On this slow day of the GA, let me introduce my latest contribution to building up the Presbyterian Church. My pamphlet, Rebuilding the Presbyterian Establishment, has just been published by the Re-Forming Ministry project of the church. You can download the pamphlet here, or order a hardcopy (with a nice, stained-glass cover) from the same site. There is also a Facebook group to sponsor discussion of the pamphlet here.
In a nutshell, I think that the Presbyterian Church used to have an establishment of leading pastors and elders who we honored and trusted. This was a great asset in times of conflict. The Special Commission of 1925 was such an establishment group. The church turned to them to settle the fundamentalist/modernist controversy of the 1920s. However, in "the Sixties," we deliberately unmade our establishment in the church, as in society at large, and made structural changes to prevent a new establishment from arising. And now when we need one, we don't have one.
I expect that most of the people most interested in my analysis are tied up with the General Assembly now. I had thought that the discussion of the Presbyterian Establishment idea will begin in earnest after the dust settles from the GA.
I was gratified to see, though, that there are two commissioner's resolutions that seem to promote two structural changes I also support. One would grant presbytery staff advisory vote. This has been referred to committee. Another would phase out the advisory committees. This one was declined. Still, I believe in incremental change, and these proposals seem a step in the right direction.