The denominational magazine of the PCA, byFaith, reported that there was a secret meeting of 50 PCA pastors and unnamed “denominational leaders” this past week in Atlanta. Actually, other than Stated Clerk, Roy Taylor, all of the meetings attendees were “unnamed” and will remain “unnamed” as the meeting was conducted under the “Chatham House Rule.” According to byFaith, the Chatham House Rule means “participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant may be revealed.” Wikipedia adds; “The Chatham House Rule is intended to PROMOTE public discussion of the views expressed at a meeting, but without attributing those views to any individual or organisation.” Even the byFaith article itself was anonymous as it contained no byline.
Now, the focus of the meeting, at least according to byFaith, was to “ease denominational tension” that has been caused, not by false teaching and the false gospel that continues to spread like cancer virtually unabated throughout the PCA, but by bloggers and a narrow minded faction within presbyteries (read TRs) who are evidently too concerned with orthodoxy when examining candidates seeking ordination in the PCA. According to one nameless attendee; “At the presbytery level, pockets of the PCA have become overly concerned with measuring orthodoxy.” Oh, my. We can’t have that. Of course, this raises the question what else should those at the presbytery level be concerned with when examining candidates for ministry besides measuring a candidate’s level of orthodoxy? Admittedly, there are other variables that need to be taken under consideration when someone is seeking ordination like can he teach or does he become tongue-tied or break into a sweat when speaking before a room full of people. Beyond that his personal character, maturity in the faith, along with his ability to manage his family are all areas to be examined. However, I would have thought that measuring the orthodoxy of prospective pastors would be the primary concern of those at the presbytery level. In fact, PCA BCO 21 requires a “careful examination” (would that be same as a precise examination) of a candidate’s “knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew languages, Bible content, theology, the Sacraments, Church history, the history of the Presbyterian Church in America, and the principles and rules of the government and discipline of the church.”
According to one nameless attendee, not only does precision in orthodoxy lead to “idolatry,” but having a strict standard of orthodoxy has caused men to leave the denomination, “which means we’re limiting our tools for building the kingdom.” Call me crazy, but I fail to see how Christ’s kingdom is limited by requiring precision and a high level of orthodoxy in ministerial candidates. Frankly, I think the requirements in the PCA are too low and prospective candidates should also be examined on their knowledge of philosophy and the laws of logic.
Until reading this article, I never realized the PCA was limiting their “tools for building the kingdom” by excluding unorthodox candidates from the ministry. Aren’t there already enough homes for such men outside the PCA? I see stupid and unorthodox pastors on TV every day. I’ve even attended some of their churches. Certainly some of these candidates for ministry can and should make their living somewhere else, hopefully outside of the ministry. I guess not according to those anonymous “denominational leaders” attending this secret meeting in Atlanta. Is the church really suffering from too much precision in orthodoxy? Give me a break. I thought Christ’s kingdom was being destroyed and weakened by a lack of orthodoxy particularly in the ministry. I don’t think it is an overstatement to say that the PCUSA hasn’t faired very well since they abandoned precision in orthodoxy and replaced it with some nebulous and unbiblical idea of “love.” That didn’t seem to faze one nameless PCA elder who complained: “The proper goal –rather than that level of precision—should be love.”
For the record, I did a quick search of the Scriptures along with the PCA’s BCO and could find no example where church business is to discussed and debated under the Chatham House rule. But, hey, I guess I’m just a stickler for precision. (more…)