Complaint filed against PCA Metro NY Presbytery (Deaconesses)

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Romans922, Apr 24, 2009.

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  1. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    You can read about over at the Bayly Blog.

    BaylyBlog: Out of our minds, too...: Woman deacons and Metro NY Presbytery: Complaint filed...

    Please note other items: Metro Atlanta Presbytery and Northern California Presbytery have adopted similar proposals concerning deaconesses (not the complaints, just the proposals). Philadelphia (the one with Phil Ryken's Church) is in the process of doing the same.

    On a positive note: Rocky Mountain Presbytery has adopted a statement contrary to the other presbyteries in line with the BCO
  2. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Good! Probably won't go anywhere, but they've been in violation of the BCO in practice (holding to the letter, I suppose, by using the dodge of ordaining nobody but having a 'vibrant diaconal ministry') for YEARS in Metro NY.
  3. jonmo

    jonmo Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, Redeemer PCA Manhattan, for example, does indeed have a "vibrant diaconal ministry" and Metro NY is better off for it. This is a tough issue where I think the leadership at Redeemer have sought to balance a lot of conflicting demands and still hold to the letter. It was very sad when City Church San Francisco left the PCA over BCO 8 and 9. I hope it doesn't split the denomination further, especially somewhere like New York, where there are enough pressures from the outside.
  4. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    One of the TEs mentioned in the Metro NY Presbytery report (Craig Higgins) was my campus minister in college. While I consider to him to be a brilliant, godly man, this isn't the first time in the last few years that I've read/seen/heard something regarding him that has distressed me. When the committee report concerning the FV came up at the PCA GA a couple of years ago, he was either minister directly before or directly after Sproul's famous admonition (which means he was speaking from the other viewpoint).
  5. N. Eshelman

    N. Eshelman Puritan Board Senior

    Ryken's church has had women deeks for a LONG time. I believe that they were grandmothered in when 10th came into the PCA from the UPCNA.
  6. jonmo

    jonmo Puritan Board Freshman

    I guess I need to have a better understanding of the particular charges in the lengthy complaint, which I am still reading, to conclude that somewhere like Redeemer is violating the Scriptures re church office. From my own experience attending there, it did not, although the role of deaconesses is definitely more prominent than in any other church I have attended.
  7. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner


    It would be nice if those who can't live with the current standards would depart to a body more in keeping with their views, such as ARP or EPC, but I don't see that happening without a long and bitter fight.

    I will pray for your church, which has gotten caught up in a mess apparently not of its making.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2009
  8. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    Yes, Tim Kellar is a gifted teaching elder and the church he serves is a great asset.

    We need to pray he and the leadership will respond humbly as this is being "called out" for accountability to the larger church.

    There appears to be a failure here to follow the denomination's polity (something all elders and deacons vow to) in a very significant way:

    1) refusing to ordain and install Deacons
    2) denying the congregation of the benefits of the presbyterian system of government

    (That is the church is governed by elders and deacons, with unordained men and women assisting)

    We also have to remember that a particular church is not intended to be overly dominated by one person in presbyterian polity. We all have a tendency to "worship" people by being "respectors of persons." That is not right, biblically.

    There are many checks in the PCA system including ordaining and installing associate pastors (called by the congregation). Leadership (governance) really is designed to come from the plurality of elders (usually ruling elders). So, one teaching elder's views ought not be dominating polity- that should be coming from the ruling elders.

    If what is coming out is true, there has been a real failure of that, and the situation has been allowed to get out of hand.

    We all need to pray here that this will be met with humility, submission and charity all around. This needs to be shown to the outside watching as well as for the peace and purity of Christ's church.
  9. Craig

    Craig Puritan Board Senior

    Definitely keep reading the Bayly Blog...Tim Bayly has documented Redeemer's violations clearly...and has shown that Tim Keller less than forthright when it comes to Redeemer and their deaconesses.

    Tim Bayly on deaconesses being "grandfathered" in:
    BaylyBlog: Out of our minds, too...: The RPCES heritage in the PCA: Jim Hurley, Joel Belz, Will Barker, Steve Smallman, and Dominic Aquila...

