Grassroots Presbyterians

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by Prolocutor Twisse, Feb 12, 2019.

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  1. Prolocutor Twisse

    Prolocutor Twisse Puritan Board Freshman


    I heard about this group on the most recent episode of Presbycast Podcast (

    This is a group for Church Officers in the PCA who are concerned about the liberal leanings and theological drift within our denomination. I recall a recent post-on this Board regarding this same issue, not too long ago.

    The Group is Grassroots Presbyterians: presbyterians&epa=SEARCH_BOX

    While I am not a church officer, I am an extremely concerned lay-person. I want to pass this group along to those of you on the Board who may hold the same concerns so that you may a) stay abreast of the situation and or b) join if you are an officer who holds these same concerns. It seems they are in the nascent stage of group formation and are only now developing action plans. There is even talk of the group meeting at one of the PCA Churches here in Dallas prior to this summers General Assembly.
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Moved to General; updates is for updates "about the board."
  3. hammondjones

    hammondjones Puritan Board Sophomore

    So, the National Partnership is the new Fellowship of St James, the Grassroots Presbyterians is the new Concerned Presbyterians, and the Gospel Reformation Network is the new Presbyterian Churchmen United?
  4. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    I suppose I'll stay out of the loop on this - I don't Facebook.
  5. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    The link wasn't clear -- it's a public group with all the content available to anyone:

    Unfortunately, for Facebook that means anyone with a Facebook account apparently.
  6. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    These are the main issues they highlight in their rules and when joining:

    Revoice, women on denominational committees, deaconesses, top-down “Presbyterianism,” or the activities of Faith for justice, or any other of the various incarnations of progressivism
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    What do they mean by top down Presbyterianism and why is that progressive?
  8. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Obviously tools of Zuckerberg driving traffic to his site.

    On a serious note, I wouldn't give them much credit if that is the best they can do.
  9. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    I’m not in the PCA, but this is an issue, given the size of the PCA, that will affect other denominations.

    How deep and wide do these issues of slippage go?
  10. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    I have been following with interest this group's work. The effort is focused primarily on Presbyterian polity that best reflects true grass roots flow of influence. Upward then Downward. Prelacy has been formed in the PCA due to the GA Committees being able to make decisions without floor review. Also with the simple number of men who are able to vote who are tied to the permanent agency "jobs". They do not say that these are necessarily "bad" men simply that this is not Presbyterianism as it has historically been viewed.
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  11. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    For anyone interested. Great interview with organizer of the group.
  12. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    There's a little bit of connection with the OPC in some of the issues at hand. For example, OPC minister Mika Edmsondson has defended things related to Revoice, such as here: although he emphasized "affirming the inherent value of LGBTQ image bearers & defending their lives as precious" in particular. His wife is also part of a podcast with two other women including Michelle Higgins, the daughter of a PCA pastor, on staff at a PCA church, and also preaches at non-PCA churches from time-to-time with an SJW bent.

    Top-down Presbyterianism is indicative of problems faced with the PC(USA) and many breakaways were structured to avoid this (PCA, EPC, ECO, etc.).

    Deaconesses are allowed in two other NAPARC denominations (ARP and RPCNA). Many conservative, Reformed-leaning baptists like John MacArthur and John Piper are in support of deaconesses as well.
  13. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Just to clarify, the office of deacon is open to women (they are not called deaconesses) in the RPCNA. Also, having just left the PCA for the RPCNA, I will say that my understanding of what the PCA's "deaconesses" would be if they approved them would be wholly different than the current RPCNA's women deacons (I think the ARP holds a very similar position on this). I'd say the PCA deaconesses (if they had them) would eventually lead to women elders. It seems more of a, "Let's give power to women" kind of a thing.

    In the RPCNA, and I'd suspect in the ARP, this just isn't the case. The RPCNA has had women deacons since the late 1800's. We have not ever allowed for women elders. The few people who have thought that way have been disciplined, just as in other reformed denominations.

