Staff

Update on Votes on PCA Book of Church Order Amendments: Overtures 8 and 15 Have Failed

As of February 4, 2023, at least 69 presbyteries have voted and the results thus far indicate that ten of the proposed amendments have received the necessary approval 2/3 of presbyteries, receiving at least 59 presbyteries voting in favor. Two of the amendments were not approved, with Overture 15 garnering approval from 57% of the presbyteries, and Overture 8 approved by 55% of the presbyteries.

The 49th General Assembly (2022) of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) approved twelve proposed amendments to the Book of Church Order (BCO). For these amendments to be approved, requires that 2/3 of the eighty-eight presbyteries must approve them, and those approved by 2/3 of the presbyteries would have to be approved one more time by the 50th GA.
As of February 4, 2023, at least 69 presbyteries have voted and the results thus far indicate that ten of the proposed amendments have received the necessary approval 2/3 of presbyteries, receiving at least 59 presbyteries voting in favor. Two of the amendments were not approved, with Overture 15 garnering approval from 57% of the presbyteries, and Overture 8 approved by 55% of the presbyteries.
Overture 15 was seeking to amend BCO 7 by adding a fourth paragraph on qualifications for church office. The amendment stated: “Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.”
Overture 8 was an attempt to fix an area of dispute concerning how a higher court (General Assembly or a presbytery) could assume original jurisdiction over a lower court in a case of doctrinal or public scandal. Those who presented the amended wording were seeking to remedy the differing interpretations of BCO 33-1 and BCO 34-1.
Two overtures that have been receiving very favorable approval are Overture 29 and Overture 31. Both of these amendments arose from issues related to Revoice. The proposed overtures were quite similar to overtures approved by the 48th General Assembly but did not receive the necessary 2/3 approval of presbyteries. They were redrafted and both passed the 49th GA overwhelmingly, and presbyteries have been approving Overture 29 with 98.5% in favor and Overture 31 with 94% in favor. Overture 29 would amend BCO 16-4 on qualifications for church office. And Overture 31 would amend BCO 21-4 and 24-1 on requirements for ordination.
The rest of the amendments were not seen as controversial and are being approved by 94% or more of the presbyteries. The votes on the amendment are being regularly updated on this spreadsheet.
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Historic RPCNA Church Building Destroyed in Selma, AL Tornado

Selma, Alabama, experienced a devastating tornado on Thursday. Selma is rich in history. One bit of history many may not know is that Selma is home to the only predominantly African American RPCNA congregation. In 1874, Rev. Lewis Johnston’s the first African American to be ordained in the RPCNA, went to Selma to establish a school as well as to preach to freedmen.
On Thursday, January 12, 2023, the building of the Selma Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), one of its historic congregations, lost their 19th century building to a tornado. The Selma congregation and the ministry out of this building has changed the course of Black history in the South and human history for so many. From Knox Academy to Claude Brown’s legacy, good kingdom work has been done in this place for well over a century.
Selma, Alabama, experienced a devastating tornado on Thursday. Selma is rich in history. One bit of history many may not know is that Selma is home to the only predominantly African American RPCNA congregation. In 1874, Rev. Lewis Johnston’s the first African American to be ordained in the RPCNA, went to Selma to establish a school as well as to preach to freedmen. The church was built in 1878, and it has stood for 145 years. On Thursday morning it was destroyed in the tornado. Please keep the people of Selma and the surrounding areas who were impacted by the tornado in your prayers.

              

Read more on the tornado’s destruction in Selma.
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Top 50 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2022: 1-10

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 1-10.

In 2022 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 1-10:

An Open Letter With A Broken Heart to My Beloved Church

[Editor’s Note: This is a letter from a member to her church explaining the reasons she left a church she loved after being a member for eight years. We are publishing the letter anonymously to avoid publicly impugning anyone’s integrity and to allow the content of the letter to be read on its merits.]

What Greg Johnson Won’t Tell You About “Double Repentance”

Here we have biblical truth, expounded clearly and succinctly. Christ’s blood does not merely take away the guilt of our sin but also removes the powerful grip it holds on us, enabling us to choose righteousness over wickedness, allowing us to actually put sin to death even at the level of our desires. “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). While Revoice proponents are busy delicately nuancing a distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior, the Lord calls us to put it all to death because it is worldly and wicked.

Disney Airs Animated Series about Satan Impregnating a Reluctant Mother Who Births the Antichrist

Artist Ricky Cometa said, “When Dana first approached me, she said that ‘we’re trying to make this demon realm part of Disney,’ which is something I didn’t think would happen.” Cometa went on to say, “We really wanted to make this demon realm feel like home, and just had to figure out how to do it.”

Overture 15 – The Tipping Point for a Split in the PCA?

The following is the wording of Overture 15 approved by the General Assembly: “Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America.”

Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety

When Presbyterians and Baptists and free church evangelicals start attending Ash Wednesday services and observing Lent, one can only conclude that they have either been poorly instructed in the theology or the history of their own traditions, or that they have no theology and history. Or maybe they are simply exhibiting the attitude of the world around: They consume the bits and pieces which catch their attention in any tradition they find appealing, while eschewing the broader structure, demands and discipline which belonging to an historically rooted confessional community requires.

Testimony and Covenant of the Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church

By God’s grace, under Christ’s authority, we vow to strive for purity, peace, and Scriptural order in the formation of the Christ Reformed Presbyterian Church. Therefore, we endeavor to exclude those who disturb her peace, corrupt her testimony, and subvert her established forms from her communion. Therefore, as previous generations of Presbyterians did before us, we covenant together as elders in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ to be “True to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission!”

What To Do About Greg Johnson?

As an ordained PCA minister, his participation in Revoice and his determination to embrace a gay lifestyle and culture has given comfort and aid to one of the great modern movements attacking the church and orthodoxy.  Furthermore, he has continued to write, speak, and make money off his self-ascribed role as a gay martyr trying to help a misguided denomination that may “still have time to care.”

A Single Woman’s Response to Greg Johnson

Christians ever identified themselves by inner desires?  Don’t we all experience a multitude of desires we deal with besides sexual ones?  As a single female Christian, it never occurred to me to identify myself related to any sexual desires.  I am not alone.  Among Christians, there are life-long single men and women, widowed men and women, divorced men and women, who have obeyed God’s commandments while remaining celibate during periods of their lives.  Furthermore, they never identified themselves by any desires they experienced during those same periods of their lives.

The End of Overtures 23 & 37

While Overtures 23 and 37 did not receive the approval of 2/3 of presbyteries, they did receive more than a majority of the presbyteries that have voted so far. The debate on the issue is not over. There are a number of presbyteries preparing to send overtures to the 49th PCA General Assembly on the qualifications for ordination to church office. 
And the number one story on The Aquila Report for 2022:

Memorial Presbyterian Church Session Calls Congregation Meeting

It is with a mixture of sorrow and hope that we, the elders of Memorial Presbyterian Church, after fifteen months spent fasting, praying, waiting, consulting and listening, now write to call a meeting of the congregation for 5:30–6:30 p.m. Friday, November 18, 2022, in the Auditorium for the purpose of deciding on matters pertaining to denominational alignment. We are recommending the congregation vote to withdraw from the Presbyterian Church in America in accordance with Book of Church Order 25-11.
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Top 50 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2022: 11-20

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 11-20.

In 2022 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 11-20:

Rosaria Butterfield: “I Reject the False Teaching of Revoice/Side B Theology”

After we are justified by God, we can never return to Adam. What does this mean for someone like me who lived as a lesbian for a decade and believed I was gay? It means that homosexuality is part of my biography, not my nature. My nature is securely chained in Christ (Colossians 3:10-20). What does it mean if a Christian falls back into an old sin pattern? It means that he is acting against his true nature. How do we stop acting against our true nature in Christ when our flesh craves our old sin patterns? By going to war with our sin through the power of Christ’s blood.

Memorial Church Pastoral Staff Released From Missouri Presbytery At Their Request

At a called meeting on Tuesday, December 6, 2022, the PCA Missouri Presbytery voted to release the three ministerial staff members of Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. The Presbytery voted to release Dr. Greg Johnson, Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor Keith Robinson, and Youth and Family Pastor Sam Dolby from the Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbytery acted under the provision of the Book of Church Order 38-3a.

“Whoever Looks at a Woman With Lust”: Misinterpreted Bible Passages

Instead of focusing on “lust,” if this passage is to be correctly taught, the emphasis should be placed squarely on the will: that is, “What is the proper response to sexual desire?” There are proper outlets for sexual desire, but it is the exercise of the sexual appetite outside these confines is the problem. Even prior to actually committing the act, once the will has turned towards illicit behavior, sin has already entered the heart and, once fully conceived, will bring forth death.

Johnson To The PCA: “Merry Christmas. Here Is A Lump Of Coal For Your Stocking”

There are several serious problems with Pastor Johnson’s reasoning here. First, his speech was highly biographical, emotive, and even prejudicial. He implied that anyone who disagrees with his position “hates” homosexuals. It equates traditional Christian sexual ethics with anti-gay bigotry. Second, he assumes that, except for his commitment to Christ, he might have taken a same-sex husband and had a family and that by not violating God’s natural and moral law thus he has made a great sacrifice for the sake of Christ and his kingdom.

Letter to Editor: From a Memorial PCA Member

Those who criticize Memorial often do so from beyond our walls. I write as one who worships weekly in her pews, who has walked with Greg Johnson through the last five years of controversy, who has seen the toll it has taken upon my leaders and the resources of our church– resources which should have been devoted to the care of the flock and the service of our community.

Abuse, the OPC, and the Psychologizing of Sin

Here is the real problem that I believe underlies the failure of those frequently using the term abuse to provide a clear, biblical definition: the preference of the term abuse dislocated from sin, moves abuse out of the moral and spiritual realm and into the psychological. In other words, it tends to shift the serious matters at hand from that which is properly clerical and refers them to the clinical.

