Thursday, June 9, 2011

And Being Nice Ends...

The Committee of Commissioners on MTW (CoC MTW), whose responsibility it is to provide representational supervision to the Permanent Committee on MTW, overwhelmingly voted to restore the Potomac Presbytery's language in their overture which called for the General Assembly to erect a Study Committee on Insider Movements. This is perhaps the most important theological issue for the evangelical church in our time and most of our churches and churchmen are largely ignorant of the issue.

When the CoC MTW presented its report, the chairman of the Permanent Committee moved that the section of the CoC report dealing with the Study Committee was out of order, effectively seeking to wipe it off of the Assembly's business without debate. The chairman found the chairman's motion in order and a commissioner from the floor challenged the ruling of the moderator. The commissioner challenging the chair admitted that the chair was probably technically correct, as was Dr. David Coffin, the perennial procedural watchdog who weighed in supporting the moderator. But, the commissioner said, this was a issue wherein the letter of the law was being used to kill debate on an issue of vital importance.

The Assembly almost overturned the Moderator's ruling - very unusual since the commissioner argued that Moderator was in fact right.

With the issue now headed to the dustbin for the next year, another commissioner moved to recommit the item back to the CoC MTW to fix the technical problem with their resolution. An explanation here is in order. The CoC on MTW was RESTORING the language of the Potomac Presbytery. But they formatted it wrong and it was considered "new business", which it wasn't, and it was ruled out of order without debate.

Another commissioner moved to recommit the business to the CoC MTW so that the Committee could "fix" the formatting errors and bring it back to the Assembly. This was certainly a brotherly solution to the problem. The Chairman of the Permanent Committee immediately spoke against the motion to recommit.

While this all may sound confusing, it isn't that hard to understand. The Potomac Presbytery gave an Overture to the General Assembly expecting (or at least hoping) that the Assembly would get to vote on their whole Overture. The Permanent Committee is a small group of men who necessarily function in very close relationship with Dr. Paul Kooistra. The Permanent Committee, together with Dr. Kooistra decided that a Study Committee was not the best way to deal with the issue (and there's NO disagreement that the denomination should stand against radical Movements) and deleted it from Potomac's motion. The Committee of Commissioners, which is a large body of men appointed from their presbyteries to oversee the work of the Permanent Committee restored the Study Committee to the Overture so that the whole Assembly could debate it and vote on it.

The Assembly overwhelmingly voted to allow the CoC MTW to fix the formatting problems and bring their concerns and motion to the floor for open debate.

Please pray that the men of the Assembly will judge these matters on biblical principles and be led by the Spirit in love.

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