Indictment of the PCA Standing Judicial Commission | Exhibit 7

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.

The Book of Church Order of the Presbyterian Church in America 

Part I: Form of Government 

Chapter 1: The Doctrine of Church Government 

1-1. The scriptural form of church government, which is representative or presbyterian, is comprehended under five heads: a. The Church; b. Its members; c. Its officers; d. Its courts; e. Its orders. 

Chapter 3: The Nature and Extent of Church Power 

3-3. The sole functions of the Church, as a kingdom and government distinct from the civil commonwealth, are to proclaim, to administer, and to enforce the law of Christ revealed in the Scriptures.
3-5. The Church, with its ordinances, officers and courts, is the agency which Christ has ordained for the edification and government of His people, for the propagation of the faith, and for the evangelization of the world.
3-6. The exercise of ecclesiastical power, whether joint or several, has the divine sanction when in conformity with the statutes enacted by Christ, the Lawgiver, and when put forth by courts or by officers appointed thereunto in His Word. 

Chapter 4: The Particular Church 

4-1. A particular church consists of a number of professing Christians, with their children, associated together for divine worship and godly living, agreeable to the Scriptures, and submitting to the lawful government of Christ’s kingdom. 

Chapter 11: Jurisdiction of Church Courts 

11-4. The Session exercises jurisdiction over a single church, the Presbytery over what is common to the ministers, Sessions, and churches within a prescribed district … Every court has the right to resolve questions of doctrine and discipline seriously and reasonably proposed, and in general to maintain truth and righteousness, condemning erroneous opinions and practices which tend to the injury of the peace, purity, or progress of the Church. 

“… men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do …” 

— I Chronicles 12:32 

“… so that you might put what remained into order …” 

— Titus 1:5 

“In the field of observation, chance favors only the prepared mind.” 

— Louis Pasteur, 1854 lecture at the University of Lille 

“I assert that a council has sometimes erred and may sometimes err. Nor has a council authority to establish new articles of faith. A council cannot make divine right out of that which by nature is not divine right. Councils have contradicted each other … A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or council without it.” 

— Martin Luther, The Leipzig Debate of July 1519, as recounted in Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Roland H. Bainton, p. 103 

“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” 

— Philippians 4:9 

“It is in the way of truth that real peace is found. If we quit the faith or leave the path of righteousness under the notion of promoting peace, we shall be greatly mistaken. First pure, then peaceable, is the order of wisdom and of fact. Let us keep to Paul’s line, and we shall have the God of peace with us as he was with the apostle.” 

The Cheque Book of the Bank of Faith, Charles Spurgeon, March 16 reading, on Philippians 4:9 

“To a church that stood for the word of God, and desired therefore to eliminate all compromising features from its faith and practice, there could be no temporizing in the fundamental matter of the truth or error of its doctrinal standards. …
The Reformed Faith on this view is not a mantle which may be laid aside at pleasure but is nothing short of Christianity come into its own, and therefore the message which must be proclaimed and handed down without diminution, impairment or obstruction.
It is hardly a wonder that Machen was virtually crushed under the burden of the anxieties and labours that were present day and night during the last months of his life.” 

J. Gresham Machen: A Biographical Memoir, Ned B. Stonehouse, pp. 594, 596 

The Need of Moral Reform
I do not think that such tactics are at all unusual in the recent procedure of the Presbyterian church. … Free and open discussion has been discouraged; the church’s policy has been treated as though it concerned at most only commissioners to the General Assembly or holders of ecclesiastical office; the laity has been kept sedulously in the dark; secret diplomacy has been the rule.
… But enough has been said already, we think, to show that a thoroughgoing moral reform is needed in the Presbyterian church. The church needs to remember that it is not a secret order, whose faults can be concealed either from God or from men; it needs to abandon all secret diplomacy in its negotiations for union with other churches and form only open covenants openly arrived at; it needs to take the laity into its confidence not merely after measures are already formulated but when they are still process of being formed; it needs to remember that love in the New Testament sense is not merely in word but in deed, and that it is never really present except where simple fairness prevails. In short, it needs to turn resolutely from its present policy and spirit to the wonderful openness and freedom of the New Testament church. …
Is the church’s policy a concern only of commissioners or presbyteries or officials, or has the laity still some rights?” 

