The Presbyterian Church is a middle polity. The main seat of authority is not the local congregation, nor the top of the hierarchy. The presbytery is the main decision making body. It is made up of clergy and elder representatives of the congregations. The presbyteries send clergy and elder representatives to the higher bodies, including to the national General Assembly. The Presbyterian Church is organized like the federal system of the United States (though I think the influence runs more the other way).
Ministers are examined, ordained, and belong to a presbytery. The rest of the church trusts the presbyteries to examine and choose well. BUT, the higher bodies can review the decisions of the presbytery, including ordination decisions.
How much to trust the locals is the core issue in the debate over the Peace, Unity, and Purity Task Force report at the General Assembly. The shorthand is that the debate is over "local option." This is not quite right. Here is a way to think about the alternatives before the church:
1) Local option: local governing bodies are allowed to set their own standards
2) Local application: local governing bodies apply the national standards
3) Local license: local governing bodies may overlook violations of the standards
I believe that what the broad middle of the church wants is the second option, local application. Local application is what the Task Force calls for. The Task Force does call on the church to trust the locals. Indeed, they call on all units of the church to outdo one another in trusting one another. Still, the Task Force, and common sense, clearly tell us that the central church sometimes just has to review that decisions of the locals and, if necessary, reign them in.
Local application of national standards is the traditional Presbyterian way to have peace and unity in a varied national church. And in those rare cases when the locals go off the rails, the national church, reluctantly but firmly, acts to bring them back into line.