PCA General Assembly, Part 1

It seems awkward to post this article, which previews the PCA General Assembly, after the GA has already taken place and while I’m writing another article about the event. But out of consideration for Christian Renewal, I generally wait until my articles appear in print before posting them here. I’ve been holding off on posting this one for a couple of reasons: 1.) It was so obviously out of date. 2.) I’ve been so very busy.

But I decided to post it today because it provides some background information for the article I’m currently writing about the decisions of the PCA GA and which will, the Lord willing, eventually be posted here. With that introductory disclaimer, I post the following article by Glenda Mathes (yes, me) that appeared on p. 11 of the June 8, 2011, issue of Christian Renewal.

PCA General Assembly to consider funding

Funding changes have been a controversial subject this past year within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Six of the 15 overtures on the docket for the PCA’s 39th General Assembly (GA), meeting from June 7-10, 2011, inVirginia Beach,VA, deal with funding issues.

The controversy arose when last year’s GA approved a proposal to mandate funding of the Administrative Committee (AC). Since the PCA Book of Church Order currently states that all giving to superior courts is voluntary, the proposed change required a two-thirds majority of presbyteries (similar to Classes) before being confirmed by the next GA.

Although the proposal has failed to garner the required two-thirds majority of presbytery approval during the subsequent year, the matter has generated the six overtures suggesting alternative methods of funding.

Rev. Wes White, pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church in Spearfish, SD, has followed the issue closely on his blog, Johannes Weslianus (www.weswhite.net) and regularly updates his blog with helpful summaries of this and other issues.

“Basically last year’s action was an attempt to create greater centralization of power,” he says. “What will probably happen is that these overtures will be referred to the Cooperative Ministries Committee, which will come back with its recommendations next year.”

The PCA print and online magazine “By Faith” is one of the programs facing funding challenges and according to Rev. White, one of the least popular funding recipients.

In addition to the six overtures on the funding issue, the PCA GA will address overtures dealing with reorganization of presbyteries, granting constitutional status to the denominational position on marriage, the governance of churches without ruling elders, the transfer of interns, the sometimes suspect translation work of “Insider Movements” in missions, and a call to withdraw from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE).

Details regarding these overtures and more information regarding the PCA’s 39th GA are available on the “General Assembly” link at the PCA website: http://www.pcanet.org.

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