Thoughts on Overture 12 From the 2023 PCA General Assembly: Sending the Overture to the Civil Magistrate

Recently, I sent a (brief, 4-page) protest to Ascension Presbytery due to its recent action of instructing our clerk to forward to the magistrates Overture 12 from Evangel Presbytery (adjusted for our geography) regarding transgender procedures for minors. I believe the substance of the overture was true, biblical, and pertinent in our cultural moment. I also believe the men in our presbytery are good men, conscientious men, some of whom probably have not had the privilege of studying the issues of church and state, or even our doctrine of “the spirituality of the church” as thoroughly as I have, due to my academic duties. Such men probably were simply being cooperative; General Assembly’s stated clerk had sent the material to the presbyteries, requesting that the report be sent to the various state authorities, and they agreed to do so. I commend them for that cooperative spirit, a spirit that I have witnessed for many years, and especially in 2023 when I moderated the Presbytery. The disagreement I will describe is, in that sense, a cordial and respectful disagreement; I have no ill-will for any of my fathers and brothers individually or collectively. What follows is merely a statement of conscience on my part, and if others find anything useful in it, that is fine. I have never before protested an action of our Presbytery in the twenty-plus years I have been here, and only do so in this case because I believe that the relations between the three God-ordained institutions—family, state, and church—are to be respected by all three, and that each of the three needs to be especially careful not to impinge upon the other two.

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