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John Calvin
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Report on the 220th General Assembly
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Thank you for your continuing interest in, and commitment to, the Reformed tradition and the Presbyterian Church. I appreciated the opportunity to participate in the General Assembly this year and to report to the Foundation at least some of what happened.

In the days since the Assembly, I have tried to reflect upon what was done there. As a result of that, I have prepared a report for my presbytery, and I have included that just below. Let me emphasize that this is not at all a comprehensive report of what was done  there. Such information is readily available form other sources. But there were four events which seemed to reveal with blinding clarity the truth of what was going on, and I have chosen to focus on these. 

Report on the 220th General Assembly

I extend to the Presbytery of the James my profound gratitude for electing and sending me to the 220th General Assembly as one of our commissioners. General information about the Assembly is available elsewhere. I invite you to consider the implications of what I observed:

First (1), in the opening worship service, dancing girls wore rainbow stoles and swirled rainbow ribbons. Some singers in the massed choir wore rainbow stoles. The communion table was covered with a rainbow cloth, and a cross was draped in rainbow cloths. This crass promotion of a political agenda was a horrible and offensive abuse of what should have been worship of God.

Second (2), a candidate for vice-moderator had violated the constitution of the church by performing a wedding service for two women. The candidate for moderator who had nominated her declined to withdraw his nomination. The Assembly elected them both. This disregard for the church's constitution on the part of its two highest officers and on the part of the Assembly as a whole suggests that we have reached the end of constitutional government in the church.

Third (3), the Assembly passed a resolution against corporal punishment. But then it voted down a resolution asking the Board of Pensions not to pay for abortions (except to save the life of the mother). So, it is okay to kill unborn babies, but it is not okay to spank children. Unbelievable!

Fourth (4), there was a recommendation to change the definition of marriage. I had been thinking for months that the motion was out of order. Then the day before the marriage motion was to be discussed, the stated clerk quoted the very sentence from Robert's Rules of Order on which I was basing my objection. And the moderator used it to rule another motion out of order! I realized that, in the providence of God, the whole reason I was at the Assembly was to raise that one point of order. A certain peace and focus came over me for the next twenty-four hours.

As the recommendation to redefine marriage was made, I asked the moderator to rule it out of order, since Robert's Rules of Order (section 10, p. 111, lines 4-6) indicates that any motion that conflicts with a body's constitution is out of order, and since Part I of the Constitution, The Book of Confessions, clearly and repeatedly defines marriage as including one man and one woman (Second Helvetic Confession, 5.246; Westminster Confession of Faith, 6.131 and 6.133; and Confession of 1967, 9.47). But the stated clerk advised, the moderator ruled, and the Assembly concurred that our creeds, catechisms, and confessions of faith have nothing to do with governing the life of the church (which would seem to be belied by efforts to revise and add confessions to the book). So, Robert's Rules of Order no longer applies with consistency, but only when the party in ascendancy so desires. More devastatingly, the Book of Order (only Part II of the Constitution) does not have to agree with, or conform to, The Book of Confessions on anything! This decision is now a matter of record. It was a sad day in the life of the church.

Thus we have reached the end of all propriety, constitutionality, common sense, and consistency. We are no longer a duly constituted church. Instead, we are governed by feelings and power.


Again, thank you for your interest in, and commitment to, the Reformed tradition, the Presbyterian Church, and the Foundation for Reformed Theology. I think we can all see the ongoing and increasing importance of the mission and work of the Foundation. I invite and urge your generous  giving and support for our program.

Dr. James C. Goodloe IVGrace and Peace,
Dr. James C. Goodloe IV, Executive Director
Foundation for Reformed Theology
4103 Monument Avenue
Richmond, Virginia 23230-3818
(804) 678-8352

Celebrating Our First Thirty Years, 1982-2012


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