Grace Presbytery PCA Rejects So Called Side B Candidates For Ministry

Grace Presbytery believes the concept of “Celibate Gay Pastor” to be contrary to the teaching of Scripture and the constitutional standards of the Presbyterian Church in America, and that the churches of Grace Presbytery should not presume to think that candidates for our pulpits who identify themselves in this (or similar ways) will be approved for admission to Grace Presbytery.

Aquila Report, The PCA’s Grace Presbytery Rejects the Concept of “Celibate Gay Pastor”

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. I appreciated this when it came out last month. But no overture has come from this, and it is unclear to me that this will do anything other than be an annoyance to the St. Louis folks. I am happy to be corrected on this, or be shown if there is additional information available. What is so frustrating is that ordained men, who have pledged to follow the Standards, find it necessary to state something like this to other ordained men who have pledge to follow the Standards. And it is necessary, yet it is not strong enough.

    • Randall,
      One, the problem with the PCA is that it separated from the old S. Pres. Ch. on fundamentalist issues, not reformed. Chapt. 3 of the WCF was already water under the bridge.
      Two, a standing judicial committee is unpresbyterian. The highest court is the GA and ultimately things should be debated there. (Maybe the PCA BCO allows this, but iirc there is an unconstitutional delegation to the SJC in principle. Others may correct me.)
      I can’t remember where in Dabney he talks about a quorum being necessary for a committee to meet, but when big questions came before the same, since every member of the assembly was a member of the committee they could show up and vote. IOW efficiency, but no log rolling/politicking where in there is a power struggle to gain control over the “committees” that ahem ‘really run the show’ in a presbyterian church.

    • Randall: The SJC conducts trials for the GA. It is the GA court. However, the GA must vote to sustain convictions at their annual meeting. Actual SJC trials are pretty rare.

  2. The SJC has ruled in the matter of the Central Georgia Presbytery and Savannah River Presbyteries request for the GA to assume original jurisdiction that the overture is not in accordance with BCO 34-1. Unfortunately their reasoning is obscured at this time. Just hoping to update concerned readers.

  3. Jeremiah: I could be wrong but it was my understanding that those two presbyteries approached the SJC directly about the TE Johnson matter. It was the direct appeal to the SJC that was ruled out of order. The other avenue of appeal is if two presbyteries make overtures to the GA to have the TE Johnson matter referred to the SJC to assume original jurisdiction in the matter. The overtures won’t be voted on until this summer’s GA meeting.

    • I heard on the Presbycast that the SJC ruled against the portion of the Overtures because the St. Louis Pres had acted. But were still considering the matter of TE Johnson as a separate issue. The ByFaith article was hard to follow on this. But given what Pastor Roberts just did, I am not sure any of this will matter after this summer’s GA anyway. In my view, his leaving is a far louder shout than Webb. And the SJC hopefully will take notice. Pastor Greco has his hands full.

    • Bob,

      The notice from the SJC broke the response down into two parts: assuming original jurisdiction over the matter of TE Greg Johnson and original jurisdiction over his session. They ruled that assuming original jurisdiction over the session was not in accordance with BCO 34-1. They have appointed a committee to look into TE Greg Johnson. So at least part of it appears to be still moving forward. But again their reasoning is obscured at this time.

  4. I think there are probably a fair number of TEs who are relieved that Dewey Roberts is leaving the PCA because he dealt with the thing that most threatens them: the truth. After reading his farewell I now believe that the TE Johnson matter will not be addressed by the 2020 GA. If they don’t then I will join pastor Roberts in exiting the PCA. One of the marks of a true church is discipline. The PCA will have to demonstrate that they retain this mark or join the growing number of apostate denominations.

  5. Bob & Jeremiah – thank you for your thoughtful responses, updates, and clarifications. It would seem we are all on the same page. Pastor Roberts and his church may be leading the charge for a lot of churches in the future, creating a new orthodox haven for Westminster Standard guys. Sad in some ways, but also exciting because he may give many churches reasonable options to consider.

  6. Randall: We supposedly had an “orthodox haven” 47 years ago when the PCA was formed. Is 50 years the best shelf life we can hope for in “orthodox havens” nowadays?

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