ARP or PCA?

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by TheBruisedReed, Apr 23, 2019.

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  1. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Due to military relocation, my wife and I are in the process of searching for a new church. In our area, we have been blessed with a choice between two different reformed congregations. I'll start out by saying that we have visited both (more than once), and we have found them to be faithful to the Scriptures and to our confession/standards. While this is great news, it also makes this process that much more difficult. We are coming from the OPC and will either be joining a ARP or PCA church. I'll just list some things about each, but I'd really appreciate any advice or comments. Thank you!

    ARP
    - Expository Preaching (this is a huge plus for me)
    - Recites Creeds and WSC in liturgy
    - Hymns and Psalms in worship
    - Overall, the more conservative of the two

    PCA
    - Larger congregation, with more folks in our age group (20s/30s)
    - Mostly topical preaching (not a fan)
    - More "contemporary" music, though they do sing hymns...occasionally
    - About five miles closer to our home
     
  2. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    Based alone on the differences and your coming from an OPC context, I'd say, hands down, ARP.
     
  3. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    ARP, based on what you have (assuming no other factors). Only pro I see from your list for the PCA is distance. My guess, most advice will be ARP, since you list some trigger warnings for this board with expository preaching, psalm singing, and catechical instruction.
     
  4. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    My two cents: nothing except perhaps the distance factor (and that's small here) really speaks in favor of this PCA church. It's nice to have folks in your age range, but that doesn't have much to do with faithful ministry and worship. As a young family there are advantages to being "forced" to spend more time with families of different age ranges too.
     
  5. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    I'm a lifelong member of the PCA.

    Go ARP.
     
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  6. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    This is the direction I'm leaning.
     
  7. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    An excellent point. Thank you.
     
  8. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    This elicited a chuckle, and then a feeling of sadness! But, thank you for the insight.
     
  9. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    To be fair, these are some big points to consider.
     
  10. Kinghezy

    Kinghezy Puritan Board Freshman

    Only meant that there may be other factors that I am not aware of. I agree that the items you list are worthy of consideration.
     
  11. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Yeah, after I sent that I felt I had worded it strangely. We are in accord!
     
  12. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    I’d suggest also considering: which church is more supportive of the unique challenges facing military families. (And no, not all churches are equal in this respect.)

    Clearly some people here don’t know what they’re talking about: it is a tremendous blessing to have people your age - and especially if you have children, theirs. Which church has more military kids who share your kids’ experience? May not sound significant, but it really is.

    Where are you being stationed?

    Blessings,
    Ben
     
  13. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Junior

    Just based on the above information, ARP. My wife and I are in the same process. Here in Grand Rapids, we have the rare issue of an abundance of Reformed congregations to choose from.
     
  14. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, while I completely understand where you're coming from, we do not have any children. And the chances of us having our own are slim, to put it simply and politely. I would also like to state that the ARP does have a couple of families close to our age group. It's just that the PCA church has quite a bit more people overall. Percentage wise, it may even be about the same. It's just that we're looking at a congregation of forty(ish) at the ARP vs. over two hundred at the PCA.
     
  15. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    A real blessing indeed! I'm actually in Troy for work right now and there's two or three within five blocks of my hotel.
     
  16. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I'd definitely go with th ARP in this situation--the ordinances of Christ are more faithfully administered there. There's nothing more important than that when forced to choose between congregations. You can expect that God will bless his ordinances with greater measures of efficacy where his law is loved and his name is feared.
     
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  17. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    This right here.
     
  18. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    Does the ARP church have deaconesses? If so, it should be a deal breaker.
     
  19. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    This is something left up to the presbytery. The one in consideration does not allow women to hold this office.
     
  20. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Everything you list has to do with the worship services: what they are like and how far away they are held. Worship services are important, no doubt, but the church is not just the services. Have you done anything to test out friendships or get to know the churches' leaders?

    Which leaders would you most trust to shepherd you through a difficulty in life or a sinful incident on the part of you or your wife? Where can you quickly find Christian friends and fellowship, especially if your wife is like many military spouses and is in need of this? Where can you serve others, and bear burdens, and be comfortable confessing sins to your brothers?

    Anyone here can tell you which service they think most closely fits their ideal. But you need to be asking yourself these other questions as well.
     
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  21. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Indeed I do. Thank you for this valuable insight, truly.
     
  22. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Settle on the place where the preaching is most faithful, the worship is most reverent and god-fearing, and the people are most godly and loving. No church will be perfect in any of these, nor will any have these qualities in equal measure. But every other consideration pales in comparison.
     
  23. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Isn't that the way life works? The church that seems better is the one that's farther away, naturally. Must be one of the rules of the universe, I guess.

    In any case, based on your general information, I'd say go the ARP church (and I'm OPC, myself).
     
  24. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Choose the one where the Elders have the opportunity to check on you. I know it is politically incorrect in the USA to have them drop by unless they announce coming, but I am saying at least join a church which makes an effort to come by your home now and then to hang out and check how are you doing. If you join a "large" church you will probably not get what I am speaking about. Being an Elder is a hard job I know and I suspect home visits is one of the first to be let go when the congregation grows larger.
     
  25. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Have you sought the counsel of your current session?
     
  26. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you very much.
     
  27. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks Richard.
     
  28. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    This is definitely a good point. We have yet to exchange more than a hello/courteous nod with the PCA pastor. The gentleman at the ARP, however, has taken a few minutes after each service to get to know us.
     
  29. TheBruisedReed

    TheBruisedReed Puritan Board Freshman

    I must admit, I have not. And I will now be doing this today! Just because they're in AZ, doesn't mean they cannot help!
     
  30. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    And they have watch over you until you're joined to a new congregation.
     
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