A PCA special committee agrees with the “credible report” filed against the Northwest Georgia Presbytery by three besieged Midway ruling elders…
Midway Ruling Elders Clay David, Don Barnett, and James Scott were indicted by the Midway Session majority under TE David Hall’s leadership in September of 2021 and suspended from office because they signed a report citing evidence that the Northwest Georgia Presbytery “abdicated its duty under BCO 13‐9 to exercise proper church authority under our constitution.”
Now, a special committee of the PCA, after reviewing the report and the facts, confirmed the collective judgment of these three men in an unanimous vote of 47-0-0.
Called to Stand Trial?
The violations are so severe that the special committee has even recommended that the General Assembly cite the Northwest Georgia Presbytery to appear before the highest court of the PCA, the Standing Judicial Commission, to adjudicate the matter.
The special committee is called the Review of Presbytery Records Committee (RPRC). Its duty is to ensure the church presbyteries are not violating the PCA Constitution or the Scriptures.
The RPRC concluded that the evidence shows that the calls of the three men elected in the divisive congregational meeting were “constitutionally deficient,” and therefore that the NWGP “acted improperly in approving the calls and installing the three candidates.”
If true, then that would mean that currently serving associate pastor and clerk of Session TE Marc Harrington is doing so unconstitutionally.
That congregational meeting resulted in complaints from Midway members that were ultimately ruled judicially out of order by the SJC. The Midway Session declared victory in its response to the SJC’s action–perhaps prematurely.
At least two of the three associate pastors almost immediately voted with the session majority to indict and convict RE Dudt after subjecting him to an all-night secret trial. His conviction was recently overturned completely by the SJC.
If the three associate pastors were installed unconstitutionally, then every vote they have participated in since that meeting must have been illegitimate–including the votes to suspend and indict REs David, Barnett, and Scott.
The General Assembly must ratify the RPR report this week to make its recommendations binding. There is little doubt that the Midway delegation consisting of TEs Hall and Harrington and others, as well as other members of the NWGP, will attempt to thwart these recommendations at GA this week.
For so long the Midway Session under TE Hall’s leadership have insisted that the congregation’s vote cannot be overturned. The Session circulated the congregation with a letter that insisted “our Presbytery appropriately installed these pastors as Associates, which is an act that cannot be annulled.”
But now, 17 months after making their declaration, the RPRC has concluded based on evidence that, contrary to the Session’s judgment, there is a strong reason to suspect “the Presbytery acted improperly in approving the calls and installing the three candidates.”
If this case does go to the SJC, and it formally determines that the Midway associate pastors were installed unconstitutionally, then it remains to be seen how the court may address the many divisive actions taken by the Midway Session majority since winning that vote.
Full Text of the Report
Here is the text from the actual report, which is extracted from the Commissioner Handbook of the 49th General Assembly of the PCA:
e. BCO 40-5 report referred to CRPR on decision of the SJC, Case No. 2021-02:
The CRPR recommends that the 49th General Assembly:
a. Find that the February 14, 2021 letter from RE [name omitted] et al. is a “credible report” of “an important delinquency or grossly unconstitutional proceedings” (BCO 40-5): specifically, there is evidence that (1) the calls to the three candidates were constitutionally deficient, so implementing them was unconstitutional, and (2) the Presbytery acted improperly in approving the calls and installing the three candidates;
b. Cite the Northwest Georgia Presbytery to appear, per BCO 40-5, before the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission which the 49th GA constitutes its commission to adjudicate this matter, by representative or in writing, at the SJC’s fall stated meeting, to “show what the lower court has done or failed to do in the case in question,” following the Operating Manual for the SJC, particularly chapter 15; and
c. Direct the RPR Officers to appoint one or more representatives of the GA and Report (OMSJC 15.2) to present this case to the SJC.