GA Votes Down Judgment on Charismatic Case, Approves Judgment in Divorce Case
Colorado Springs, CO (June 12, 1997)--For only the second time in the history of the PCA, and for the first time in dealing with a recommendation of the Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), the General Assembly disapproved the judgment of a judicial commission. The SJC recommendation on Case 95-11, Landrum et al. vs. Mississippi Valley Presbytery, was defeated, 229-423.
The action was taken after the extraordinary procedure of
referring the proposed judgment to the Committee on
Constitutional Business (CCB) in order to evaluate its
constitutionality. After some controversy over the nature of
advice given by the CCB and whether it was merely received as
information, the Assembly proceeded immediately after the CCB
report to consider the case.
After that vote, the Assembly authorized the Moderator to
appoint a special 20 man commission, with no more than one man
from any presbytery, to hear and adjudicate the matter. This
will be the last case to be dealt with under the old procedures,
now that BCO 15 has been amended.
While the Assembly turned down the recommended judgment on
Case 95-11, it approved the SJC's work on Case 96-2. The
judgment in Benjamin Robeson et al. vs. Central Georgia
Presbytery, which dealt with the reception of a minister whose
adultery led to his divorce, was questioned because of the
possibility that the SJC had determined a matter not raised by
In this case, the General Assembly voted that a man who was the guilty party in a divorce was not necessarily disqualified from the ministry. However, the court, which was not satisfied that all the facts had been brought out or considered by the lower court, also returned the complaint to Central Georgia for a new hearing.
The only previous time that the Assembly has rejected the work of a commission was in 1986, when, after approving the upholding of a complaint out of Ascension Presbytery, it late that same night reconsidered that action and then voted down the proposed judgment. The issues in that case revolved around approving the re-examination of TE Kurt Lutjens, who did not accept the PCA positions on several matters, including with regard to the relationship between the sacraments and church membership. After approving the judgment, 205-192, and receiving a number of recorded negative votes, the Assembly reconsidered the previous action, and voted against the commission report, 158-204. The next year, a new commission that had adjudicated the matter between Assemblies denied the complaint; and the 1987 Assembly concurred.