Indictment of the PCA Standing Judicial Commission | Exhibit 18 

The Ministerial Obligation is provided in the PCA Handbook for Presbytery Clerks, year after year. All teaching elders must sign the same Confessional Subscription (BCO 13-7) corresponding to the same ordination vows (BCO 21-5) in order to be ordained, and their presbyteries must retain these contracts on file.

“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
— Mark 16:7

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.” 

— Luke 11:33 

“So Jesus said to them, ‘The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.” 

— John 12:35 

“For it is you who light my lamp;
the LORD my God lightens my darkness.” 

— Psalm 18:28 

“O you who love the LORD, hate evil!
He preserves the lives of his saints;
he delivers them from the hand of the wicked.
Light is sown for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.” 

— Psalm 97:10-11 

“It is time for the LORD to act,
for your law has been broken.” 

— Psalm 119:126

“I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!
Jerusalem—built as a city
that is bound firmly together,
to which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the LORD,
as was decreed for Israel,
to give thanks to the name of the LORD.
There thrones for judgment were set,
the thrones of the house of David.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
‘May they be secure who love you!
Peace be within your walls
and security within your towers!’
For my brothers and companions’ sake
I will say, ‘Peace be within you!’
For the sake of the house of the LORD our God,
I will seek your good.” 

— Psalm 122 

“‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem.’ — Luke 18:31
Jerusalem stands in the life of Our Lord as the place where He reached the climax of His Father’s will. ‘I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent Me.’ That was the one dominating interest all through our Lord’s life, and the things He met with on the way, joy or sorrow, success or failure, never deterred Him from His purpose. ‘He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.’
The great thing to remember is that we go up to Jerusalem to fulfil God’s purpose, not our own. …
‘God has called me to do this special work’; and we go and do the thing, and still the big compelling of God remains. The work we do is of no account, it is so much scaffolding compared with the big compelling of God. ‘He took unto Him the twelve,’ He takes us all the time. There is more than we have got at as yet. …
In Our Lord’s life Jerusalem was the place where He reached the climax of His Father’s will upon the Cross, and unless we go with Jesus there, we will have no companionship with Him. Nothing ever discouraged Our Lord on His way to Jerusalem. He never hurried through certain villages where He was persecuted, or lingered in others where He was blessed. Neither gratitude nor ingratitude turned Our Lord one hair’s breadth away from His purpose to go up to Jerusalem.
‘The disciple is not above his Master.’ The same things will happen to us on our way to our Jerusalem. There will be the works of God manifested through us, people will get blessed, and one or two will show gratitude and the rest will show gross ingratitude, but nothing must deflect us from going up to our Jerusalem.
‘There they crucified Him.’ That is what happened when Our Lord reached Jerusalem, and that happening is the gateway to our salvation. The saints do not end in crucifixion: by the Lord’s grace they end in glory. In the meantime our watchword is — I, too, go up to Jerusalem. …
You are brought face to face with a difficult case and nothing happens externally, and yet you know that emancipation will be given because you are concentrated on Jesus Christ. This is your line of service — to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it in irritation, or by mounting up, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ, then that very thing, and all you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way you will never know till you see Him face to face.
We must be able to mount up with wings as eagles; but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and the living down.” 

My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, August 3, September 23, October 3 

“Up! Up! Flee from the land of the north, declares the LORD. For I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heavens, declares the LORD. Up! Escape to Zion, you who dwell with the daughter of Babylon. For thus said the LORD of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye: ‘Behold, I will shake my hand over them, and they shall become plunder for those who served them. Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.’” 

— Zechariah 2:6-9

“Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” 

— Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses 

“Blessed be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle.” 

