Clarifying Addendum to “5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Leave the PCA”

Most of the critiques I’ve seen to date of our session’s post entitled “5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Leave the PCA” seem to misunderstand our points in sections two and four, so I’d like to briefly deal with the most common misunderstandings I’m seeing.

In section 2, “Anarchy in Worship” our objection is not that all worship services in the PCA don’t look exactly the same. Our objection is that as a denomination we no longer follow the teaching of our own Confession in worship, and instead of following the Regulative Principle we have adopted personal preference as the rule and guide for our worship. This means that when it comes to worship, anything goes, and if a session wants to adopt a worship practice that is not taught in scripture, such as intinction, there is nothing to stop them. We are aware that many sessions believe that churches should be free to do whatever they want to in worship, provided it doesn’t violate a command of scripture too explicitly, but we do not believe that this is the teaching of Scripture or our Confessional Standards, and that a quick perusal of some of the better known commentaries on the Westminster Confession of Faith should make that point absolutely clear:

1)  Dr. Robert Shaw, Comments on Chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Section 1

2) Dr. A.A. Hodge, Comments on Chapter 21 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Sections 1 & 2

In Section 4, “A Failure to Maintain the Teaching of Scripture Regarding Six-Day Creation” our objection is not primarily that views other than the literal six day view were allowed by the PCA’s compromise on Creation, but rather that the one viewpoint that everyone affirmed would never be taught or spread in the PCA, namely theistic evolution, is in fact being taught and spread and nothing is being done to stop it. The evidence for this fact is cited in the article, but here are links you can check out again:

1) Christianity Today, “Evangelical Evolutionists Meet in New York”

2) The Aquila Report, “Metro New York Presbytery (PCA) hosts symposium on ‘Conversations Surrounding the Historicity of Adam”

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About Andrew Webb

Andrew James Webb, Pastor Providence PCA, Fayetteville NC. Born: July 29, 1969 Rochford, Essex England Education: MA Modern History, St. Andrews University, Fife, Scotland, 1991 M.Div., Westminster Theological Seminary, Glenside, PA, 2001 Personal Details: Husband of Joy Webb, Father of Margaret (6), Victor (5), Graham (3) and Isabel (10 Mos.) Secular Work History: Upon graduation from University, I returned to the United States and worked for two Madison Ave Advertising Firms in copy writing and advertising space sales. After moving to Northern Virginia, I went into computing. I worked as a Systems Administrator in Washington D.C. for both the Bureau of National Affairs (BNA) (a legal publishing firm,) and the International Republican Institute. Experience: Licensed by Potomac Presbytery, May 1997 and Philadelphia Presbytery in 1999. From 1998 to 2001 I did a three year apprentice/internship under Dr. Mark Herzer while working with the Christ Covenant church plant in Hatboro, PA. Ordained as an RE at Christ Covenant PCA in 2000 and as a TE by Central Carolina in 2001 when I was called to be the Organizing Pastor for Providence PCA Mission, Cross Creek PCA's church plant in Fayetteville, NC (home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Airforce Base). In 2005 when the Providence PCA Particularized I was blessed to be called by the congregation to be their Pastor. Presbytery Committees: Assistance and Membership (Philadelphia), Candidates (Central Carolina), Nominations (Central Carolina) GA Committees: Bills and Overtures, Covenant Theological Seminary Other: I have had a number of my essays on theological topics published including What is the Reformed Doctrine of Divorce? and Five Reasons Not To Go See The Passion of the Christ Why I Don't Have an English Accent: I don't have an English accent because my parents moved to New Jersey when I was six!
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4 Responses to Clarifying Addendum to “5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Leave the PCA”

  1. Pingback: 5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Leave the PCA | Building Old School Churches

  2. Doug says:

    Thanks for the clarification. I probably should not have responded here, as I don’t think I understand the nuances of old school presbyterianism, and maybe I should have responded on the Warfield list on this issue, though RPW brings a firestorm there. I agree about intinction, though I would add again that if you use a common cup, then intinction is a necessary consequence. I’ve seen 3 variations of communion service in the PCA. One, the trays of the bread (either leavened or unleavened – I think that’s preferable from scripture, but not necessary according to scripture) and the cups are passed along the pews. Variations of that include being prompted to eat and drink or eating and drinking on your own. Second variations is that elders and pastors stand up front, and people take the cup and bread back to their pews and eat drink with or without prompting. The Third is similar to the second, but they setup a table in the front, a group sits and then either serve themselves or each other both elements, and then return to the pews. I’ve also seen some churches (mine does this 2 – 3 times a year an “agape” feast where dinner is part of the service and communion is part of that meal. The further variation has to do with wine/grage juice. Some grape juice only, some inner circles of communion tray has wine and grape juice on the outside, and some have tried non-alcoholic wine. Our church did the non-alcoholic wine for a bit but returned to grape juice. I’ve never seen intinction at a PCA church, but I don’t get out much. 🙂

    Again, thanks for the clairification.

  3. Richard Chelvan says:

    I am not really surprised at this declension. I attended a large PCA church in Dallas and one of the elders was teaching through Norman Geisler’s “Chosen But Free” – a regular event in adult Sunday school. Another teacher who was not an elder but was under the so-called oversight of an elder was teaching the New Perspective on Paul approach to Justification! I left when it became clear to me that the elders were not concerned and consistent of men who were chosen elders because of their prominence in society and the fact that they had money! They were not elders according to the guidelines of scripture. This will be the death of the PCA yet!
    Finally, the big tongue in cheek joke is that most of the PCA are transplanted Southern Baptists anyway or evangelicals who are vulnerable to all of the latest fads and to John Frame’s well known disdain for the Regulative Principle.

  4. Thomas Craggs says:

    As to, “that as a denomination we no longer follow the teaching of our own Confession in worship, and instead of following the Regulative Principle we have adopted personal preference as the rule and guide for our worship.” Please, please do not forget that as Presbyterians our ruling authority is first and foremost the scriptures and not “Our Confessions” Never assume the infallibility of the confession over scripture. This is a very common fault of Presbyterians too often they forget ” Solo Scriptura” .
    The congregations cherish their history and their Confessions but above all scripture. So then use scripture to make your points. Not ding this is more problematic then you may think.

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