Reflections – 2018.07

Some Reflections on the PCA General Assembly

Last week I attended the 46th PCA General Assembly (GA) in Atlanta, GA.  Thank you for sending me there to represent you and for praying for me.  Here are some highlights from the Assembly this year:

Worship and Greetings –  Worship at General Assembly is always a highlight.  This year, the Word of God was brought to us ably by Alexander Jun, Joe Novenson and Randy Pope.  The singing, 1000+ people strong, was a blessing to be a part of.  In addition to the worship services, I am always encouraged by the representatives from other Presbyterian and Reformed denominations throughout the world who bring greetings from their denominations.  These included the Presbyterian Church of Mexico, the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, the Reformed Church of South Africa, the South Korean Presbyterian Church, and the Free Church of Scotland.  From the US, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and Reformed Anglican Church of North America, brought greetings.  The Holy Spirit is moving throughout the world … glory be to God!
The Resolution on Marriage – By an overwhelming margin (764-12), the Assembly passed a resolution related to marriage which would amend the PCA’s Book of Church Order as follows:

“Marriage is only to be between one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24-25; Matt. 19:4-6; 1 Cor. 7:2), in accordance with the Word of God. Therefore ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America who solemnize marriages shall only solemnize marriages between one man and one woman.”

This brief statement makes clear where the PCA stands on the broader cultural issues surrounding marriage.  This change to the BCO must be approved by 2/3 of the Presbyteries over the next year and then voted on again at next year’s General Assembly in order to be ratified.

Debates – The floor debates this year were for the most part cordial.  There was a real sense of unity as we discussed denominational matters.  The “decently and in order” aspect of Presbyterian polity was on display.  It is impressive and serves as a witness of Christian charity to a world that increasingly “debates” its problems by making inflammatory remarks on social media.  Of course, even Presbyterians can be pulled into this kind of thing, but I am happy that we have a process for deciding important matters that encourages us to show honor to one another.
Seminars – In the morning, before the assembly begins, seminars on a wide variety of topics are offered.  I attended three seminars, one on developing a Biblical theology of gender in the midst of a confused culture, one on suicide and one on the current state of the PCA.  All were helpful to me as I engage with those inside and outside of the church as your pastor.

Please feel free to ask me any question you would like about the Assembly.  You can watch some of the assembly online or read about it on the By Faith website.  Let me encourage you to become familiar with your denomination.  I continue to be glad that we are a part of the PCA.