Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 2 of 4)

Presbyterian_Church_in_America_logo.jpegPart 1 is  here.

(picks up at 2:02:43 of “Thursday Afternoon Business” video)

Moderator TE George Robertson
Is that a point of order at number 7? Number 7?

RE Wes Reynolds
Yes, yes, point of order. In reference to lines five and six, on (skip in video) …point of order referred to earlier. By the way, Wes Reynolds, ruling elder, Great Lakes Presbytery. BCO 14-1.9 states that the assembly’s committees are to include proportionate representation of all presbyteries wherever possible. I’m asking the Moderator to rule the committee’s original motion out of order, not properly before the assembly, because if we allow non-presbyters on that committee it violates 14-1.9…and 10.

TE Richwine
Point of order, Mr. Moderator, on the point of order.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Let me catch up with the first one first. 14-1.9 and 10. Is that correct? Ah, alright, second point of order.

TE Richwine
Mr. Moderator, my memory seems to say to me…TE Richwine, Warrior Presbytery…I believe that once debate has begun on a motion, that you cannot then raise a point of order and ask the chair to…

Moderator TE George Robertson
We haven’t been debating.

TE Richwine
What have we been doing? We’ve had…we’ve had both men presenting their arguments.

Moderator TE George Robertson
They are presenting on a substitute.

TE Richwine
My understanding was that comes after the debate, according to our Rules of Assembly Operation.

Moderator TE George Robertson
No, we are not debating yet.

TE Richwine
I would disagree with the moderator.

TE David Coffin
Mr. Moderator.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Yes, Mr. Coffin. Number 2, please.

TE David Coffin
Mr. Moderator, David Coffin, Potomac Presbytery. Mr. Moderator, I believe that it’s possible for you to be willing to hear from those who might have some understanding of the point of order being raised, and I would be happy to address it if it would be of interest to you.

Moderator TE George Robertson
That would be most welcome. What took you so long!

TE David Coffin
Mr. Moderator, according to Robert’s Rules it is possible to have non-members of a body appointed to a committee. In this case, the rules cited from our own, which would take precedence if it were relevant, has only to do with permanent committees and agencies. And so I would think that Robert’s Rules would prevail in this case.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Exactly! That’s right. No, please, don’t do that. Don’t do that… It will go to my head. Don’t do that. I am going to rule that it is still properly before us. And, did someone appeal the ruling of the chair? No. OK. So, we are to debate, and I have done the best I can in keeping up with these sixteen, seventeen people at the mics. So, I am going to do my best. If, yes…point of order. Number 4…

TE Ewan Kennedy
Ewan Kennedy, Metro Atlanta Presbytery, just to assure all those in doubt. Diane Langberg did serve on the study committee for divorce and remarriage. That’s according to our historical documents…

Moderator TE George Robertson
Thank you very much. Was there another point of order at 4? … Then we are going to go with microphone number 3. Mr. Hoop would you turn that sign back there, that you…been fiddlin’ with. Thank you. I can see it. Microphone 3, I think you are first…

TE Steve Tiptin
Teaching Elder Steve Tiptin, Presbytery of the Ascension, I don’t want to reiterate everything the chairman from the committee of commissioners said but I would like to raise two add… (skip in video)…happen, like me, to have the minutes on your iPad, turn to page 318…that the issue was, they were asked, the committee, or the Cooperative Ministries Committee…

Moderator TE George Robertson
Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, for or against?

TE Steve Tiptin
I apologize. I am in favor of the substitute motion.

Moderator TE George Robertson
And that’s what we are debating. So, the substitute. Let me just…bring us up to…make sure we are all clear. The substitute is to vote down the formation of a subcommittee…ah…an ad interim committee. Now, please proceed. You are speaking in favor of the substitute.

TE Steve Tiptin
Yes

Moderator TE George Robertson
Thank you.

