At its July 30, 2022 stated meeting, The Ascension Presbytery voted, by a voice vote, to receive the Report of their Ad Interim Committee to Study “Still Time To Care,” by Greg Johnson. In its conclusion the Study Committee stated: “Our careful interaction with this work has demonstrated to us that there are several areas of agreement with Johnson’s thought. At the same time, our study has uncovered fundamental and foundational problems with both the biblical and confessional fidelity of Johnson’s underlying thesis and the clarity and coherence of the demonstration of that thesis.”
At the January 2022 meeting, the Presbytery of the Ascension gave the following assignment to an ad-interim committee: “To study and report on “Still Time to Care” by Greg Johnson, making recommendations on its compatibility with our Standards, the AIC Report on Human Sexuality, the commended RPCNA report and the Nashville statement, advising as to the book’s implications for the church, such as counseling and Candidates and Credentials exams, and, if appropriate, recommending further action in the courts of the church.”
The members of the committee, after ensuring the book and materials were read, discussed the areas of agreement and affirmation, areas of disagreement or concern, and the practical implications of those disagreements (in counseling and other areas). We then settled on various areas to explore in a report: Sanctification, Identity in Christ, Orientation Change, the heinousness and various aggravations of different sins, and the gift of continence.
Before exploring the substance of the book and areas of concern, we first wanted to state our thankfulness for the testified work of God in the life of the author, Greg Johnson. We do not intend, nor desire, to offer pastoral care or counseling in the area of his personal battle against sin and temptation. Such would be inadvisable to attempt from many miles and many presbyteries away. Indeed, the appropriate manner of addressing sin struggles is with a trusted pastor, in close and frequent contact with the believer, and in diligent use of the means of grace.
Our concern in the report is the content of the book and the implications for ministry offered by the book and its approach, along with his call to repentance and change in our ministries, especially in light of the actions of the courts of the Presbyterian Church in America.
The reading and review of any book is no simple matter. Serious engagement requires that the reader wrestle with a work’s content, context, and purpose. Even where disagreement emerges, few books are utterly and extensively flawed – and Greg Johnson’s book is no different. Indeed, our careful interaction with this work has demonstrated to us that there are several areas of agreement with Johnson’s thought.
At the same time, our study has uncovered fundamental and foundational problems with both the biblical and confessional fidelity of Johnson’s underlying thesis and the clarity and coherence of the demonstration of that thesis. While by no means limited to that which we highlighted, we were particularly concerned with his handling of the biblical and confessional doctrine of sanctification, his misuse of identity in Christ, his aberrant views on sexual orientation, his disregard of the confessional teaching on the heinousness and various aggravations of different sins, and his lack of interaction with the confessional understanding of the gift of continence.
The church desperately needs clear, careful, biblical, and confessional interactions with these issues. Still Time to Care, however, is not these things – for that reason, this AIC cannot recommend it as a general resource for our churches. Rather, we encourage our Ruling and Teaching Elders to carefully engage with Johnson’s work – both through the lens of this report and their own critical interaction with it – such that the serious deficiencies and errors contained therein can be counteracted through the preaching and teaching within our churches.
The entire Report can be read here.