I have just learned that there will be an alternative motion to the Strategic Plan proposed at the GA. It comes from the Northwest Georgia Presbytery, and is largely the work of Rev. Jon Payne. Read the full proposal here. I couldn’t agree more with Jon Payne’s analysis, or with his solution to the issues. This blog salutes Rev. Payne for upholding confessional truth, and directing us back to Jesus, our true center.
At Tim’s request, I am now including a small “blurb” about the Strategic Plan, and also Jon Payne’s alternative.
The Strategic Plan is an attempt by the Administrative Committee to address some of the difficulties currently facing the PCA. The narrative plan is available here. One would get a fairly decent sense of where the Plan is headed by reading all the highlighted material. The Plan consists of an analysis of some of the problems facing the PCA, along with some proposed solutions. The solutions include some controversial ideas. The ones most controversial have been making a mandatory support of the AC committee across the board for all PCA churches. This support would take the place of GA registration fees. Secondly, there is a suggestion that we withdraw from NAPARC, for the reason that it is draining our ministry resources. Other controversial language in the Plan includes “provide more seats at the table,” for minorities, young leaders, and women. Also controversial is its characterization of the various groups within the PCA, as to whether they might be simplistic or not.
I’ll just shoot from the hip a bit here. I was actually against the mandatory support of the AC committee until I read Rev. Dr. Ligon Duncan’s defense of it. He convinced me that it was a good idea. And then when I read more carefully that it takes the place of the GA fee, I was even more in favor of it. The AC is essential to the PCA, in that it funds the SJC, and does innumerable other vitally important services for our denomination. It does need to be supported. I will cheerfully admit that there are other things that could be done, perhaps, to reduce the financial load of the AC. Personally, I think our GA is way too big. I am in favor of a delegated assembly. If we didn’t have to pay half a million dollars just to rent a convention center for GA every year, but could have it in churches, that would significantly reduce the burden of GA every year. Very few churches can seat 1500 people (3000 for the services). But many churches can seat 500.
Withdrawing from NAPARC would be a serious mistake in my opinion. I don’t see it as any kind of a needless drain on resources. Aren’t we supposed to be about Reformed Catholicity? Why would we want to deny that kind of catholicity by withdrawing from our like-minded brothers and sisters in NAPARC? Seeing that the other NAPARC denominations are more confessional than the PCA is (on average), the only reason I could think of for withdrawing from NAPARC is if we want to head in a different theological direction from NAPARC. This also would be a mistake, I believe.
This is by no means an adequate summary of all that is in the Strategic Plan. I have only touched on the more controversial issues present. Rev. Jon Payne seeks to draw us back to a means of grace frame of mind. Of course, I don’t see Rev. Payne’s contribution as contradicting everything in the Strategic Plan. Rev. Payne, for instance, does not address the AC support issue. But what I see Rev. Payne doing is to remind us that God has a plan for us, and it is simple, and is based on the means of grace.