Just How Big a Tent Are We Talking?

Dr. Clair Davis, a Teaching Elder in the PCA and professor at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas, TX, has an article today about the “Big Tent” and the PCA. He suggests that the churches leaving the PCUSA right now think the PCA is too conservative, but that maybe we should all be together:

After a quarter-century as OPC I moved on to the PCA. It was a good move. I think it put me among people who knew more clearly what things were really important and which weren’t. But another quarter-century has gone by! Finally, finally many are leaving the PCUSA, the church where I heard the gospel and believed. But they aren’t coming to the PCA. They think about us they way I thought about the OPC! What does that mean? Where do I belong? Could we all belong together, after all?

From what I can tell, many of the churches leaving the PCUSA still disagree with the PCA about the ordination of women and the inerrancy of Scripture. These are just two of the many reasons the PCA was formed in the first place. I’m not sure what kind of tent would be necessary to hold us all.

4 thoughts on “Just How Big a Tent Are We Talking?

  1. sedgegrass says:

    Can’t help noticing how much politics keeps being brought in to the discussions about being gospel minded in the PCA and reaching the city. It seems inevitably, (those enamored by the Redeemer New York visions of gospel to the city, especially),teachers/preachers feel it important to impress upon their congregants (or students) a correct understanding of the place of Republicans in the church. It is true that there has been, in the past, a trend toward equating being a Christian with being a Republican, but, is the pendulum swinging back in a dangerous direction? At times, I wonder if political socialism is an undercurrent to the theology of ‘help’ gaining momentum in the PCA. Is sound theology driving this, or is it the desire to disassociate one’s identity with a fundamentalist ‘right’ that has been equally unbalanced? That was certainly the case with the push for a ‘social gospel’ in the ’70s and especially in South America. I wish that Dr. Davis would reminisce a bit more about those historical pratfalls. It is a lesson we should have learned by now; if we follow the barkers to the Big Top, we have only to wait for the clowns.


  2. Eileen says:

    OK, seriously, I don’t get the push to broaden a denomination which has a pretty exhaustive confession of faith and catechism. I’m a member of a pretty broad but conservative evangelical church. I love my church, and I love the elders who are godly and biblically sound men AFAIK. Also, AFAIK, none of them could be ordained in the PCA, and none of them are rude or presumptuous enough to imagine that they should be or that the PCA should look like our church.

    The United States has a Constitution. I think it means something and should not be manipulated to say what it does not say. I don’t think that the French constitution should be imposed on us or ours on them. Why is this such a difficult concept? Sheesh. Would these guys want some other guy re-arranging their shop or re-configuring their electronic devices? I don’t think they would. A fortiori…


  3. sedgegrass says:

    Excellent point, Eileen. There are those (most notably, pastors/elders in a West Coast presbytery) who have stated that they do not feel they should be compelled to leave because of doctrinal disagreements (in this case, the role of women in leadership). They believe it is their right to stay and change the denomination, because it is ‘their’ denomination. It is an activist approach- change the injustice of the system; open people’s minds to a broader viewpoint. Same activism that is expressed in Rachel’s latest post about Biologos, expressing the need to convert young earth pastors. It is probably time for some of the leadership in the PCA to civilly, lovingly let these PCA activists know which Rock we stand on and that they must sail on if they cannot find their foothold on it.


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