A PCA Ruling Elder Mulls Over The Significance Of The Presbyleak

Have you ever ended up at a party and felt as if you didn’t really belong? It may be that you had a right to attend that party. You had an invitation of sorts, but you didn’t really feel welcome and you didn’t really fit in. Things happened that seem to be guided by some unseen hand. Maybe people were dancing, but you knew none of the steps. You were at the party, but somehow not of the party. It’s almost as if there was a party behind the party.

To be honest, this is a bit how it feels for the ruling elder or small church pastor who finds himself at the big party-event known as the annual Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly. He comes ready to deliberate and vote, but something seems off, predetermined, stage-managed. The moderator (a powerful position) seems to have been preselected, for instance, often without opposition. An elite group appears to control things.

Maybe the elder tries to write off the sensation, chalking it up to his own inexperience, but the nagging feeling persists. He’s heard of shadowy groups who communicate by Facebook Messenger and marshal votes and voters. Commissioners stream in right before important votes as if by magic. How, he wonders, can they have an opinion on how to vote if they have not heard the debate? Is the General Assembly really a deliberative assembly as it’s supposed to be… like the local session and presbytery with which he’s familiar?

Now imagine that lowly elder’s reaction when he learns that rumors of a powerful party behind the party are true. The National Partnership is now out in the open, though not by its own design or on its own terms.

However one feels about the way the email cache (dubbed #PresbyLeaks) of the “confidential” group was revealed and distributed, it must be admitted that these emails (now surely viewed by thousands) contain troubling information. Read more»

Brad Isbell “Smells Like Party Spirit” | November 4, 2021


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  1. This reminds me very much of things which went on the reformed denomination I left in the ’90s and have glimpsed hints of even in my current denomination. I suppose the issue exists at least in the wings in any such organization, and I see no practical, ecclesiastically sound way to prevent or limit it.

    • Gary – worse yet, modern communications technology has exaccerbated the situation with its enabling of all of this instantanious social media software. Thirty years ago these people would have had a much more difficult time corraborating their behind-the-scenes plans via phone calls, emails, or letter writing.

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