The Vote Tally of PCA Presbyteries On Overtures 23 and 37

Thus far, 51 of the 88 PCA presbyteries have voted on Overtures 23 and 37. The remaining presbyteries will begin voting at their respective meetings beginning in January 2022, with 20 presbyteries voting during January; by then, a clearer trend will become obvious as to whether these amendments will receive the required 2/3 votes of the presbyteries.

2022 PCA General Assembly Preview

One former moderator of the General Assembly characterized this year as the “Pitchfork Assembly,” because of the outrage in the pews related to some of the events of recent years in the PCA. This is both cause for prayers of thanksgiving (i.e. that people in the churches are willing to sacrifice to send their elders to the Assembly and that God has raised up elders willing to do the work of the church) and prayers for peace (i.e. that God will pour out a spirit of humility and grace even as we contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints so we may be united in truth and love).

12. Lessons Learned? Allegations at the OPC General Assembly

The major lesson from this assembly on this matter is that we need to double down on our Presbyterian principles. Witnesses and evidence with biblical process for those who are guilty and vindication for those who have been falsely charged. This has always been the Presbyterian way and is doubly necessary in the negative world.

An Assessment of the New Revised Standard Version: Gaywashing in the Translation

There is absolutely no doubt, based on extant evidence, that the term arsenokoitai in 1 Cor 6:9 is correctly translated as “men lying with a male.” If any updating of the NRSV were to be done on 1 Cor 6:9, it should have been done in the direction of translating arsenokoitai as “men lying with a male.” The previous NRSV translation of “sodomites” was not the best translation because “Sodom” is not part of the stem of this Greek noun…. What the NRSVue translators have done is to conform the biblical witness to their own ideological biases, biases that mitigate against the overwhelming evidence from morphology and historical context.
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Top 50 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2022: 21-30

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days.  Here are numbers 21-30.

In 2022 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 21-30:

The State of the PCA

It is very easy to conclude that a spiritual cancer has been in the body too long and that there does not appear to be anything that those who are committed to God’s Word can do.  We have tried and we have failed.  Certainly, God can do something to heal the cancer, if He chooses.  But the future of the denomination outside a miraculous intervention is bleak.

Christian Writers, Preachers, and Organizations That Promoted Francis Collins Should Break Their Silence

Many of these men and organizations regularly call the church to repentance. This would be a proper time to perhaps lead by example.

Dining Out on the Lord’s Day

Now for a blind spot to something no less obvious: Most elders in the Reformed tradition take exception to the Reformed view of Christian Sabbath recreation as taught in the Westminster standards. As unfortunate as that is, many among that number go even further by supporting going to restaurants and ordering out food on Sundays, which pertains not merely to the question of rest vs. recreation but to unlawful work on the Lord’s Day. Ironically, most elders would say they affirm the Confession’s Christian Sabbath position with respect to work; yet their views on transacting business with restaurants on the Lord’s Day end up contradicting their own theology and professed scruples.

The Standing Judicial Commission Just Violated the PCA Constitution and Standards—Again

The Bible I read gives a strong impression that the King and Head of the Church  looks none too kindly on this kind of brazen rebellion—especially when perpetrated by those who claim to be His shepherds.  “It belongs to His Majesty,” reads the BCO Preface, “from His throne of glory to rule and teach the Church…” 

“Presbyleaks” From a Business Analysis Perspective

From a BA perspective, if the NP asked about how to go forward, I would advise it to publish a purpose and mission statement compatible with PCA officer vows, accept all such within the PCA who desire to participate in order to grow in their understanding of PCA polity and practices, and do away with confidentiality as its functional methodology.  All of this would be workable, however, only after a public apology and due repentance for the way the group has conducted itself essentially as a denomination within the denomination over the past several years.

Exploring Overture 15 from the PCA General Assembly

This issue has caused disunity, confusion, and chaos in the PCA for far too long. If we desire that this particular sword should depart our house, then we will acknowledge that Overture 29 needs Overture 15 to be effective and pass both through our presbyteries. The two overtures go hand-in-hand. The one works through the other.

Overture from Hills and Plains Presbytery Asks the 49th PCA GA to Amend BCO 16 By Adding a New Paragraph

Hills and Plains Presbytery approved an overture at a March 5, 2022 Called Meeting, asking the 49th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to “amend BCO 16 by adding a new paragraph using wording from the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality.”

Tim Keller & Myxomatosis Christians

I don’t know a lot about Tim Keller, except by reputation. He seems to be a very fine man, and devout Christian. I couldn’t imagine saying a bad thing about him, but some of you Evangelicals who follow him more closely than I do might disagree. All I can say is that Winsome World Christians are failing to prepare themselves, their families, and (if pastors) their flocks for the world that exists today, and the world that is fast coming into being. Again, I am thinking of the pastor I argued with who believed that he didn’t need to speak about gender ideology to his parish (“I don’t want politics in my congregation”) because, as he explained, if he just keeps winsomely teaching Biblical principles, all will be well.

