Overture 1 to the General Assembly of the PCA

“Amend BCO 15-1 and 15-3 to give Presbyteries the Additional Option of 3 Appointing a Judicial Commission Whose Decision Would Be Final”

However, one problem remains: the commission that is given full power to render the final verdict would still not be under a final approval or disapproval by the presbytery. It is far more difficult to get a decision overturned by means of a complaint (when, by the time the complaint is heard, most of the presbyters are not really willing to deal with something that they feel is over and done with) than it is simply to overturn the commission’s verdict at the presbytery meeting without using the complaint.

 

Overture 1 of this year’s overtures has to do with how presbyteries handle judicial cases by means of a commission. According to the rationale, the amendments give the presbyteries three options: 1. hear the case as a whole presbytery; 2. appoint a judicial commission to bring a recommendation (maybe this should be called a judicial committee?); or 3. appoint a judicial commission to render the presbytery’s final verdict. According to the rationale, this could still allow for complaints to be filed against the decision.

However, one problem remains: the commission that is given full power to render the final verdict would still not be under a final approval or disapproval by the presbytery. It is far more difficult to get a decision overturned by means of a complaint (when, by the time the complaint is heard, most of the presbyters are not really willing to deal with something that they feel is over and done with) than it is simply to overturn the commission’s verdict at the presbytery meeting without using the complaint. There is less inertia, if you will. For these reasons, unless a fix to the full accountability problem can be found, I will probably vote against it.

Lane Keister is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is pastor of Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Winnsboro, S.C. This article appeared on his blog and is used with permission.