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President Halvorson’s Report to the 2018 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

Covenant College President Derek Halvorson gave a report to the 46th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) on June 14, 2018. Video of his report is available here, beginning at the 2:29:16 mark. The following is a transcript of his remarks concerning Overture 26, which begin at the 2:40:57 mark in the video.  


[W]e at the College were pleased to see the Tennessee Valley Presbytery submit an overture that would move toward opening a distinct minority of seats on the College board of trustees to non-ordained persons who are members in good standing of PCA churches and who have been examined by the PCA's Theological Examining Committee. Given that a college board of trustees is not a session, and does not exercise the power of the keys, we believe this would be a biblically and theologically and ecclesiologically sound way in which to incorporate the gifts of some non-ordained persons into the governance of an educational institution while also maintaining two things: (1) the supremacy of elected church officers in the work of that board (since those officers would be in the clear majority and that board would remain under the oversight of the General Assembly); and (2) assurance that those who are not church officers (and hence have not been vetted by a session or a presbytery) would have sufficient biblical and theological knowledge, along with demonstrated confessional fidelity, to assist in holding the College fast to its mission. As an institution, we are grateful for the theological and spiritual anchor, as well as the oversight, provided by the Presbyterian Church in America. We love being the College of the PCA. At the same time, we wish to take full advantage of the peculiar gifts and experiences God has granted across the membership of our churches, and that are particularly beneficial to the governance of an educational institution, while also affirming and clearly highlighting the Bible's instruction on leadership in the church. We recognize that there are constitutional difficulties with regard to how to accomplish that aim without unnecessarily jeopardizing the integrity of other denominational committees that might be different in nature than a college. Nevertheless, we hope and pray—and trust—that the men of this assembly will, in due time, untie that Gordian knot and provide means by which to employ the full range of gifts manifest in our fellowship while also safeguarding the biblically defined roles of authority in the church.