Skip to comments.13 Differences Between the PCA and the PCUSA.
Posted on 01/23/2014 2:18:07 PM PST by Gamecock
I was recently asked to outline some of the major differences between the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) and my own denomination the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and I came up with the following 13 point list:
1) The PCA does not ordain women to either of the offices in the church (Teaching/Ruling Elder, Deacon). The PCUSA by contrast ordains women to both offices.
2) The PCA affirms that the Bible is inerrant and infallible in all that it teaches. The PCUSA does not.
3) The PCA repudiates abortion and considers it a violation of the sixth commandment. The PCUSA believes, there should be no limits on access to abortions, there should be public funding of abortions, and that there should be limits placed on people who demonstrate against abortion.
4) The PCA is against homosexual behavior and same sex marriage and believes both are sins. The PCUSA does not consider homosexuality to be a sin, ordains practicing homosexuals and came within 30 votes of giving the go ahead to same sex marriage ceremonies in the church. Their next General Assembly (GA) will probably do so.
5) The PCA is against divorce except in cases of adultery or desertion. The PCUSA by contrast allows for no-fault divorce and remarriage.
6) The PCA has a constitution consisting of the Westminster Standards and Book of Church Order. All church officers must subscribe to these documents as their Confession of Faith. Teaching against the doctrines contained in these documents or violating them could result in trial and deposition from office.
By contrast, the PCUSA has a Book of Confessions containing all of the major Reformed Confessions, and some modern confessions of faith which change or even deny things contained in these confessions. They are viewed more as a series of general guidelines or suggestions that do not bind the conscience of officers in any way. PCUSA church officers routinely teach contrary to the doctrines contained in these documents.
7) The PCA is explicitly Reformed in its theology. Someone denying Calvinism would have an extremely hard time being ordained in the PCA. By contrast, the theology of PCUSA congregations varies widely from church to church and can cover a spectrum from de facto Unitarian Universalism to Neo-Orthodoxy to soft Arminianism. Very few PCUSA congregations are explicitly Calvinistic in their teaching and preaching.
8) The PCA is explicitly evangelistic in its belief that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and that No one comes to the Father except through [Him] as well as its desire to see all people come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Whereas in the PCUSA evangelism is much less popular and often either non-existent or repudiated in the manner of influential PCUSA Pastor Rev. Randall K. Bush who stated recently: As of this point, the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached to all the corners of the world, so knock it off . Once the evangelical notion of the church can be turned down for a moment, the wisdom of other faiths can finally speak.
9) The PCA is committed to a principle of voluntary association and all PCA congregations own their own property. Additionally all giving to the administration and permanent committees of the PCA is voluntary. By contrast the property of PCUSA congregations is regarded as held in trust for the benefit of the PC(USA). This makes the dissolution of the denominational bond much more difficult in the PCUSA and can sometimes mean a congregation must leave without their church building.
10) While the PCA is gradually centralizing power, the PCA was originally intended to be a grass roots denomination and power is still vested largely in Presbyteries in the PCA. By contrast, in the PCUSA, power is much more centralized in the administration and General Assembly.
11) While the PCA is gradually becoming tolerant towards the teaching of theistic evolution, Creationism is still the doctrine held and confessed by most PCA pastors. By contrast, in the PCUSA, evolution is widely accepted.
12) While the PCA is gradually becoming more open to being involved in national and international politics, particularly through its membership in the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), they generally hesitate to take stands on issues that do not clearly fall under the oversight of the church. The PCUSA, on the other hand, routinely takes stands on a host of political issues ranging from immigration to increased funding for public schools to condemning big tobacco to divestment from Israel.
13) (Addendum Regarding Worship) There used to be significant theological differences between the PCAs and PCUSAs theology of worship. These difference still exist on paper even though they no longer exist in practice. The PCA confesses that all of our worship should be directed only by the Bible, while the PCUSA states that worship should be an amalgam of Bible, culture, feeling, and tradition.
Well what do ya know!
I’m not Presbyterian, but I look forward to reading a rebuttal from someone in the PCUSA. I’m not disagreeing with you (since I don’t know one from the other). I’d just like to hear what the other side says.
One of the best churches I’ve ever attended was Westminster PCA in Columbus, Ga. Had we not moved to Wisconsin we’d still be members there.
