordinarily, with aa report such as this, if it is approved, the report and the rationales are preserved in the Minutes of the GA, while only the recommendations are sent down to the presbyteries for implementation. The first recommendation was a matter of procedure and was unexceptionable. The remaining eight recommendations are debatable. There was first a substitute motion to send the whole report (narrative, recommendations, and rationales) to the presbyteries for study and debate. That motion was defeated. The first recommendation was approved. The remaining eight recommendations could have been approved omnibus (all together) or each debated and dealt with separately. The vote was to deal with each separately. Recommendations 2 and 3 were debated but eventually passed. The Assembly was debating Recommendation 4 when it became apparent that we would not finish the debate before the order of the day, which was worship (4:30 PM). In parliamentary procedure, an order of the day item is fixed, and cannot be postponed. The Assembly thus recessed about 4:20. We will continue to deal with the recommendations when we reconvene tomorrow at 9:30 AM. If you are interested in the text of the Report or the Recommendations, you can PM me on Facebook.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Praying the Bible #2 Genesis 2

O Lord God, we praise you that you have made us, that you have breathed into us the breath of life. We thank you that you have established for us the pattern of six days of labor and one of rest. We thank you for the day of rest, that it is not simply a day of relaxation, but a day blessed, a day sanctified unto you, a day in which you are the object of our praise and our consideration.

We praise you that you have given us the gift of labor, that we are not called to idleness. Enable us to praise you with the work of our hands, that we may labor as unto you and not as eye-pleasers. We pray especially for those who labor in tilling the soil, for those who provide the bread for our tables. Bless them in their labor. Make their labor fruitful for the good of all.

We thank you for the gift of marriage. You have given man a helper suitable to him. The two you have joined together as one. We pray for all those who are married, that we would treasure this gift, that we would cultivate our marriages as the farmer cultivates the soil, ass the shepherd cares for his flock. We pray for those who are unmarried, yet long to be. Provide for them according to your wisdom. We pray for those whom you have called to be unmarried for the work of the kingdom. Strengthen them that they might be careful for the work of the Lord.

We ask all this in the name of Jesus, who carried out all his labor for your glory and for the sake of his bride, the church. Amen.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Praying the Bible #1

The chapter divisions of the Bible are not inspired. In some cases, they seem downright loony. But they do present a convenient way of breaking the text down into smaller, more manageable units. Those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I have been posting brief prayers of the day for several months. I will continue to do that. But I will occasionally post a longer prayer, based on, or drawn from, a chapter of the Bible. There are 1189 chapters in Protestant Bibles. I would eventually like to post a prayer based on each one, but that will depend on the length of life God is pleased to grant, since I won’t be posting one a day. I will proceed sequentially through the Bible, so the prayers from Leviticus and Numbers might be interesting. At any rate, here is a prayer based on Genesis 1.

O God, you spoke and it came to be. Everything. Then you spoke again and the everything began to be divided into somethings. You made light. You made the day and the night. You separated the waters and gathered them together into seas. You populated the sky and the sea and the land with creatures adapted to each. We scan the skies and the seas and the land and we are astounded by the diversity and the beauty of the lives that you created. We look at the sun and the moon and the stars and we know that however immense is the universe, it is not immense to you. The intricacy of the systems you created overwhelms us, yet they are not overwhelming to you. On the sixth day, you created man male and female. We wonder what is man, such a small part of such a great creation, yet you have made us in your image. You have called us to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth, to subdue it, to have dominion over it. Make us equal to the task. Make us faithful to our calling to be the stewards of your creation. Most of all, let us remember that we are not our own. We are your creatures, created for your glory. Help us to seek that glory in all that we do. We ask in the name of Jesus, by whom and for whom all things were created. Amen.