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Documents of Synod:
Studies of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod
(1965 to 1982)


[154th General Synod Minutes, 21 May 1976, p. 137; Documents of Synod, pp. 18.]

Dr. Mark Pett presented the following:

Dear Fathers and Brethren:

The continued committee on the study of abortion respectfully declines to fulfill the task given to it and asks that the committee be dissolved.

The majority of the committee has come to conclude that we should not deal with the material requested of us. While the committee agrees that there are deficiencies in the present report, it is of the opinion that answering the questions given to it by Synod will not rectify those deficiencies. For in some cases the Synod has asked for explicit ethical statements concerning matters which can be inferred from the principles contained in the present abortion report (post contraceptive devices, abortion as a contraceptive form, population). In other cases the Synod asked for answers to questions which are either beyond the ethical scope and abilities of the committee or concerning which there appear to be legitimate differences of opinion among Reformed Christians (the presence of the soul from conception, the relationship between the soul and physical life).

It appears to the committee that the Synod request, agreed to in haste during the closing hours of the 1975 session, is simply a request for amplification of the principles already contained in the present report. Such amplification is clearly within the facility of RPCES ministers. Further, it also seems evident to the committee that there is a danger of developing a detailed casuistry at the Synod level if responses to the questions posed in the Synod request are given. We, the members of this committee, fear an ethical legalism more than we fear that the ministers of our church will not be able to handle the questions posed by Synod on the basis of the Scriptures and ethical principles already enunciated. We urge the dissolution of our committee.

Respectfully submitted,
Terry Nixon
Douglas Rogers
Mark Pett, Chairman

Synod adopted the recommendation and dissolved the committee with thanks.

[Documents of Synod, page 18.]

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