Last week I attended the 2022 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. The time was brief yet productive, and I was encouraged to see many old friends and mentors. However, as I absorbed all that was taking place, I realized I have not done an adequate job in communicating and teaching our congregation about the “big issues” facing the PCA. Like too many churches, we hear and know more about the state of American politics than we do about the condition of our Lord’s Church. I hope this post will begin to remedy that situation.
Our denomination – like all others! – has both its strengths and its weaknesses. Westminster Confession of Faith Ch. XXV.4-5 states:
4. This catholic church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible. And particular churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them.
5. The purest churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error; and some have so degenerated, as to become no churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan. Nevertheless, there shall be always a church on earth, to worship God according to his will.
These statements are true of the PCA as well. Never assume that the label “PCA” automatically means a church is “safe.” Over the centuries, too many people have valued denominational loyalty over biblical fidelity and, as a result, have been led away from the truths of God’s word. The PCA is not immune to falling into error, which is why we – as members of this denomination – must be faithful, informed, and vigilant in knowing and engaging the issues facing our church.
I am delighted to be a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and hope to remain so for many years to come. I am presbyterian because I sincerely believe the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms to be the most faithful summaries of the teaching in God’s word. Those documents are not perfect, neither are they inspired by the Holy Spirit; yet they are the standards to which I have committed myself in this denomination. Those documents are more than guidelines for me to consult. I have taken vows to uphold, to live by, and to teach them faithfully. Nonetheless, I must remember that my identity as a Christian is not first found in being Reformed & Presbyterian. My identity must be found in Christ alone, and my beliefs and convictions must be determined by God’s word alone.
Brothers and sisters, please pray for our denomination, which is currently embroiled in many controversies, but do not limit the scope of God’s Church to a particular denomination. Our greatest loyalty as members of the Lord’s Church – no matter the denomination to which we belong, PCA or otherwise – is to our Lord’s teaching in his holy, inerrant, and inspired word.
I encourage you to consult the following resources so you can stay up to date on current issues in the PCA:
The Aquila Report (Consult this site regularly for news, devotional reading, and current events.)
Report on the 49th General Assembly by Ryan Biese
Some Early Reactions to 49th PCA General Assembly by Larry Ball