I led music there for a couple years. I thought it was hysterically funny that I had to get the permission of the church elders to use a piezo - equipped electric guitar in the service.
Not counting #6 and #7, the same could be said of the difference between the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
As a PCA member, I question this one. The most explicit instruction for worship is found in 1 Corinthians 14:27-37, which is ignored.
What’s ‘ignored’ is the reason tongues were given, and if they are still being used by God today. Which would be answered if 2 Tim. 2:15 were employed by Bible students. Were the Corinthians more ‘spiritual’ or had more ‘faith’ than others do today? Why, exactly, as Gentiles, were they given the gift of tongues? And you truly believe that 1 Cor. 14:27-37 is the ‘most explicit instruction for worship’? Today?
Today? Seriously? Your question implies parts of the Bible are now obsolete. That's how liberals justify gay marriage.
Verse 37 says, "If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord."
Are you going to nullify a commandment of the Lord?
My question implies that parts of the Bible are for “time past”, parts are for “but now” and parts are for “ages to come”. It’s called rightly dividing God’s Word. (2 Tim. 2:15). You will find the way to do this as God gave to Paul, in Ephesians, Chapter 2. As far as “obsolete”, do you bring a lamb to slaughter every Sunday? There was a time for that, but not now. It is for our understanding, but not for our obedience today. Don’t get too wise by half, you yourself make parts of the Bible “obsolete” every time you exchange OT commandment for NT ones. Just how did you decide which is for today and which is not?
There's only two Protestant beliefs, Reformed and all others. That is why there is a spectrum.
IMO that's why Catholics like them. Their liberal "social doctrines" mesh nicely together with each other's.
Case in point, the "Evangelical" signatories who supported BXVI's "Caritas In Veritate" weren't bedrocks of doctrinal orthodoxy. They were noted leftys like Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Richard Cizik. And rather than say "thanks, but no thanks" as Catholics do with evangelical pro-lifers that aren't anti-contraceptive, the leftys are embraced and held aloft as "Protestant Leaders" who are "refreshingly sane and reasoned".
I'll rightly divide by what's written in the scripture. We died to the (OT) law (and animal sacrifices), as Paul clearly said. However, when a commandment of the Lord is given in the New Testament, does it only apply to the early church? Liberals says 'yes', and thereby justify gay marriage. I say it still applies.
Then may I suggest a thorough reading of Eph. Chapter 2? Because until you understand when “time past” ended and “but now” began, you will never be able to study God’s word rightly divided. And you WILL be ashamed when you stand before Him. 2 Tim. 2:15. God would not tell us how to be approved unto Him, without showing us how to do this.
13 Differences Between the PCA and the PCUSA.
Who was it? There was a Freeper that I can recall, that always seemed to think PCUSA was representative of all presbyterians.
1) The PCA does not ordain women to either of the offices in the church (Teaching/Ruling Elder, Deacon). The PCUSA by contrast ordains women to both offices.
I could be wrong, but I think they actually require it.
The PCUSA, on the other hand, routinely takes stands on a host of political issues ranging from immigration to increased funding for public schools to condemning big tobacco to divestment from Israel.
Not to forget, PCUSA also supports civilian disarmament.
If you wish to nullify His commandments, good luck when you stand before Him.
I see no need for a quarrel. There is an “If” at the beginning of the section of verses you quote, therefore it is not a requirement. So if no one speaks in an unknown tongue, then there is no need for interpretation. And, “if” there is no interpreter, then the speaker is to be silent.
There's been a couple, but IMO you might be thinking of Petronski.
In 1988 when George H. W. Bush was running against Dukakis. omeone (maybe my MIL) sent us a subscription to The Presbyterian Survey which had both party platforms printed right beside the church's position on each issue. Even then, it was very pro-choice, pro-gay, and pro-women pastors (which was unusual at the time). I was truly shocked and realized then that I did not believe in the same things as the denomination to which I had belonged since the age of 14!
Although these issues do not touch the small local church such as the one to which I belonged at the time, I have never felt myself to be Presbyterian since then. I now go to a Methodist Church. I still do not agree with everything that goes on there, but it is a far cry from the PCUSA!
Do you honestly think the majority of Catholics know the difference between the two?
Best you check out the Methodist’s beliefs, then. The United Methodist Church is as, if not more, liberal than the PCUSA.
