You have reviewed the information on this website, and perhaps you have considered pointed analyses (see here and here for opposing viewpoints articulated by two PCA Teaching Elders) of this moment from the 47th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. So, now what? To adapt a question from Dr. Francis Schaeffer, what shall you then do with the information presented here?
It is not appropriate simply to refer to the list of signatories published in the Minutes of the 47th General Assembly of the PCA (pages 80-85) and republished on this site as some kind of ‘do not call list.’ Any concerns you may have may be sufficiently addressed through pursuing a line of charitable inquiry with men you know who have signed Pastor Twit’s Protest. If you are concerned by the fact that 203 ordained elders (mostly Teaching Elders) in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) signed a protest against the General Assembly (through a decision made by the Moderator) allowing TE Steve Warhurst’s speech presenting the Overtures Committee Minority Report concerning Overture 28 to continue past his discussion of Article 3 of said Report, you might consider the following recommendations, in the order in which they are presented below:
- Pray with fervency, earnestness, and zeal for the purity and peace of the Presbyterian Church in America. Pray in secret, when by yourself. Pray in private acts of devotion with your immediate and extended family members. Pray in public acts of devotion with your small group as well as in corporate worship settings. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).
- If you recognize a name on this list, reach out to the man and inquire as to his motivation and justification for adding his name as a signatory to TE Kevin Twit’s protest. It is not the intention of the creator of this website to cast aspersions on any man’s character. Rather, the purpose of this website is to publicize an important moment in the history of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and to encourage any concerned onlookers to take appropriate, cool-headed, and godly action. In doing so, it is of utmost importance to operate according to the same Holy Spirit who inspired the words of Proverbs 18:17, which reads, The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. It is possible that though you are concerned that such a protest was published on the Minutes of the 47th General Assembly and signed by 203 elders, there are reasons individual men had for signing said protest that you have yet to consider or sufficiently clarify (for example, consider Pastor Todd Gwennap‘s explanation here). Before initiating any ecclesiastical action, you must practice due diligence to investigate and determine those reasons. It is not appropriate simply to refer to this list of signatories as some kind of ‘do not call list.’ Again, your concerns may be sufficiently addressed by speaking with a particular individual.
- Having made all necessary inquiries, you might – if appropriate – then compose an informal letter of concern with a particular man’s colleagues and fellow elders in the local church, presbytery, permanent committee or agency, or institution (e.g., a seminary, PCA-affiliated ministry group, or some other para-church organization) in which he serves. If the session, presbytery, agency, permanent committee, or organization takes an action which you deem to be wrong, you may then file a complaint following the protocol laid out in the PCA Book of Church Order, Chapter 43. Note that in order to file a complaint with a given court of the church (session, presbytery, or General Assembly), you must be a member in good standing in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and subject to the jurisdiction of the court addressed by your complaint (see BCO 43-1). If the judicatory in question (session, presbytery) refuses to receive your complaint, you may then appeal to the next higher court, terminating in the General Assembly itself. Before pursuing an avenue involving formal process, please diligently take up the first two recommendations listed above.
- Retain this list for future reference, especially when your congregation is considering candidates during a pulpit search. The search committee serving your congregation may find this list helpful in considering candidates, as it will encourage members of the committee to ask relevant questions, such as, “Can you please inform us as to your motivation and reasons for signing TE Kevin Twit’s protest against the language of TE Steve Warhurst’s speech in favor of Overture 28 at the 47th General Assembly? What did you find intemperate about TE Warhurst’s speech?” If that question seems a bit too obscurantist or specific, you might consider something more general, such as, “What do you make of Paul’s strong language condemning vile affections such as homosexuality and its attendant actions (e.g., sodomy, effeminacy, etc.)? What is your understanding of so-called ‘Side B Gay Christianity,’ and what is your appraisal of those who advocate for it (e.g., the Revoice Conference organizers and speakers)?” Be sure to employ the same biblical language and citation of sources which TE Warhurst utilized in his speech in order to avoid any legitimate accusations of intemperance. To reiterate here, it is not appropriate simply to refer to this list of signatories as some kind of ‘do not call list.’ Again, your concerns may be sufficiently addressed through asking specific questions of a particular candidate who has signed this protest.
- Examine your church’s various budgets and determine whether or not any of your church’s benevolences are being directed toward organizations represented by any of the men on this list. Once you have had opportunity to contact the men to inquire as to their reasons for signing the protest (see the second bullet point, above) consider making appropriate recommendations to the stewards of your congregation’s budgets, based upon your previous work to determine the motivations and reasons for a particular man’s signing the protest. Be patient and keep in mind that the elders, deacons, and committee members of your church may not be aware of the information in this site. Of course, you are encouraged to share this site with any and all PCA members whom you believe would be interested.
- Pursue more information about renewal efforts in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), including (but not limited to) the following organizations: MORE in the PCA and the Firm Foundation Partnership. MORE in the PCA is intended to be a networking and funding resource for conservative PCA Ruling Elders who want to get involved at the General Assembly and presbytery levels of the life of the church. The Firm Foundation Partnership is sponsored and overseen by the session of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Lakeland, Florida, and exists to educate and mobilize laypeople wanting to promote the peace, purity, and renewal of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).