Controversial Overture 2 Authored by Midway is Defeated at General Assembly

Update: The controversial Overture authored by Midway Senior Pastor David Hall was defeated 681 to 164 by the 47th General Assembly of the PCA…

Northwest Georgia Presbytery submitted Overture 2 to the 47th General Assembly of the PCA. Authored by Midway Senior Pastor David Hall, the overture asks the Assembly to sever the tie with Covenant Theological Seminary (CTS), which is the only official denominational seminary of the PCA. This overture has been controversial in the denomination and has sparked numerous articles and lots of online discussion.

Central to the controversy is that the overture (which is available to view here) was authored by David Hall at Midway, submitted to and passed by the Northwest Georgia Presbytery (NWGP), and sent up before the 47th General Assembly without anyone from Midway or the NGWP reaching out to representatives at CTS to discuss the suggestion that they be released from PCA oversight or to present reasons why this would be a good idea. A byFaith (the magazine of the PCA) article from last May reported on this stating:

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.”

Dr. Mark Dalbey, President of CTS, responded to Overture 2 publicly in a video where he stated in part:

“…as Presbyterians, we are accountable to the denomination where the majority of our graduates serve. We are deeply thankful for this relationship. We believe this accountability safeguards both the seminary and the church from wayward theology. Sadly, no one from Northwest Georgia Presbytery ever contacted any of the faculty, staff, or board members of Covenant Seminary to ask if the overture they approved was something we desire. It is not, and our board has voted unanimously to reject it by responding in the negative.”

Regarding Midway Senior Pastor David Hall, Dr. Dalbey reported the stated reason given for the overture:

I personally called the pastor of the local church that was responsible for sending the overture to the presbytery level and asked him why he wanted Covenant Seminary removed from the PCA. He told me plainly that the reason the Session approved it was because he thought we wanted non-elder, and especially women, serving as voting trustees. I told him this has never been the case. Nowhere have we said we plan to have women serving as voting trustees. I wish he would had contacted me before drafting this overture.

Not only does this overture give the misleading idea that Covenant Seminary desires to leave the PCA, we at Covenant view it to be wayward in its ambitions…

…we gladly submit ourselves the oversight of our denomination each and every year. If we believe in our processes we must believe the best about each other as we all seek to teach the Word of God faithfully and in truth.”

You can see Dr. Dalbey’s full remarks in the video below. He reiterated these points on the floor of the General Assembly right before the body voted to answer Overture 2 in the negative 681 to 164.

One must wonder why Senior Pastor David Hall, Stated NWGP Clerk Legree Finch, and other NWGP presbyters could allow such a drastic proposal to move forward on false assumptions without even speaking to the parties most impacted by the proposal.

To view the results of the vote (681 to 164), go to 1:30:00 of the Friday session of the 2019 PCA General Assembly livestream by clicking here.

Alternatively, the vote is recorded in the Minutes of the 47th General Assembly in the Overtures Committee Report on page 85. View them by clicking here.