Mississippi Valley Deals with Creation and Female Ordination Controversies
Located in the heart of Central Mississippi, Mississippi Valley Presbytery is one of the original presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). While the Magnolia State has a reputation for extremely conservative values, some might argue that Mississippi Valley Presbytery has not always evidenced a commitment to conservative Reformed teaching.
In 1995, the Presbytery ordained a man who believed in continuing revelation and who employed a private prayer language. The court did not forbid the ordinand from practicing his views, and did not even note his views as exceptions to the church's Standards. (Complaint was lodged, and the General Assembly eventually ruled that the man's view on continuing revelation is an exception to the Confession of Faith. The Assembly sent the matter back to Mississippi Valley to re-examine the man theologically.)
More recently, in October, 1998, Mississippi Valley dealt with two potentially-explosive controversies: the reception of a man who does not think it is necessary to interpret the "days" of Genesis 1 as being literal days, and the licensure of a PCA minister who said that he was not fully convinced that Scripture prohibits ordaining women as elders and who also is not sure about the days of Genesis 1.
The man who was licensed to preach is a professor at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, who is a member of Philadelphia Presbytery (PCA). Upon examination, he professed that he was not absolutely sure that women may not be ordained as elders. A highly-divided court approved him to preach in its pulpits on a regular basis. He was approved upon his assurance that he would not "inculcate" his particular beliefs.
Subsequent reflection on this series of events by a number of the men in the Presbytery served as a catalyst for the professor voluntarily turning in his license to preach, prior to the February, 1999, stated meeting. It has since been announced that he will be retiring from the seminary faculty.