    Tim's systematic dealing with the RPCES decisions re: deaconesses:
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
    Part 6a
    Part 6b
  10. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    While I take great issue with Pastors Tim and David Bayly in some of the highly inappropriate and unfounded things they've said about Pastor Keller and Redeemer (you can see my comments there - I don't want to start a "blog war"), I do commend them for their desire to maintain the integrity of the PCA polity and to uphold Scripture. I understand their concern about the deaconess issue, but I think these presbyteries have a strong case; I support the Metro NY Presbytery (and the 3 others), but can see the strength of the complaints against them.

    As I understand it, the complaint against the Metro NY Presbytery will first go before the presbytery itself, and then before the presbytery's standing judicial committee. Since the presbytery itself just passed these resolutions, it seems highly unlikely that they would reverse course and uphold the complaint.

    From there, I believe it would go before the GA judicial committee. At that point, one of two things will happen: the complaint will be rejected and things will continue as they are, or they will uphold the complaint against the Metro NY Presbytery, which would directly affect my church (Redeemer) and pastor. While I hope they reject the complaint, my hunch is that they will uphold it, and rule against the practice of not ordaining male deacons.

    If that happens, I suspect the Metro NY Presbytery will disagree with the decision but will comply, and as a result Redeemer will ordain male deacons - I think it is highly unlikely that Redeemer would leave the PCA over this. In practice, I doubt anything will change - a handful of male deacons will be ordained, but the day to day function of the diaconate will likely remain completely unchanged.

    So in the end, I think everyone will be satisfied: Redeemer can retain its strong female presence in the diaconate, only now with some ordained male deacons, and the anti-deaconess camp will be happy because the BCO will be strictly upheld and it will be viewed as a repudiation of liberalization (as much as I personally disagree). So in the end, this complaint could actually be a good thing overall for the PCA. While I personally hate to see my church under fire, I am glad this issue is being addressed, and will hopefully be resolved once and for all.

    I pray for the PCA, particularly for unity, and for wisdom of the men on the judicial committees. I also pray for Redeemer and Pastor Keller, especially for wisdom as they navigate these choppy waters.
  11. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    It ain't necessarily peachy in the ARP, either. The presbytery I'm in, by and large, is opposed the whole deaconness thing as well (the ARP policy is to allow the practice on a sessional basis -- the wording allowing it in the Form of Government is very vague, btw). The memorial (same as overtures in the PCA) has been presented to rescind the practice, but it cannot get any traction outside of our presbytery.

    This is a precedent the PCA needs to carefully consider: once the genie's out of the bottle, it ain't going back in. The ARP voted to allow the practice back in its quasi-liberal days (in part to ward off the female elder issue at the time); even though the denomination returned to its conservative roots, this is still on the books. And barring anything extraordinary, it's won't go away. :2cents:
  12. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner


    I grew up in the PCUS, and unlike some of the younger brothers, I know that change like this is generally a one way street. Southern Baptists, under the leadership of Patterson and Patterson is the only case I can think of where the liberals were not just stopped in their tracks, but rolled back decisively.

    The PCA is not the denomination that its founders envisioned.
  13. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Praying for the elimination of Egalitarianism within the PCA as soon as it is able to do so as I believe this to be of the utmost importance.
  14. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritanboard Amanuensis

    As a recent convert from the PC(USA) I can concur wholeheartedly. Egalitarianism is not a disease that many recover from, especially those with "big names" doing the pushing.
  15. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Don't count out NorCal. There are still three Presbyterian churches in that Presbytery, and they have more energy and knowledge than those of churches there like Keller's who say "We have no women Deacons. Please welcome Amy Chung, our head of the Deaconate" and think that they can even spell the word integrity.
  16. WarrenInSC