— Psalm 144:1 

“Others might become faint-hearted and compromise, but Machen carried on regardless of the odds and the seeming hopelessness of the struggle. He was of sturdier purpose than to trim his sails to every new wind.
Had he conceived of the issue as essentially concerned with his own vindication, he would not have had the heart or the interest to be engaged in the battle as he was. … Out of a profound sense of commitment to a great cause, therefore, he continued his straightforward course until the very end. …
Disregarding the personal attack that had been made upon him, he set forth in an eloquent manner what his views regarding the situation really were. In the foreground Machen placed the stand of the seminary for ‘the full truthfulness of the Bible as the word of God and for the vigorous defence and propagation of the Reformed or Calvinistic system of doctrine, which is the system of doctrine which ruled out inclusivism, the inclusivism that was really intolerant of those who have determined to warn the church of its peril and to contend earnestly for the faith.” 

J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir, Ned B. Stonehouse, pp. 501, 503 

“Clearly, Machen’s forceful demarcation between Christianity and liberalism was much more than an intellectual exercise. It was an act of spiritual and cruciform devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ and an act of loving service in his kingdom, even at great personal cost to Machen himself.” 

The Legacy of Christianity and Liberalism: Essays by the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary; “Machen and Liberalism,” Dr. R. Carlton Wynne 

“Sin is not just what we’ve done wrong but all the good we have left undone (James 4:17).” 

The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism, Kevin DeYoung, p. 120 

“Let not any one pacify his conscience by the delusion that he can do no harm if he takes no part, and forms no opinion. Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. He is not a good man who, without a protest, allows wrong to be committed in his name, and with the means which he helps to supply, because he will not trouble himself to use his mind on the subject.” 

John Stuart Mill, British philosopher and political theorist, in an inaugural address at the University of St. Andrews, February 1, 1867 

“The grace of God is not proven by the foolishness of allowing perpetrators to serve in places where they can abuse again.” 

— The Rt. Rev. Justin S. Holcomb, fifth bishop of the Diocese of Central Florida, at the Valued Conference, March 22-23, 2019 

