It has been my intention for since returning from this year's PCA General Assembly to do a more in-depth analysis of Overture 26, which was on the issue of political violence. Even though GA voted it down, I think that given the levels of polarization in the United States at the moment this issue is one that we increasingly will face in the coming months and years. For that reason alone, it merits more discussion and reflection.
Author: SJ Hatch
On the Spiritual and Non-Political Nature of the Church
I had indicated in my write-up on the PCA's 49th General Assembly that I wanted to separately address Overture 26, the Overture proposed by Potomac Presbytery opposing political violence. My basic criticisms are twofold: 1) that I think the situation prompting the drafting of the Overture lent itself well to a rediscovery and restatement of … Continue reading On the Spiritual and Non-Political Nature of the Church
On the Public Trust and the Abuse of Power
Listening to the January 6th hearings wa a reminder of how much government service is a public trust. In February 1999 I wrote an essay reflecting on the Monica Lewinsky scandal and the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. Abuses of the public trust foster an environment of cynicism that can be toxic for self-government.
The 49th PCA General Assembly: A Readout
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) just completed its 49th General Assembly (GA) in Birmingham, Alabama, and as I did last year, I offer up my readout and analysis of what transpired for those who are interested. I recognize that most people do not follow the ins and outs of presbytery or GA too closely … Continue reading The 49th PCA General Assembly: A Readout
A Puritan Sort of Christmas
If we want to keep Jesus as the reason for the season, then maybe it would be best if we dropped the gift-giving associated with Christmas. Years ago, I joined a very conservative Presbyterian church that in many ways was a blessing to me and helped to shape a lot of my understanding of what … Continue reading A Puritan Sort of Christmas
The 48th PCA General Assembly: A New Commissioner’s Readout
Part of the membership vows that we take—at least in my denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA)—are to “support the Church in its worship and work” (Vow #4) and to “study its purity and peace” (Vow #5) and for that reason it is important to know what is going on in the denomination. Indeed, … Continue reading The 48th PCA General Assembly: A New Commissioner’s Readout
The Judgment of God?
In ordinary conversations we talk about 2020 as a wild or crazy year; one could even crassly call it a “dumpster fire.” What is undeniable is that the scale, scope, and convergence of the problems we now face is well out of the ordinary. If we truly believe what we profess as Christians that God is sovereign and is actively involved in the affairs of mankind, then the conclusion is inescapable that these things coming to pass is a result of His will.
God, COVID-19, and Natural Woe
How are we to understand how God is working through this time of suffering and strife? If we cannot understand how God works in circumstances producing suffering--even without know why He is doing things--then it will be difficult to trust Him. In the end, platitudes cannot sustain us.
The Sack of Belgium, August 1914
Some historical incidents are significant not so much for what happened in them but for how they shed light on the convergence of disparate trends of a given period. One such event is how the German public responded to Britain’s declaration of war on Germany on August 4, 1914 for violating Belgium’s neutrality.