It appears TE David Hall and his fellow pastors have one standard for the ruling elders in their congregation and another for themselves.
After months of demanding “submit to us”, we now know that the Midway pastors filed a formal objection (BCO 45-4) against the Northwest Georgia Presbytery in their response to the Presbytery’s finding that the Midway Session did, in fact, violate the constitution of our denomination at the July 2020 congregation meeting that elevated the assistant pastors to associates. The September 17th objection was signed by Teaching Elders Hall, Harrington, and Barry and apparently was not approved by the Midway Session prior to its filing.
These same teaching elders chose to charge Elder Scott, Barnett, and David for filing a BCO 40-5 matter with the Stated Clark of the PCA. The stated reason for these charges was that the ruling elders were not “in submission” to the session due to filing the 40-5 letter.
These same teaching elders aggressively tried and convicted RE Phil Dudt for not being “in submission” to the session for sending an e-mail to the congregation concerning an upcoming congregational meeting (BCO 25).
These same teaching elders supported and defended the session in their booting of Deacon Dan Crouse from the diaconate for filing a complaint (BCO 43) and they stated that the deacon was not “in submission” to the session for filing that complaint.
NOW THESE SAME TEACHING ELDERS ARE NOT WILLING TO SUBMIT TO THE PRESBYTERY RULING.
The irony of the pastors filing this objection is these are also the same teaching elders that voted for and have strictly enforced the September session resolution that states that any officer that openly disagrees with the session must resign first or they would not be in submission to the session and “could result in dissolution of the official relationship between the officer and the church”. This unconstitutional resolution was the basis for the charges against Ruling Elders Scott, Barnett, David, and Dudt.
Should this policy also apply to members of the Presbytery who file an objection to a matter decided by the Presbytery? Should they resign before they openly disagree? It should be noted that the pastors are members of Presbytery but the session members are not. The objection was distributed to the session members after Monday’s session meeting.
Of course, these teaching elders did not resign their office before openly disagreeing with the Presbytery. Filing an objection is a constitutionally permitted form of disagreement, just like a complaint or a 40-5 letter would be. However, at Midway, lay officers have been ostracized and penalized for doing what the pastors did when they filed this objection. Do TE David Hall and his fellow pastors have one standard for the ruling elders in their congregation and another for themselves?
There is a lot of talk from members of the congregation that as long the pastors are not preaching heresies, nothing else really matters. That reminds me of a recurring Sunday school lesson from my youth. The teacher would ask:
ARE YOU WALKING THE WALK OR JUST TALKING THE TALK?
It’s easy for leaders to get up and say what people want to hear, but it is a matter of morality for those same leaders to have the integrity to do what is right when they don’t think others will find out.
So who has the final say when our church leaders are being hypocritical and arrogant in their treatment of church members? Is it the higher courts? It’s true, the higher courts could step in and even charge such men for such behavior. But, more practically, it is the responsibility of the congregation, even those in PCA churches. It is the congregation that chooses its leaders. But it is also the congregation, and only the congregation, that has the right to dismiss those same leaders.
Are we willing to settle for leaders that are just talking the talk?