The Demise of the PCA

I’ve often told my congregations over the years that we should not be surprised when we see human institutions, such as seminaries, or even denominations, erode from the foundations in which they were formed. This is because the spiritual attack on those who lead those institutions is constant, and the human heart is frail. Just the reality of generational decline shows this to be true. What I mean by that is that the first generation of those making a stand on the truth is always more solid than the second generation, and third generation. The same is true in business. I believe the axiom is that the first generation builds the empire, the third generation loses it.

Sadly, however, the Presbyterian Church in America is on the fast lane to its own demise. Part of the reason for this is because it’s own seminary, Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo., has given itself over to the appeal of sophistication or wisdom as in the sense that the Greeks sought after in Paul’s day. He condemned such pursuits of wisdom in 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, showing it to be foolish. You can see this form of wisdom today when those in Christian circles are seeking to be agents of change in society. They seek to be practical. They seek to be expedient in all they do. For all these things to happen, they must punt the word of God.

In view of that, Andrew Dionne over at Warhorn Media, has an article showing how the professors at Covenant would purposely leave out passages of Scripture dealing with male headship and the hierarchy of the home, specifically the feminists most hated passage, 1 Corinthians 11:3. This has led to the softening of the roles within the denomination to the point now that progressives are trying to usher women into key positions. What progressives want is to ordain women as deacons and elders and eventually pastors, even though they flatly deny such things. It’s always a slippery slope on these issues. When you start to cave on clearly defined roles between men and women, there is no stopping at “we just want to ordain women as deacons since they are already serving as deacons anyway.” If women are serving as deacons, then the men should hang their heads in shame for not being the men God has called them to be.

What progressives never advocate is what is actually biblical, women who are submissive to their husbands and delight in the main roles that God made them for, being a help meet to their husbands and bearing and raising children. But that aside, the end result of this move away from biblical ordained roles is that the Nashville Presbytery has offered up an overture to their next General Assembly to open up board positions within the denomination to women. This, in effect, would allow women to exercise authority over men, which is against 1 Timothy 2:12. Dionne writes:

That pipeline of church workers entering the ministry (and other church positions) after being dulled by Covenant’s exceedingly weak complementarianism (more on that below) is the clear explanation for recent votes at GA regarding study committees on women’s ministry as well as the PCA’s ready acceptance of women serving as voting members of authoritative committees.

When the seminary of the denomination goes weak on biblically ordained roles, we should not be surprised that the denomination follows suit. I had a conversation about this with one of the insiders in the PCA, a non-progressive, and he came out and stated that the best thing the denomination could do is cut ties with Covenant. But I don’t think that will happen.

Dionne continues:

Point in case: The PCA’s Nashville Presbytery recently sent an overture to this year’s General Assembly petitioning the 2018 General Assembly to remove the word “man” from a number of leadership positions in the denomination. Nashville Presbytery is pushing the PCA to allow women to serve on the boards of agencies of the church.

So here we go again… Emboldened by the guidelines from last year’s report of the Ad Interim Committee of Women Serving in the Ministry of the Church which urged presbyteries to send overtures to GA “that would allow qualified women to serve on appropriate committees and agencies within the church,” Nashville Presbytery dreams of being the vanguard of liberal metro presbyteries and has jumped at this opportunity.

Presenting no argument from Scripture (which flatly condemns their agenda), the men of the Nashville Presbytery have determined that “service on the Boards of Agencies established by the Corporate Bylaws of the Presbyterian Church in America is among the appropriate places for godly women to exercise their gifts in the national church.” After initial and perfunctory whereas statements, their overture then spills out a long list of revisions to the BCO they want implemented. The most telling are their many deletions of the word “man.” They want the sexless “members” to replace it. (Emphasis added).

Of course, this overture will have to go through the process. It will need to get passed at the GA level, which usually happens because so few ruling elders will attend GA, then go to the presbyteries where it should be defeated. My source, that I mentioned above, has told me that a battle is coming between the confessional wing and the progressives wing for either this year, or the next. He is confident that the confessional wing will win the day and the Progressives will slink off and join the more liberal ECO. I just don’t have that much faith in progressives to do what is right in that regard. They are not doing what is right now. They have taken vows to uphold the confession and the BCO (the denominational constitution), and they ignore it and consider it nothing more than a “necessary evil.” (One progressive actually told me this).

But even if they did do the honorable thing and join denominations that already hold their views, it wouldn’t matter because those remaining still don’t hold to male-headship as it is given in Scripture. Just the attempt to come up with something like complemenatarianism, which waters down the roles, shows a weakness in the denomination itself. Until pastors are willing to teach, from the pulpits, that men are to be the godly leaders of the home, and not the women, then the problem will just repeat itself all over again 20 years from now.

I predict that this all will lead to the demise of the PCA.

6 thoughts on “The Demise of the PCA

  1. Hi Timothy,

    How would you advise people if they are in a church which appoints a woman pastor?

    Would you be friends with a woman pastor? Or a husband and wife “pastor team”?

    As the focus in “Evangelicalism” has shifted to homosexual and transgender pastors, the question of male and female gender roles in the ministry seems to have fallen out of the minds of many. The questions above are real ones people are facing.


    PS From my position, the Scriptures are clear that women cannot be pastors or have spiritual authority over men.


    • Hi Alec,

      Tough questions. For the first question, I would advise them to find a true, biblical church. I don’t believe that a woman serving as a pastor is a peripheral issue because it strikes at the very structure of the church and the family. When you compromise on such clearly defined issues, nothing else is sacred.

      Would I be friends with a woman who claimed to be a pastor? Probably not. They probably wouldn’t want to be friends with me because I would say something. So, it’s not really an issue. This is also one of the reasons I’m not ecumenical because in ecumenical circles, those who hold to the word of God as the only authority are the only ones who have to give up their convictions in order to be ecumenical. You never go to an ecumenical setting and see the wrongly-ordained woman, or gay, giving up their ordination in order to be in fellowship. It’s always those who have convictions that have to concede.


      • So true, Timothy.

        Have you heard of Matthias Loy? He was a faithful Lutheran in Nineteenth Century at the time when the Lutherans were facing the issues the Presbyterians faced 50 years later with the troubles that came to a head at Princeton. Dr. Loy wrote the following in his autobiography:

        “The history of the Church confirms and illustrates the teachings of the Bible, that yielding little by little leads to yielding more and more, until all is in danger; and the tempter is never satisfied until all is lost. It seems but a small concession that we are asked to make when an article of our confession is represented as a stumbling block to many Christians which ought therefore in charity to be removed, but surrendering that article would only lead to the surrender of another on the same ground, and that is the beginning of the end; the authority of the inspired Word of our Lord is gradually undermined.” The Story of My Life

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  2. Tim, thanks for the write up. Not sure I would be reading this type of news somewhere else. I also feel that some people don’t like to talk about other churches’ issues or problems as a sign of respect (not gossipy) but it is good to be informed especially when people ask you what church to go. You want to send them to a good church and if the PCA has some bad apples – it’s good to know so we can warn people. Hopefully God will protect the PCA from its own self and the PCA will continue to abide with the gospel.

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    • Hopefully that will happen. There are a lot of good churches in the PCA, as well as great pastors. But it seems that the majority are those not given to holding to Scripture. They want to look to the world for the means to grow the church, instead of trusting in Christ to do so.


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