At its July 24, 1999, stated meeting, Calvary Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) instructed its Candidates Committee to investigate the recent appointment of Dr. Mark Futato as a member of the faculty at Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). The controversy has arisen because of Dr. Futato's renunciation of PCA jurisdiction as charges were about to be brought against him by two fellow ministers in his presbytery.
At its meeting on September 16th, the Candidates Committee unanimously voted to recommend that the Presbytery communicate its displeasure with the stance taken by RTS-Orlando. The wording of the Committee minutes is as follows: "After extended discussion, M/S/P to recommend to Calvary Presbytery that the Presbytery communicate to RTS Orlando the Presbytery's concern that their actions with regard to Dr. Futato give the impression that they do not respect the disciplinary authority of the church, and that Calvary Presbytery cannot recommend candidates to attend RTS Orlando until RTS takes specific steps to see that the situation is rectified."
The charges against Dr. Futato, filed in March in South Coast Presbytery (Southern California), revolved around his alleged promoting and endorsing the ministry of a female naturopathic doctor and with continuing to endorse his wife's involvement with her institute. He was charged "with the general, public offense . . . of failing to guard the flock and shepherd the church of God; of failing to exhort with sound doctrine and refute those who contradict it; of failing to speak the truth in love, to the edification of the body; of associating with so-called brothers who teach contrary to the Word of God, and the Constitution of this Church, founded thereupon."
At the time of his renunciation of the PCA, Dr. Futato was on faculty at Westminster Theological Seminary (WTS) in California. One of his two accusers was Dr. Iain Duguid, an Old Testament professor at WTS.
Reformed Theological Seminary has three major campuses: Jackson, Mississippi; Orlando, Florida; and Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Futato was hired to teach at the Orlando campus.
Calvary Presbytery is located in the Greenville-Spartanburg area of South Carolina. Within its bounds is Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, an institution which appeals to the more conservative elements in the PCA.
Meanwhile, RTS on June 2, 1999, adopted the following statement:
"Reformed Theological Seminary has reviewed the action of Dr. Mark Futato regarding his denominational affiliation and the Board of Trustees has adopted the following resolution:
1. Dr. Futato embraces unequivocally the RTS Statement of Belief and Covenant which commits him to the inerrancy of Scripture and to the Westminster Standards. He is eminently qualified to serve as a member of the faculty of RTS. There is not now and there has not been any question regarding his qualifications.
2. Dr. Futato made a serious mistake in the way and manner in which he terminated his membership in the South Coast Presbytery of the PCA and he is urged to do everything that he considers reasonable to rectify his standing with that presbytery."
Calvary Presbytery's next meeting is on October 28th.