2007November29, Thursday

Unprecedented? Maybe. Unimagined? Hardly.

Posted in The Church at 10:13 by Trey Austin

Mark Horne wrote (here): “For whatever reason, SJC has moved into unprecedented and unimagined ‘space’ in which they have no restraints.”

I hate to tell you, Mark, but anybody with two brain cells to click together could see the danger in establishing a standing commission of such a thing as a General Assembly.

A body such as the SJC, because it exists to speak for and on behalf of the General Assembly of the PCA, without any possible means of appeal (unless a full third of the members object to the decision that was made), by definition has very few restraints. This is such a small group of men with so much unmitigated power that it is inherently dangerous.

There are lots of things about the PCA that i think are weird, quirky, and ridiculous. However, since i came into the PCA, the existence of the SJC has been the most troubling thing about it in my mind.

But the simple fact is, this is how the PCA has set it up. The powers that be in the PCA have entrenched this commission and rebuffed all attempts to mitigate its power or revert it to a judicial committee. This is how the members of the PCA wanted it, so that’s what they have.

So, two sayings come to mind when i’m thinking of this situation: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely,” and “You made your bed, now sleep in it.”



  1. mark said,

    Trey, your point may still stand, but I was saying somethig somewhat different. I am saying that I have been taught over and over again, especially when on the review of records committee, that the only way to do process against a Presbyter is to file charges in his presbytery.

    Now, maybe SJC’s route would have been open if there had been no one in the presbytery who filed a complaint. But filing a complaint and not pressing charges are contradictory. We should be having a trial in Louisiana Presbytery and nothing the Presbytery did in exonerating Steve could have prevented such a trial if the ones who filed a complaint against the Presbytery would step up and do their sworn duty (as they claim to perceive it) by pressing charges.

    On your larger point about SJC, I tend to think you’re right. I just had something more minute in mind.

    But when they come for you I promise to complain about it loudly anyway.

  2. Trey Austin said,

    Mark, i get your point now. I completely agree with you. If those seven men had enough gumption to file a dissent or protest, then why not charges? It really comes down to a very centralized attitude that the PCA increasingly shows. But beyong what happened *WITHIN* LAP, the point is that any number of these Central Carolina ministers and elders, these Siouxlands ministers and elders, and these Mississippi Valley ministers and elders could have, for that matter, filed charges in LAP against Wilkins. Nothing preventing that in the BCO.

    Glad to know i have someone to complain when they come for me. I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. 🙂

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