— J. Gresham Machen, “The Truth about the Presbyterian Church,” Christianity Today, November 1931, December 1931, January 1932 

“See Exodus 32:1-35 … Aaron faced a serious problem (v. 1), but he failed to resolve it (vv. 2-4). When he realized his ‘solution’ was creating a bigger problem (v.5), he acted again (vv. 6-8). But this time his action only caused the situation to careen out of control (vv. 9-19, 25). Moses inherited the problem after it had escalated into a crisis, but he did solve it (vv. 20-35).
This brief study in contrast reveals some important principles about how a godly leader approaches problems. Aaron attempted to solve the wrong problem; Moses addressed the right one. Aaron attacked the functional problem; Moses confronted the character problem. Aaron focused on activity; Moses on the morality that was driving the activity (vv. 21, 30).
… lasting solutions come from addressing ‘why’ questions – character questions – instead of ‘how’ questions.
… The Bible … demonstrate[s] to us that the most damaging problems are not solved by correcting behavior. The problems that most need to be resolved can only be solved by a change of character, a change of morality, a change of heart. The wisest leaders will help their followers to apply God’s grace and power to solve the fundamental problem of sin. Observe Moses in verses 30-32. See how one of history’s greatest leaders defined and solved problems. In all of our reading about problem solving, we must begin where Moses did.” 

Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God, Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins, pp. 346-347 

“A slight concession initially, which led to more and bigger concessions until eventually these bad habits become a way of life. …
The breakdown of morals for the individual begins with a slight concession. …
When I was a young father, my mother repeatedly said to me, ‘Son, your children more attention pay to what you do than what you say.’” 

See You At The Top, Zig Ziglar, pp. 270, 277, 279


06/02/2020: Central Florida Presbytery approves two recommendations: 1) to “interpret BCO 8-7 as referring to ‘para-church’ ministry calls, not to a call from a non-PCA congregation.” And 2) to continue to approve calls of pastors at Saint Andrew’s only on the condition that the Session restores voting power to the congregation, otherwise the pastors will be released to independency, to then seek ordination by Saint Andrew’s. This effort to restore congregational voting — more precisely, to enact congregational voting, since it was not practiced at Saint Andrew’s in the first place — the Complainant readily admits is a good, meaningful step in the right direction on the part of Presbytery. Unfortunately, that positive development is undermined a few weeks later with a bait-and-switch on the part of the Saint Andrew’s Session, which the Complainant does not fail to bring to Presbytery’s attention before it ordains yet another teaching elder at Saint Andrew’s. 

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

Primary standards: Deuteronomy 10:16, II Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 3:27, 20:25, Ecclesiastes 8:11, 10:18, Jeremiah 21:12, Lamentations 3:34-36, 5:14, Malachi 2:7, Matthew 3:8, 18:16-17,  Luke 17:3-4, 19:14,27, Acts 20:27-28, I Timothy 5:19-25 

Secondary standards: WCF 1.6,10; 20.4; 22.1-6; 30.3-4; 31.1-3; WLC Q.99.6-8, 130, 143-145; BCO 11-4; 43-1 


06/16/2020: The Saint Andrew’s Session, presumably after its monthly stated meeting, sends a letter to Presbytery agreeing to Presbytery’s terms for continuation of their clerical arrangement. 

(Letter from the Record of the Case on SJC 2020-13


07/01/2020: Benyola registers a Complaint versus the Central Florida Presbytery contesting the Court’s 06/02 ruling in which it tried to grant itself an “exception” to allow pastors to labor out of bounds at a non-PCA church: because no lower court has authority to grant itself “exceptions” to judicial precedence of the General Assembly (BCO 14-7), especially that defeat the principles of the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 31: “Of Synods and Councils” which defines the doctrine of higher courts. The Presbytery Stated Clerk acknowledges receipt the following day. 

((second) Complaint of Peter Benyola versus the Central Florida Presbytery)


07/09/2020: The Saint Andrew’s Session sends a letter to the members calling a congregational meeting on 07/26/2020 to approve new bylaws restoring congregational rights for nomination and voting of church officers. It is very clear in the Session’s letter that it intends to empower the congregation with the right to nominate as well as vote for all officers, including teaching elders. 

(Letter from the Record of the Case on SJC 2020-13


07/26/2020: The Saint Andrew’s Session holds the congregational meeting and presents the new church bylaws that restore/enact voting power to the congregation, but which withhold from the congregation the power of nominating teaching elders, leaving the power of nomination of pastors to the Session alone. This effectively reneges on what the Session promised their congregation in their 07/09 letter, two weeks prior. The congregation proceeds to ratify the bylaws as proposed. To this day, there has never been a “pulpit committee” consisting of members of the congregation. The Session of Saint Andrew’s is and always has been the “pulpit committee” for every minister. Also, a non-PCA ruling elder of Saint Andrew’s presides over this congregational meeting instead of the Senior Pastor. The PCA BCO requires a senior pastor to moderate congregational meetings by virtue of his office, and the Saint Andrew’s’ bylaws also require the senior pastor to moderate. 

