A Peculiar Approach to Unity
The National Partnership is gearing up for the PCA’s General Assembly (June 29-July 2). If you are unfamiliar with the National Partnership, it is a confidential, dare I say secretive organization of PCA elders who, to use Bryan Chapell’s word, represents the more “progressive” wing of the PCA. You can read about the National Partnership HERE and HERE.
I was recently forwarded an email being circulated among the members and “representatives” of the National Partnership. Incidentally, it was odd to see the terminology of membership used in this National Partnership email given that some of their members deny that there is any such thing as membership. Indeed, some of those who defend their efforts have routinely stated that all the National Partnership is, is a monthly email. Something tells me that is not an entirely accurate reflection of the facts.
Anyway, the confidential email to the members of the National Partnership includes a voting guide for the overtures. While the writer of the email is careful to state that the members of the National Partnership are not required to vote according to the guide, it is quite clear that the guide represents the thinking of those who make up our progressive wing. For instance, the voter guide makes clear that the National Partnership stands in opposition to those efforts which would place the theology of Revoice outside the bounds of our denomination.
The email to the National Partnership states in part concerning their voter guide:
"This is only initial advice, the first of around three versions. The next version will be distributed to NP representatives to the Overtures committee and will reflect any suggested changes coming from this list. A third copy will reflect the actions of the OC and will aid you as a resource when the overtures come to the assembly floor. So don’t fret if something seems half-baked. We’re just beginning." (emphasis mine)
I must give it up for the National Partnership. They know how to organize.
In addition to the confidential email sent to the membership of the National Partnership there are two anonymously written open letters which have been circulating around the PCA. The two open letters call for unity and love within the PCA. Sadly, however, the writer(s) of the letters do a poor job of accurately representing the views of those with whom they disagree. It is a rather peculiar approach to unity to say the least. There have been two excellent responses to those anonymously written open letters HERE and HERE.
Every elder and lay person in the PCA I know of desires unity and peace in our beloved denomination. The question is, of course, upon what will that unity be based? It is clear that there are competing views about what should be taught and preached in the PCA on such matters as same-sex attraction, sin, sanctification, and the mission of the church. The insistence of some to force a place within the PCA for Revoice theology and Critical Race Theory is tearing apart the seams of our unity. There are already denominations which affirm Critical Race Theory and Side B homosexuality. Why would elders seek to change the PCA when they could simply move to a denomination which welcomes those views?
Those of us who are concerned about the trajectory of the PCA are not imagining things nor are we straining at gnats. Our concerns are doctrinal, ethical, and substantive. The PCA is not experiencing anything unprecedented in our current moment. We have the sad history of so many American denominations from which to learn. We see errant doctrine, peculiar practices, and worldly philosophies like Critical Race Theory encroaching upon the PCA. But we are being told by some that expressing concern about and asking for clear biblical and confessional warrant for these innovations is divisive and unloving. Such a response is a rather tired but still successful strategy. I trust however that those less than honest dodges will run their course soon.
Please pray for the PCA’s General Assembly. Pray that our unity will be built not upon sentimentalities but upon the far more substantive ground of the Scriptures, our Confession, and an iron clad commitment to the God-given mission of the church. Pray that the PCA will put the theology of Revoice outside our bounds. Pray that those who are committed to guarding that which has been entrusted to us will stand firm in love for our Lord and for those precious souls he has entrusted to us.
"Honest Thoughts on the Open Letter" by Stephen Spinnenweber
"Identifying Our Identity" by Jared Nelson
"Revoiced Spirituality" by Jonathan Master
Gender, Sexuality, and What It Means to Be Human, with Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Tim Geiger
Biblical Personhood & Gender Confusion, with Derek Thomas, Richard Phillips, and Rosaria Butterfield.