At least my doomsday post got people talking. It turns out most of you don’t want a PCA split. It also turns out that my wife’s greatest fears have come true, I’m reviled the interweb over. To many of the responses the question needs to be asked: what are you willing to do to see the PCA stay together? I’m not talking about what parts of the confessions are you willing to throw out. I’m asking you: what are you willing to fight for in our current denomination, and what are you will to let go of?
Are you willing to Participate?
According to Dr. Talyor’s Stated Clerk Report we have over 4,200 ministers in the PCA. It’s fair to assume that there are at least twice as many Ruling Elders. So we could have a rough estimate that there are probably around 8000 eligible Pastors and Elders in the PCA. Now consider the fact that last year we had around 1,100 commissioners enrolled at General Assembly. This means that we had around 10% of the possible participation in the General Assembly last year. As I said in my previous article one of the problems we are facing is ostrich-iris(where men stick their head in the sand and ignore the larger church.) If you want to see the PCA healthy and vibrant are you will to actually show up and participate?
How many of us are willing to move from celebrating to defending the shape of the PCA?
Are you willing to recognize that the PCA can’t be static?
Here is the reality, I’m not the smartest young guy in the denomination, (not by a long shot) and if I’m asking questions about the future of the PCA, you can be sure that many others are asking them as well.
Everyone must realize that many of the men becoming pastors and elders in the PCA don’t have the same history as a generation before. We didn’t fight for the PCA, nor were all of us born into the PCA, it was something that we came to. This means that our relationship isn’t hard-fought, and it wasn’t handed to us by our fathers and grandfathers. Yet, even without those things we deeply care about the PCA. It isn’t the only Church, but it is the church where Christ has placed us.
To my older Brothers and Fathers, are you will to trust men who are young enough to be your children, or even grandchildren? They will not make the same decisions as you, but are you willing to grow old in the PCA with other men taking up the helm? If the answer is no, we will see the PCA fracture.
To those younger men, let me ask you:
Are you willing to learn to be churchmen?
So you don’t like the idea of a future where the PCA has broken up into several smaller denominational continents. Well then you better be careful about who you elect for leadership positions in the coming years. We are at the beginning of a major transition period as a denomination. Dr. Chapel’s replacement has yet to be named, but it does not seem very far off when we will see at least a few other positions open up.
Regardless of some grumbling, the leadership in the permanent committees have done a fairly good job of not forcing a break up of the PCA, but this could change if the wrong people become the chairs/presidents of important permanent committees in the PCA.
Most of the strongest responses I got to my first article came from people who celebrated and honored the diversity of the PCA, but we must see things as they are and realize that not everyone is so happy about this diversity. How many of us are willing to move from celebrating to defending the shape of the PCA?
I’m asking questions about the future of the PCA, you can be sure that many others are asking them as well.
Maybe its a cultural thing, or maybe it’s a knee jerk reaction to Angry Young Men, but sometimes we give a little too much deference in the wrong situations. My fear would be that, in a desire to be polite, we might avoid the hard discussions revolving around why certain men would pursue positions of influence in our denomination. It will be important to make sure that divisive men don’t pile up on our permanent committees.
Let me say, as a final clarification, I have a lot of love for the PCA (she sheltered my family in some very stormy seasons) but I do feel a certain level of unease at the national level that I don’t often feel at the local level or regional level, and so I hope we can work together to bring resolution.