Payne’s Post Mortem: What The Defeat Of The Overtures Signals For The Future Of The PCA

The PCA Has Moved From Being Broad To Being Progressive

The Book of Church Order (BCO) amendments that many hoped would guard the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) from further infiltration of Revoice/Side B Gay doctrine were officially defeated. Yes, in case you haven’t heard, the amendments are now dead in the water. They will not be voted upon in the 49th PCA General Assembly in June. The road to reform has narrowed.

Reflections After Defeat

I believe that there are several reasons why a good number of PCA elders and congregants are discouraged by the failure of Overtures 23 and 37, and do not dismiss the defeats as a small bump in the road to reform. First, the failure of the overtures reveals that a significant number of ordained elders in the PCA are either in support of, comfortable with, or indifferent to having self-identified gay celibate pastors in the denomination. Can this point really be disputed anymore? The numerous personal interactions that I’ve had with PCA elders and denominational leaders since the inauguration of Revoice only underscore this point in my own mind. There is a subtle normalization and quiet acceptance of Side B Gay Christianity taking place in the PCA right now. The line has moved.

Second, the failure of the overtures shows that many elders who opposed them for technical (language) reasons do not regard Side B Gay Christianity as an imminent threat to the biblical fidelity and confessional integrity of the PCA. If they did, they would have voted on principle for these crucial, though imperfect, amendments — amendments that would’ve provided clear constitutional guidance to our presbyteries regarding pastors and ordinands who profess a settled gay identity. To argue that Overtures 23 and 37 are unnecessary or imperfectly worded, and thus rightly defeated, is to raise doubt that any amendments on the matter of self-identified gay pastors will ever be satisfactory enough to be approved by two-thirds of our presbyteries.

Third, the failed overtures communicate the same truth as the unanimously approved PCA Study Report on Human Sexuality. If this is the case, then why did the overtures fail to reach the necessary two-thirds presbytery threshold? Could it be that a large number of presbyters are agreeable to the PCA possessing a non-binding study report, but not to the application of the report to our constitution and church courts? It’s a fair question that I’ve heard asked more than once. Read more»

Jon Payne | “Reality Check and the Future of the PCA” | Feb 24, 2022


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