13 June 2007

brief comment

Several folks have asked me to move a comment I made below up to the level of a post.

Before doing so, I wanted to say how encouraging it is, watching our General Assembly, to hear about all the good work that God is doing through churches, institutions, and individuals in the PCA. There are many signs of health and life in the denomination - from RUF to church plants to foreign missions - and I am, in so many ways, grateful to have been raised within a tradition of such faithful witness to the truths of the Gospel and the heritage of the Reformation.

It's also obvious how much effort has been put into the smooth operation of the Assembly.

On other matters, as you may know, the General Assembly of the PCA approved the recommendations attached to the report about which I expressed serious concerns below.

The commissioners at GA didn't share my concerns or they didn't think that such concerns, even if legitimate, outweighed what they saw as the importance or strengths of the report, or perhaps they weren't all aware of the kinds of concerns I raised. So be it.

But I would also suggest that we shouldn't overblow the significance of the vote, whatever side of the issues we might find ourselves.

The GA merely commended the report as useful and endorsed the nine declarations as expressing the teaching of our Standards. The intent of those declarations is pretty clear and should, I think, seem innocuous for anyone ordained in the PCA, even if one might quibble with the wording of several of them.

So where does that leave things? Now matters are in the hands of each presbytery to examine individual presbyters and ordinands as to their views and, more locally, in the hands of church sessions.

I still think the report is deeply flawed and potentially detrimental to the ongoing life of the PCA. I sincerely hope it doesn't prove a harmful tool in over-zealous hands. And, of course, I am disappointed in the vote.

Nevertheless, I pray that God grants wisdom, patience, and collegiality to our presbyteries and other bodies as they seek to learn from the report and discern how best to apply it. I also see this as a great opportunity for continuing to learn from one another and to further unpack the riches and gifts of our Reformed tradition.

So, with all that in mind, let's move forward and continue to take up our place in God's mission to our world.