A farewell statement from a long-time minister in the PCA

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Phil D., Feb 13, 2020.

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  1. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

  2. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Oops. the mods might want to move this to a more appropriate forum (?)
  3. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I moved it to church order.
  4. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    Here are a few of my thoughts on the linked article.

    I can certainly understand the frustration of conservatives (for lack of a better term) in the PCA. I was experiencing that myself back in the early 2000s as a member of a PCA church. It wasn't my local church that was the problem, but our presbytery was in the thick of the FV issue and it was bafflingly ineffective in dealing with it. Now the issue of homosexuality seems to be something the PCA is in danger of similarly bungling. Then there are other issues like BioLogos that have largely dropped off the PCA radar, but continue to fester.

    At the same time I'm somewhat chagrined at the prospect of yet another startup Presbyterian denomination, which apparently is in the works. The moniker "the split Ps" comes to mind and seems justified.

    Don't even get me started on the many growing problems within my current church's denominational affiliation, the SBC...
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I was not involved in the predecessor effort grassroots presbyterians (it was elders only) but was not too keen on what I heard reported. The group was ostensibly founded to fight for orthodoxy in the PCA but it was clear from the beginning the leader(s) were ready to leave asap. This eventually split the group. That's my assessment from reports about the goings on so take it for what it is worth. I don't know how many will be at the convocation of sessions or what the apitite is for something new. I don't think we don't need another Presbyterian denomination, certainly not one with the same system of exceptions or loose subscription to the standards that allows the typical errors and impiety present already in the options available. Take a strong Sabbatarian stand and strong second commandment and strict stand on the regulative principle, and then maybe I'll take notice. I was told this new thing would not allow exceptions but that was just one second hand account. I'm not sure; that would be up to what the convocation decides I'm sure. The article was unclear on that, only noting too many exceptions in New School Presbyterianism as one of the faults of NS vs. Old School.
  6. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    1. What is the homosexual issue in the PCA?
    2. Why wouldn't this minister join the OPC or ARP like his other examples of ministers leaving in his article?
  7. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

    See these PB threads.

    That's pretty much the question I have too.
  8. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I'm glad there were those who stayed and fought in the ARP Church. Reading The Second Century: A History of the Associate Reformed Presbyterians, 1882-1982 paints a grim picture towards the end of where the denomination ended. In the 70s and 80s the PCA was very suspicious of the ARP Church for reasons like being on the cusp of ordaining women to all offices and teaching a very low view of the Scriptures (very Barthian and higher critical) in the denominational seminary. The PCA even voted against the ARP Church joining NAPARC because of reasons like these. Yet now we have folks fleeing the PCA and coming into the ARP Church.

    Makes me worried when there is a new exodus in the PCA. Makes me more nervous when folks would rather eschew their ordination vows and be independent than stay in the body.
  9. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    I've been encouraged by seeing how the ARP come back from the brink. The RPCNA was in a similar position when the Lord used men like J.G. Vos to help rescue her.
  10. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Which Vos? I am interested in this!
  11. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    You must have responded right before I edited my comment to clarify which Vos :)

    J.G. Vos. You can see the work he did in the Blue Banner https://bluebanner.com/download/faithandlife .

    In 1979, Dr. J.G. Vos wrote: “When I returned from missionary service in the Far East in 1941, I found the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America at a low level of awareness of true biblical Christianity…. After conferring with a good many men and considering and praying about it a good many times, I decided there needed to be a very vocal but simple publication to set forth the true faith of the church.”
    His articles in the Blue Banner on the Larger Catechism ended up becoming the commentary published later. In addition to his missionary efforts, he was key in helping pull the Synod back in a Confessional direction as it was flirting with liberalism and dwelling too much on social issues (such as temperance).
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  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

