Reflections – 2012.07

Some Reflections on the PCA General Assembly – July 2012

A couple of weeks ago Jason Hannas and I attended the 40th PCA General Assembly in Louisville, KY.  Thank you for praying for us.  Before I comment briefly on the assembly, here is a quick refresher lesson in church government straight from the denomination’s website:

The PCA’s representative form of church government is rooted in its name — presbyterian. Local churches are governed by elders (presbyters) elected by the church members. This form of government extends through the regional presbyteries [Living Hope belongs to the Chesapeake Presbytery], which facilitate connectionalism, to the national General Assembly, which expresses PCA’s connectionalism and the bond of union between/among all the churches.Most of the work of the denomination is coordinated in the PCA Office Building in Lawrenceville, GA. That work is carried out by four program committees — Mission to the World, Mission to North AmericaChristian Education and Publications, and Reformed University Ministries. In addition, there is the Office of the Stated Clerk, which is responsible for the administration of the General Assembly; the PCA Foundation, which teaches more effective stewardship; and PCA Retirement & Benefits, Inc, which provides life, disability, retirement plan benefits and a relief fund for PCA pastors, lay church workers, and the staffs of PCA committees, agencies, and institutions.

The Assembly consisted of reports from each of the committees, offices and agencies listed above.   In addition, we considered several overtures from various Presbyteries to change the Book of Church Order (this book governs how our churches are to function in terms of the process for ordaining men, starting new churches, disciplining members, performing baptisms, etc…), to redraw lines for Presbyteries, and to establish with more precision our positions on different doctrinal issues.  This was the primary work we did and I am pleased to report that a charitable spirit was clearly evident during the debate and discussion.

I am also very encouraged that although the theological disagreements among the churches of the PCA are real and important for us to wrestle with, the denomination as a whole certainly is remaining faithful to its motto: faithful to the Scriptures, true to the Reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.

I would add finally that the most exciting and encouraging parts of GA for me were the greetings extended to the entire assembly from other Presbyterian pastors (and non-Presbyterian pastors), representing denominations much larger and smaller than our own from around the world … This created a strong sense that we are a part of something far greater than Aberdeen, Harford County, Maryland, or even the United States.  The Spirit is moving powerfully throughout the world, drawing men, women and children to Christ.  What a privilege it is to be a part of what the Lord is doing in the world He made.