However, I believe that these three overtures are of utmost importance concerning the orthodoxy of our Church. Overtures 9, 16, and 17 seek to make a clear statement, and at the same time, sets up needed guardrails for Teaching Elders and Ruling Elders.
Admittedly, out of the three overtures that will be considered in Memphis by the Assembly, I am a proponent of Overture 17 which comes from the Session of Meadowview Reformed Presbyterian Church. Let’s take a look at the wording for that overture, “7-4. Men who refer to a particular sin struggle as descriptive of their personhood, being, or identity are disqualified from holding office in the PCA”
This is a clear and concise statement, and personally, I believe that this is an overture that we should all be able to get behind. I have written about the Christian’s identity with before. You can find that article here. However, the identity conversation flows naturally into the conversation that needs to be had regarding sanctification. From what I have witnessed throughout the debates in the PCA regarding sexuality and identity, here is the crux of the argument – there is a real denial of the reality and hope of progressive sanctification.
It needs to be noted that sanctification is a vital part of our understanding of the ordo salutis – the order of salvation. In fact, the Westminster Divines include a definition of sanctification in our Shorter Catechism, Question 35,
“Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.”
Sanctification is a work of God’s free grace. We know this, and yet, it has been consistently denied in many conversations circulating around our denomination. In fact, we even heard comments stated openly about how a former Teaching Elder’s sinful desires have not been sanctified…at all. That they are just as attracted to their sin now as they were when they were first converted. That flies in the face of what our catechisms, better yet, what the scriptures, teach. Read more»
Matthew Adams | “The Reality & Hope of Sanctification” | March 21, 2013
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Excellent article! I was at the General Assemblies in St. Louis and Birmingham when we sent overtures down to the Presbyteries and was frankly amazed when they failed there. Age and ill health are going to keep me away from Memphis, but I encourage my brothers to keep up the good fight.
Before conversion, I WAS a lot of things (I’ll spare you the disgusting and banal details.) But by the grace of God, although there are continuing struggles, I AM NOT those things. They DID define me before conversion, but now they DO NOT define me. I am a new creature in Christ, for which I am and will be eternally grateful.