PCA GA: AC Committee of Commissioners Recommends Not Erecting Study Committee on Women In Ministry

The AC Committee of Commissioners votes 31-7 to recommend that the PCA General Assembly not approve the proposal to erect a study committee on women in ministry.

The Cooperative Ministries Committee (CMC) of the Presbyterian Church in America approved sending a recommendation to the PCA General Assembly that it erect a study committee on the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church. This proposal was assigned to the Committee of Commissioners (CoC) reviewing the work of the Administrative Committee (AC). The CoC considered this proposal and voted 31-7 to recommend that the General Assembly answer the proposal in the negative.

 

The Cooperative Ministries Committee (CMC) of the Presbyterian Church in America approved sending a recommendation to the PCA General Assembly that it erect a study committee on the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church. This proposal was assigned to the Committee of Commissioners (CoC) reviewing the work of the Administrative Committee (AC). The CoC considered this proposal and voted 31-7 to recommend that the General Assembly answer the proposal in the negative. The issue will be debated on the GA floor with the CMC and CoC recommendations considered over against one another.

The CMC proposal is “Recommendation 3”and proposes the following:

That –

  • The Assembly form a study committee on the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church (RAO 9-1; 9-3). The Assembly authorizes the Moderator to appoint the study committee. The study committee should be made up of competent men and women representing the diversity of opinions within the PCA (RAO 9-1; Robert’s Rules of Order [11th edition], §13, pp. 174-175, §50, pp.495-496, §50, pp. 497-498 §56, p. 579]).
  • The committee should give particular attention to the issues of:

(1)   The biblical basis, theology, history, nature, and authority of ordination;

(2)   The biblical nature and function of the office of deacon;

(3)   Clarification on the ordination or commissioning 1 of deacons/deaconesses;

(4)   Should the findings of the study committee warrant BCO changes, the study committee will propose such changes for the General Assembly to consider.

  • The committee will have a budget of $15,000 that is funded by designated donations to the AC from churches and individuals (RAO 9-2).
  • A Pastoral Letter to be proposed by the ad interim study committee and approved by the General Assembly be sent to all churches, encouraging them to (1) promote the practice of women in ministry, (2) appoint women to serve alongside elders and deacons in the pastoral work of the church, and (3) hire women on church staff in appropriate ministries.

Grounds: The Cooperative Ministries Committee may not make recommendations directly to the General Assembly but must do so through an appropriate committee or agency (RAO 7-3 c; 7-6). The CMC has had a subcommittee on the role of women and has sent several recommendations to the AC (including a proposal for a study committee on the issue women serving in the church) and CDM to bring to the Assembly.

The AC Committee of Commissioners recommended the following to answer Recommendation 3:

That Rec 3 (lines 34-43, p 306 and 1-16, p307) be answered in the negative.

GROUNDS:

The action of the PCA 37th GA [2009] is clear on this subject: “Unlike most issues for which past general assemblies have erected study committees, the question of the role of women in the church is not a new or unstudied issue. As such, the proposed study committee is unlikely to break new ground or shed new insights.” (M37GA, 296)

Further, the decisions of the 36th and 37th General Assemblies, “That presbyteries are reminded that appropriate ways to bring these issues before the Assembly are through presbytery overtures to amend the BCO, or by way of reference (BCO 41)” (M36GA, 205, #9; M37GA, 297), reminds the Assembly that the preferred method of bringing changes to the BCO and the calling of study committees should be through the Presbyteries.”