I Kings 15:9-24
Asa did not remove the high places, yet his heart remained faithful to God (15:14). Although Asa was a committed man of God, his reforms were incomplete because he was willing to leave cultic shrines intact. From time to time we need to step back and examine the level of personal compromise with which we may have become comfortable over the years. …
2 Kings 14:3-4
In all, five generations of kings failed to remove the high places from Judah – Asa (1 Kings 15:14), Joash (2 Kings 12:3), Amaziah (14:3-4), Azariah (15:3-4), and Jotham (15:34-35). They were evidently hedging their bets by tolerating these cultic shrines in which both Yahweh and other gods were worshiped. Such an unprincipled approach to leadership usually bears the fruit of its own indecisiveness.
2 Kings 18:3-6
Hezekiah did what the other kings had failed to do. He removed the high places and did not compromise or hold back in his unconditional commitment to Yahweh. …
Isaiah 33:1
God condemned and warned those who destroy and betray. We have all seen leaders destroy an individual or department or organization. Whether this is done consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, the results for those who are destroyed or betrayed are the same. Unless a leader is intentional about building, improving and growing, he or she is in danger of being a destroyer. …
Jeremiah 15:19-21
When others disagree with your moral stance, it’s time to re-examine your position. But if, upon examination, you find that your position is right, God instructs you to stand with it and teach it (v. 19). The conviction essential to self-discipline comes from knowing that your position agrees with God’s will.
Ezekiel 19:1-14
Ezekiel expressed a lament with concern for the princes of Israel (v. 1). Because none had the discipline to rule himself, each in turn failed to rule the people. Note the sad outcome of undisciplined leaders (vv. 4-8-9, 14). Where there is no self-discipline, there is no leadership.
Amos 6:1-8
God condemned Israel’s leaders (able men to whom Israel had come [v. 1]) for their complacency. They construed leadership as a position of privilege and pride instead of an office of responsibility. While their followers were sinning against God and abusing each other, they were enjoying the luxuries of their achievements. …
John 8:48-59
Sometimes the best way to manage conflict is to tackle it head-on. Jesus realized that His conflict with these religious leaders would never be settled peacefully. Instead of trying to come to an amicable agreement, He stood toe-to-toe with His opponents and boldly stated His case.
Acts 21:27-32
In this section we see an example of mob rule at its worst. A rumor’s spark had ignited the people of Jerusalem, throwing them into a frenzy directed squarely at Paul. He was arrested, and the rest of the book describes the stages of his legal appeals. Even the greatest of leaders at times fails in his or her attempts to control a conflict. Of course, God can even use our failures to accomplish His purposes, just as He used Paul while he was in prison. …
Genesis 43:10
Jacob’s failure to make a timely decision stemmed from an unwillingness to accept the reality of the facts. He unwisely waited until the situation reached crisis proportions before acting. An effective leader knows that avoidance strategies are more costly in the long run. …
Judges 11:30-35
This passage illustrates the danger of making rash vows. This horrible tragedy underscores the need to think carefully before making decisions rather than forging decisions out of the heat of positive or negative emotions. …
Jeremiah 40:7-16
Gedaliah – along with many who trusted him as their leader – was eventually assassinated by Ishmael. Gedaliah made a disastrous decision because he refused to process good information. …
Exodus 8:19
Pharaoh refused to learn from the plagues even after his magicians warned him that these signs originated from God and not from magic. His heart was hard, and he failed to respond to the evidence that was obvious to others. Such refusal to deal with reality has negative consequences for any organization.
Numbers 23:1-24:25
Although Balak had hired Balaam to prophesy against Israel, he refused to learn from Balaam’s oracles. Clearly, the prophet was inspired to bless, not curse the Israelites. But Balak kept trying to manipulate the situation so that he would hear what he wanted to hear. A leader who presses an agenda without listening treads hazardous terrain. …
2 Samuel 4:9-12
Leaders who want to honor God above all deal with evil quickly and decisively, even if that evil could possibly have worked toward their advantage. David did so with Ish-Bosheth’s murderers; they expected a reward, but instead they received immediate justice for their treacherous and wicked act.
2 Samuel 13:21
David was furious about Amnon’s rape of Tamar but did nothing about it. This failure to bring about justice was a sign that David had abandoned his role as the leader of the family, and it eventually led to a great rift in his household. …
2 Chronicles 19:4-11
Jehoshaphat set up a system for administering justice in Judah by appointing judges in each fortified city and instructing them to judge others with fairness and equity, knowing that God would hold them accountable.
Psalm 11:1-7
The Lord is a God of justice who examines both the righteous and the wicked. His character is perfect and He loves justice, since it is an expression of His nature.
Isaiah 1:21-23
God called the people of Jerusalem to clean up their act by calling the city’s leaders to restore a just and fair society. Injustice is of special concern to God. The power of leadership must be applied toward creating a climate of justice.
Isaiah 10:1-4
This passage presents a serious admonition to leaders who treat followers unjustly. God’s stern condemnation stands as a severe warning to oppressive and unjust leaders; He is pictured in verse 4 with His hand raised up to deliver His judgment on such people.
Isaiah 59:9, 11
Injustice and oppression had clouded these leaders’ thinking so much that they had lost their ability to see things correctly. As verses 12-15 explain, right and wrong had become distorted in their minds. Whether dealing with internal or external stakeholders, the effective leader makes justice and righteousness his guiding principles.
Ezekiel 16:49-50
Of all of Sodom’s sins (Genesis 19), notice which one God singled out. Failure to use power and resources to bring about justice is abominable to God.
Micah 3:1-4, 8-12
God pronounces a sorry future for leaders and rulers who practice injustice and use their power to abuse their followers. …
Mark 15:1-15
Pilate’s desire to please the masses overrode his sense of justice. Instead of using his position of power to do what was right and good, he condemned an innocent man and released a guilty one.
Acts 5:17-18
The religious leaders used their influence to arrest innocent men. Such acts of injustice demonstrate the dangers that can occur when a leader allows his or her decisions to be driven by jealousy rather than justice. …
James 5:1-6
These words mirror those of the prophet Amos and the Teacher of Ecclesiastes. As you reflect on your own situation, are you as just as you should be with the people whom you lead? The Bible in general, and James in particular, does not mince words when describing the ‘reward’ of those who treat others unjustly.
Micah 2:1-5
This stern warning against those who plan to do evil speaks to the importance of the value component in long-range planning. God’s plan is to thwart the schemes of those who plot evil for their own gain. …
Isaiah 14:18-20
The kings who have destroyed their people will not rest even in death. God pronounced a terrible judgment on these kings, because they chose to kill and destroy rather than help and develop their followers. …
Habakkuk 2:2-20
Although it appeared as though the Babylonians were succeeding through cruelty, deceit and injustice, God stated that ultimately the wicked will be held accountable. Notice the five ‘woes (2:6, 9, 12, 15, 19) in this description of Babylon’s ‘reward.’ God exacts ‘payment’ appropriate to the act – a tough but important leadership principle. …
Joel 1:1-3:21
Where are the leaders when you need them? Joel refers to elders, priests, drunkards, farmers and the young in this short book. But throughout all the turmoil and devastation he describes, the prophet never once mentions leaders or kings as even possible sources of help. A leader who is an irrelevant presence is worse than no leader at all. …
Amos 5:7-17
Notice how God condemned injustice and encouraged equitable treatment for all people. The leader who allows – or worse, practices – injustice within his or her sphere of influence violates a principle that God holds dear. Read this passage carefully and consider its application to your leadership environment.” 

Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God, Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins, pp. 535, 569, 573-574, 599, 600-603, 610-613, 623, 625, 631, 635, 662


08/25/2022: The Presbytery Stated Clerk via email communicates to the Complainant outcome of the three Complaints escalated from the St. Paul’s Session to Presbytery on 05/21 and 08/01. At the 185th Stated Meeting of Central Florida Presbytery, the Complaints have been relegated to a Commission until the next stated meeting on 11/15/2022. Although the Presbytery has the right to form a committee, the Presbytery failed to consider the Complaints “at or by its next stated meeting,” clearing a path of elevation for these three Complaints to the General Assembly. 

Alleged violations (errors and/or delinquencies) by the Central Florida Presbytery 

Primary standards: Genesis 18:25, 44:16, Leviticus 19:15, II Chronicles 30:18-20, Psalms 76:11, 78:72, 116:18-19, Proverbs 3:27, 24:11-12,23-25,28-29, Ecclesiastes 8:11, Jeremiah 21:12, Ezekiel 9:4, Malachi 2:7, Matthew 3:8, 5:22, 18:16-17, 22:21, Luke 17:3-4, Acts 20:27-28, Romans 13:1-6, I Corinthians 5:6-8, II Corinthians 5:6-8, 6:3-8, Galatians 6:2, James 1:22-25, 3:17-18 

Secondary standards: WCF 1.10; 23.3,4; 31.1-3; WLC Q.99.6-8, 111-114, 130, 143-145, 151; WSC Q.14, 76-78; BCO Preface II.1,4; 11-4; 13-9.e,f; 14-7; 32-2,-6.b; 40-4,-5; 43-2 


09/16/2022: Coinciding with the presbyversary of the formation of St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church under the PCA Constitution, Benyola carries his Complaint versus Central Florida Presbytery with Appellate Brief to the highest Court, the General Assembly. This originated as the second Complaint versus the Session and the Presbytery failed to consider it in the required time period. 

(Elevation to the General Assembly of the (second) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Central Florida Presbytery, arising from the Escalation of the (second) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Session of St. Paul’s PCA


09/16/2022: Coinciding with the presbyversary of the formation of Central Florida Presbytery under the PCA Constitution, Benyola carries his Complaint versus Central Florida Presbytery with Appellate Brief to the highest Court, the General Assembly. This originated as the third Complaint versus the Session and the Presbytery failed to consider it in the required time period. 