Response to Letter from Memorial PCA Member

In the church the right of the denomination to legislate or enforce qualifications for office has been met with the notion that individuals who feel called to ministry have a de facto right to it and that the church may not deny them that without unjustly depriving them; office is regarded as the property of the person who wants or holds it, not the property of the church that invests it with authority.

Lady Preachers in PCA Pulpits?

Being authentically presbyterian when an egalitarian culture is so decidedly against the truths of God’s word and his design for his church is hard. And though it is hard and unpleasant work, faithful churchmen must call to account those who would deviate from God’s blueprint for His church and her worship. 
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Top 50 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2022: 31-40

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 31-40.

In 2022 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 31-40:

A Fellow Pastor’s Exhortation to Greg Johnson: Repent

His basic position is that he was born gay, there’s little chance of him ever changing from that orientation and so he somehow deserves to be in the pulpits of Jesus Christ’s Church, and that we actually need to have more men like himself in pulpits. He says he needs to be authentic to the way he was born, and anyone who commends him to Christ to change his sexual orientation is being abusive and unloving toward him.

Overture from Southeast Alabama Presbytery Asks the 49th PCA GA to Amend BCO 16 By Adding a New Paragraph

Southeast Alabama Presbytery approved an overture at a March 31, 2022 Called Meeting, asking the 49th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to “amend BCO 16 by adding a new paragraph using wording from the Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality.”

Don’t Look Now But Your “Reformed” Theology Might Not Be Confessional

There has not just been a blurring of Reformed confessional boundaries but, also, some churches and presbyteries have intentionally erased their doctrinal walls of protection. None of this is surprising once we consider that the formal teaching of systematic theology has at many institutions been relegated to historians rather than theologians. This phenomenon has opened the door to subjective and more novel takes on settled matters of theological intricacy. Stated differences and exceptions to confessional standards are not taken seriously. Pastors and ruling elders needn’t be acquainted with their confessions, let alone be theologians, as long as their views can be accompanied by a fragile appeal to confessional standards being a “consensus document” along with citing a scattered few seventeenth century theologians who held to sometimes esoteric views that did not win the confessional day.

‘I Was A Mess’: Lesbian Professor Turned Christ-Follower Shares What Changed Her Heart

“I realized that part of why I didn’t understand how to be a godly woman was because I didn’t understand how to be a woman, which was hilarious because I’m a professor of women’s studies at the time. I was a mess, and I committed my life to Christ because I believed He was true and real and I had no idea what He was going to do with a mess like me.”

Some Early Reactions to the 49th PCA General Assembly

Even though the PCA consists of men who love the Lord and love our standards, it is greatly divided.  The future still looks dim, but light continues to shine in the most unusual places at the most inopportune times. I attribute this to fervent prayer. Never discount the providence of God to change things.  My fear today in the modern evangelical world is that energized holiness is being replaced by quiet piety, and therapeutic theology under the guise of love has replaced the Law of God. 

The PCA Presbytery of The Ascension Receives Report On “Still Time To Care

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.”

Leaving Lent Behind

The more we recognize Christ and His work as sufficient, the less we need man’s endless legislation of rituals and observances to feel spiritually complete. However, the less we see Christ as sufficient the more vulnerable we will be to all sorts of clever ways to either add to the gospel’s sufficiency and/or efficiency. 

Why Did Overtures 23 and 37 Fail to Pass the PCA Presbyteries?

I believe a majority of those in most PCA presbyteries are opposed to Revoice and all that it represents.  The failure of Overtures 23 and 37 was not a vote for Revoice Theology. Those who denigrate the PCA with this line of thinking are ignorant of the PCA and her Presbyterian procedures. I believe that anyone identifying as a celibate homosexual (SSA) would be rejected for ordination in most PCA presbyteries today.

Conservatives Split From Reformed Church in America Over LGBTQ Issues

The new denomination, besides not affirming same-sex marriage or ordination of LGBTQ individuals, will have a strong emphasis on church planting and feature a flexible organizational model meant to foster theological alignment and efficient decision-making, according to leaders with the Alliance of Reformed Churches.

A Brief Word on the Explicit Endorsement of Side B in the PCA

Though it may be true that no court has formally endorsed Side B in the sense of issuing a resolution that says something along the lines of ‘We the session of Generic Presbyterian hereby commend the school of doctrine known as Side B to our members, to our follow presbyters, and to the denomination at large,’ yet still some of our courts have lent other forms of support to the contemporary movement to normalize homosexual experience among us. That support has been no less real just because it has not taken the form of endorsement.
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Top 50 Stories on The Aquila Report for 2022: 41-50

In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 41-50.

