After lively debate at its Thursday afternoon session, the 44th General Assembly of the PCA adopted a proposal from its Administrative Committee (AC) to establish a study committee on the issue of women serving in the ministry of the church. Approval came after the Assembly defeated a substitute motion that asked the Assembly to deny the proposal.
The substitute came from the Committee of General Assembly Commissioners tasked to review AC proposals. The Committee of Commissioners argued that the issue had already been thoroughly studied and that the proposal should have come to the Assembly by different means. They also objected to some of the areas the proposal calls on the Committee to study.
The proposal the Assembly adopted includes the following provisions:
- The study committee should be made up of competent men and women representing the diversity of opinions within the PCA
- The committee should give particular attention to the issues of:
(1) The biblical basis, theology, history, nature, and authority of ordination;
(2) The biblical nature and function of the office of deacon;
(3) Clarification on the ordination or commissioning of deacons/deaconesses;
(4) Should the findings of the study committee warrant BCO changes, the study committee will propose such changes for the General Assembly to consider.
- The committee will have a budget of $15,000 that is funded by designated donations to the AC from churches and individuals.
- A Pastoral Letter to be proposed by the ad interim study committee and approved by the General Assembly be sent to all churches, encouraging them to (1) promote the practice of women in ministry, (2) appoint women to serve alongside elders and deacons in the pastoral work of the church, and (3) hire women on church staff in appropriate ministries.
The Committee will be appointed by Moderator George Robertson. Under the Rules of Assembly Operation, it may have no more than seven members.