The lie of “born this way” has been used to justify exposing children to sexual material and teaching them about gender ideology at ever-younger ages. Coaston handwaves away these influences, even as she writes about the increase in LGBTQ identification that shows that they are succeeding in recruiting children into rainbow identities.
The LGBTQ movement was built on a lie, and New York Times writer Jane Coaston is irate that people are noticing. She professes to be concerned by a “very strange complaint from some critics. L.G.B.T.Q. people are OK in theory, they seem to argue, but there are simply too many of them.”
Of course, the point is that the sudden exponential increase in self-proclaimed rainbow identities shows that the mantra of “born this way” is a lie. It is now obvious that LGBTQ identities are being spread by social contagion, which means they are not all innate, immutable, and essential aspects of a person’s authentic self.
Though it was not widely publicized, the search for a “gay gene” ended in failure a few years ago. Rather than crude genetic determinism, the development of our sexual desires is complex and often fluid, with environmental and social factors playing crucial roles. The reality of human sexuality is far more complicated than “born this way.”
There is no objective test to determine whether someone is transgender.
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By David de Bruyn — 1 year ago
Books on education and Christian education abound, and probably add to the panic in many a parent, professor and principal. There are, nevertheless, a few singular books that cut through the morass, and distill for us the heart of what a Christian education is, and what it means to educate in a Christian manner. To that end, I wish to suggest seven books, or more accurately, seven authors, whose books each provide a piece of the Christian education puzzle. Some of the men and women will be well known, others are less so. Often enough, they are representative of a stream of authors who say very similar things. Each one will guide us closer to a thoroughly Christian education.
The first time the English word education pops up is sometime in the 15th century. The Latin word educare carried connotations of rearing, maturing and nourishing children to adulthood. Originally, education as an idea took its place alongside parenting, training and apprenticing: the acts that parents and guardians took to shape their young into the adults and citizens they wanted them to be. Education was embedded in a family’s religion, tradition, and even vocation.
It isn’t until after the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution that education begins to take on the meaning of providing a broad, neutral, “secular” numeracy and literacy for children, so that they can find middle and upper class professions when adults. A shift occurs, from education being the shaping of hearts and minds to education being the provision of economic tools – a passport to professional life. Once multiple cultures and religions are living side-by-side in towns and cities, public education becomes mass education, and supposedly religionless, value-free, utilitarian education.
A great part of parenting is the preparation of our young to eventually be independent bread-winners. Unsurprisingly, many Christians see little problem with the secular view of education. It appears, superficially, to be just one more rite of passage to adulthood: learning what everyone else learns so as to eventually “get a good job”.
In accepting this view, however, those Christian parents have accepted something that previous generations would never have countenanced. They have accepted the idea that teaching our children knowledge, wisdom and an understanding of the world can be farmed out to unbelievers who do not share our faith, our worldview, or our understanding of morality, science, art, anthropology, sexuality, economics, or politics. They have accepted the idea that a child’s peers at school (from a kaleidoscope of backgrounds) should be the child’s cultural mentors. They have imagined that education is truly a value-free, morally-neutral exercise of transferring information from adults to children.
By Scott R. Swain — 2 months ago
Written by Scott R. Swain |
Tuesday, August 15, 2023
Viewing the Bible within the domain of the Word also enables us to perceive its purpose as “part of a divinely administered economy of light by which the triune God establishes and administers covenantal relations with its readers” “Scripture is a means of God’s self-presentation.” Fred Sanders’s book The Triune God demonstrates the hermeneutical payoff of adopting this standpoint. Sanders draws on G. K. Beale and Benjamin Gladd’s work on the biblical theology of “mystery” to anchor his understanding of the Trinitarian economy of revelation.
We cannot fully appreciate how “the Trinity is in the Bible” without observing how “the Bible is in the Trinity.” While the Bible is the cognitive principle of the Trinity, the supreme source from which our knowledge of the Trinity is drawn, the Trinity is the ontological principle of the Bible. The Trinity is not simply one of the things about which the Bible speaks. The Trinity is the speaker from whom the Bible and all things proceed: “For us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things … and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things” (1 Cor 8:6). All things in heaven and on earth, including holy Scripture, are ‘produced by the creative breath of the Almighty’ (See Ps 33:6. 2 Tim 3:16).
