GA Delays SJC Judgments on Two Cases, Approves the Others
Colorado Springs, CO (June 11, 1997)--The PCA General Assembly deferred approval of one controversial case and a portion of another until it could have constitutional questions answered regarding them. This marks the first time in the history of the PCA that this provision was used. Because of the passage of the new amendment to BCO 15, it is also apparently the last time it will be used.
Dr. Joseph Pipa made the first motion, with regard to Case 95-11. This is the complaint in which the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) said that, although an ordinand's views were out of accord with the Standards on the charismatic movement, the matter did not have to be referred back to the presbytery for consideration based on that finding.
Dr. Robert Stuart was concerned that in Case 96-2, the SJC had decided a matter which neither party had raised. His motion on point two of Benjamin Robeson, et al. v. Central Georgia Presbytery was also referred to the Constitutional Business Committee.
The other nine judgments were approved with very little dissent. They included cases dealing with Freemasonry and theonomy.
The Freemasonry case came as a complaint from Edgemont Presbyterian Church against the action of Westminster Presbytery which had declared that the Session had erred in approving a Mason to stand for election as an elder. The Assembly denied the complaint.
Two cases out of Southern Florida Presbytery revolved around that court not approving the theological exam of TE Dennis Slack, a member of Great Lakes Presbytery who was seeking to transfer in order to become Pastor of Jupiter (FL) Presbyterian Church. From the Record of the Case, it was evident that the issue of theonomy was a key part of the dispute, as Mr. Slack professed allegiance to the views of the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen with regard to the continuing validity of the Old Testament case laws. Because of irregularities in the proceedings, both cases were returned to the presbytery for a hearing.
[After the SJC adjudication of these matters, and prior to final action by the Assembly, Southern Florida Presbytery appointed a commission to hear these complaints. The recommendation of the commission was to deny the complaint of the Jupiter Session and not to re-examine Mr. Slack's theological views. Mr. Slack, who had been granted permission by Southern Florida to act as stated supply pending resolution of the matter, recently resigned from the pulpit.--Ed.]