The report from the Review of Presbytery Records committee began on Wednesday. There was debate over Pacific Northwest Presbytery’s allowing paedocommunion as an exception. The minority report was not adopted, and unlike the previous two years, Pacific Northwest Presbytery’s reasons for granting the exception in question were accepted by the General Assembly.
Central Florida Presbytery also had approved a candidate’s views on paedocommunion as an allowable exception. The action of the GA was to adopt the minority report and ask the Presbytery for an explanation regarding the reasons for granted the exception. The difference between this GA action and the one regarding Pacific Northwest Presbytery was due to the fact that this was the first time that RPR cited Central Florida regarding this action recorded in their minutes. The ruling on Pacific Northwest was based on their response to concerns raised by recent assemblies.
The Assembly discussed a part of the report of the Interchurch Relations Committee (IRC) regarding what it was to report to the General Assembly on actions of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). Last year’s GA had instructed the committee to report these actions to the GA. However, IRC construed the directive of the 40th General Assembly more narrowly than was intended. The Committee of Commissioners took exception to the more narrow interpretation presented by IRC and moved the original directive, “That the General Assembly further direct the permanent committee of Interchurch Relations to be alert for and report to the General Assembly any action or position taken of the NAE,” and the GA adopted this language.
The study committee on the Insider Movement presented Part 2 of its report; Part 1 was presented at last year’s GA. Part 1 dealt with principles for biblical interpretation and on divine familial names, and the second part was on the theology, gospel missions, and Insider Movements. There was also a minority report written by one member of the Ad Interim Committee. The majority report made three recommendations:
- That “A Call to Faithful Witness, Part Two: Theology, Gospel Missions, and Insider Movements” serve as a Partial Report (Part Two of Two Parts).
- That the 41st General Assembly make available and recommend for study “A Call to Faithful Witness, Part Two: Theology, Gospel Missions, and Insider Movements” to its presbyteries, sessions, and missions committees.
- That the 41st General Assembly dismiss the ad interim Study Committee on Insider Movements with thanks.
The Minority report added the following recommendation: “That the 41st General Assembly make available and recommend for study the paper in the Minority Report entitled “Addressing Realities on the Ground” to its presbyteries, sessions, and missions committees.” The Assembly passed the recommendation of the minority report and appended this report to the Majority Report.
Following this, there was a prolonged discussion of the meaning of one sentence in the paper the Minority Report that appeared to say that the God of the Bible and of Islam were the same:
Are Allah of Muslims and Yahweh the same God? Yes, when the veil is lifted from their eyes and Muslims see Him as the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Fine-tuning to see Yahweh as He truly is takes place through Christ (Colossians 1:15).
The Assembly resolved this by voting to recommit the whole report to the Ad Interim Committee to give it an opportunity to clarify language and concepts in the report.
The Nominating Committee gave its report. After debate on the order in which to vote on the nominations, the Assembly voted for the customary order, to vote on the TE side of the ballot first. The Assembly then elected by omnibus all nominees who were unopposed. TE Fred Greco was re-elected to the SJC Class of 2017. TE Grover Gunn was elected to fill an unexpired term. TE Dominic Aquila lost re-election to TE Ray Cannata to the SJC Class of 2017, and RE EJ Nusbaum was also elected to the same class.
The Overtures Committee (OC) recommended that the moderator rule both Overture 19 and Overture 23, out of order because Standing Judicial Commission rulings are final. The Moderator ruled as recommended and was sustained. Overture 19 requested the GA to remand the complaint arising from Pacific Northwest Presbytery alleging that it erred in the conduct and its judgments in the trial of TE Peter Leithart. Overture 23 requested that the GA find the complaint in order arising from Missouri Presbytery on the conduct and judgments in the trial of TE Jeffrey Meyers and direct the SJC to adjudicate the case. The Assembly approved the recommendations of the OC on the remaining Overtures. The OC recommendations are available here.
Overtures 20, 21, and 22 were referred to the Standing Judicial Commission. These overtures all requested that the General Assembly assume original jurisdiction over TE Peter Leithart per Book of Church Order 34-1. The SJC will consider this request at its October 2013 meeting.
As a part of the Mission to the World (MTW) Committee report, TE Paul Koostra, MTW Coordinator, reported that a committee has been set up to search for a new MTW Coordinator. He said that the process could take up to eighteen months.
Earlier in the week, TE Mike Sloan presented a resolution on Child Abuse and the appropriate response and action that pastors and churches should take. The resolution was committed to the Overtures Committee to consider during the Assembly and report back. The final wording of the resolution as presented to the Assembly was changed substantially from the original resolution, particularly as related to the need for mandatory reporting by churches and pastors to the civil authorities. The Assembly voted to recommit the resolution to committee.
The General Assembly adjourned on Thursday late evening, June 20. It was announced that the 42nd PCA General Assembly will be held in Houston, Texas, June 17-20, 2014