(NOTE: About fifty deep in the comments under this post is one made by "PCA friend" that readers will find helpful in clarifying what happened at the assembly, as well as the actions' larger context in the intricacies of PCA polity. PCA friend also makes the valid point others also made; namely, that some supported the minority report--and thus a study committee--not out of a desire for change, but because they believed this would be the wisest course to take in supporting our church's present constitutional requirements.)
(Tim) Just now, I received a report on what is likely the most significant decision facing this year's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. Several overtures to the assembly--most notably, one from Philadelphia Presbytery that came to the presbytery by recommendation of a presbytery committee including Tenth Presbyterian Church's senior minister, Rev. Dr. Philip Ryken--asked the assembly to appoint an ad interim study committee on women deacons. Others within the PCA (including Central Georgia Presbytery) opposed such a study committee, seeing it as a Trojan Horse for northern city churches moving the denomination in an egalitarian feminist direction.
Overtures to the assembly pass through the Bills and Overtures Committee which meets prior to the assembly and brings recommendations on each overture to the assembly floor. This year's Bills and Overtures Committee was chaired by Rev. Fred Greco who brought the committee's recommendation (its Majority Report) to the assembly floor. This Majority Report called for the overture requesting the appointment of a study committee on women deacons to be answered in the negative, in which case no such committee would be constituted.
The president of Covenant Seminary, Bryan Chapell...
brought a minority report from Bills and Overtures that opposed the committee's majority, instead recommending the assembly approve Philadelphia Presbytery's overture and undertake the study of women deacons.
Mr. Chapell's minority report was defeated, reportedly without even a division of the house. This means the defeat was clear enough by voice vote that no one requested the votes be counted, man by man.
David and I are hopeful that those whose church practice is out of conformity with our Book of Church Order will honor their ordination vows and submit themselves and their churches anew, both to the Book of Church Order's prohibition of women deacons, and now also the will of the assembly in reaffirming that prohibition.