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.