Deacon Withdraws Complaint That Northwest Georgia Presbytery Refused to Hear

Thankfully, one man suggested to the group of men they should at least read it before voting to deny…

Three days after the NWGA Presbytery apparently neglected their ecclesiastical, constitutional duty by initially refusing to hear his complaint, Deacon Dan Crouse decided to withdraw it. While it would have been within his rights to elevate the complaint to the Standing Judicial Committee of the PCA (as he had done twice before), it seems he chose to take a step toward brotherly reconciliation.

Here is the text of the e-mail Deacon Crouse sent to the members of the NWGA Presbytery:

Brothers of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery:

I humbly request that you please accept this letter in the spirit that it is intended.   I did not intend any disrespect to the Presbytery or any member of it when I signed the BCO 40-5 credible report letter that was also signed by twelve of my fellow ordained Midway men.   I signed it because I believe that it is in the best interest of everyone in our denomination for all ordained officers to adhere to our ecclesiastical constitution.   As Dr. Morton Smith said “This is not at all to suggest that the Standards are on a par with the Scripture, but it is to indicate what being a constitutional church means. By adopting a constitution, the church sets the limits of her judicial process.”

When I filed my first complaint a couple years ago, I was simply trying to convey that a session should immediately talk to any nominee that is not allowed to run for office.   The Standing Judicial Commission agreed and said it better by stating “Fairness and equity suggest a session should communicate the rationale for its action to remove a man from further consideration promptly and directly to the man.” (SJC 2019-3).

I may have been naïve, but I was surprised at the level of hostility an officer can receive for simply filing a complaint to seek a higher court’s opinion on a critical constitutional matter.  In my second complaint, the presbytery prevailed; however, the SJC did state:  “The right to seek redress of improper actions by complaint or appeal is foundational to our Constitutional system. Both due process and basic charity demand that no member or officer should be ostracized or penalized for the mere filing of a complaint or appeal. The filing of a complaint or appeal may never, standing alone, constitute proper grounds to deny any privilege of membership or office in our church.” (SJC 2019-11).

It is my understanding that the complaint you received from me on Tuesday was promptly denied by the Presbytery, without any consideration, which was unfortunate since several of our elders at Midway share the constitutional concerns it raised.  However, after prayerful consideration, I believe it is time to take a step toward brotherly reconciliation; therefore, I have decided that I will not pursue this complaint any further nor will I elevate it to a higher court.  While I remain concerned about these constitutional violations, please accept this gesture as a deliberate step toward reducing the tension that has arisen amongst the brethren.

Thank you for reading this email.  

Your brother in Christ,
Dan Crouse
April 16, 2021