PCA Committee Prefers Not to Take a Stand on Historical Adam

The 40th General Assembly of the PCA has begun today. While the main business of the GA won’t get started until tomorrow evening, some of the committees have started meeting. One of the committees, the Overtures Committee, voted today on the various overtures submitted by different presbyteries on the issue of Adam and evolutionary origins of man.

Two presbyteries, Rocky Mountain and Savannah River, sent overtures asking the GA to reaffirm the old PC(US) statement on the historicity of Adam. That statement says:

That Adam and Eve were created, body and soul, by immediate acts of Almighty power, thereby preserving a perfect race unity;

That Adam’s body was directly fashioned by Almighty God, without any natural animal parentage of any kind, out of matter previously created from nothing.

Potomac Presbytery also sent an overture on the issue of the origins of Adam. Their overture asked the GA not to make any statement on Adam and evolution.

In a rather discouraging turn of events, the Overture Committee voted today to reject the overtures from Rocky Mountain and Savannah River. If I understand the process correctly, the GA will have the opportunity to vote to accept or reject the recommendation by the Overture Committee. Please join me in praying that the elders of our denomination will stand for the truth and vote to reject this recommendation.

4 thoughts on “PCA Committee Prefers Not to Take a Stand on Historical Adam

  1. sedgegrass says:

    Read through all of the comments posted on your link. An old Presbyter reading with me, observed before we got to the various comments, that there are sometimes procedural considerations that the Presbytery is well advised to follow, in order to not undermine the adequacy of Confessional authority. The conversations on the link touched on that concern. I did like the post that pointed out the need to ‘quit like men’ and bring charges where it is warranted, rather than (my own words here), trying to root out the heresy by overtures and statements that perhaps are redundant of existing Confessional professions.

  2. Mark B. says:

    While Church Discipline is necessary, and while Confessional Authority (along with Scripture) is a tool to use to that end, that in no way implies that ‘in thesi’ statements like this are unnecessary. These type of statements do not undermine confessional authority, rather, they reaffirm it. They serve as a testimony to the world (and to the members of the PCA!) as to where we stand on an issue, by affirming that we actually believe what our confession says. Is a presbytery more likely to exercise discipline in a matter that is seen as ambiguous because various presbyteries have granted a varity of exceptions, or, in a matter where the highest court of the PCA (GA) has just spoken (with an “in thesi” statement)?

  3. sedgegrass says:

    Mark, I actually do agree with your point- as well as the point of the ‘quit like men’ poster. There should be sufficient doctrinal statements to pursue doctrinal purity concerns in the existing PCA confessions; such discipline action would also bring the PCA to the point of enforcing their own professed doctrines. My comments reflected the old Presbyter’s ‘best case scenario’, that members may have felt compelled to restraint based, not on a weak theological stance, but on concerns of redundancy. That being said, the ambiguity is a real concern and when a majority of members in a Presbytery vote to admit a minister who prevaricates on the origins of Adam (as I have recently seen happen), it is logical to ask if this ‘in thesi’ statement would prevent it? It also does not bode well that the combined activities of Biologos’ activism to change the minds of ministers regarding origins, Dr. Keller’s leading participation with them and the ‘seminar’ being offered at GA, are the background context in which this ‘in thesi’ overture was voted down.

    I do think that the recent parsing of words and meanings regarding Adam have been crafted in such a way that, a drilling down to specifics (in thesi), is warranted.

  4. Rachel Miller says:

    I’m not sure exactly what went on in the Overtures Committee, but I’m afraid that the procedural issues were used to give a good reason not to affirm the non-evolutionary origins of Adam. That’s not to say that I think all the men who voted for the overture that passed don’t want to affirm the origins of Adam. I think that there were men who were convinced on the procedural despite what they believe regarding Adam.

    I’m not at all surprised that no one discussed supporting theistic evolution in the meeting. That would have been counter productive. But, this overture provided some who are either supportive of theistic evolution or concerned with offending those who support theistic evolution with a way to avoid the issue.

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