(Elevation to the General Assembly of the (third) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Central Florida Presbytery, arising from the Escalation of the (third) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Session of St. Paul’s PCA


09/19/2022: Coinciding with the presbyversary of The Adopting Act of 1729, an event formative of the PCA Constitution, Benyola carries his Complaint versus Central Florida Presbytery with Appellate Brief to the highest Court, the General Assembly. This originated as the fourth Complaint versus the Session and the Presbytery failed to consider it in the required time period. 

(Elevation to the General Assembly of the (fourth) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Central Florida Presbytery, arising from the Escalation of the (fourth) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Session of St. Paul’s PCA


“therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’” 

— Isaiah 28:16

“Harvest of Light, Gladness
‘Light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart’ (Psalm 97:11).
Righteousness is often costly to the man who keeps to it at all hazards, but in the end it will bear its own expenses and return an infinite profit. A holy life is like sowing seed: much is going out, and apparently it is buried in the soil, never to be gathered up again. We are mistaken when we look for an immediate harvest; but the error is very natural, for it seems impossible to bury light. Yet light is ‘sown,’ says the text. It lies latent: none can see it; it is sown. We are quite sure that it must one day manifest itself. Full sure are we that the LORD has set a harvest for the sower of light, and they shall reap it, each man for himself. Then shall come their gladness. Sheaves of joy for seeds of light. Their heart was upright before the LORD, though men gave them no credit for it, but even censured them: they were righteous, though those about them denounced them as censorious. They had to wait, as husbandmen wait for the precious fruits of the earth: but the light was sown for them, and gladness was being prepared on their behalf by the LORD of the harvest. Courage, brothers! We need not he in a hurry. Let us in patience possess our souls, for soon shall our souls possess light and gladness.” 

The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Charles Spurgeon, October 23 reading

“But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” 

— Matthew 5:22 

“In the present state of ecclesiastical discipline, when absolute liberty seems the only rubric, it is a waste of time to do more than express regrets. … No doubt, at first sight the policy of universal toleration looks very specious. It suits the temper of the times. What more likely to provide peace and stop quarrelling than to declare the Church a kind of happy family or Noah’s ark, within which every kind of opinion and creed, and every animal, shall dwell safe and undisturbed … When there are no laws or rules, there can be no order in any community. When there is no creed or standard of doctrine, there can be no church, but a Babel. Let men say what they please. A ship without a compass, a light-house without a lantern, a locomotive express engine without a fire, would not be more useless than a Church would be without Creeds, Articles, or Rubrics, and sailing under the flag of universal toleration.” 

Charges and Addresses, J.C. Ryle, pp. 359-360 

“Deliverance from Dust and Chaff
‘For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth’ (Amos 9:9).
The sifting process is going on still. Wherever we go, we are still being winnowed and sifted.
… Worst of all, the church, so largely apostate as it is, comes in to give a more furious force to the sifting process. Well, well! Let it go on. Thus is the chaff severed from the wheat. Thus is the wheat delivered from dust and chaff.
And how great is the mercy which comes to us in the text, ‘Yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth’! All shall be preserved that is good, true, gracious. Not one of the least of believers lose anything worth calling a loss. We shall be so kept in the sifting that it shall be a real gain to us through Christ Jesus.” 

The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Charles Spurgeon, September 23 reading 

“‘Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken’ (Isaiah 62:4).
… Men in malice said of a saint, ‘God hath forsaken him; persecute and take him.’ But it was always false. The LORD’s loving favor shall compel our cruel foes to eat their own words or, at least, to hold their tongues. The reverse of all this is that superlative word Hephzibah ‘the LORD delighteth in thee.’ This turns weeping into dancing. Let those who dreamed that they were forsaken hear the LORD say, ‘I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.’” 

