"Declare that the 44th General Assembly Erred in the Formation of an Ad Interim Committee on Women, that (RAO 11-5) the General Assembly not Receive the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women as not Being Properly before the Court, and Dismiss the Ad Interim Committee with Apology."

Westminster Presbytery Overtures the PCA 45th GA Not to Receive the Ad Interim Committee Report on the Role of Women

Overture 3 asks the 45th General Assembly to acknowledge the 44th GA erred and that it not receive the report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women.

“Declare that the 44th General Assembly Erred in the Formation of an Ad Interim Committee on Women, that (RAO 11-5) the General Assembly not Receive the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women as not Being Properly before the Court, and Dismiss the Ad Interim Committee with Apology.”

 

Westminster Presbytery approved an overture at its November 12, 2016 Stated Meeting, asking the 45th PCA General Assembly to “Declare that the 44th General Assembly erred in the formation of an Ad Interim Committee on Women, that (RAO 11-5) the General Assembly not receive the report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women as not being properly before the Court, and dismiss the Ad Interim Committee with apology.”

The overture will be considered by the 45thGeneral Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America when it meets in Greensboro, N.C., June 12-16, 2017. An overture is a means by which a Presbytery can bring a matter to the GA for consideration.

Specifically, the overture states in part that “the proposal to erect the committee did not arise from a lower court of the church, but came from the Cooperative Ministries Committee.” It continues, “The Scripture’s teaching that women are not permitted to hold ecclesiastical office has been recognized and stipulated in our Constitution from the inception of the PCA, and consistently reaffirmed in the courts of the Church;” and that “The ad interim committee on the Role of Women has placed women on the committee as members, thereby placing women in the position not only of potentially exercising authority over the men on the committee, but also over the members and churches of the denomination.”

Consequently, Westminster Presbytery in the overture expresses “its deep concerns over the manner in which this business was introduced to the General Assembly, the erection of the committee itself, the constituency of the committee,” and then requests “the 45th General Assembly to acknowledge the errors of the 44th General Assembly in this matter; that the General Assembly not receive the report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women as not being properly before the court, and dismiss the Ad Interim Committee with apology.”

 

Proposed Overture 3 from the Westminister Presbytery
to the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (2017)

Whereas, the 44th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America voted to erect a committee to study the role of women in ministry within the denomination; and

Whereas, the proposal to erect the committee did not arise from a lower court of the church, but came from the Cooperative Ministries Committee (CMC) composed of “the chairmen and chief administrative officers of the General Assembly permanent Committees and Agencies, with current Moderator and immediate past five moderators of the General Assembly” serving in an advisory capacity; and

Whereas, the PCA’s Book of Church Order, in setting forth the principles that govern the organization of the General Assembly, states that “The Assembly’s committees are to serve and not to direct any Church judicatories. They are not to establish policy, but rather to execute policy established by the General Assembly” (BCO 14-1, 7);  and

Whereas, the PCA’s Rules Of Assembly Operations (RAO) ordinarily prohibits the General Assembly from considering communications from individuals having access to the courts of the Church (RAO 11-2), and all of the members of Cooperative Ministries Committee have that access through their respective sessions and presbyteries; and

Whereas, the CMC’s proposal anticipates, if not urges, the adoption of changes to our BCO.

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.  And

Whereas, the proposal to erect a committee seems to be an effort to direct the Assembly, not to execute policies established by the General Assembly; and

Whereas, the Scripture’s teaching that women are not permitted to hold ecclesiastical office has been recognized and stipulated in our Constitution from the inception of the PCA, and consistently reaffirmed in the courts of the Church; and

Whereas, the ad interim committee on the Role of Women has placed women on the committee as members, thereby placing women in the position not only of potentially exercising authority over the men on the committee, but also over the members and churches of the denomination, thereby violating Paul’s prohibition of women exercising authority over men in the church (I Timothy 2:12); and

Whereas, neither God, nor His Word has changed, but the culture’s attitude regarding the role of women has changed significantly with the repudiation of God’s Word as the norm; and

Whereas, Christ, the Head of the Church, calls the Church to reform culture, not conform to it; and

Whereas, efforts to alter our denomination’s position and policy on the role of women in office threaten the peace and order of the Church (WCF 20, 4);

Therefore, be it resolved that Westminster Presbytery expresses to the 45th General Assembly its deep concerns over the manner in which this business was introduced to the General Assembly, the erection of the committee itself, the constituency of the committee, and the directive to draft and send a pastoral letter to the congregations of the PCA. Such conduct is producing considerable unrest in the congregations of our presbytery, and is disturbing the peace in our midst that is so valuable to us, and necessary for the work of the Gospel.

Be it further resolved that Westminster Presbytery overtures the 45th General Assembly to acknowledge the errors of the 44th General Assembly in this matter; that the General Assembly not receive the report of the Ad Interim Committee on the Role of Women as not being properly before the court, and dismiss the Ad Interim Committee with apology.

Adopted by Westminster Presbytery at its stated meeting, November 12, 2016
Attested by Mark Blalack, stated clerk