The North Texas Presbytery has submitted an overture to the 41st General Assembly (GA) calling for a study committee to examine the language in the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) regarding the observance of the Sabbath. WCF chapter 21-8 currently states that “(t)his Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations . …”
Presently, a number of ordained officers in the PCA have taken a stated exception to the language about recreation.
“The term recreation is the biggest issue in the Westminster Confession. What does it mean: watching NFL football on Sunday? Playing football at youth group? What did it mean in 1647, and what does it mean today?” asks teaching elder (TE) David Frierson, Northwest Texas stated clerk.
The study committee would investigate whether there are necessary amendments to be made to the WCF on the issue of the Sabbath — changes that would be true to the Scriptures and not unduly restrictive nor overly permissive.
“By-and-large the ordained officers of the PCA, by virtue of their practices, have said they do not believe the Scriptures teach what the Standards require in observing the Sabbath,” said TE David Clelland. “Stated differences have become so common it is time to seriously examine our Scriptural position on the matter. There should be basic agreement in our conduct and confession.”
Should a change to the WCF be recommended, it would mark the PCA’s first attempt to make such a revision. According to the Book of Church Order 26-3, an amendment to the Confession of Faith requires the approval of three-fourths of those present and voting in the General Assembly; it requires the consent of three-fourths of the denomination’s presbyteries, and the approval of three-fourths of those present and voting at a subsequent GA.
To read the overture, please click here.