— ibid., October 8 reading 

“‘He that feareth the Commandment shall be rewarded’ (Proverbs 13:13).
The ungodly may ridicule our deep reverence for the Word of the LORD; but what of that? The prize of our high calling is a sufficient consolation for us. The rewards of obedience make us scorn the scorning of the scorner.” 

— ibid., October 17 reading 

The Cambridge Platform
Chapter XIV. Of excommunication, and other censures.
“8. The suffering of profane or scandalous livers to continue in fellowship, and partake in the sacraments, is doubtless a great sin in those that have power in their hands to redress it, and do it not. Nevertheless, inasmuch as Christ and his apostles in their times, and the prophets and other godly in theirs, did lawfully partake of the Lord’s commanded ordinances in the Jewish church, and neither taught nor practiced separation from the same, though unworthy ones were permitted therein; and inasmuch as the faithful in the church of Corinth, wherein were many unworthy persons and practices, are never commanded to absent themselves from the sacraments, because of the same; therefore the godly in like cases are not presently to separate.
[Revelation 2:14,15,20, Matthew 23:3, Acts 3:1, 1 Cor. 6, 15:12]
9. As separation from such a church wherein profane and scandalous livers are tolerated, is not presently necessary; so for the members thereof, otherwise unworthy, hereupon to abstain from communicating with such a church in the participation of the sacraments, is unlawful. For as it were unreasonable for an innocent person to be punished for the faults of others, wherein he has no hand, and whereunto he gave no consent; so it is more unreasonable that a godly man should neglect duty, and punish himself; in not coming for his portion in the blessing of the seals, as he ought, because others are suffered to come that ought not. Especially considering that himself doth neither consent to their sin, nor to their approaching to the ordinances in their sin, nor to the neglect of others, who should put them away, and do not: but, on the contrary, heartily mourns for these things, modestly and seasonably stir up others to do their duty. If the church cannot be reformed, they may use their liberty, as is specified. But this all the godly are bound unto, even everyone to do his endeavor, according to his power and place, that the unworthy may be duly proceeded against by the church, to whom this matter does pertain.
[2 Chronicles 30:18, Genesis 18:25, Ezekiel 9:4]” 

“therefore thus says the LORD God,
‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation:
‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’
And I will make justice the line,
and righteousness the plumb line;
and hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and waters will overwhelm the shelter.”

