Now that the Peace, Unity, and Purity report has passed, the burden shifts to sessions and presbyteries to really examine – and re-examine – officers of the church. Too often we let these examinations become perfunctory. We get to know someone as a decent person and an active member of the congregation, and let that substitute for a serious judgment of whether they are really suited to be a Ruling Elder of the church. When it comes to potential ministers in our presbytery, we are more likely to rely on their seminary credential to assure us that a candidate would be a sound minister.
Now that the application of national standards has been returned to the local ordaining and examining bodies, those of us who live and pray in those local congregations and presbyteries must do our part to make those national standards real. PUP can help promote the peace and unity of the church at the national level. But this will only work if we have the will to promote purity at the local level.
Seriously examining someone else's vocation face to face is a very hard thing to do. It is much easier for the perennial critics in the church to attack other people from a distance. Loyalists, though, are loyal to their actual local church.
Therefore, loyalists need to take up the burden of judgment and discrimination, in the highest sense of those terms, in order for there to be purity, unity, and, in the long run, peace in the church.