A noted attorney from Greenville, Alabama, W. J. "Jack" Williamson served as the Moderator of the First General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. He is often consulted as an expert on church polity matters, and has been on the General Assembly's Standing Judicial Commission since its inception. P&R News interviewed him by telephone on February 8, 1999.
Do you view the issue of women preaching as a serious one for the future of the PCA?
"I think because of the women's movement in the United States that it will continue to be an issue. I don't think it will be a serious one for the PCA, because most of the folks I know of in the PCA are very well convinced that the Scripture forbids that. Whether you call that serious or not, I don't know, but I'm sure that it will continue to be raised as an issue, because of the movement in this country. I think it will be raised continually, but I don't see the PCA making any changes any time soon."
If a PCA church engages in such activity, what should be done about it?
"Well, that would be up to the presbytery where they are. I would think that charges would be made against the church."
So you think it's a disciplinable matter?
"Oh, yeah! I sure do."
What about women leading in prayer or reading Scripture in public worship?
"I don't believe that's a real issue. I don't have any objection to that myself, personally-as far as leading in prayer. We have prayer meetings in our church, every fifth Sunday night, and anybody in the congregation that wants to, prays. And I think that's the way it ought to be."
But what about in Sunday morning public worship?
"I would have objection to that."
Do you think that Covenant Theological Seminary, and the other theological seminaries which supply the PCA with ministers, should specifically oppose the concept of women leading in public worship?
"I would think so. If that's the position that the PCA takes, and Covenant Seminary is a PCA seminary, I would think that they would oppose it."
Do you think that anyone who endorses that activity, like women preaching, for example, should remain in the PCA?
"I think that anybody in any official capacity who endorses that is subject to discipline. Whether they remain in the PCA would be up to whatever court made that decision."