Personal Resolutions Create Stir on Floor

Louisville, Kentucky (June 16, 1999)-The 27th PCA General Assembly this morning received two personal resolutions from commissioners, and refused to receive another. In all three cases, what normally is a perfunctory matter-to receive such resolutions-turned into controversy.
Leading off those presenting resolutions this morning was the Rev. Mr. Jeff Black, pastor of White Oak Presbyterian Church, Fremont, N. C., and a member of the Mission to North America (MNA) Committee of Commissioners. His concern revolves around the published report that a woman spoke at the MNA church planting conference in California in February. The resolution says that "this female speaker purportedly engaged in exhortation to the church planters and in application of Scripture"; and that "this report, if true, would violate the clear instructions given to the MNA Committee by the 1997 General Assembly." That Assembly stated, with regard to MNA, that "Seminars led by women on biblical and theological exposition will have women as the intended audience. The Scriptures and the subordinate standards are clear that only men are to be appointed as elders. . . . The GA recognizes that the ministry of women within the church, including MNA, must be exercised within the bounds of Scripture, including I Timothy 2:11-12." After objection was raised, the Moderator put the question of receiving the resolution to a vote. By an overwhelming margin, the Assembly received it. At first referred to Bills & Overtures Committee, the resolution was finally sent to the MNA Committee of Commissioners for consideration.
Next up was Mr. Hugh Belcher, a ruling elder from Dickenson First Presbyterian Church, Haysi, Va. who brought a resolution regarding a report on the internet that the Covenant College choir sang in a Roman Catholic mass. After he presented the resolution, several commissioners wanted to know in what forum this report came, and if he had brought the matter to the attention of Covenant College before presenting it on the floor. Concern was voiced by some that not first going to Covenant College personnel was a violation of Matthew 18 regarding church discipline. The Rev. Mr. David Coffin countered that contention, by saying that Mr. Belcher had not done anything amiss by having a concern for the public reputation of the denomination and its college. The court declined to receive the resolution, 316-488.
The third resolution was offered by the Rev. Mr. Bob Hornick, Stated Clerk of Gulf Coast Presbytery and member of the denominational Administrative Committee. His resolution has to do with amending the Rules for Assembly Operations regarding the Committee on Review of Presbytery Records. On a divided vote, the Assembly received his resolution.