The Standing Judicial Commission (SJC), the highest judicatory of the Presbyterian Church in America, has ruled that Missouri Presbytery did not violate the investigation requirements of the Book of Church Order and did not err when it declined to process allegations against TE Greg Johnson.
The judgement is a consequence of a complaint that arose out of Missouri Presbytery which alleged that TE Johnson 1) “denies that same-sex-attraction is sinful,” 2) “compromises and dishonors his identity in Christ by self-identifying as a same-sex-attracted man,” 3) “denies God’s purpose and power to sanctify SSA [same-sex-attracted] believers,” and 4) “cannot meet the biblical ‘above reproach’ qualification for the eldership.”
The SJC officially concluded, “Based on the Record, there was no reversible error in the decisions reached by Missouri Presbytery regarding the four allegations. It was not unreasonable for Presbytery to judge that TE Johnson’s ‘explanations’ on the four allegations were ‘satisfactory.’ (BCO31-2).” The SJC judgment indicates that the Record of the case included “over 600 pages covering multiple years of [TE Johnson’s] writing, speaking, and judicial processes” as well as “representations [that] have been extrapolated by critics….”
In March 2021, a hearing was conducted before the full SJC in Atlanta with all judges present to hear representatives of the Complainant and Missouri Presbytery. Additional questions were addressed to TE Johnson by the SJC. A 5-person drafting committee of the SJC was, then, randomly selected by the Chairman to write a proposed opinion for the Commission. That proposal with amendments was ultimately approved by the full SJC on October 21, 2021 by a vote of 16-7-0 (one member absent due to medical concerns). This judgment is considered the final action of the General Assembly on this case.
Because of the attention this case has received in the PCA and the need for clarity and accuracy regarding the specifics of this judgment, the Stated Clerk’s Office with the approval of the SJC, is now making the full text of the judgment available at the byFaith website. It will also be available in the Commissioners’ Handbook for the upcoming General Assembly.