(Saint Andrew’s Chapel Proposed Bylaw Amendments for Member Review, July 26, 2020

Alleged violations (errors and/or delinquencies) by the Saint Andrew’s Chapel Senior Pastor, et al. 

Primary standards: Exodus 20:7,16, Deuteronomy 10:16, II Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 94:20, Proverbs 3:27, 12:19, 24:8-12, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5,8, 8:11, Malachi 2:7, Matthew 3:8, Luke 19:14,27, Acts 6:1-7, 20:27-28, I Corinthians 1:10-11, 13:6, Ephesians 4:25, Colossians 3:9, I Timothy 3:2,15, Titus 1:5-7, Hebrews 12:15, James 1:1,22-25, 3:17-18 

Secondary standards: WSC Q.14, 76-78; BCO Preface II.6; 3-1; 7-3; 8-1,-2,-3; 13-5,-7; 16-2; 20-2,-3,-4,-5,-6,-7; 21-4.f,-5.2,3,4,7,8; 22-2; 24-1,-2,-3,-4,-5; 25-1,-4,-7 

Tertiary standards: Saint Andrew’s Chapel Bylaws, Rev 2.00, Article IV— Elders (The Session), Section 4.17: Duties of Elders; Article VI— Officers, Section 6.07: Duties of Officers 


08/04/2020: Thinking that Saint Andrew’s is cooperating with the Presbytery’s conditions, despite knowing that Presbytery knowingly went against Church order, Benyola decides to give Presbytery and Saint Andrew’s a break, so to speak, and withdraws his second Complaint from consideration. 


08/09/2020: In a second congregational meeting, all 40 officers of Saint Andrew’s Chapel — three teaching elders, 11 ruling elders, and 26 deacons — are “affirmed” by the congregation in less than 11 minutes. No nominations for new or replacement officers are proposed for congregational vote.
Hurray for “suffrage.” 


“From there to here,
from here to there,
funny things are everywhere.” 

— Dr. Seuss, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish

2 Kings 16:7-18
Ahaz, refusing to trust in God, formed an unholy alliance with the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser. This turned into a snare, since the Assyrians would soon overthrow the northern kingdom of Israel (17:5-6) and threaten the southern kingdom of Judah.
2 Chronicles 18:1-3
In spite of his zeal for the Lord, Jehoshaphat suffered from a fundamental flaw: a weakness for unholy alliances. He allied himself with Ahab’s household by marriage when his son wed Athaliah, a daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. This in turn brought the decadence of Baal worship to the southern kingdom of Judah.
Isaiah 31:1-3
Partnerships can be beneficial, but they can also be destructive. This warning to Israel that her strategic alliances would fail her carries two cautions: (1) alliances with corrupt people can only result in corrupt alliances; (2) any alliance that becomes a substitute for trusting God is dangerous and therefore cannot be strategic. …
Leadership without personal commitment to an unchanging standard leads to moral corruption and erosion. …
Jephthah was a judge who preferred negotiating settlements with his enemies to engaging in war. In one rash and horrible instant, Jephthah made a vow without fully considering its consequences. Jephthah kept his word, even though it cost him his daughter’s life
God sovereignly works behind the scenes of human history; no leader who opposes His purposes will prosper in the end. …
Asa obeyed God, abolished idolatry and successfully led his people for ten peaceful years. But when confronted about his ungodly alliance with the king of Aram, Asa responded in anger, rationalized his decision, rejected God’s correction and ultimately ruined his kingdom.
Uzziah’s success in military campaigns, reconstruction efforts and administrative organization made Uzziah overestimate his own importance-he usurped the role of the priests. God’s punishment was swift, and Uzziah spent his last years alone, an outcast plagued with leprosy.
Jehoshaphat recognized his need for God’s guidance when faced with major obstacles. Yet he failed to recognize that all decisions need God’s direction; otherwise, seemingly insignificant decisions can, over time, lead to major problems.” 

Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God, Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins, pp. 653, 779-780, 787-788

Part IV. Parties in Whom the Right to Exercise Church Power is Vested
Chapter V. The Independent System of Church Polity as opposed to the Presbyterian
Section I. The Congregational Principle as opposed to Presbyterianism
“The system of Presbyterianism requires that every proper means be employed, in the way of explanation, persuasion, and instruction, to secure the concurrence of the members in the acts and proceedings of the rulers of the Christian society.” 

