OPC vs PCA vs....

Discussion in 'Church History' started by A_Wild_Boar, Mar 18, 2004.

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  1. A_Wild_Boar

    A_Wild_Boar Puritan Board Freshman

    What is the difference between all the Presbyterian churches.

    Like PCA, OPC, and so on. I see some here are OPC, and some PCA, why the difference? I really dont know. How far apart is their theology?

    As you can tell I am a Baptist and there are about 500 difereing Baptists and Baptist like denoms out there. I know there is the PC-USA wwhich I understand is completely heretical. But what of the OPC and PCA and so forth?

    Thanks.

    [Edited on 3-18-2004 by A_Wild_Boar]
     
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Not a thorough answer--just a bit of history

    Theologically the OPC and PCA are highly similar. Both use the same WCF and Catechisms as their primary subordinate standards. Both tend to be (generally) theologically conservative.

    Their separate existence has historical roots. The main Presbyterian church split at the time of the War between the States. The OPC formed out of the Northern branch in 1936 by the hard-core theological confessionalists led by J.G. Machen (who was defrocked by the become-liberal church for daring to oppose the godlessness.)

    The PCA formed in 1972 out of the Southern branch of the mainline church (both liberal branches reunited in the 1980s). In this case the conservatives withdrew from the denomination over the godlessness--there were no trials.

    The distinct histories just described are almost 150 years old. So, it should not surprise us that a kind of [i:06c1017018]cultural[/i:06c1017018] distinctiveness has also grown up in the OPC and PCA. The churches tend to do [i:06c1017018]some [/i:06c1017018]things differently. I wouldn't be able to tell you all, or even very many of them.

    Here's one: the OPC General Assembly is purely federal--i.e. representative of the Presbyteries by delegate (according to membership statistics). The PCA is not. All teaching elders in the church are automatic delegates. I'm not sure how the presbytery/church/Ruling elder representation breakdown goes in the PCA. But the difference in attendance at GA and conduct of business is striking (not just attributable to the size disparity between the OPC--which is much smaller--and the PCA). I refrain from any statements about what I thnk is the better way. It is simply one way the churches are different.

    Hope this is helpful.
     
  3. Bladestunner316

    Bladestunner316 Puritan Board Doctor

    I get confused everytime I hear PCA thats its the pcusa

    blade
     
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    The PCA also tends to be more theologically diverse and tolerant of non-reformed views than the OPC though that is changing slowly.
     
  5. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

  6. A_Wild_Boar

    A_Wild_Boar Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks for the info guys. Always good stuff.
     
  7. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:f6ffaac38e][i:f6ffaac38e]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:f6ffaac38e]
    The PCA also tends to be more theologically diverse and tolerant of non-reformed views than the OPC though that is changing slowly. [/quote:f6ffaac38e]

    What is changing slowly? Is the PCA becoming less tolerant of non-reformed views or is the OPC becoming more tolerant?
    Thanks!
     
  8. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:289df84d26][i:289df84d26]Originally posted by SolaScriptura[/i:289df84d26]
    [quote:289df84d26][i:289df84d26]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:289df84d26]
    The PCA also tends to be more theologically diverse and tolerant of non-reformed views than the OPC though that is changing slowly. [/quote:289df84d26]

    What is changing slowly? Is the PCA becoming less tolerant of non-reformed views or is the OPC becoming more tolerant?
    Thanks! [/quote:289df84d26]
    The OPC becoming more tolerant and diverse.

    [Edited on 3-25-2004 by puritansailor]
     
  9. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    [quote:e17710ba7a][i:e17710ba7a]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:e17710ba7a]
    [quote:e17710ba7a][i:e17710ba7a]Originally posted by SolaScriptura[/i:e17710ba7a]
    [quote:e17710ba7a][i:e17710ba7a]Originally posted by puritansailor[/i:e17710ba7a]
    The PCA also tends to be more theologically diverse and tolerant of non-reformed views than the OPC though that is changing slowly. [/quote:e17710ba7a]

    What is changing slowly? Is the PCA becoming less tolerant of non-reformed views or is the OPC becoming more tolerant?
    Thanks! [/quote:e17710ba7a]
    The OPC becoming more tolerant and diverse.

    [Edited on 3-25-2004 by puritansailor] [/quote:e17710ba7a]

    It's a shame to see this continually happening more and more. There should be a Presbyterian denomination that requires all its ministers and elders to submit to the Confession, no holds barred. Of course it could be amended if the denomination agreed on it (to ensure that Sola Scriptura was kept), but as Joseph Pipa pointed out, if people aren't expected to completely acknowledge and teach the [i:e17710ba7a]whole[/i:e17710ba7a] Confession in [i:e17710ba7a]one[/i:e17710ba7a] form, this kind of diversity, tolerance, subtle liberalism, and splits will ALWAYS be the result sooner or later. The prevention of those types of things is one of the main reasons to have a confession in the first place, but as of yet, none of the Presbyterian churches in America seem to have taken action to ensure such.

    Chris
     
  10. mjbee

    mjbee Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, I understand the concept of confessionalism. But are we Sola Scriptura, or Sola WCF? I chide my Mormon friends about their use of the extrabiblical Book of Mormon etc., and my Catholic friends about their Catechism of the Catholic Church. And yes, I have those books on my bookshelf. If I whipped out my WCF, I'd be just like them. :shocked:
     
  11. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Melissa, I recall that you expressed basically the same concern in another recent thread ("Baptism Flip/Flop"), and Fred Greco gave a brief reply and pointed you to some former threads in which he had explained the issue more in-depth. Did you read those threads? If not, I would highly advise you to read them, as I too have struggled with the concerns you are mentioning, but I understood the biblical wisdom in confessionalism much better after reading Fred's treatment of the issue in those threads. In case you haven't read them, for convenience's sake here are the links:

    http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=1710

    and,

    http://www.puritanboard.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=1227

    He also pointed out in that recent thread the same thing I just now mentioned, which is that Mormons' and Catholics' confessions are set in stone, whereas Westminster's is amendable if part of it can be found to be contrary to Scripture. A confession that is amendable as such yet which is expected to be adhered to is exactly the thing needed to produce a church that is ultimately answerable to Sola Scriptura and yet is unified and enduring at the same time, not ending up in a split 10 years after its formation because of theological liberalism and disagreement.

    Hope this helps,
     
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