It’s a good thing for Mr. Johnson that the Standing Judicial Commission found such resolutions unconstitutional in May.
Mr. Terry Johnson violated the principles of the same “Talley Resolution” which RE Phil Dudt was found guilty of violating in November of 2020. The now infamous “law”, passed by the Midway Session in September of 2020, declared that an elder must resign before publicly disagreeing with the session, the court to which he is subject. In a recent Aquila Report article, Mr. Johnson publicly disagreed with, some say smeared, the highest court of the PCA on their handling of the Dudt decision (SJC 2021-13, 19-0 vote to acquit).
The irony is that “public disagreement” is exactly what RE Phil Dudt was indicted, convicted, and suspended from office for doing. For some reason, Mr. Johnson must believe it is okay for him, a Teaching Elder, to publicly disagree with a court to which he is subject; but, for an ordained Ruling Elder to send a truthful e-mail to his congregation asking them to support a motion to postpone a meeting to allow time for prayerful consideration, somehow violates the moral code of our Lord.
There is even more to this sad story. As some in the denomination, including Mr. Johnson, are aware, this “Talley Resolution” has been used to indict and suspend three more Midway ruling elders with over 100 years of ordained service between them. Their offense was signing a 40-5 credible report sent to the Stated Clerk of the PCA outlining numerous constitutional violations committed by the Northwest Georgia Presbytery–a report that was found credible by the General Assembly’s RPR Committee. Even though the “Talley Resolution” in principle and in practice was found unconstitutional in May, these men are still suspended, demonstrating that the Midway Session and the NWGP are now in clear defiance of the SJC’s decision.
In the Aquila Report article, Mr. Johnson stated “We all know that process can be manipulated”; but all that Mr. Dudt did was defend himself against unjust charges. Mr. Johnson also compared some group, presumably RE Dudt’s defenders, to the “Pharisees”; but all those men did was to refuse to stay silent in a just cause. We here at The Midway Guardian are very thankful that the members of Midway are in a PCA church. Those members have the right to appeal to an independent higher court, the Standing Judicial Commission, when justice fails them at the lower courts. If Mr. Dudt was in Mr. Johnson’s congregation, he would have had no such recourse (the appeals court at Johnson’s Independent Presbyterian Church consists of the session, who just decided you are guilty, and the deacons–there is currently no discussion on the website that acknowledges how many deacons the church has).
TE Johnson publicly disagreed with a court. RE Dudt also publicly disagreed with a court. We have a question for Mr. Johnson. Is it okay for Teaching Elders to publicly disagree, but not Ruling Elders? Is it okay to bind the conscience of an RE, but not a TE?
Fortunately for Mr. Johnson, the “Talley Resolution” and other such declarations based on the same principle of “rules for thee and not for me” was declared unbiblical and unconstitutional by the SJC. So it appears Mr. Johnson does not have to worry about charges. It’s still okay from him to publicly disagree, as it is for Mr. Dudt.