The Church of Christ, James Bannerman, p. 824

“The privilege claimed by the Independent ministers, of holding and teaching doctrines not in harmony with the Confession of Faith, is a privilege which, even if harmless in this particular case, might be abused as a precedent, and lead in other quarters and in other relations to serious mischief … in the event that the Independent ministers and churches cannot relinquish their particularities, with a good conscience, this Assembly will cherish them in the bonds of a Christian love but it cannot see its way clear to embrace them in the same denomination.” 

Minutes of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (Old School), 1857, p. 42

Application of the Test
“Let the reader seriously consider the evidence submitted in the previous chapter, and we think he will be satisfied that there is divine authority for saying that the principles, of which the following facts are the realization, were in practical operation in the apostolic church: 

1. The office-bearers were chosen by the people.
2. The office of bishop and elder was identical.
3. There was a plurality of elders in each Church.
4. Ordination was the act of a presbytery – that is, of a plurality of elders.
There was the privilege of appeal to the assembly of elders; and the power of government was exercised by them in their associate capacity.
6. The only Head of the Church was the Lord Jesus Christ.

The principles embodied in these six facts cover the whole platform of church government, each rising in importance above that which precedes it, in an ascending series, from popular election up to the Headship of the Lord. We have been conducted to them, not by any process of wiredrawn logic, but by receiving the Scriptures, as we think every child of God should receive them, except there be manifest and good reasons to the contrary, in the plain, simple, and natural sense. The most unlettered reader, if he be only unprejudiced and honest, cannot examine the passages of Scripture we have specified, and fail to see that these six great principles were all embodied in the government of the apostolic church.” 

The Apostolic Church Which Is It?, Thomas Witherow, 1855

Exhortation and Who I Am
Some of us are more comfortable with confrontation than others, but there are times when confrontation is the most loving thing we can do for another person. Similarly, being rebuked by another person can be uncomfortable, but our openness and willingness to respond to correction are critical components of our character. Read Mark 6:14-29 for a negative illustration of a prophetic exhortation and the recipient’s response. …
When John the Baptist exhorted Herod Antipas, saying it wasn’t lawful for him to be with his brother’s wife (v. 18), Herod responded by having John bound and imprisoned. Herodias, the wife in question, cunningly maneuvered her husband into an embarrassing social position in which he was forced to order that the prophet be beheaded. Herod’s sense of guilt for having done so is evident in this passage.
Most rulers in the Bible responded unfavorably to prophetic exhortation and rebuke, and this constituted perhaps the greatest occupational hazard of the prophetic calling. King David’s response of repentance to Nathan’s rebuke (2 Samuel 12:13) is rare in Scripture, and this kind of conviction is always atypical of people who have been elevated to significant positions of leadership. Nevertheless, it is critical that leaders give and receive exhortations from time to time.
Jesus said to rebuke fellow Christians if they sin, and offer forgiveness when they repent (Luke 17:3). Paul urged his assistant Timothy to always be prepared to preach the Word (2 Timothy 4:2). Similarly, the apostle instructed Titus to rebuke those from Crete so they would develop a sound faith (Titus 1:13). The necessary balance in exhortation is best achieved by speaking the truth, but doing it in a loving way (Ephesians 4:15).” 

Handbook to Leadership: Leadership in the Image of God, Kenneth Boa, Sid Buzzell and Bill Perkins, pp. 452-453 

Exhortation and How I Think
Read Galatians 6:1-5
… First, Paul defines the purpose of exhortation. It is, simply, to restore (v. 1). Once that purpose is clear, the process can begin. But, Paul cautions, proceed gently (v. 1), with an attitude of service to the offender (v. 2). Act in obedience to Christ (v. 2). Act in humility (v. 3). Seek counsel (v. 4). Accept responsibility for the manner in which the exhortation is handled (v. 5).
Because exhortation is important and often so difficult, Paul points out that it matters who is doing the exhorting. The phrase ‘you who are spiritual’ is the most critical guideline in this passage. What does Paul mean by this qualification? Compare and contrast how those guided by the flesh (5:19-21) and those guided by the Spirit (5:22-23) would handle the matter of a brother or sister caught in sin. By whom would you rather be ‘exhorted’? It is no accident that Galatians 6 follows Galatians 5.” 

— ibid., pp. 454-455