Northwest Georgia Presbytery has submitted Overture 2 to the 47th General Assembly; the overture asks the Assembly to sever the tie with Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS).
Though not the only seminary that trains pastors for the denomination, CTS is the only seminary with an official affiliation with the PCA and the only seminary under direct General Assembly oversight. CTS and the PCA have maintained this relationship since 1983, when CTS came under the PCA umbrella with the Joining and Receiving of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. The overture from Northwest Georgia would sever the relationship by striking those portions of BCO 14-1.12 that refer to CTS as an agency of the PCA.
The rationale offered in the overture suggests that this change would enhance the seminary’s opportunity to pursue and adapt its mission apart from any restriction resulting from oversight exclusively by ordained officers.
“With no ill will toward any institution,” said overture author David Hall, himself a CTS grad, “we merely recommend a polite, fair, free-market, generous, and open method for CTS to emulate other reformed seminaries, by providing an option of reducing the favored-status and subsidies that rightly accompany oversight.”
CTS President Dr. Mark Dalbey expressed surprise at the overture’s submission.
“I saw this overture for the first time on September 27 when PCA Stated Clerk Roy Taylor sent it to me,” he said. “We have no desire to become independent from the denomination.”
While expressing appreciation for other faithful independent seminaries, he said the seminary highly values its unique official connection with the denomination.
“We are honored to be the denominational seminary for over 35 years. We believe the oversight and accountability of the denomination through the committee of commissioners and GA elected board members is a great benefit to the PCA and to Covenant Seminary.”
Overture 2 has been referred to the Overtures Committee and to the CTS Committee of Commissioners, who will recommend an answer to the General Assembly.