0

Five Reasons Why I’m Voting for Overture 37

Five Reasons Why I’m Voting for Overture 37

Overture 37 provides a helpfully pointed guide for character examinations that meets the evident needs of our situation. Church courts will be greatly aided in fulfilling their biblical duty by focusing on sexual immorality, relational sins, abuse, racism, and gross financial mismanagement. It also will communicate to our leaders what character is regarded as necessary for holding church office. On its merits, the proposed change to the BCO is one for which we have had an urgent need for many years.

Overture 37 from the 2021 PCA General Assembly (approved as amended by a substantial majority of commissioners) proposes a change to the Book of Church Order (BCO) in Chapters 21-4 (for teaching elders) and 24-1 (for ruling elders and deacons). If approved by 2/3 of the presbyteries, the change would call for presbyteries to examine the personal character of candidates for office, giving specific attention to notorious concerns, such as but not limited to relational sins, sexual immorality (including homosexuality, child sexual abuse, fornication, and pornography), addictions, abusive behavior, racism, and financial mismanagement).

I want to urge our presbyteries to affirm Overture 37 and thus insert this paragraph into our BCO for the following reasons:

Reason #1: To bring unity and peace to the PCA. The cause of unity is served by taking clear stances on controversial issues. The PCA went into the 2021 General Assembly with a great deal of controversy centered on same-sex attracted ministers and answered this controversy with a resounding endorsement of biblical teaching. Not only did the study committee on sexuality give clear and lucid affirmation to the Reformed doctrine of concupiscence—affirming that all sin desires and orientations must be repented and mortified—but the strong majorities in support of Overtures 23 and 37 signaled a desire for the PCA to take a clear and biblical stance. Unless these overtures are passed by the presbyteries, then the statements of the General Assembly will have resulted in no action and no progress will have been made on our unity as a denomination.

Reason #2: To align with the biblical emphasis on character. As it now stands, our BCO does not specify the examination of an ordinand’s character. This deficiency is surprising since in 1 Timothy 3:1–7, almost all of the apostle’s qualifications deal with character and personal fitness. For the PCA not to have clear and pointed areas of concern regarding character leaves us out of step with Scripture.

Reason #3: To protect the church from problems arising from character deficiencies. It may be argued that doctrinal error produces the greatest harm to the church, but character concerns produce the most frequent damage to our congregations and people. We live in a time when serious harm brought by the sexual misconduct, addictions, or abusive leadership of Christian leaders regularly hits the news. It simply would be irresponsible of our denomination not to take formal action to ensure that our leaders have no tendencies toward child sexual abuse or demeaning leader behavior. In a time when pornography wreaks untold damage to marriages and families, the PCA must take a firm stand against the use of pornography by its officers. In short, the PCA needs clear categories for the examination of character that will preserve the honor of our Lord, protect the flock from distress and harm, and guard the peace and purity of the church.

Reason #4: The categories of Overture 37 are clear, appropriate, and helpful. Overture 37 provides a helpfully pointed guide for character examinations that meets the evident needs of our situation. Church courts will be greatly aided in fulfilling their biblical duty by focusing on sexual immorality, relational sins, abuse, racism, and gross financial mismanagement. It also will communicate to our leaders what character is regarded as necessary for holding church office. On its merits, the proposed change to the BCO is one for which we have had an urgent need for many years.

Read More

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top
Refcast

FREE
VIEW