Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Thursday, June 15, 2006


Okay, another tradition common to all Presbyterian churches, sadly: committeeism. At times we have replaced the sort of debate that the Council of Elders in Jerusalem had in Acts 15 with committees. This is absolutely antithetical to Biblical Presbyterianism.

We have also replaced presbytery-level and synod-level diaconates with committees. I believe that the first diaconate in Acts 6 was at the presbytery level, based on the traditional arguments that Jerusalem had more than one congregation. At least there seems to be a revival of the congregational diaconate, which is something to be thankful for.

Oh yeah, and then there's the way that in some other Presbyterian denominations (PCA and Free Church), committees have stopped petitions and complaints getting to presbyterial courts.

(For some reason, the independents that have raised the Independency vs. Presbyterianism question with me kept going on about committeeism as being the reason Presbyterianism is wrong. I'm waiting for the day that an independent will actual try to present a Biblical argument. Why do I have to go to the Puritans for this, and why are independents so pragmatic in their arguments? Of course, I tell them, "That's a corruption of Presbyterianism, not real Presbyterianism.")


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Tim! :)

Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:51:00 pm  
Blogger Timothy said...

Presbyterianism is an imperfect system because it is run by imperfect men. Not sure what other system would be proposed in this situation. I prefer our imperfect system to that of the Baptists or any other denomination that is out there.

Committees, as best I can tell, are there because there entire presbytery does not have time to work on the issues. The issues brought by the committees must be voted on at the Presbytery level, so there is a presbytery responsibility.

You also have to understand the represenatative mindset. We do vote on those who are on the committee... and from what I have seen, not everyone can get on a committee. It takes a level of respect before the nomination is made. We are voting on these men to represent us because we all don't have time or the wherewithal to handle every issue before presbytery. We will vote on it once it gets to the presbytery level, so there is accountability. And from my experience, the committee's proposals are not rubber stamped. There are times where these proposals are voted down, or taken apart. It happened at our last presbytery meeting concerning a discipline issue. So the system does work.

As for committees bottling things up, I know it happens and this is wrong.

Friday, June 16, 2006 3:59:00 pm  
Blogger Timothy Davis said...


Couldn't the same argument have been made at Jerusalem? Why didn't they have a committee?

Committees can be legitimate, but they must be created only if absolutely necessary.

Some standing committees do work which should really be done by a diaconate.

Some standing committees shouldn't exist. Others carry out work at the wrong level of the system.

In terms of ad hoc committees, most issues could be dealt with by the whole court, if people did their homework. Sadly they often don't.

The only legitimate ad hoc committees are those that may need to do interviews in a disciplinary case, or those that have to prepare an official document, e.g. a confession of faith.

I guess what I really want to say is there are too many occasions where committees are created or maintained unnecessarily, and let's keep it to a minimum.

Friday, June 16, 2006 5:34:00 pm  

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