It's not the commandments we will be judged by, aimhigh. It's Paul's gospel. According to GOd, that is. Perhaps you should spend a few minutes finding out what that gospel is. Since you WILL be judged by it. God said it. Not me.
Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest? He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
1 John 2:1-3; 3:2-11; 3:18-24
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. Now by this we may be sure that we know him, if we obey his commandments.
Beloved, we are Gods children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure. Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born of God do not sin, because Gods seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters. For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.
I knew that the PCUSA had started ordaining gays a year or two ago when the Presbyterian church down the road put tape over the part of their sign that said “A PCUSA Congregation”, but I didn’t know how split the two denominations were on just about everything.
Its good to know that at least one of the two is staying faithful to what’s right.
BTW, I’m a Methodist too.
Yes, I agree it would be ridiculous. IF you were Israel. But you aren’t. Do you even know when the Gentiles were saved? And who was their Apostle? And actually, it DOES matter.
As someone whose membership was in the PCUSA* until about two years ago, I think you will be waiting a looong time for a rebutal from the PCUSA side.
*Our congregation split from the PCUSA to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church at that time for most of these same reasons. We did manage to escape PCUSA with our property...
How many people are we talking about in each Presbyterian sect? Thousands, millions? Just curious.
>>*Our congregation split from the PCUSA to join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church at that time for most of these same reasons. We did manage to escape PCUSA with our property...
The PCUSA church down the road did the same thing when the gay pastor thing passed.
Depends on if they use the Roman Catholic methodology of “Once a Roman Catholic, Always A Roman Catholic.”
Certainly by the penning of Acts 17; which was before the death of James — AD 62 or AD 69.
Which means the top end being about 30 years after the death of Christ — or, if you want to look at the Old Testament Rahab the Harlot and Ruth the Moabitess provide examples of [presumably] saved people. (Rahab is mentioned in the "Hall of Faith" in Hebrews.)
And who was their Apostle?
Paul claimed that title; though Thomas is reputed to have gone all the way to India (I doubt there were many Jews there).
Peter had experiences with gentiles being saved, too.
Most importantly, Jesus himself commissioned them to go to the whole world with word of what he has done.
We saw the trend some years ago but getting the congregation to get on the same page took some time, and then the process of getting free from PCUSA took time.. So far in this area two congregations have managed to leave, the first that succeeded had to pay an extortion fee of 10% of the value of their property to be able to keep it. (Oops, sorry... PCUSA classified it as a 'tithe'.. but my statement is more correct.)
Our congregation was a bit more fortunate in that we have to pay the equivalent of five year's worth of 'per capita' into a local missions program. (Per capita is a fee paid to the Presbytery on a per-member basis that is supposedly used for 'missions'. We objected that due to our widely separate views the missions that the presbytery might donate to would not necessarily be those that we as a congregation would support. We did not want our money going to the presbytery unless we could specify its use, but they were not thrilled with that idea. They 'allowed' us to donate to local missions of our choosing.)
There are two other churches in this area that are trying to/in the process of exiting PCUSA. One is seeking affiliation with PCA, and the other with the EPC. The latter is embroiled in a legal battle to keep their property... I don't know the current progress of either attempt.
I hope that down south there you have Methodist ministers that John Wesley would claim as brothers but up in these parts unfortunately, most Methodist churches are liberal social clubs...
So...How many then?
How should I know?
“Paul claimed that title”??? God GAVE him that title. As far as the rest of your post, a good read through Ephesians, Chapter 2 would be a big help. Why did Christ say He was not sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel? When did the new covenant go into effect? And who was it made with? Just reading Scripture will do no good unless it is compared Scripture with Scripture and rightly divided according to GOD’S COMMAND. 2 Tim. 2:15. That is, if you care to be approved unto God, as a workman who needs not to be ashamed when you stand before Him. That is HIS promise to us believers.
You commented on the subject, thus I assume you had some idea.
>>I hope that down south there you have Methodist ministers that John Wesley would claim as brothers but up in these parts unfortunately, most Methodist churches are liberal social clubs...
We have some pastors who place the gospel above the social gospel, but we also have our leftists. Although not nearly as many as you find in the north.
Not on homosexuality - the African delegates swatted down the last attempt by the US Methodists on that.