TE Steve Tiptin
The subcommittee of the Cooperative Ministries Committee was asked to study the role of women in the church, but they were also instructed to bring back a report to us along with recommendations. At the 43rd General Assembly they said, we need more time to present a white paper that we could have a chance to look at. That information has never been given to the assembly. Instead, we have a recommendation for a study committee where the Cooperative Ministries Committee subcommittee has already studied this. And the only grounds we have been given is that the Cooperative Ministries Committee cannot make recommendations directly to the General Assembly. In other words, we have not been given adequate grounds for why we should pass this study committee in the first place. There has been an article in ByFaith, there’s been other speeches, but those are things that we could only really address today as opposed to providing that grounds with the commissioner’s handbook, several weeks ago to give us all an opportunity to think about those things. So in addition to everything else that has already been said, the problem is is that we have not had an opportunity to adequately consider why we as an assembly should in fact form this study committee except for anecdotal remarks that have been made today as well as Monday in the committee of commissioner’s meeting. That is why I would recommend, in addition, again to everything that the chairman of the committee of commissioners stated, that we vote in favor of the substitute to answer this in the negative. Thank you.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Thank you. Microphone number 2, in the blue shirt, you were first. For or against?

TE Albert Kona
For.

Moderator TE George Robertson
For the substitute?

TE Albert Kona
For the substitute motion.

Moderator TE George Robertson
For the substitute?

TE Albert Kona
Yes, sir.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Microphone number 7. For or against?

Unknown
For.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Next in line at 7, for or against? Ah, yes…

Unknown
For the substitute.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Number 3, for or against?

TE Larry Hoop
I am against the substitute, Mr. Moderator.

Moderator TE George Robertson
OK. Please proceed.

TE Larry Hoop
Mr, Moderator, fathers and brother, I’m teaching elder Larry Hoop, Ohio Valley Presbytery. I am speaking against the substitute. Specifically, I want to begin with one particular argument that I’ve seen used in support of it and heard used. I’ve heard it suggested and seen suggested in print that this proposal represents, and I’m quoting from the print article, a power grab or top down legislation. The article alleges that an emboldened, and this is quoting, CMC has rapidly started to resemble the old PCUSA General Assembly Council, unquote. It accuses the CMC of making this proposal to gerrymander the process to achieve women’s ordination and compares the proposal to, as Dr. Ross has mentioned, the President’s executive orders. Anyone, Mr. Moderator, with even a passing acquaintance with the RAO should realize that comparing the power of the CMC to the executive order of the President is like comparing a rowboat to a destroyer. Reading again from RAO 7-3-C, that we have referred to several times, “any matters requiring the General Assembly action by the committee shall be referred to the appropriate committee or agency for its consideration and recommendation.” There is the CMC’s fearsome power, brothers…the power to refer. And when the CMC refers an idea, they have to convince the committee or agency, and then the committee or agency itself can only recommend it. We of the General Assembly must approve it before any action is taken. Mr. Moderator, I want to say that when I heard this power grab article and read about it, I was first angered and then I was grieved. I was angered and grieved because the men on the CMC have been characterized in that print article as willful, arrogant, conceited, guilty of bureaucratic hubris, and more. And who are these supposed villains? Let me read you the names of those who attended the last meeting. Roy Taylor, Jerry Schriver, Derek Halverson, Richard Bowser, Stephen Estock, David Stewart, Mark Dalbey, Walter Turner, Jim Bland, Doug Domet, Randy Stair, Gary Campbell, Jonathan Medlock, Ed Dunnington, Wallace Anderson, Dan Neilson, Jim Wert, Bryan Chapell, Bruce Terrell, Mike Ross, Dan Carrol, and Harry Reeder. You probably, brothers, know some of these men personally. Some of them I have known for over a decade. I know them as men of the highest order of integrity, men who have given their lives to serve the Lord and His church. Yes, it angers and grieves me to hear men like these subjected to scurrilous charges, not only verbally but also in a blog post written by a PCA teaching elder posted on a blog that bears the name of another PCA teaching elder. Mr. Moderator, arguments like the one I’m speaking against have a technical name: they are ad hominem, against the man. It is an argument directed against a person or persons rather than against the position he (skip in video)…his substantive arguments against the proposal aren’t strong enough to carry the day so that he resorts to attacking the character of the one making the proposal. And I believe that is the case here. When you cut to the chase all this proposal asks is for a man we trust, a man who we elected moderator by acclimation, to appoint people of varying perspectives in the PCA to carefully study the Bible, which is in fact our only rule of faith and practice. And then come back to us with recommendations, only recommendations, about how we can be most faithful to the Scriptures in the area of women in ministry. Why in the world would we not want to do that? I don’t understand. I haven’t heard a good argument against it, not in all the things that the committee of commissioners said, nor have I heard that argument yet anywhere else. But one thing is for certain, Mr. Moderator, in this debate let us dispense with any ad hominem arguments. We have heard them used all too recently in the political life of our nation. We should never tolerate them in the deliberations of the church.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Please, no demonstration. Microphone number 2, you are for the substitute? Microphone number 2.

