General Assembly News for Monday, June 12
By Megan Fowler

For those not following byFaith Magazine on Twitter (@PCABYFAITH) and Facebook, here are the big events from the first day of the 2017 General Assembly.

Bryan Chapell was elected chairman of the Overtures Committee.

The Overtures Committee voted to recommend that the General Assembly answer the following overtures in the affirmative:

Overture 2, entitled “Solemnization of Marriage,” by vote of 54-45-1, with an amendment to clarify that it involves the process to amend the BCO. The Assembly will also hear a minority report concerning this overture.

In its grounds for recommending that the overture be answered in the affirmative, the Overtures Committee wrote, “The overture is recommended as strengthening the PCA’s public witness to a biblical definition of marriage.  As a binding policy statement, it enhances the legal protection of our military and civilian chaplains in declining to perform unbiblical marriages.   Subsequent amendments to BCO 59 would be encouraged to bring the whole chapter into closer agreement to WCF 24.”

Overture 7 with an amendment restoring long-range planning, but directing recommendations from the CMC through overtures from the lower courts. In its grounds, the Overtures Committee wrote, “The proposed amendment to the RAO, as amended by the Overtures Committee, allows the CMC to engage in planning across the committees and agencies of the PCA, while preserving the appropriate role of the graded courts.”

Overture 14, entitled “Amend RAO 13-2 and New Business at General Assembly (refiled).”

Overture 16, entitled “Amend BCO 25-3 on Quorums for Withdrawal,” by a vote of 91-5-4.

Overture 18, entitled “Amend RAO IX That Ad Interim Committees May Only Be Formed in Response to Presbytery Overtures,” with amendment to remove the word “exclusively” from paragraph 9-2. The amendment now reads as follows: Recommendations for the appointment of ad-interim or study committees shall arise only by way of overtures from Presbyteries, which shall be exclusively submitted to the Overtures Committee for recommendations to the General Assembly.

The Overtures Committee voted to recommend answering the following overtures in the negative:

Overture 1, entitled “Financing Bible Translation,” by vote of 87-2-3.

Overture 4, entitled “Add BCO 24-11 to Specify that Males Only May be Ordained as Elders or Deacons,” by vote 86-9-3.

Overture 10, entitled “Revise RAO 11-5 to Direct Clerk to Refer Overtures Regarding Committees and Agencies and Ad Interim Committees to Overtures Committee Also.”

Overture 5, “Amend BCO 8 to Add Depth and Clarity to Definition of Elder,” by vote 58-41-1.

Overture 6, “Amend and Strengthen the Proof-texts of Westminster Confession of Faith, 2 24:4 [h], by the Addition of Leviticus 18:22 and Romans 1:26-27,” by vote of 96-3-1.

Overture 8, “Amend BCO 7 to Add Depth and Clarity to Definition of Perpetual Offices,” by vote of 94-5-1

Overture 9, “Amend BCO 24-7 to Allow for the Provision of a Sabbatical to Officers 2 in the Church,” by vote of 98-2-1.

Overture 11, “Change BCO 15-3 to Allow Judicial Commission Minority Reports,” by vote of 83-12-4.

Overture 17, “Assembly Statement Encouraging Theological Discussion on Opting Out of Social Security,” by vote of 76-19-5.

The Overtures Committee voted to refer Overture 15, “Amend BCO 43-1 on Complaints During Judicial Process” back to its originating presbytery, Pacific Northwest. The vote on this matter was 67-29-5.

The Overtures Committee also approved a motion to ask that the four overtures which propose amendments to the Rules of Assembly Operation (Overtures 7, 14, 16, and 18) and have been endorsed by the Overtures Committee be docketed for Wednesday morning. They have requested this because amendments to the RAO requires approval by two-thirds majority of those voting, which must also be a majority of registered commissioners. Achieving this majority would be easier if the matters come before the Assembly on Wednesday rather than Thursday.

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