Many officers are allowed exception to parts of the Standards. Common are those who allow for looser observance of the Lord's Day. In addition, it's not uncommon to find violations of the Second Commandment with purported 'pictures' of Jesus.
Indeed. I’m PCA but I have a good friend who is LCMS and when I visited his church once I explained how to someone how we were in the Presbyterian world what they were in the Lutheran world. I also said that we were not the Lesbyterian Church and got a good laugh.
"Sect - sekt/
noun: sect; plural noun: sects
1. a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong.
synonyms: (religious) cult, religious group"
I don't think I'll honor you with a substantive response.
Why did Jesus claim to be sent for the salvation of the world then?
John 3:1-21When did the new covenant go into effect? And who was it made with?
3 Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2 He came to Jesus[a] by night and said to him, Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God. 3 Jesus answered him, Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.[b] 4 Nicodemus said to him, How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mothers womb and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.[c] 7 Do not be astonished that I said to you, You[d] must be born from above.[e] 8 The wind[f] blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus said to him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered him, Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things?
11 Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you[g] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you about earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the one who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[h] 14 And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[i]
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
17 Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.[j]
The new covenant was made at the Passover before the Crucifixion and sealed by the very blood of God at the crucifixion; though God, like a skillful author, used foreshadowing.
Jeremiah 31:31-34and, like a master composer, He uses recapitulation:
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypta covenant that they broke, though I was their husband,[a] says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, Know the Lord, for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Rev. 21:3-7So, looking at the end of the book, the New Covenant is made with mortals, peoples, and as he said to Nicodemus
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
See, the home[a] of God is among mortals.
He will dwell[b] with them;
they will be his peoples,[c]
and God himself will be with them;[d]
4 he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.
5 And the one who was seated on the throne said, See, I am making all things new. Also he said, Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true. 6 Then he said to me, It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Just reading Scripture will do no good unless it is compared Scripture with Scripture and rightly divided according to GODS COMMAND. 2 Tim. 2:15.
Funnily enough the verse right before says to avoid "lawyering" (because it
turns off those who are interested) and, immediately after it, it says to avoid
profane chatter which will
spread like gangrene — heavily implying that you are taking that verse out of context:
14 Remind them of this, and warn them before God[a] that they are to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved by him, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly explaining the word of truth. 16 Avoid profane chatter, for it will lead people into more and more impiety, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth by claiming that the resurrection has already taken place. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But Gods firm foundation stands, bearing this inscription: The Lord knows those who are his, and, Let everyone who calls on the name of the Lord turn away from wickedness.The translation I'm using here, NRSV, says
explaining [the word of] truthrather than dividing; which makes more sense in-context than 'dividing' (which could also be translated discerning or discriminating).
There is only one lawgiver, there is only one law; 'dividing' the word of God is not possible — 'dividing' the people of God is not good:
James 2:8-11; 4:1-12
8 You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For the one who said, You shall not commit adultery, also said, You shall not murder. Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? 2 You want something and do not have it; so you commit murder. And you covet[t] something and cannot obtain it; so you engage in disputes and conflicts. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. 4 Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose that it is for nothing that the scripture says, God[u] yearns jealously for the spirit that he has made to dwell in us? 6 But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,
God opposes the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy into dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers and sisters.[v] Whoever speaks evil against another or judges another, speaks evil against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?
I know, but, at the next General Conference, the homosexual issue probably will pass.
I was born and raised as a Methodist. I am no longer a Methodist! I quit being a Methodist when Nancy Pelosi thanked the United Methodist Church for helping her and the rest of the LIEberals pass Ophonybamacare.
I didn’t leave the Church; the Church left me!
God said it IS possible to rightly divided His Word of Truth. He instructs us to do it. And He shows us how. You can argue with Him if you want, but I guarantee you will be ashamed. He said it, not me.
Then explain why that single verse is surrounded, both in front and in back, with verses on the topic of speaking if it is itself disconnected from that topic?
Also, please explain why the translation of "explaining" is wrong?
You can argue with Him if you want, but I guarantee you will be ashamed. He said it, not me.
Funny; I'm not arguing, I'm explaining.
I am not annoyed at the Methodist Church on the homosexual issue — for the moment, homosexuals, at least as far as the General Conference are concerned, are not a problem.
I am annoyed because the Church supported Obamacare.
So, I quit.
No more needs to be said.
The other one is Cronos.