— Isaiah 28:16-17 

“Issues in the PCA
The discussion of subscription to the Westminster Standards in the PCA has many of the same issues which have been part of the historical tensions and disagreements in the Presbyterian Church for over two hundred fifty years. Indeed, there are remarkable similarities in the current debates in the PCA to debates held in the Presbyterian Church for the past two centuries. …
It was the formal adopting of the Westminster Confession and Catechisms which formed, as it were, a ‘fence’ around the Presbyterian Church that would define themselves. Those documents of the Westminster Assembly became the theological distinctives of the Presbyterian Church. Since 1729, the Westminster Standards have distinguished the Presbyterian Church on the North American continent from other Christian churches; as well as from other religions and beliefs.
It is hardly fair, then, to allege that the Adopting Act was the point at which the Presbyterian Church broadened. …
Reflections on Subscription
As a confessional church, the PCA has theological and governmental distinctives which are precious. The Constitution of the PCA, consisting of the Westminster Standards, and the Book of Church Order, distinguish her from the rest of Christendom. These documents of the Constitution of the PCA are fallible. Both are able to be modified legally, either by addition or deletion. While the Westminster Standards have rarely been modified, the Book of Church Order is constantly being altered. Yet these documents are to be valued and cherished, while at the same time being recognized as amendable. The Word of God is complete and unamendable. …
It is not without cause for alarm that [Morton] Smith and others warn the PCA about ‘loose subscription.’ Unless the church—particularly its presbyteries—is vigilant, there can be an erosion of our historic Reformed orthodoxy. Candidates coming into the PCA must be carefully scrutinized and thoroughly examined. Even then, with the great care and caution of examining candidates, the church may not screen out all the Hemphills of the 1700s or the Briggs of the 1800s from its midst. In the final analysis, only in heaven will perfect purity, unity, and truth be wholly embraced by the church. Indeed, what seems to be the case over time is that the best and most orthodox of Presbyterian denominations experience theological and governmental entropy.
This ‘fact’ of history is no reason to give up in despair for the PCA. To suggest that there is no hope for the PCA because of the general decline of all churches is an overreaction. Rather, it is important to educate the PCA about its history, and to acquaint our churches and ministers with the people who are the rich legacy of this church. It is only in understanding these men, and the issues for which they fought, that the PCA will be able to avoid the errors of history. It is invaluable to learn of the views of subscription of John Thomson, Jonathan Dickinson, the Tennent family, Archibald Alexander, the Hodges and the heritage of Princeton; as well as the great Southern Presbyterians—Dabney, and Thornwell. This history ought to be broadcast far and wide throughout the PCA, that we might preserve our distinctives as a Presbyterian and Reformed church. …
At the presbytery level, the knowledge of the subscription issue through the years is very helpful. One of the most critical responsibilities of presbytery is examining candidates for the ministry; as well as examining ministers transferring into presbytery. It is extremely important to explore the thinking of candidates who are coming to present themselves to presbytery. …
It is at the presbytery level that the ‘rubber meets the road.’ Presbytery is the first line of defense in preserving orthodoxy of the churches by maintaining the orthodoxy of its ministers. When presbyteries let down their guard concerning this responsibility, the PCA distinctives will erode. … In training officers for serving as elders or deacons, it is important to tighten down the form and freedom to strict subscription. Officers in PCA churches are required to affirm the same second ordination vow as ministers. Sessions must, then, ‘sincerely receive and adopt the Confession of Faith and the Catechisms of this church, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures.’” 

— “A Peaceable Plea About Subscription: Toward Avoiding Future Divisions,” James E. Urish, The Practice of Confessional Subscription, ed. David Hall, pp. 290-296 

“Can you imagine the discomfort the people in Antioch felt when Paul confronted Peter, as described in Galatians 2? … you might wonder whether it was wrong for Paul to confront Peter in this way. Shouldn’t he have followed the steps outlined in Matthew 18? No, Galatians 2 and passages such as Acts 5 and Philippians 4 demonstrate that there are times when a public confrontation of sin and error is necessary for the health and well-being of the church.
Paul confronted Peter publicly and immediately when he witnessed public sin. By withdrawing from the gentiles, Peter had acted in a way that denied the gospel. Paul didn’t hesitate to condemn Peter publicly because the sin was public. This same principle is demonstrated in Acts 5, where Peter confronts Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit when they deceitfully kept back some of the proceeds of the land they had sold to give to the church. Their sin was public, and so the condemnation of the sin was public. The same principle is seen in Philippians 4:2, where Paul “entreats” Euodia and Syntyche “to agree in the Lord.” Although we don’t know what led to the breach between these two sisters, their disagreement was public and so Paul’s confrontation of the sin—though less forceful than in Galatians 2 or Acts 5—is also public. The principle on display in each of these passages is that public confrontation of sin and error is necessary to correct public sin and error. …
There are not many examples of this kind of public confrontation of public sin and error, but the ones we have address serious threats to the church. Peter’s conduct was not in step with the gospel. Ananias and Sapphira’s sin threatened the very existence of the church—akin to Achan’s sin after Israel crossed into the promised land (Josh. 7). The breach between Euodia and Syntyche threatened the unity of that church. That there are few examples of this kind of public rebuke tells us that not all errors—not even all public errors—need to be confronted publicly. But when a public sin or error threatens the very existence of the church, or even the gospel itself, a public rebuke may be necessary.” 

“Public Conflicts in the Church,” Tabletalk, March 2022, Vol. 46, No. 3, Eric Landry