In 2022 The Aquila Report (TAR) posted over 3,000 stories. At the end of each year we feature the top 50 stories that were read.
TAR posts 8 new stories each day, on a variety of subjects – all of which we trust are of interest to our readers. As a web magazine TAR is an aggregator of news and information that we believe will provide articles that will inform the church of current trends and movements within the church and culture.
In keeping with the journalistic tradition of looking back at the recent past, we present the top 50 stories of the year that were read on The Aquila Report site based on the number of hits. We will present the 50 stories in groups of 10 to run on five lists on consecutive days. Here are numbers 41-50:

The Rise & Fall of the Presbycrats

The ratification of the overtures would have been helpful and a key victory, but largely symbolic. In this sense the National Partnership was right: Overtures 23 and 37 are unnecessary (but they are neither unclear nor unloving). Everything required by these overtures is already set forth by the Westminster Standards. The problem has been an unwillingness in some presbyteries and agencies of the PCA to uphold the Standards or to interpret them according to their historic meaning.

Targeting Homosexual Officers in the PCA Again: Are We Being Too Nice?

Love is speaking truth in order to prevent sin.  As Side B homosexuality ordination has been active now for several years, it is becoming normalized.  Unless we take drastic action quickly, it will become the accepted theological view for the next generation. 

Former Georgia OPC Pastor Pleads Guilty to Sexually Assaulting a Ugandan Minor on Missionary Trip

Eric Tuininga, 44, of Milledgeville, Georgia, pleaded guilty to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places before Chief U.S. District Judge Marc T. Treadwell. Upon entry of his guilty plea, Tuininga was taken into custody pending his sentencing. Tuininga faces a maximum 30 years in prison to be followed by a term of supervised release up to life and a maximum $250,000 fine.

Report on the 49th PCA General Assembly

Overtures 15 & 29: Strengthening Character Requirements for Ordination. The Assembly voted by a wide margin to amend BCO Chapter 16 to clarifying that officers, “…must affirm the sinfulness of fallen desires, the reality and hope of progressive sanctification, and be committed to the pursuit of Spirit-empowered victory over their sinful temptations, inclinations, and actions” (Overture 29)… To amend BCO Chapter 7 to include the following language: “Men who describe themselves as homosexual, even those who describe themselves as homosexual and claim to practice celibacy by refraining from homosexual conduct, are disqualified from holding office in the Presbyterian Church in America” (Overture 15).

An Update on the Voting of the PCA BCO Amendments: The Tale So Far

As Fall fades into Winter about 38 presbyteries have given their advice and consent concerning some or all of the twelve Items sent down from the 49th General Assembly (2022) in Birmingham, AL. To change the Book of Church Order, an amendment is run through a three-part process.

Does the PCA Ordain Homosexuals? Well, “Yes, But” or “No, But”

When asked, “Does the PCA ordain homosexuals?” we cannot say, “We can neither confirm nor deny that the PCA ordains homosexuals.” We must either say, “Yes, the PCA ordains homosexuals, but men must claim celibacy from homosexual conduct in order to ordained,” or we will say, “No, but there may be men who count that amongst the temptations they resist.” Put succinctly, we will either be a “Yes, but” or a “No, but” denomination.

The ARP Session’s Authority and Responsibility Concerning Public Corporate Worship

How should the Session deal with these providential hinderances? When dealing with such rare and unavoidable circumstances, the Session must clearly be guided by biblical wisdom and principles, objective certainties, and sound reasoning, and not by speculation, worldly wisdom, and unsupported fear. The Session should lean on what is “known” rather than what is “unknown” to determine its decision. The importance of corporate worship demands that clarity, thoughtfulness, and sobriety dictate how the Session wrestles with this “solemn duty.” It should be a matter of last resort to suspend corporate worship.

The Christian Reformed Church Corrects Course

If you watched the synod delegates speak, it sounded more or less like an even split between those for and against the codifying of biblical sexuality. But what didn’t split evenly were the ages of those speaking. Often, those who argued for the welcome and inclusion of homosexual lifestyles had grey hair and wrinkles. Many of those who spoke for biblical sexuality were visibly younger.

Gay and Celibate

Only in the post-Christian, therapeutic-deistic west could a Christian think he has sacrificed everything to follow Jesus simply because he can’t indulge his sexual proclivities. Only in the post-Christian, therapeutic-deistic west could a Christian think he is suffering for the gospel because his brethren won’t play Freudian identity games with him. Only in the post-Christian, therapeutic-deistic west could a Christian believe that being afflicted with “unnatural affections” constitutes a divine call to celibacy. Only in the post-Christian, therapeutic-deistic west could a Christian believe think he’s ill-treated if his brethren won’t acknowledge the supererogatory act of a Christian doing his mere duty in warring against indwelling sin.