Recent work on Scripture and hermeneutics rightly locates the Bible and its interpretation within a Trinitarian economy of revelation. According to the late John Webster, “prudent theology will treat questions concerning the nature and interpretation of Scripture … as corollaries of more primary theological teaching about the relation of God and creatures.” Adopting this approach leads us to see “Holy Scripture and its interpretation” as “elements in the domain of the Word of God” a domain whose source and scope are Trinitarian in nature. “In fulfilment of the eternal purpose of God the Father (Eph. 1.9, 11), and by sending the Spirit of wisdom and revelation (Eph. 1.17), the Son sheds abroad the knowledge of himself and of all things in himself.”
By Jacob Gerber — 1 year ago
While RONR acknowledges that “Each society decides for itself the meaning of its bylaws,” the next sentence gives an important qualification: “When the meaning is clear, however, the society, even by a unanimous vote, cannot change that meaning except by amending its bylaws” (RONR [12th ed.] 56:68). I have argued in this article that the meaning of our rules is clear, so that the only way to forbid a minority from Committee on Constitutional Business (CCB) from presenting a minority report would be to amend the RAO. Short of such an amendment, the General Assembly must permit such minority reports in the future.
At the 49th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Committee on Constitutional Business (CCB) presented its annual report, which included the results of its review of the minutes of the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), according to the PCA’s Rules of Assembly Operations (RAO):
The minutes, but not the judicial cases, decisions, or reports, of the Standing Judicial Commission shall be reviewed annually by the Committee on Constitutional Business. The minutes shall be examined for conformity to the “Operating Manual for Standing Judicial Commission” and RAO 17, violations of which shall be reported as “exceptions” as defined in RAO 14-11.d.(2). With respect to this examination, the Committee on Constitutional Business shall report directly to the General Assembly. If exceptions are taken with respect to a case, the Assembly may find this a ground to direct the Standing Judicial Commission to retry the case. (RAO 17-1)
This year, two members of CCB issued a minority report, arguing that they differed from the majority by finding exceptions with respect to the SJC’s handling of Speck v. Missouri Presbytery. The Moderator ruled that this minority report should neither be heard nor moved as a substitute for the Committee’s report, and, upon appeal, the General Assembly narrowly sustained the Moderator’s ruling by a vote of 970-856.
In this article, I will explore the details of the parliamentary rules concerning minority reports to argue that, in my opinion, this ruling was in error. In a future article, I will argue why maintaining this procedure is so important for the health of the PCA.
I want to be clear at the outset that I am not interested in re-litigating the case in question, Speck v. Missouri Presbytery. That decision stands as the “the final decision of the General Assembly…to which there may be no complaint or appeal” (BCO 15-5). Thus, it is important to set aside the specific issues that this minority within CCB was trying to address from the general principle of whether any minority within CCB has the right to submit a minority report. I will argue that minorities of the CCB do have this right, and that future General Assemblies should allow them to do so.
Furthermore, I do not write this with any disrespect for past or future members of CCB, nor the Moderator of the 49th General Assembly. These are fathers and brothers whom I highly esteem, even though I may disagree with them here. Again, I am writing less with an eye to the past, and more with an eye toward preparing the way for future minority reports that may come from within CCB.
Accordingly, I will first explain the procedure for offering minority reports, and the implications of that procedure for CCB’s review of SJC minutes. Then, I will consider various objections that have been made against considering a minority report from CCB, comparing them to the binding principles that guide us in how we should interpret our rules.
What are Minority Reports?
First, let us briefly consider what minority reports are, and what they may accomplish. While our RAO includes a few relevant rules detailing the function of minority reports in the General Assembly of the PCA, the foundational rules for minority reports are in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RONR; 12th ed.) 51:64–71. Robert’s Rules defines a minority report as “the presentation of an expression of views in the name of a group of committee members not concurring with the committee report” (RONR [12th ed.] 51:64).
Minority Reports for Recommendations
Often, but not always, minority reports offer differing views regarding proposed recommendations in a committee’s report. In such cases, the minority can “(a) recommend rejection of the resolution [i.e., recommendation]; (b) recommend amendment of it; or (c) recommend adoption of some other suitable motion designed to dispose of the resolution appropriately” (RONR [12th ed.] 51:67).
