No, The PCA Is Not Liberal


I am often asked whether the PCA is liberal or on its way to becoming liberal.

I have not been shy about voicing concerns about certain trends in the PCA that, if left uncorrected could lead eventually to a sad undoing.

But before addressing any concerns let me be clear on this point: the PCA is not liberal. If it were then I would be seeking a call to another Presbyterian denomination.

If you believe that the PCA is liberal then I invite you to ask the opinion of any minister in the PC(USA), ELCA, or Disciples of Christ. They will laugh at the suggestion. To them we are knuckle-dragging troglodytes. For example, the PCA does not ordain women to church office. That alone places us, in the minds of many, in the outer dark along with the other fundamonsters. The PCA holds to the inerrancy of Scripture. We uphold the biblical standard that sexual intimacy is to be enjoyed only within the confines of marriage between a man and woman. And while we are on the subject of marriage, the PCA does not recognize homosexual marriage nor are its clergy permitted to officiate homosexual weddings. Those standards were once again recognized and strengthened in our most recent General Assembly.

When we use the word liberal we ought to do so as those who know our history. Protestant Liberalism which bloomed in the United States near the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries was marked by a rejection of the authority and inerrancy of Scripture and pretty much everything supernatural about the Christian faith. H. Richard Niebuhr, no fundamentalist, famously described the theology of Protestant Liberalism as, “A God without wrath brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a cross.”

The PC(USA) provides us with a sad picture of a liberal denomination. Over a period of years and decades the once orthodox communion came to embrace a post-modern approach to reading the Scriptures in which they deny its authority and divine origin in favor of a model whereby the reader is free to determine its usefulness. They abandoned the treasure of the gospel of Jesus Christ in favor of a bowl of spoiled pottage. They fully embraced the new sexual revolution and accepted the language and categories of the current gender chaos. They hold forth a Jesus who, rather than being the atoning sacrifice for sinners, is the ultimate social justice warrior; a hippy pro-abortion Pope Francis for the first century.

I could go on, but you get the picture. The PCA is most certainly not THAT.

We are a denomination that was founded out of the liberal chaos of the old PC(US) – southern Presbyterians who ultimately merged with the larger PC(USA). From its inception the PCA determined to hold to Scriptural inerrancy, a gospel unadulterated by the latest political and social fads, biblical standards for leadership within the church, and biblical sexual ethics. And while it would be foolish to think that those commitments will remain secure or that there are no current challenges, the PCA continues to be a Reformed and evangelical denomination with a high view of Scripture.

So why all the concerns? Why have there been so many laypersons and elders warning about a liberal drift in the PCA? Why have I shared many of those concerns?

That is the subject of my next post.