Clarification and Retraction re: Greg Johnson’s Book

After thinking through all of this more carefully and more clearly, I can no longer in good conscience stand by my initial endorsement of Greg Johnson’s book because of its “Side B” underpinnings and faulty anthropology (and therefore faulty theology).
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Memorial Church Pastoral Staff Released From Missouri Presbytery At Their Request

At its stated meeting on Tuesday, November 6, 2022, the PCA Missouri Presbytery voted to release the three ministerial staff members of Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. The Presbytery voted to release Dr. Greg Johnson, Lead Pastor, Associate Pastor Keith Robinson, and Youth and Family Pastor Sam Dolby from the Presbyterian Church in America. The Presbytery acted under the provision of the Book of Church Order 38-3a.
This action follows the vote of the Memorial Presbyterian Church congregation on November 18 to withdraw from the PCA. All pending actions against the church and the pastors are now closed.
At the conclusion of the Missouri Presbytery meeting it issued a letter to the Presbyterian Church in America, which follows.
December 6, 2022
Dear Friends in the PCA,
On Friday, November 18, 2022, Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis voted to withdraw from the PCA at a duly called meeting of the congregation. Concurrent with this, one of its TEs, Doug Mendis, asked that he be honorably retired by the Missouri Presbytery, while its other three TEs (Greg Johnson, Keith Robinson, and Sam Dolby) requested that their names be “removed from the rolls” of the Missouri Presbytery, according to the provisions of BCO 38-3a.
At a special called meeting of the Missouri Presbytery on December 6, 2022, the presbytery acknowledged the departure of and dismissed Memorial, granted TE Mendis’ request to be honorably retired, and approved the requests of TEs Johnson, Robinson, and Dolby to have their names removed the rolls of the Missouri Presbytery with immediate effect (per BCO 38-3a). In the case of TE Johnson, while the Missouri Presbytery had recently empowered its moderator to appoint a committee to conduct a BCO 31-2 investigation of TE Johnson, it determined after healthy debate “not to conduct the case (BCO 38-3a)” due to concerns regarding the potential impact of a lengthy investigation and how this might affect the long-term purity and peace of the church.
Memorial is still in the process of discerning its future denominational affiliation. For more information regarding Memorial’s specific reasons for departure or its future plans, please contact Memorial Church directly. Questions concerning other pending judicial actions pertaining to Memorial or TE Johnson should be directed to the office of the Stated Clerk.
As we seek to move forward, we want to underline the varying perspectives within our presbytery concerning Memorial’s departure.
First, we want to underline our sadness at Memorial’s departure. Setting aside the most recent controversies, Memorial has been a part of the PCA and the Missouri Presbytery for over 40 years and over that time many faithful friends have ministered the gospel from the bosom of this historic congregation. We will miss their partnership in this most central of all enterprises and we wish them well as they seek a new denominational home.
Second, we want to underline our agreement with Memorial that the decision they have taken is in the best interest of all parties, including Memorial, the Missouri Presbytery, and the Presbyterian Church in America.
Over the last several years, tension has grown between Memorial and many of its denominational partners as Memorial sought to reach and disciple people who experience same-sex attraction and/or gender incongruence. These tensions were particularly occasioned by the heavy involvement of Memorial and TE Johnson with the Revoice conference, the church’s outreach to the local arts community—including LGBT artists—through The Chapel ministry, and by statements made by TE Johnson in various venues since the conclusion of the previous SJC case (SJC 2020-12).
Over the last two years in particular, leaders of the Missouri Presbytery have been in regular dialogue and prayer with leaders at Memorial, including TE Johnson, concerning many of these issues. While recognizing Memorial’s unique position in reaching into the secular LGBT community, many in our presbytery had serious concerns about the wisdom and long-term implications of the strategies employed by Memorial and its leaders, believing that some might not be sufficient to guard and maintain the peace and purity of the church.
As these discussions became more focused, each party concluded that a mutually agreed separation was the only course forward since the deep differences between Memorial and the Missouri Presbytery on the matters in question could not ultimately be reconciled. As a result, we also agreed that it was best for Memorial’s TEs to pursue their respective callings outside of the boundaries of the PCA.
In making the decision to support Memorial and its TEs’ withdrawal from the denomination, we pray that many of the tensions that have disturbed the peace of our denomination over the past several years might now begin to dissipate and lead to a season of renewal, during which we can focus on our positive mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission. We also pray that the Lord would give wisdom and grace to the leaders of Memorial Church as they walk forward in faith.
Finally, your brothers in Missouri Presbytery want to underline our continuing desire to actively and eagerly participate in the PCA as we move forward into our 50th year celebrations. In this regard, we heartily affirm the report of the AIC on Human Sexuality and continue to strive to protect the peace and purity of the church to the best of our ability.
The Missouri Presbytery
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PCA Chaplain (COL) David Peterson, Retired, Called Home to Glory

Following military service, David served as the Executive Director of the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel (PRJC) and Coordinator for Chaplain Ministries, Mission to North America (MNA), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  In these roles, David recruited, sponsored, and mentored dozens of Chaplains who served in multiple branches of the military and communities of service.  He retired from this ministerial role in 2010.

