The Presbytery could have ended all the trials and turmoil at Midway, but failed to do so.
The Midway Guardian has learned that the SJC Panel’s decision acquitting Elder Phil Dudt was received by the leadership of the NWGP on or about March 11, 2022. The decision, which was later confirmed 19-0 by the entire Standing Judicial Commission of the PCA, ruled the Session’s September 2020 (a/k/a “Talley”) Resolution is divisive, unconstitutional and unbiblical.
At the same time, there was a commission of the NWGP deliberating on a complaint that questioned the constitutionality of the charges against Elders Scott, Barnett, and David. The complaint argued that the charges against the three elders were unconstitutional because they were based on the Talley Resolution. The NWGP commission denied the complaint and supported the now infamous Talley Resolution. The problem is, the NWGP commission’s report denying the complaint was completed and distributed two weeks after the NWGP leadership was made aware that the Talley Resolution was declared “clearly unconstitutional” by the SJC Panel. Did those men on the NWGP commission ignore the decision of the SJC Panel or was the SJC decision withheld from the commission by the NWGP leaders?
To make matters worse, the Dudt SJC panel decision was not distributed at the April 5, 2022, Presbytery meeting where the members voted to agree with the NWGP commission to continue the trials at Midway.
Now that the full Standing Judicial Commission has spoken, their decision is final. The SJC decision is immediately binding to the Northwest Georgia Presbytery and Midway Session (BCO 14-7, 15-5). However, there has been no indication that the three longtime serving elders, charged with violating the Talley Resolution, have been restored to their duties. As of now, the trial of Elder David will continue later this week with Elder’s Barnett and Scott trials to follow. That puts both the NWGP and Midway Session in clear defiance of the highest court of the Presbyterian Church in America.
The Northwest Georgia Presbytery is now in danger of losing all credibility within the PCA denomination and possibly being expelled from the Presbyterian Church in America (BCO 40-6). In the Phil Dudt case, it has been shown the presbytery did not have enough discernment to know what the difference is between a biblical based offense and a man-made attempt to suppress disagreement. Now they have to defend their decision to support the Talley Resolution at the highest court where the SJC just ruled:
The so-called “Talley Resolution” clearly violates BCO PP II.7 and WCF 20-2. Such in thesi deliverances form no part of the Constitution of the Church and have no binding power. Yet the question of their authority and of their binding power typically at once become a subject of controversy and needlessly divide the Church. A Session cannot authoritatively establish the meaning of the BCO, it can only interpret it in light of its history and its sense as received by the Church. No officer can be subject to discipline for disagreeing with, or violating, such a resolution. Further, the Resolution is effectively a bill of attainder, i.e., an act of a legislature declaring a person, or a group of people, guilty of some crime, and punishing them, without a trial, and as such it is invalid. It is instructive to note that a bill of attainder is prohibited in the United States Constitution and that every state constitution also expressly forbids bills of attainder. The BCO clearly forbids such a procedure in, for example, 24-7 and Preliminary Principle 8.SJC 2021-13 Final Decision, RE Dudt vs NWGP
Will the Northwest Georgia Presbytery continue to defy the unanimous decision of the PCA’s highest court in clear violation of their ordination vows? Will the unrepentant members of the Midway Session serve and take communion today and risk the Lord’s judgment?