Discussion in 'Church Order' started by CIT, Jun 7, 2011.

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  1. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Out of curiosity, what would you consider the distinctives between these two denoms? On paper they seem very close, but I know people who would not cross denom lines. So it would seem that there must be some difference.

    Beyond theological differences, what are the cultural differences?
  2. Michael

    Michael Puritan Board Senior

    PCA: gets to party in Virginia Beach this year
    OPC: has a way better website

    Tough call...
  3. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Decisions decisions.....
  4. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    You may find helpful a search (upper right)- this has been reviewed in great detail.

    Overall, two very fine biblical, reformed denominations with high level fraternal relations.
  5. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I attempted the search. I didn't find anything. I must have used the wrong definitions.
  6. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What did you search for? I just typed "pca vs opc" into the quick search bar at the top right and got these results: http://www.puritanboard.com/google....w.puritanboard.com/f117/pca-vs-opc-68135/#881

    Not that it can't be discussed again. I think, in short, the difference is that the OPC, considered as a whole, is more conservative and confessional than the PCA, and more traditional. Individual congregations in both denominations can be exceptions to that rule. The OPC is smaller and doesn't seem to have a movement equivalent to the PCA's large "cultural engagement"/Kellerite movement (the ones that are always telling you to "seek the peace of the city," by which they mean put your kids in public school and watch R-rated movies--I'm not writing this stuff out loud, am I? :D).

    Other than that, they are very similar. They share a publishing company.
  7. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I typed, "PCA OPC" and it told me that the words were too common.
  8. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    PCA vs. OPC? I'd consider that an Alamo situation. The OPC's fortress mentality and stubborn disposition make every inch a bloodbath, but the PCA's relentless expansionist agenda and sheer numbers finally overwhelm the beleaguered defenses.

    Oh, did I misread the "vs."?
  9. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    Here has been my personal experience - the PCA swings much more broadly within their denomination. What I mean is that you can visit a PCA church one Sunday and it might be conservative and confessional with no instruments other than a piano. The next Sunday you can visit another PCA church and it will have a band up front, with the minister telling jokes in the pulpit etc. On the other hand, every OPC church I've ever visited or known people from has been much more similar to each other. As Austin said, they tend to be more conservative. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you can find both good and bad churches within both, I just prefer the benefit of knowing what you're getting in an OPC congregation.
  10. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    The PCA is a conservative mainline reformed denomination. That is to say, it is intentionally a "big tent" within confessional boundaries. The OPC is not---the confessional interpretations allowed there are much stricter. That's my understanding.
  11. Rufus

    Rufus Puritan Board Junior

    Ha ha, I like Tim Keller but probably won't put my kids in public school (although, I am in one), and I think it depends on the R-rated movie and how to interpret it, on that note I watched R rated war films since I was a toddler....
  12. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

  13. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Austin, speaking as one who has huge sympathy for this movement, that's a very inaccurate assessment of the culturalist wing of the PCA. I realize that there's a slight facetiousness in the statement, but it belies severe misconceptions about Keller and those like him, who are more artsy, locally conscious, and interested in cultural and physical transformation based on Christian principles.
  14. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    :ditto: having belonged to both denomination at different times. I much prefer the OPC.
  15. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Not a fan of Keller, but do use the public schools.
  16. jennywigg

    jennywigg Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi...I'm new! Just curious about Tim Keller. My hubby and I are recovering Southern Baptists, so we're not completely in the know, but what is it exactly that makes Keller sort of "iffy" in the eyes of some? This isn't the first place I've heard folks speak warily of him. Thanks for any info!

  17. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Has the OPC had any FV problems? Seems like every one I hear of is PCA.
  18. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I remember someone on PB stating that it creeped in, but it was on a much smaller scale than the PCA.
  19. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm tempted to answer with the juicy details, but...I didn't really mean to derail the thread. The search function will help. Sorry. :)
  20. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    Can we throw another denomination into the mix? Where does the ARP fit with respect to the PCA and OPC?
  21. CIT

    CIT Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I am game for expansion.
  22. au5t1n

    au5t1n Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I know a few things: (1) the ARP is much older than both (by a couple centuries, I believe), (2) the ARP varies a lot, similar to the PCA, but is much smaller, and (3) the ARP used to be exclusive psalmody and probably still has more psalm-singing than the PCA.