Chaplain (COL) David Peterson, retired, age 81 of Sturgis, SD, died Wednesday, October 19, 2022 at his home, surrounded by his loving family.
Peterson was born on January 4, 1941 in Lemmon, South Dakota.  He graduated from Lemmon High School in 1958 and received his BA degree from Covenant College, St. Louis, Missouri in 1962.  He continued his studies at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, receiving a Master of Divinity in 1965 and was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister in July 1965.   While at Covenant, David met the love of his life, Sandra, and they married on June 9, 1964.
As a Chaplain in the U.S. Army, David ministered to soldiers of all ranks for 30 years.  David was as equally concerned about ministering to enlisted soldiers and non-commissioned officers during two combat tours in Vietnam as he was about ministering to the most senior commanding officers during Operation Desert Storm.  In his assignments throughout the United States, David positively impacted soldiers and their families with his living Christian testimony.  He provided comfort, wisdom, and encouragement to everyone he knew.   He retired from active-duty service in 1995 and moved to Sturgis, South Dakota.
Following military service, David served as the Executive Director of the Presbyterian and Reformed Joint Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel (PRJC) and Coordinator for Chaplain Ministries, Mission to North America (MNA), Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  In these roles, David recruited, sponsored, and mentored dozens of Chaplains who served in multiple branches of the military and communities of service.  He retired from this ministerial role in 2010.
While David had many significant professional accomplishments, his source of joy was serving God, serving others, and uplifting his family.  He and his beloved wife, Sandra, created a refuge for family gatherings where wonderful memories were created for his children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, extended family, and so many others.  He fixed four wheelers, saddled up horses, guided pheasant hunts, prepared the swimming pool, jumped on trampolines, and refereed family skeet shooting competitions.   He did all this with contagious enthusiasm, a fun-loving attitude, and an endless supply of “grandpa sayings” that endeared him to all.   He never faced a task too great that he couldn’t complete for the enjoyment of his family.  The love he showed and generosity he shared left a legacy of happiness, joy, and love.  His life will continue to be an inspiration for many generations.
David is survived by his wife, Sandra of Sturgis, South Dakota; son, Jeffrey (Lili) Peterson of West Point, New York, daughters, J’Lane (Peter) Dunning of Beaufort, South Carolina, and Julie (Paul) Durfield of Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  David’s grandchildren include Jessica (Joshua), Kayci, Sydney (Ian), Olivia (Blaine), Benjamin, Joseph, Anna, Stephen, Clara, Meghan, Faith, Ginny, Caleb, Hudson, Heath, Colter, and Jeremiah, as well as great-grandchildren James and Elizabeth.   He is also survived by brothers Robert (Karen) Peterson of Lemmon, South Dakota, Rolland (Jane) Peterson of Lemmon, South Dakota, Kenneth (Pauline) Peterson of Aberdeen, South Dakota, and sister Delores Long of Lemmon, South Dakota.
David was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Winnie Peterson, his brother, Charles, brother-in-law Art, and sisters-in-law, Rosemary and Ruth.
A funeral service will be held 11am Thursday, October 27th, 2022 at Foothills Community Church in Sturgis.  There will be no visitation.  A second service will be held 11am Monday, October 31, 2022 at the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Lemmon.  Interment will take place in Greenhill Cemetery in Lemmon, with Military Honors provided by the Brattvet-Green American Legion Post #66.
At the family’s request, please do not send flowers.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Foothills Community Church: 3501 Avalanche Road; Sturgis, SD  57785 or the Reformed Presbyterian Church: 500 First Ave; Lemmon, SD  57638.
Arrangements are with Leverington Funeral Home of the Northern Hills in Belle Fourche, South Dakota.
Both services will be available to view online.  Please look for the two weblinks at the bottom of this obituary.  David’s video tribute will be also made available here as well. (Hopefully by Tuesday)
Source
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Tennessee Valley Presbytery Requests Missouri Presbytery to Investigate Memorial PCA Session