    WarrenInSC Puritan Board Freshman

    Indeed, Division Started w/ Ignoring the BCO

    Indeed. It has already 'blown up into a mess" - that's the problem. We in the PCA are supposed to be part of a confessional and connectional church. When a high profile church with a high profile pastor knowingly and deliberately ignores the governing instrument of our unity, the BCO, that is an attack on the very heart of our unity. It is deeply divisive and distresses the brotherhood of believers within our PCA. It is a great service to the peace and unity of the church to call out this blatant non-conformance and bring it to account. This is really two issues - the issue of deaconesses, which is clearly settled in our standards, consistents with centuries of understanding by the Church as a whole, and the issue of deliberate unconstitutional process. Just think - if this unconstitutional process is allowed to go unchallenged and not rolled back, the same unconstitutional process could then be pointed to as acceptable practice within the PCA - and then made a habit, but on other deep issues of faith and practice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2009
  17. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Let me ask a dumb question: in the ARP, we have the "local option" with regard to deacons and deaconnesses (I'm not making this up -- our Form of Government defines deacons as "persons* of good character, honest repute, exemplary life, brotherly love, sympathetic nature, and sound judgment, and who are qualified under the standards recorded in Scripture"; the asterisk leads to the following statement: "Circumstances of the local congregation shall require each session to determine the meaning of the word 'persons.' "). But it is still left up to local sessions. Now, what direction exactly is the PCA headed toward? Will there be a similar "local option", or will churches be "required" to ordain deaconness?
  18. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Neither. They are headed to take their BCO seriously.
  19. ww

    ww Puritan Board Senior

    Hopefully C: None of the Above! Here is an Overtures link and Overture 5 is seeking to open up the question of what is the woman's role in the Church.

    Presbyterian Church in America
  20. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    But that's chaos. If I said I thought that cussing was fine, and I joined this board and agreed not to cuss then I have to abide by my word. These people joined the PCA with eyes wide open, and they are ignoring their vows. That's the problem, not women Deacons. There are ways to change the BCO legally and orderly.
  21. WarrenInSC

    WarrenInSC Puritan Board Freshman

    Vows are words - words have meaning

    Precisely - when every one of the TE's & RE's in Metro NY took a vow, they said words before the Lord and His Church that are supposed to MEAN something - not some post-modernist personal reinterpretation that changes with time & culture.:banghead:
  22. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    IF the innovation is allowed to stand, based upon my recollection of what transpired in the PCUS, I would guess that it would initially be permissive, and a few years later become required. And now (or at least a couple of years ago, based on the last statistics I saw) 75% of the 'deacons' in the PCUSA are women, and right around half of the elders. So I know how this story ends if proper discipline isn't enforced at this stage.
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Redeemer without a shadow of a doubt is violating Scripture in that they are not submitting to the PCA Constitution.
  24. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Oh Lord I pray for my denomination. :pray2:
  25. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Sounds like a new thread is needed here to expound on why you believe this to be so.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2009
  26. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser


    Is it your hope then that no substantial change comes to Redeemer and that they, in practice, continue to employ female deacons in violation the spirit of the BCO while maintaining its letter to shut those who disagree with you up?

    Is that not disingenuous at best and deceitful in violation of the 9th Commandment at worst?
  27. brianeschen

    brianeschen Puritan Board Junior

    City Church San Francisco left because they wouldn't submit to the vows they agreed to submit to. BCO 8 - the elder and BCO 9 - the deacon. They knew getting into the denomination that the PCA holds that these two offices are for qualified MEN only. They remained in long enough for the PCA to get them started financially and then they bolted.
  28. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    This issue bears some similarities with another thread I started here. Though it is over different issues (WCF v. BCO), the root problem is similar: how do we handle ministers who enter a denomination knowing full well what that denomination teaches and yet begin teaching (in some capacity) differently from the system accepted by that denomination. It seems a recipe for disaster.
  29. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Tim great point. I do not understand why we tolerate this for a single minute. It is vital to the health of the denomination that we put these men out of the denomination the minute that they publicly or privately teach against the standards. This issue has been settled for thousands of years, there is no reason to be tolerant, but unfortunately we will. We should keep in mind that this is only the beginning.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2009
  30. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder


    I cannot understand the arrogance of someone who would disturb the peace and unity of the church and split a denomination by pushing an agenda like this. The old PCUS was "split" because that denomination had abandoned the gospel; that's a different matter. But causing a split over egalitarianism and/or quasi-feminism?!? For shame.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2009
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