Is Worship Just a Matter of Preference: Licorice and License?

A rejoinder and some extended comments on “Worship in the PCA.”

However, we’re not talking about “preferences” any more than an Anglican is who expects to worship with the Prayer Book. Prayer Book worship is what Anglicans do, and have done, since 1549. When one goes to Dodger Stadium, is it wrong to expect to see a baseball game? When one orders a hamburger at McDonalds,... Continue Reading

PCA Study Committee Report: Recommendation #4

The 4th recommendation: “That sessions, if possible, establish a diaconate of qualified ordained men.”

By removing everything except the first sentence of this recommendation, the Assembly made it possible that exactly nothing will change in the congregations where refusing to ordain is the current practice. Basically, the churches of the PCA are urged to ordain deacons “if possible.” It is far too easy to say something is not possible,... Continue Reading

Reflections on the State of PCA Polity

The stated polity of the PCA is intentionally "grassroots," that is "bottom-up" rather than "top-down."

In the PCA’s Book of Church Order 29-1 this claim is made: “The Confession of Faith and the Larger and Shorter Catechisms of the Westminster Assembly, together with the formularies of government, discipline, and worship are accepted by the Presbyterian Church in America as standard expositions of the teachings of Scripture in relation to both... Continue Reading

On the Worship Issue in the PCA: It Was All Over Before Terry Johnson Entered the PCA

Sorry, Terry, but the worship issue was over before you ever entered the PCA.

If the guide is what is “best,” then worship becomes a matter of preference. Why must we choose what is best and by what criteria are we to judge it? If I don’t care for The Metropolitan Opera, why not allow me my preference for the Grand Old Opry? Isn’t that’s what best for me?... Continue Reading

Commissioned Church Workers?

Seeking to distinguish between office, leadership, and authority.

Recommendation 7 of the PCA’s study committee on Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church states: “That presbyteries and the General Assembly consider an overture that would 21 establish formally the right of sessions, presbyteries, and the General Assembly to 22 establish the position of commissioned church worker within the PCA for qualified 23... Continue Reading

A Report From the Synod Meeting of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, North America

A report from the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America Synod meeting.

Seminary president Jerry O’Neill plans to retire next year and will be succeeded by Prof. Barry York, but Dr. O’Neill will continue to work part-time in development and academic administration. Prof. C.J. Williams recently published a commentary on Job, and Prof. Rick Gamble recently finished the second of three volumes of his work, The Whole... Continue Reading

Your Preferences Aren’t the Point of Worship

I am upset at the idea of PCA minister publicly belittling any worship service based on nothing more than cultural preferences

I can confidently say that I wasn’t the “30-something church-planter” whom he alluded to, but I could have been. In the many years that I’ve been attending General Assembly I’ve often grumbled, I’ve often held up my preferences as the standard of worship, but whenever I’ve done that I was wrong.  We don’t worship in light... Continue Reading

Worship in the PCA in 2017

We are drowning in the liturgical chaos we call the PCA.

I wish that 40 years ago when I joined the PCA that the denomination’s elder statesmen had raised their voices warning those of us who came into Presbyterianism from other traditions, be they Baptist (as in my case), Lutheran, Anglican, or Pentecostal, that it was not for us to remake the church in accord with... Continue Reading

EPC General Assembly Adopts Position Paper on Human Sexuality

The 37th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church adopted the Preliminary Position Paper on Human Sexuality as the its official Position Paper on Human Sexuality.

A Position Paper expresses the mind of the General Assembly of the EPC on a subject of compelling interest. It is a definitive but not an exhaustive statement, and is not to be regarded as binding on the conscience of churches or individuals.   Commissioners to the 37th General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC)... Continue Reading

PCA Study Committee Report – Recommendation 3

A review of Recommendation 3 in the Role of Women Report submitted to the PCA General Assembly.

Instead, while thinking through how to address scenarios we imagine may arise from such a recommendation, it is wisest to adopt a wait-and-see approach. The nature of this study committee report is not one where immediate action is required. Rather, because the report urges sessions to consider, recognize, or establish different ideas, the best that... Continue Reading