In a comment on my last post looking ahead to the next General Assembly of the PC(USA) Bruce Reyes-Chow asked if I had done a GA 101 post as an intro to the General Assembly. My first reaction was “no and I don’t need to” since I have usually considered this blog for those who are already familiar with Presbyterian polity and politics. (see If you care you understand)
But the more I thought about it the more I thought it would be an interesting exercise. I try to keep the focus of this blog broad enough to capture the full sweep of Presbyterianism globally, so why not attack the question of the General Assembly as a concept and then investigate how it varies in different branches of the Presbyterian family.
So, if you are looking for a single post that gives an introduction to the General Assembly of the (pick one) Church of Scotland/Presbyterian Church in Ireland/PC(USA)/PCA/Cumberland and Cumberland in America/EPC/OPC/etc., then you are in the wrong place. I’m using this series as a personal challenge to do a “Comparative General Assembly” series of posts over the next few weeks. I anticipate that there will be about six posts, including this one, covering different topics. And I’ll begin this series the same way that I begin all my talks about GA with “Why the heck would anybody want to do it this way?”, a general discussion going back to the reformers of our understanding of human nature and the nature of the Church.
From there I plan that each post will first develop a topic in general terms that is usually common to all the branches and then discuss the details of various branches. I will admit that certain churches will get better coverage because details are more familiar to me or they have more material available on-line. I encourage readers to supply details where I get them wrong, or I have omitted details from a church that has significant variation from the others.
So I encourage you to sit back, read along, and join me on this ride through Comparative General Assembly.