The vast majority of minority reports dealt with during the proceedings of General Assemblies (e.g., from the Overtures Committee) deal with minority recommendations in this fashion.
Minority Reports for Information Only
Other minority reports, however, address proposed recommendations. In these cases, minority reports do not offer differing recommendations, but only different information: “If the committee report is for information only, the views of the minority may be similarly constructed [to the committee report] or may conclude with a motion” (RONR [12th ed.] 51:68).
Two paragraphs later, this concluding motion is clarified as a motion to substitute the minority in place of the committee report: “When a minority report is presented, it is for information, and it cannot be acted upon except by a motion to substitute it for the committee report.” (RONR [12th ed.] 51:70). If such a motion to substitute were adopted, the minority report would become the committee report.
If both the committee report and the minority report are for information only, what would the point be in substituting the minority report for the committee report?
Minority Reports from CCB
While there may be a number of reasons in different organizations for this procedure, the ability for a minority on CCB to move its report as a substitute for the Committee’s report is an important procedure. Within CCB’s review of SJC minutes, a minority may seek to present a minority report if the minority finds procedural errors in SJC’s handling of a case where the majority of the Committee does not. Or, vice versa, the minority may believe that the SJC’s handling of a case was free from error if the majority of the Committee believed that there were errors.
The importance of this procedure hinges on the fact that the General Assembly may only direct the SJC to retry a case after the CCB report determines that there were procedural errors in the case (BCO 15-5.a; RAO 17-1). Thus, the CCB report is the mechanism that permits a motion from the floor of the General Assembly to direct the SJC to retry a case. While the report itself is for information only, and without recommendations, the Assembly’s ability to make a motion to retry a case requires the presence of specific information that report: “If exceptions are taken with respect to a case, the Assembly may find this a ground to direct the Standing Judicial Commission to retry the case” (RAO 17-1).
So, at the 49th General Assembly, a minority believed that there were errors in the SJC’s handling of a case. If that minority report had been permitted to be heard (as it should have, in my opinion), then the first question before the General Assembly would have been whether to substitute that minority report as the report of the committee (RONR [12th ed.] 51:70; RAO 19-2).
Subsequently, if the first motion to substitute the minority report as the committee report had been adopted, then a second question would have become permissible: namely, it would have been in order then (and only then) for someone from the floor at the General Assembly to move to direct the SJC to retry the case in question. If the first motion to substitute the minority report for the committee report had been defeated, then the second motion to direct the SJC to retry the case would not have been in order.
Regardless of what may have happened during these first or second motions, the minority report itself should have been presented. While we will deal more thoroughly with the importance of this procedure in the next article, two brief comments will suffice for the moment. First, this procedure of minority reports protects the authority of the General Assembly over its own committees by giving the Assembly the final say as to which version to receive as the report of a given committee. Second, this procedure of minority reports preserves the only check of accountability that the General Assembly has reserved to itself (BCO 15-5.a) over the otherwise carte blanche judicial authority delegated to the SJC. Overall, minority reports protect the General Assembly from being handcuffed by a bare majority of CCB in the execution of this constitutional oversight over SJC.
Next, we will examine the arguments that were presented against the minority report’s consideration in light of the PCA’s binding principles for interpreting our rules.
The PCA’s Parliamentary Rules Require Minority Reports from CCB to be Heard
The parliamentary rules of the PCA clearly require minority reports to be heard. While many of the rules for dealing with minority reports are found in RONR (see above), one of the biggest differences between RONR and the RAO is that RONR requires the permission of the Assembly by majority vote before hearing a minority report (RONR [12th ed.] 51:69). Our RAO (which supersedes RONR), however, grants this permission to all minority reports when it states that a minority “shall” be permitted to have the privilege of presenting:
When a minority of a committee wishes to present a minority report, the member reporting for the minority shall have the privilege of presenting the minority report and moving it as a substitute for the portion of the majority report affected. (RAO 19-2)
CCB member RE Matt Fender made reference to this provision when he attempted to move the minority report as a substitute for CCB’s report, observing that RAO 19-2 does not limit which committees are entitled to issue a minority report. When in conflict, particular rules apply rather than general rules (RONR [12th ed.] 3:2), and without a particular rule that excludes CCB from presenting minority reports, the general rule in RAO 19-2 applies.