Why did Gordon Clark refuse to join the PCA?

Discussion in 'Church History' started by CDM, Jun 3, 2009.

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  1. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    Does anyone know why Gordon Clark did not join with the PCA when it was formed? What "doctrinal grounds" was Robbins referring to?

    An excerpt from The Trinity Review, "An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark", July-August, 1993:

    Clark entered the United Presbyterian Church -- not the large denomination, which was not called the United Presbyterian Church at that time – but a small, more conservative, denomination. There he fought another battle about both doctrine and church property. When the United Presbyterian denomination joined the mainline church in the 1950s, Clark left that church and joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church, which later merged with the Evangelical Synod to form the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. He remained a part of that Church until it merged with the Presbyterian Church in America in 1983. Clark refused to join the Presbyterian Church in America on doctrinal grounds, and for about a year he was the RPCES. Some months before his death in April 1985 he affiliated with Covenant Presbytery.

    Reference came up on Wikipedia too.
  2. Josiah

    Josiah Puritan Board Senior

  3. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.


    When discussion began in 1980 towards the union of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod (RPCES) and the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), Dr. Clark found himself an opponent of that merger, perhaps in part because the plan also entailed the simultaneous union of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. While the OPC did not come into the merger, the 1982 joining and receiving of the RPCES into the PCA left Dr. Clark with the decision to be dismissed by the Tennessee Valley Presbytery of the PCA on September 11, 1982. He was received by the unaffiliated Covenant Presbytery in May, 1983.

    -----Added 6/3/2009 at 04:24:25 EST-----


    I should have explained Dr. Clark's opposition to the OPC: He had charges brought against him when he was a member of the OPC and was seeking ordination to the ministry. Very complicated, largely philosophical matter, and still discussed to this day. Probably a thread about it laying around here somewhere. Hence his opposition to any affiliation with the OPC, realized or intended.
  4. Calvin'scuz

    Calvin'scuz Puritan Board Freshman

    Possibly something to do concerning his ongoing "fracas" with Van Til???
  5. Oecolampadius

    Oecolampadius Puritan Board Sophomore

    -----Added 6/3/2009 at 08:54:19 EST-----

    Got this from the OPC website:

  6. Josiah

    Josiah Puritan Board Senior

    The bolded passage is key In my humble opinion :2cents:
  7. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm not familiar with the specifics of this individual's situation.

    The history, though illustrates something important- there are important distinctions between conservative evangelical churches and reformed ones. Much in common but some important distinctions that were played out in the OPC's founding.

    Over the doctrinal place of temperance, millennial eschatology, the doctrines of grace- the OPC stayed true to the historic, biblical reformed truths. The then Bible Presbyterian Church, in the 1930's separated as they went more "evangelical" fundamentalist. A series of mergers and changes brought the EPCES back into the PCA from the evangelical/fundamental line in the providence of God in the 1980's.

    I'm not sure where the individual you mention was in all this, but likely, as he was a scholar, he saw and understood all this.

    The OPC has always been faithful to the reformed faith- and we all owe them a debt of gratitude for that.
  8. kalawine

    kalawine Puritan Board Junior

    I have the book, "The Clark-Van Til Controversy by Herman Hoeksema." It explains the ordeal pretty well. Here is a link to an overview of the book. Please excuse the John Robbins biased editor's note at the top of the page :rolleyes:. The rest is pure Hoeksema. :)
    Hoeksema - The Clark-Van Til Controversy
  9. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Robert Reymond devotes several pages to the Clark-Van Til controversy in his book Justification of Knowledge focusing on their epistemological disagreements.
  10. Spinningplates2

    Spinningplates2 Puritan Board Freshman

    Does anyone know why if Dr. Clark had problems with the PCA? If so what were they? I did not know that I needed to know, but like when Paul explained the 9th commandment, now there is nothing I need to know more.
  11. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks, all.

    I am left to wonder how and if Clark's rejection of the 'Free Offer' had anything to do with his rejection of the PCA as it apparently did with the OPC.
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