At its October 18, 2022 stated meeting, Tennessee Valley Presbytery (TVP) approved an overture from the Session of First Presbyterian Church in Ft. Oglethorpe, Ga., requesting that Missouri Presbytery investigate the Session of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis, Mo. The overture based this request on BCO 40-5, where a higher court can be asked to investigate a lower court if a credible report has been made. TVP approved the overture by voice vote.
The overture alleges that “the St. Louis Magazine reported Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) hosted an event in ‘The Chapel (Sanctuary for the Arts)’ on September 2, 2022 entitled, ‘Celestial Bodies.’” It further claims that “the poster for this event featured scandalous depictions of people;” and that “one of the headliners for this event who calls himself eldraco, has performed as a transvestite, and boasts of headlining at the St. Charles Pride Festival.” The overture also highlighted that Missouri Presbytery had previously adopted certain actions to redress and remove previous scandal associated with The Chapel, which is on the Memorial PCA property.
TVP adopted the following to be sent to Missouri Presbytery:
Tennessee Valley Presbytery to request Missouri Presbytery, in accordance with BCO 40-5, to investigate the Session of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis, Mo. to determine whether hosting the event reported to have taken place on September 2, 2022 violated the vows of the elders of MPC or otherwise reflects grossly unconstitutional or delinquent action by “promoting uncleanness,” failure to keep “chaste company,” failure to preserve “the chastity of others,” and the failure to “shun all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.”
The Overture Considered by Tennessee Valley Presbytery
WHEREAS, the Lord Jesus Christ is the King and Head of the church and has entrusted the care of His flock, the Church He purchased with His own blood, to faithful overseers, and
WHEREAS, the Presbyterian Church in America requires overseers to swear vows and agree to the following (BCO 24-6, 21-4):
“Do you accept the office of ruling elder … in this church, and promise faithfully to perform all the duties thereof, and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your life, and to set a worthy example before the Church of which God has made you an officer?”
“Do you sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this Church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures; and do you further promise that if at any time you find yourself out of accord with any of the fundamentals of this system of doctrine, you will on your own initiative, make known to your Presbytery the change which has taken place in your views since the assumption of this ordination vow?”
“Do you engage to be faithful and diligent in the exercise of all your duties as a Christian and a minister of the Gospel, whether personal or relational, private or public; and to endeavor by the grace of God to adorn the profession of the Gospel in your manner of life, and to walk with exemplary piety before the flock of which God shall make you overseer?” and
WHEREAS, the Westminster Standards of the PCA summarize the moral and ethical duty of Christians to include the following (WLC 138):
“chastity in body, mind, affections, words, and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others…keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel… shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.” and
WHEREAS, the St. Louis Magazine reported Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) hosted an event in “The Chapel (Sanctuary for the Arts)” on September 2, 2022 entitled, “Celestial Bodies,” and described it in the following way:
Celestial Bodies is a uniquely bombastic concert event presented by The Chapel (Sanctuary For the Arts) and hosted by Eldraco+FreeNation. Enjoy 2 complimentary beverages provided by the house whilst grooving and moving to jamming performances from four amazing music acts!
Dream-pop/Alt-Soul diva Elle Patterson and her eclectic band The Focus will bring thought-provoking vibes and undulating grooves that will set the atmosphere. Brother Francis will be testifying funktastically soulful noise with his ensemble The Soultones that will bring you to your knees. Eldraco+FreeNation will tear the roof of the building with their usual high-octane musical madness! The evening will culminate in a euphoric dance party led by the party monster D.J. Rico Steez!
Beloved come revel in sonic splendor with the sounds of some of STL’s finest artists! Come clad in celestial whites, silvers, and golds draped across your person so we may experience unity across the senses and party the night away!
Source: https://www.stlmag.com/events/celestial-bodies/?fbclid=IwAR08my26QU7j7UFJxuIY_v1AJUEfhz-7xKs7S3w-1QujkeInfkE1jLy0XD4; and
WHEREAS the poster for this event featured scandalous depictions of people, and
WHEREAS, one of the headliners for this event who calls himself eldraco, has performed as a transvestite, and boasts of headlining at the St. Charles Pride Festival, and
WHEREAS, The Chapel (Sanctuary for the Arts) is a ministry under the control of Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA), which it describes in the following manner:
We host The Chapel, a volunteer-led not-for-profit arts venue. The Chapel provides all services including drinks free of charge to artists, theatre companies and their guests. This is a practical, real-life way that we can support local artists and manifest the Welcome of Jesus through our hospitality and through our service. Now seeking volunteers to serve people free drinks. (http://www.memorialpca.org/chapel.html) and
WHEREAS, media have previously reported on lewd and scandalous events taking place at the chapel including those featuring “eldraco,” and
WHEREAS, Missouri Presbytery has adopted the following actions to redress and remove previous scandal associated with The Chapel (Sanctuary for the Arts):

Establish greater accountability for the ministry of The Chapel;
Create clearer processes and policies in order to more intentionally curate the art platformed at The Chapel;
Strengthen the leadership of the ministry by developing a more robustadvisory board for The Chapel to report back to the session;
Rearticulate the vision and mission of The Chapel with greater clarity; and

WHEREAS, Missouri Presbytery is responsible to ensure the actions of the Sessions under its care are “in accordance with the Constitution” and “wise, equitable and suited to promote the welfare of the church” (BCO 40-2), and
WHEREAS, the report from St Louis Magazine referenced above seem to suggest some “important delinquency” or “grossly unconstitutional” activity taking place in “The Chapel (Sanctuary for the Arts)” at Memorial Presbyterian Church (BCO 40-5), which warrant investigation.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, the Session of First Presbyterian Church overtures Tennessee Valley Presbytery to request Missouri Presbytery, in accordance with BCO 40-5, to investigate the Session of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Saint Louis, Mo. to determine whether hosting the event reported to have taken place on September 2, 2022 violated the vows of the elders of MPC or otherwise reflects grossly unconstitutional or delinquent action by “promoting uncleanness,” failure to keep “chaste company,” failure to preserve “the chastity of others,” and the failure to “shun all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.”
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