Citing eight separate irregularities, church sessions are preparing to file a complaint against the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s Advisory Committee on the Constitution. The allegations stem from advice that representatives of the ACC gave on the floor of the 221st General Assembly during the plenary debate of the whether or not the GA would issue an Authoritative Interpretation of the Constitution (AI).
The gist of the complaint is that the ACC “acted to instruct the plenary of the 221st General Assembly (2014) that the Assembly had the authority to make an authoritative interpretation that effectively changed the plain and ordinary meaning the Directory of Worship and took other irregular actions. The outcome of the advice given was that the Assembly approved an authoritative interpretation that was and is in conflict with the provision of the Constitution being interpreted.”
In its written advice the ACC clearly counseled against the issuance of an AI redefining marriage. However, the advice given on the floor departed from the written advice the ACC issued on the matter. You can watch the Plenary debate in which this exchange took place here: http://vimeo.com/99068158 beginning at 1:12:58 time marker. The hotlinks in the complaint jump to the relevant places in the video but watching the video in its entirety provides the context and flow of the debate that took place on the plenary floor.
The window of time for filing a complaint is narrow and if a session wanted to join this particular complaint they would need to act fast. For more information contact Ed Koster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is good news, with the way the AI ram rodded through, they knew exactly what they were doing. I hope this succeeds. However with all the brilliance coming out of louisville theses days……………………………
I continue to be amazed that “stay and fight” is still the choice of many PCUSA members. What if this complaint succeeds? The next GA will simply amend the constitution, making the AI and the complaint moot. I suppose there’s a certain nobility in fighting for lost causes; but there is an opportunity cost to the fight, since the energies could be directed to positive results outside PCUSA.
Don, your’re probably right, just rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic.
The deck chairs hit the sea floor decades ago.
Only the deluded remain.
M A, I disagree about being deluded, trust me I’m under no illusions about our future together, my presbytery is pretty stable, gay mariage is not a issue here.
The AI was illegal, and if there is any integrity left in louisville, they will address this, and if down the road l they pass it, at least we delay this “marriage” thing for this a couple of years. The ones who hijacked the GA and passed the AI will then have to go through the correct process, sorry to all drag queens who can’t get married at a PCUSA altar yet.
I have an idea for the few remaining conservatives in the PCUSA. The fact is, there are not enough of you to make a difference now, and you are dealing with leftists who believe that up is down, wrong is right, and the anus is a sex organ. There is no way they will give you a fair hearing.
Rather than fight another frontal assault and lose again, you should immediately urge the PCUSA, in the name of “unity”, to merge with the inaptly named United Church of Christ, which is one of the few denominations to your left.
This sounds like a bad idea, but…
In the UCC, the congregations get to keep their buildings. Therefore, you would be able to leave at will, and save all those legal fees. You could also choose your pastors without running them through the Presbytery gauntlet.
Finally, the PCUSA would cease to exist, and the name of “Presbyterian” would become associated with the PCA, OPC, and other Bible-believing Presbyterian bodies.
not all of us are staying because of property, although we’re supporting the ones’ that want to leave. I love my particular church, and yes we’re going through alot of changes as a particular church.
However we’re part of a larger church family called the PCUSA, and it’s not well, it’s like watching a family member dying, do you just bolt, or do see it through until the end….well me and the family are in the latter, and the larger family is not hospice yet, but we’re taking turns watching over it, Praying for a miracle.
In order to “amend the constitution” to effectively alleviate the “tension” this AI has created, GA and the Presbyteries, will need to by a 3/4s majority, amend parts or jettison entire confessions and catechisms from the Book of Confession.
I’m guessing this might be tried, especially removing certain confessions. After all, there’s a great deal of traditional Reformed Theology in those confessions which the majority of GA commissioners seem to no longer adhere to, i,e, the Divinity of Christ, the Virgin Birth, the Trinity, etc.
I respectively disagree. Here’s why:
A denomination or even an independent congregation, is as only strong as the documentation upon which it is built and those members in the organization are willing to adhere. The same is true for a country and its documents (i.e. Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, the U.S. Constitution, etc.)