  13. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It was a Facebook group, and membership was restricted to TEs and REs in the PCA.
  14. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I see. "Grassroots" is a strange descriptor for a group that is limited to those who rule in the church.
  15. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think the use of the term in the PCA is the idea of promoting bottom up reform rather than top down (the top, the GA, being the problem with under representation of REs, etc.).
  16. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I see--the tyranny of democracy. I wonder if the new denomination will have delegated assemblies.
  17. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I don't know; from reports of what went on in the grassroots group and the subsequent split between those who were ready to leave the PCA and those who thought the group was formed to organize how to fight for reform (which was how the group was advertised), I would definitely want to see how things shook out over a period of time with any new denomination that may form, like over some years. Frying pan, fire, etc.
  18. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't agree with the call to leave the PCA at this point but those who are looking to form a new Body are trying to get back to some of the original design in the PCA that has subsequently gotten off the rails. Committees of the PCA have taken a large amount of power that was supposed to be checked by Committees of Commissioners (CoC) at each GA. Those have increasingly become rubber stamps of the committees. For instance, the Women's Study Committee was not something that came up from the Presbyteries but was pushed from the Admi Committee. Because it came from that committee it could only be voted up or down at GA and not amended. The Admin CoC tried unsuccessfully to argue that the study should not go forward but the main motion carried.

    This was the genesis for a BCO amendment via Overture that I initially authored and passed through our Presbytery that made sure that any subsequent Study Committees had to arise in the PCA by way of Overture.
  19. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Senior

    I agree with Rich and commend his efforts. Keep it up, brother, and may the Lord prosper the efforts of all those seeking reform in all of our churches.

  20. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    It's truly sad how things have developed. I'm of course incompetent to comment--perhaps I shouldn't have said anything. I do think a delegated assembly can be a good check to an assembly going imperial, though.
  21. Ed Walsh

    Ed Walsh Puritan Board Junior

    @Phil D.
    That was quite a letter. I must be a mushroom but could someone fill me in on the Vanguard Presbytery issue? Or point me to a link that would help me out.

  22. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

  23. Phil D.

    Phil D. Puritan Board Junior

  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I didn't mind the question. I responded merely to explain why many are concerned about the PCA and believe the problem might be solved by the formation of a "truly Southern Presbyterian model".

    I was limited in time so I simply pointed out that (theoretically) the PCA was set up with certain safeguards in place to prevent too much power at the GA level being held in the committees by having all committee actions subject to review by the Committee of Commissioners.

    You could say that, no matter how "perfect" you think you design your BCO there is a way for men to get around certain safeguards. Just as one simple example - it's a perennial problem getting RE's to attend GA. It's not just the PCA but for centuries before in the predecessors of the PCA. You can write into your BCO: "In our Church, the Ruling Elders will be as engaged and invested in the higher courts as the Teaching Elders..." but it's simply hand-waving and pretending as if you can sufficiently control the course of subsequent events that all RE's ever elected and ordained by your new Presbytery will be of a that character.

    One way to ensure that you'll never have to worry about fighting again is to form a Church that's really, really, really small and to keep it that way because nobody ever gets out of line.

    Trust me, the PCA has some major problems. There is a great deal of truth in what Dewey Roberts reports about the under-handed way that sentimentalists behave. There is gross theological incompetence among many who support the Revoice movement. There are those who would seek to so water down doctrinal fidelity that they will refuse to discipline men for FV while simultaneously work on Review of Presbytery Records (RPR) to cite a Presbytery with an exception of substance because they will not allow a man's "good faith subscription) on Days of Creation.

    It's frustrating and I haven't even begun to explain to you how many things I could point out about the challenges the PCA has.

    But that's life in a fallen world and anybody who tells you they have a regenerate Church membership that escapes sinners being its elders and doing things that are sinful and frustrating is kidding themselves. Church history is replete with the movements that establish the perfect "City on a Hill" only to find the subsequent generation to be less than one expected. Even the founding of the PCA had in its DNA a mixture of Confessional, Revivalist, and even some who were practically Baptist. There's been rancor from the beginning.

    But the call for the Elder is to stand firm. A wise elder once told me that you know a Body is alive as long as it is fighting off infection. Some prefer Bodies where they pretend there is no infection or to simply cut the body part off as soon as there is any sign to ensure a malignant mole won't spread to the rest of the body part. Yet the sign of life in a Church is Elders standing firm against error even when others are not. Things may look bleak but as long as the Gospel is being preached and the sacraments administered then there is reason to stay. Yes, there are places where discipline is not being administered but it can be now without interference because (structurally) the GA doesn't have a lot of authority to interfere with Presbyteries.

    I could go on but, suffice to say, I believe the peace and purity of the Church requires battle and I'm willing to continue to stand for it.
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