Despite Midway Session’s insistence that the report was slanderous…
The Standing Judicial Commission (SJC) of the PCA has determined that the 40-5 credible report where thirteen ordained men at Midway Presbyterian Church outlined important deficiencies and grossly unconstitutional behavior of the Northwest Georgia Presbytery is worthy of investigation. This same report also exposed written false attestations made by Midway Senior Pastor David Hall. You can learn more about the constitutionally protected right of persons without standing to file such reports with the Stated Clerk of the PCA here.
Two Ways to Read the Same Thing: Truth or Slander?
The Session at Midway has taken great offense to this credible report. So much so that they have taken the grossly prejudicial action of indicting three sitting Ruling Elders and suspended them from office for signing it. The three accused men now are currently being subjected to a series of seemingly never ending secret trials which seem more like fishing expeditions by than actual legitimate judicial proceedings.
The Session taking such umbrage to the report is not surprising since it exposes how Senior Pastor David Hall manipulated the Northwest Georgia Presbytery to prevent a judgment against Midway’s Session for their conduct under his guidance as Moderator, and further how he made false attestations about pastoral calls being certified by the congregation when they were not after a divisive congregational meeting in July 2020. That’s not a good batting average for the presbytery’s appointed “parliamentarian,” so it is not surprising that Midway’s leadership would seek to discredit the report.
The report was originally supplied by State Senator and Ruling Elder Lindsey Tippins, a man whose good repute is well established in the county and across the state of Georgia. He was joined by twelve other ordained men in signing the credible report.
Ask yourself, which seems more probable? That Ruling Elder Tippins, a State Senator, and twelve other ordained men in the PCA determined that there was enough evidence of important deficiencies and unconstitutional behavior that they felt it was their duty to inform the higher courts, or that this many men elected previously by the congregation of Midway, colluded together to write a slanderous document? A reasonable person would conclude that the acts mentioned in the report were credible and not slander.
The credible report was properly filed with the Stated Clerk of the PCA’s office in February of 2021 and was then referred to the SJC for action.
Ask yourself, does it seem probable that the Stated Clerk of the PCA would refer a letter full of slander to the SJC for action? Based on this, a reasonable person would conclude that the report was not slanderous, but in fact credible.
The SJC took the credible report and upon reviewing it, voted to refer it to the Review of Presbytery Records (RPR) committee at the General Assembly of the PCA. It is this committee’s function (per RAO 16-1) to review all of the records of PCA presbyteries and is comprised of one Ruling Elder and one Teaching Elder from every presbytery across the denomination. RPR serves the important function of ensuring that the actions of presbyteries are in accordance with the constitution of the church.
Ask yourself, does it seem probable that the SJC, the highest court of the PCA, would refer a letter full of slander to RPR for review? The RPR would seem a logical place for a credible report of unconstitutional behavior at the Northwest Georgia Presbytery to be investigated and handled properly. Based on this, a reasonable person would conclude that the report was not slanderous, but in fact credible.
It seems that there are two ways to read this infamous 40-5 credible report. Everyone else who has ever read it has apparently found it credible and worthy of investigation. How interesting that it is only the Midway Session under Senior David Hall’s leadership that insist the report is slanderous. Given the credible report’s contents, it seems this second set of readers is far from capable of objectivity on the matter. Not even the Northwest Georgia Presbytery, the ones which the report suggests are involved in important delinquencies and grossly unconditional behavior has not taken action to declare the report as slanderous.
There is one more major issue with the Midway Session bringing three of their own ordained members up on charges for exercising their constitutional right and duty to file a credible report of apparent wrongdoing… if the report is slanderous, then why is the Session responding at all? Surely they should have steadfast faith that the RPR at the General Assembly would naturally come to the same conclusion they have. Unless of course, their disproportionate and explosive response rooted in abused church discipline is because the Session knows the contents of the report are indeed as credible the signers allege.
A Real Credibility Problem…
The mere fact that the credible report has been reviewed by so many since it was written, having been widely distributed across the highest echelons of the PCA, and only those exposed on Midway’s Session to have manipulated the courts and written false statements are the ones crying foul.
How can such men expect their church congregation at Midway to trust them when they insist that their secret trials against the signers of the credible report are above board? The sermons on submission and trust for one’s elders can continue, but the double standard has become laughably obvious. After all, is it not Senior Pastor David Hall’s tired mantra from the pulpit that the church is to “trust the elders” to make decisions? The elders the congregation should be trusting are the ones who wrote a report that has to date proven to be credible when reviewed by numerous other elders across the denomination.
The report isn’t the thing with a credibility problem. It is David Hall and his Session.