Dear Presbyters

This blog represents the thoughts of the author. While they may reflect the theological position of The Renewal Fellowship, they should not be seen as an official statement.

Questions are like tools. Good quality instruments used with skill and care can loosen the machinery and allow a glimpse into the soul of a machine.

Or a person.

So it is with the question and answer section of the 2021 General Assembly moderator nominee profiles.

Kudos to whoever developed this skillful line of questioning, which starts with the comfortable “What are your earliest memories of the church?” followed by invitations to share their favourite Scriptures, books, thinkers, and writers.
And then it gets to the meat:

  • What is your image and vision of the church at its best?
  • What would you say are the most important features of faithful discipleship?
  • What would you say is the core calling of the church in Canada today?
  • What area of public life do you believe the PCC should be more involved in?

Pause here and take stock of the vital relevance of these questions – and the importance of the answers. We are poking at the essence of our spiritual beings. How do those answers stack up against what we hold to be the authentic core of the church?

As a presbyter with a single vote, I’m asking two questions: “Who is the best person for a time such as this?” and “Whose ecclesiology, worldview, and theology best represent what I firmly believe God is calling His church to be?”

Given a choice, the latter bears the greater weight. I am seeking the person who truly understands what the truly Christ-centred church is, who adheres to the authority of Scripture, who isn’t likely to omit troubling commands or reinterpret them to say what their itching ears want to hear. And do they have willingness and ability to speak the truth in love?

I am guided by the vision of The Renewal Fellowship, which is “To lead each other and the PCC to authentic Biblical thinking, powerful, Spirit-led prayer and effective Gospel witness.”

Why is this important?

Of immediate importance is the moderator’s ability to guide a very difficult General Assembly (the challenges of doing it virtually being only one hurdle). Without prejudice or personal preference, a good moderator enables the Assembly to consider its business with fairness and decorum. Given the sheer number of commissioners and the potential diversity of various voices, that is always a major challenge. And then there’s the 51 weeks which follow. Aside from sitting on every agency, board, and committee of Assembly for a year, there’s a demanding schedule of travel, visiting courts and congregations from coast to coast. The moderator is the de facto face of the denomination.

At a time when the church is considering profound changes to its doctrine, which may take us into apostasy, we are called to select a moderator who is able to uphold the traditional, time-tested authority of Scripture.

So what did I read in their answers? Much.

Do I know who I’m voting for? Yes.

I’m not going to reveal that choice. My intent is to encourage you to be still for a moment (or however long it takes) to know exactly what God has placed on your heart of hearts. If you were to be asked those four key questions, what would you say? Then, compare your answers to those of the nominees.

Ballots are being distributed this month to members of presbytery and will be counted April 1.

One thought on “Dear Presbyters

  1. I know also whom I would vote for. Unfortunately I am not a commissioner. So I will pray. I should add, even though the Moderator’s job is really to moderate the meeting of the GA, modern history has it that his role has extended to representing the denomination nationally and internationally. Presbyterians don’t have a person Bishop or Archbishop. They have corporate bishops. So although s/he is a face figure, the real power throughout the year is in the hands of the clerks and agency leaders.

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