    Oh, that brings up another difference between the OPC and PCA. There is more psalm-singing in the OPC and a higher incidence of "traditional" instrumentation (piano/organ) than the PCA.
  23. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

    I would put the ARP as more left leaning than the PCA but not as left leaning as the EPC. It is a very rural denomination and, in my experience, dominated by much older people. Congregations vary as well regarding confessional adherence. I know that there are very Confessionally-minded congregations within the denomination along with congregations that don't functionally operate under them.
  24. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well, having been in all three denominations, I’d say the ARP is more like the PCA in that the different ARP churches will also vary in their practices. The APR allows for a bit more automomy, e.g., female deacons if the local presbyteries agree. On the plus side, they effectively dealt with some recent problems at Erskine Seminary.
  25. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    :ditto: When we vacation, if I can't find a good confessional Reformed Baptist Church (e.g. ARBCA) then I typically look for an OPC Church. Why? Because in my experience, ARBCA and the OPC are very similar in their confessionalism and its application.

    If I were a Presbyterian (and it aint gunna happen ;)), the most natural choice for me would be the OPC. Much of what I love about the OPC are things I love about ARBCA.

    So, when providentially hindered from attending a RB church, I rejoice to fellowship with the Brethren of the OPC.
  26. Gage Browning

    Gage Browning Puritan Board Freshman

    I think there is more of a sense of urgency or importance in the OPC on "subscription" vs. the lack of importance on "subscription" to the Westminster Standards, imop.
  27. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    One aspect that I find unique to the PCA is the number of churches involved in community development (of which Redeemer is the most prominent, though not the oldest or most successful) such as New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, New Song is Baltimore, and Lagniappe Pres in Bay St. Louis. I would consider these bodies to be among the PCA's greatest assets, certainly among its most active and faithful congregations.
  28. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Even at the risk of persecution by Calvin :lol:

    ---------- Post added at 04:50 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:47 PM ----------

    In my Country the Reformed Churches of New Zealand [the largest Reformed demonination] recognise the OPC as a sister church. They will not recognise the PCA - I assume because they see the OPC as more confessionally faithful. However, the Grace Presbyterian churches of NZ [which have a looser attachment to the Westminster standards] link up with the PCA.
  29. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I know of some ministers who left the OPC for the CREC after the FV controversy heated up 5-6 years ago. A year or two prior to that, there was the somewhat related Kinnaird controversy with regard to justification, but I don't think that involved the FV's sacramentalism.
  30. Shawn Mathis

    Shawn Mathis Puritan Board Sophomore


    If there are FV men in the OPC they are hiding.
    The PCA has a closed trial on Peter Leithart in the NW Presbytery. They also tried to ferret out an FV in the midwest (Souix Lands). And before some in Wilkin's presbytery tried to deal with but he left.

    ---------- Post added at 08:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:43 AM ----------

    Mr. Browning, I think that would be a nice summary. I have never been a member of the PCA but have "rubbed shoulders" with them. I have attended three Presbytery meeting and witnessed four floor exams and two committee exams. All the men examined on the floor took exceptions to the Sabbath (playing on the Lord's day, etc.). I recall two taking exception to images of Christ. And one who could not answer--because he was unsure--if the Lord's Supper had "infused justifying grace" (!)--he passed anyway.

    Now, I know of a minister 15 years ago who was passed on Hebrew without basic knowledge of 'vav' (very important)--those who wanted him passed 'tutored' him in one night. This was an OPC presbytery. So, the OPC ain't perfect either!

    ---------- Post added at 08:52 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:48 AM ----------

    Philip, I think that is another way of putting the difference. I know old-school presbyterian ministers in the PCA and that would fit their description. They know they have more "battles" than the OPC (check out Wes White's site for documented goin's on in the PCA; search for Keller for those interested).

    I like to use a political analogy (please don't stone me!); OPC=constitution party, PCA=republican party. In my humble opinion.

    ---------- Post added at 08:54 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:52 AM ----------

    Johnson, I hope this was a joke.
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