    I know it is easy to look at a denomination and say, "Look they hold to women deacons" and come to a conclusion that they are more liberal or whatever. But in this case, I completely believe, having been on both sides now, that the PCA is a whole different animal than the RPCNA (and I think the ARP) on this issue.
  14. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    The link didn’t work, but I did look through his Twitter and saw the kind of things he’s posting. Much of it seems symptomatic of a deeper theological focus which is inherently problematic. Also, to hear that his wife is involved in such things is alarming.
  15. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    The RPCNA did, however, suffer decline into liberalism or near-liberalism in the early 1900's to the point where a synodical committee brought a recommendation to the denomination to open the office of elder to women. Thankfully through the grace of God and the work of J.G. Vos and other godly ministers the recommendation was defeated and the church recovered from its dalliance with liberalism. I don't know the history of the denomination well enough to know whether the adoption of female deacons was part of that decline but it seems plausible, as, as far as I have read, in the RPCNA's case it was a long, slow perversion of its historic concerns for social reformation into classic social-gospel liberalism that shook it from its confessional roots for a time.

    (Edit: According to Brian Schwertley, some in the RPCNA were indeed arguing for women preachers at the time such as Thomas Wylie)

    I do believe that the ARP's case was clearly associated with its struggles with liberalism in the mid 20th century. As the confessionalism of the denomination has been recovering over the last few decades it seems as if the presence of female deacons is diminishing.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  16. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Yes, that is indeed true though I wouldn’t go to Mr Schwertley for information on the RPCNA as he’s had a falling out and still has not allowed back into the Denomination. He’s not repented, from what I know. But yes everything else is true, I was speaking more of the view of women deacons they hold at the current time.

    Back to the PCA now, just trying to give clarity.
  17. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    Yes, I know Schwertley isn't the most objective of sources when it comes to the RPCNA, but his historical citations seem legitimate and to mesh with other sources I've read (e.g., Melancthon's RP history) that large segments of the RPCNA of the time were more concerned with temperance, abolitionism, national reform, oaths, secret societies, etc in the 19th century than it was with a thoroughgoing commitment to biblical and confessional orthodoxy. Thankfully and by the grace of God most of that which was lost was regained in the 20th century.

    The RPCNA seems to have an interesting history with the office, the very existence of which almost splitting the denomination in two during the 19th century deacon controversy. This also bears somewhat on the subject. When the decision was made the denomination had only relatively recently recovered an office that was effectively unknown to many of its churches and among whom there were great misgivings about the historic practice of Presbyterian and Reformed churches in its use. I find it interesting that in Willison's defense of the office from earlier in the 19th century, it is clear from the overwhelming number of citations that the office was historically a male one in P&R churches and yet he makes no comment on this fact. I can only imagine that it wasn't even on his radar, so to speak, at the time.

    While it has perhaps been adopted as such today, I'm not convinced that the genesis of opening of the office to women in the denomination was born out of biblical concern and accordingly I'm hesitant to look to them (or certainly to the ARP) as the example of orthodox adoption of the position. That the women in the office exist in two confessional denominations is true, but the circumstances in which this arose are problematic and ought not to give much comfort to confessionalists debating the issue in other denominations.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
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  18. A.Joseph

    A.Joseph Puritan Board Freshman

    He seems way too political activist to be a pastor. .... way too preoccupied with progressive cultural change to be an effective minister of the word from what I can tell.... seems to be a change agent first and foremost, but is the spirit leading him? If he’s OPC is that truly where his head is at and his commitment lies? This may merit a background check .... Social Justice is a whole different religion

    He seems like a nice guy, but I sense too much liberation theology for him to be a faithful servant of the opc and expounder of sound doctrine

    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  19. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    His theology is similar to other New City Network churches. The first New City church was a PCA church, but there are now other denominations involved, including that OPC, EPC churches, independent churches, etc.
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