For the PC(USA) those documents have always been, in this order of importance: The Bible, The Book of Confession, The Book of Order, PJC Rulings, etc. Now, I’ll admit there have been plenty of TE and RE who gave these documents a wink and a nod during the past number of decades, and did what they pleased. But there were plenty of us who adhered to these documents and insisted that our congregations do the same, and did our best to urge their Presbytery to do likewise.
This all changed in July 2011 when the New Book of Order went into force (which I argued and voted against). This new, very “squishing feelings” document opened the door for the forces which are now prevailing and will do their utmost to quickly gut and eviscerate the Confessions. The AI on marriage is a perfect example of how this trend is sweeping “Reformed Theology” up with the trash left behind at GA in Detroit.
Once the Confessions are gutted, the Bible will become nothing more than a good book containing antiquated stories of failed cultures and the occasional good teaching by a respected teacher such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, or Paul.
We can only guess at how long this will take. My bets are on 3-4 more GAs.
you missed the point that the issue does not have ANYTHING to do with the marriage issue. The issue is the constitutionality of the AI.
The contact person, Ed Koster who is the Executive Presbyter of Detroit Presbytery, is firmly in favor of same sex marriage, but not at the cost of circumventing our polity.
The ACC gave two different sets of advice to the Marriage & Civil Unions Committee 10, and to the Plenary. The written advice is totally different from that given on the floor of the Committee, and which was repeated on the floor of Plenary.
That is the issue. The AI basically turns the entire PC(USA) (and traditional Presbyterian) polity upside down with an edict coming from ‘on high’ rather than bubbling up from the bottom, being passed at GA, then being voted on by Presbyteries.
Ray…I think you are closer to how things will eventually play out. However probably won’t be with the UCC.
The PCUSA is in membership free fall and the average member age of 64+ doesn’t project a positive long term trend. The more likely candidate for a merger are the shriveling Episcopal Church and the “progressive” wing of the soon to split United Methodist.
The PCUSA goes to court claiming “Heirarchal” status. It has abandoned its Connectional heritage for its present Authoritarian form of governance. The former terms are still used but the meanings are now completely different.
fireballs from space will fall into earth and cause much misery, death and desolation. The wicked nations will be punished and many will disappear, all those countries where the blood of aborted children is shed where sexual impurity, vanity, sodomy and other detestable sin and evil actions are allowed, they will disappear from the face of the earth, as happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. Only the righteous that inhabit them will be saved as happened to Lot and his family.
Woe to those fools and foolish sinners who sin and sin, and say: nothing has happened and nothing will happen, continue to sin for life goes on! Oh, how wrong you are young rebels, unless you repent sooner than later and retake the path of salvation, all of you will perish.
I fear that though some speak of pursuing this constitutional violation, not much will happen. Frankly, circumventing constitutions is in vogue these days. What I don’t understand is, if the chief presbyter was so concerned about following procedure, how and why did he allow this to happen.
We’re all familiar with the marriage mess. Other articles report of significant and troubling processes within the divestiture discussions.
And now it appears that the denomination is more concerned with whether to invest in fossil fuels than it is in abortion. I cannot figure it out.
The problem I now have is how to remain within a church I really like but happens to be part of the larger denomination which clearly does not represent me.
Did David have children?
It is no longer stay and fight but, as I near 80, I think of remembering the good days and now ducking as the flak
I am sad to observe a once great Protestant denomination, with strong biblical and theological roots, succumb to what Pitrim Sorokin identified as “the sensate culture.”
The late Harold O.J. Brown took Sorokin’s book and offered
insightful commentary in Harold’s “The Late Sensate Culture.”
In 1969, a young Harold O.J. Brown published a book,
“The Protest of Troubled Protestant,” a copy of the book
gave me support in the isolated raft of denominational confusion.
So, the crisis has been building for some time. Now the storm is unchecked and we are with sail or compass or maps. The waters are turbulent and most likely the Good Ship – PCUSA – will sink fairly soon.
But when the Lord returns, as someone said years ago,
He will find himself the heir of a lot of property.