'Short' Agenda for B&O Committee
The Bills and Overtures (B&O) Committee, which in recent years has had a long list of items to consider, this year found itself with not many overtures at all. Small in stature, B&O Chair Dr. T. David Gordon commented that since his Committee had had such a short agenda, it chose the shortest man available to serve as Chairman.
The Assembly adopted an overture from Southwest Florida Presbytery to amend the Constitution so as to require that an ordained man coming into a presbytery will be examined in his theological knowledge. At present, a presbytery may examine someone who is already ordained only as to his views.
The Assembly modified and answered in the affirmative an overture from Northern California "when the General Assembly sends to the Presbyteries any proposed changes to the Book of Church Order, any rationale, if adopted, be included in order that the Presbytery might understand the arguments in favor of the proposal and give those arguments due consideration."
Evangel's overture to amend the newly-adopted vows required of members of the Standing Judicial Commission was unanimously rejected by the B&O Committee, and without discussion was also turned down by the Assembly. The proposal centered around the concern that SJC members not be forced "to replace the Scripture with our Constitution as the real authority for settling an issue and determining a judgement." B&O responded that the overture "confuses the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture with the question of whose interpretation of Scripture will govern judicial cases." The Committee also said, "If several judges may interpret Scripture differntly than the Church has done so in her constitutional documents, there can be no confidence that the constitution will have any directive role in the church."
An overture from First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, GA, was turned down. The overture asked that the Book of Church Order be amended so as to prohibit a person who is the guilty party in a divorce to serve in church office.
An overture to amend the BCO regarding pulpit committees was remanded to Potomac Presbytery for refinement.