Report of PCA Study Committee on Women in the Church (6): no minority report...

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(This is sixth in a series of ten posts critiquing the Report of the Presbyterian Church in America's Study Committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventheighth, ninth, and tenth.)

Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day... (Luke 23:12)

The first thing Presbyterian officers will note about this Report is that it is a consensus report. All Committee members signed off on it, agreeing with the Report as written:

We debated all the matters put to us by the General Assembly and were, by the grace of God, able to arrive at an overwhelming consensus. 1

A consensus isn't a mere majority. Merriam Webster lists "unanimity" as a synonym, yet the Committee feels the need to assure the Assembly their consensus is "overwhelming."

Why speak of an "overwhelming consensus?"

In an earlier post I warned against this Committee's exaggerated...


Note how over-the-top the committee's verbiage is. Committee members affirm Scripture's doctrine of sexuality "joyfully" as "true," "good," and "beautiful." They "affirm." They believe in "full dignity." "Humbly" and "happily," they "embrace" Scripture's doctrine of male headship."

Now the Committee also reports they had an "overwhelming consensus." Really? Did the Committee have no woman or man willing to stand against them; no one willing to say "no" to the others?

It's normal for study committees examining controversial issues to publish two reports with the one getting the most votes becoming the majority and the other the minority report. This Committee's topic sits at the intersection of feminism and the church, yet somehow they enjoyed an overwhelming consensus that allowed them to avoid producing two reports and having committee members vote against each other.

Does our feminist culture pose any danger to the church's doctrine or practice of women's roles in the church? Was there any significant argument within the Committee over the feminist revisionist exegesis now firmly entrenched in the preaching, teaching, and ecclesiology of the church's northern congregations?

Sadly, among the auspicious officers and women appointed to this Committee, not a single member found any wolf loose among the sheep. These men are shepherds, yet they are overjoyed to announce to the Assembly an amazing convergence of views on the most controverted of subjects at the time of greatest conflict over the roles of women in the history of man. Astounding, isn't it?

They attribute this amazing fact to "the grace of God," but I say they are taking God's Name in vain.

Their consensus is not because of God's grace. It's simply the result of no man among them being willing to do the hard work of theological and ecclesiastical conflict. Called by God and set apart by the laying on of hands and prayer to protect the purity of the church by "guarding the good deposit," "contending for the truth," and giving their "life up for the sheep," the men on this Committee went AWOL and we're left with a Report that's not to be trusted.

Committee members go on to say:

[O]ur unanimous aim is not to undermine or alter our confessional commitments. ...All members unreservedly embrace our denominational standards' affirmation of complementarianism in the home and church. 2

There it is again:"all members" and "our unanimous aim."

Let me stoop to pointing out the obvious. These statements mean that the "Chancellor" and "CEO" of Reformed Seminary down there in Jackson, Mississippi had no reason to write a minority report disagreeing with what the wife of the founding pastor of a five-thousand member congregation up north in New York City said concerning the meaning and application of God's Creation Order in the church today. Amazing isn't it? Would it be possible to find any other man in Jackson, Mississippi who would agree with this woman concerning the meaning and purpose of womanhood?

You'd have a hard time finding two congregations where the practice of women's ministry roles of leadership of men in the church were more dissimilar than Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City and First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Yet the longtime senior pastor of First Pres. down in Mississippi and the wife of the founding pastor of Redeemer Pres. up in NYC both sign their names under 63 pages of text outlining and supporting with the exegesis of Scripture the proper view and practice of women's leadership roles in the church.

Someone got snookered, and I'm guessing it wasn't the wife of the New York Times bestselling author who spent decades preaching to Manhattan.

What's happened to the officers in the PCA is the same thing that's happened to male leadership across the Western world over the course of the past thirty years. We've all become soft men. We're all effeminate. We've lost the firm principle that is manhood.

An effeminate age is characterized by those weaknesses typical of the weaker sex, one of which is woman's tendency to promote relationships over truth. This coming Lord's Day is Mother's Day, and if mothers do nothing else, they keep their families together. And we love them for it. We don't want them to stop, but neither do we want fathers to give up their firmness.

Firm fathers break things apart, starting with the bag of ice at the Fourth of July picnic. Fathers blow up fireworks while mothers cover their babies' ears and call the toddlers back to safety. Fathers tell the children to eat their lima beans while mother makes a note not to cook lima beans any more. Father splits the wood while Mother cozies up to the fireplace with her children. Papa tells the child to stop fussing while Mama explains he's fussing because he didn't have a nap. Papa tells his eighteen-year-old son if he stays out late one more night, he's kicked out of the house. Later, up in the bedroom, Mama tells Papa he's being too hard on their son; that she's sure their son is not out late because he's having sex with his girlfriend.

To their death, mothers work to keep their family together. This is not bad. It's how God made woman. And properly viewed, this commitment is beautiful and the father of her children cherishes her for it. But any elder, pastor, or older Titus 2 woman who has worked to heal marriages suffering conflict knows woman's commitment to keeping the family together is most healthy and helpful when it is disciplined by man's commitment to Biblical principles and truth.

When our session disagrees on a major issue that prayer and debate can't resolve, I remind our men that elders in the old country of Scotland never trusted unanimous decisions. The man who argues and votes "nay" keeps the session honest and their judgments honed to a fine edge.

When a Committee of church officers and two women living in an age dominated by feminism and sexual anarchy are assigned the work of studying women's roles in the church and they conclude their work by issuing a consensus Report; and when in their Report they assure everyone they are "unanimous," and that "by God's grace" they enjoyed an "overwhelming consensus," what a discerning reader knows is that their Report isn't worth the bandwidth it's printed on.

  • 1. P. 2402:33, 34.
  • 2. P. 2402:23 & ff.
Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

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