TE Albert Kona
Dear brothers and fathers, Albert Kona, Calvary Presbytery. Excuse me for my accent; I’m a foreigner still in this country. The way I see it, what Pastor Barnes listed before us is the full account and explanation that this issue has been for two thousand years studied and deliberated. And for two thousand years, the church has always answered in the same way: women in the church but not women in the office. We, as people of God, we find ourselves constantly having to choose between Christ and culture, between God’s unchangeable will and values and our culture’s ever-changing values and definitions. Our God is an immutable God. As such, His redemptive plan is unchangeable. His truths are unchangeable. His will for us is unchangeable. His principles for us are unchangeable. His wisdom and instructions for us in the Scriptures are both unchangeable. His will how this church is to be organized, runned, administered, is unchangeable. We may change. We may change our BCO. We might even change the Standards, but God’s will remains unchangeable and His Scriptures remain unchangeable. He said through His Holy Spirit, through Christ’s Apostle, “I do not permit.”

Some speak of the culture pressuring the PCA on this issue, demanding an egalitarian view of ministry. Our society denounces our theology. Imagine that. God denounces our culture and society. Whom are we going to choose? The unchanging will of God or the ever-changing demands of our fallen culture? Are we going to submit to God or to our culture? They say the new generation of the PCA has different views. I say to them, let them change their views. Let them reform. Ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda. Somebody has to change. This is unavoidable. Either God has to change His holy divine will in accordance to our fallen ever-changing cultural will or we will change our will in accordance to His unchangeable Scriptures and truths. Last time I checked in the Bible, God wasn’t willing to change and there is only one option for us. Both sides, God and culture, call us to ultimate faithfulness to His unchangeable will. Are we going to submit to God, to remain true to the Scriptures and to the Reformed faith? Or are we going to submit to our fallen, sinful, ever-changing culture? Thank you.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Thank you. Please no demonstrations. The two speakers at 7. Ah…for the substitute? Number 8. For or against?

TE Kevin Twit
Against the substitute.

Moderator TE George Robertson
Please proceed.

TE Kevin Twit
Rule…or teaching elder, Kevin Twit, Nashville Presbytery. Wow. As I’ve been listening to these speeches, at several points I’ve wanted to interrupt with a point of order that these are just not germane to the issue. We’re not debating whether we are ordaining women and yet I hear people making speeches like the very church itself is at stake with this vote. Brothers and fathers, it’s a study committee. Seriously. Opening the door to all kinds of issues, I heard raised as an objection to this study committee. Is that a big problem? Opening the door to studying the Bible is full of issues. We should study them. The fact that it’s been brought up over and over and over again and we reject it every time. That’s an argument for rejecting it? My goodness. I pray that you don’t respond to your wives and your parishioners who keep bringing up issues to talk about. Seriously, brothers. Which study committee has ever disturbed the peace of the church? I’ve been in the PCA 20 years. I’ve been on a credentials committee for 19 years. I can’t remember a study committee that disturbed the peace of the church. I can remember bringing up the idea of a study committee disturbing the church. But every one that I can remember helped us. And if you don’t think that we have issues surrounding women’s roles in the church, you are not listening or you are only talking to yourself. Because I talk to your daughters, and they’ve got all kinds of questions. And while we’ve said some clear things about what they can’t do, there are myriad questions about what they can do. And with the lack of specific, clear instruction, they are shrinking back rather than serving in places that God would have them serve. And I, for one, think that’s a travesty. And all we are asking for is to talk about it, to study the issue.

I think this is a great year. We have a moderator who was elected by acclimation without a single…a single vote against him. If not now, when? How many more times will this have to come and be rejected before we listen? You know, I wanted to actually make a motion that we’d open the floor to the wives of teaching elders and ruling elders to speak to this issue. In case you didn’t notice, they’re here, they’re listening. I thought they could’ve given us some wisdom, but I think that would probably be too inflammatory. So then I decided, maybe I would ask a few leaders, um, who work for our denomination and every one of them was afraid to come to the mic and talk about this. That’s a culture we should be concerned about.

(2:21:46)

Part 3 here.

2 thoughts on “Transcript of Women in Ministry Study Committee Debate at 2016 PCA General Assembly (Part 2 of 4)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *