PCA People: How is a Church like this tolerated in the PCA?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by WrittenFromUtopia, Aug 21, 2005.

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  1. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Is this a common type of PCA church? Where does the Westminster Confession come in to any of this? This church is no different than anything you would find in a mainstream baptist/emergent/seeker-senstive/evangelical one.

    How is this, first of all, considered Reformed at all?

    Secondly, how is this type of church not brought under the discipline of the PCA for being so far outside of the teachings of the Westminster Confession?

    Thirdly, is this typical for the PCA?
  2. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    But with a name like Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church, it's just gotta be Reformed, right? right? (j/k) :D
  3. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Reformed is a worldview, a system of doctrine and an ethic. It is not - contrary to the opinion of some - a lame worship service. In fact, they aren't doing drama or - as far as I could tell by visiting their site - employing any other elements of worship that violate the RP.
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Actually drama is one of their major forms of "ministry." Other specific forms of ministry include sports, music and choirs, and house churches.

    They claim to adhere to the Westminster Confession and Catechisms. Their statement of faith is a (very) abbreviated form of the Confession. Their pastor also has the titles of "Executive Director" and "Minister of Music." His wife's title is "Children's Ministry Director." Another person's title is "Director of Satellite Churches, Drama Ministry Director, IT Manager." And another is "Youth and College Director; Multi-Media Ministries Director." I have to say that these offices are not to be found in any Reformed book of church government.

    Whether the term Reformed is used to describe Biblical worship only or church government and the role of the church, this independent group is so far removed from the meaning of the word that I would say the church name is false advertising.

    [Edited on 8-21-2005 by VirginiaHuguenot]
  5. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    Well... I guess I didn't look very deeply at their website. Don't I feel stupid!
  6. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Correction: My earlier post suggested that this church was essentially independent. I couldn't find any reference to PCA on their website. However, they are listed as a PCA church on the PCA website. So I guess they are PCA, but they don't advertise the fact.
  7. matt01

    matt01 Puritan Board Senior

    They say that the church is PCA right at the top of the page: "glasgow reformed presbyterian church PCA"
  8. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Yes, thanks, oops. However, the phrase PCA is in purple which corresponds to the purple background making it not so obvious. Still, my oversight.
  9. LarryCook

    LarryCook Puritan Board Freshman

    Gabriel, Please forgive me, but there's an issue that I've been dealing with for some time now and I'm going to use your post to lay it out. The issue involves comments by PBers on various churches, especially when, to us, they don't "get it right". And I am asking the following questions about me, not Gabriel.

    Firstly, I asked some time ago about where is the authority in today's church? With all the denominations and all the bishops, apostles, reverends, pastors, ordained preachers, ministers, elders, and on and on ad nauseum, who can stand up like Paul did and state with authority to a particular church that it is in error? And if that person or persons did exist, what makes any of us think that the <insert denomination of your choice here> would pay him any attention? Or in the case of this church in Delaware and others within the PCA it would seem that even their own denomination is powerless to straighten out their (obvious?) error.

    Secondly, after posting a link to a church that I was going to visit here in Greenville and asking for insights on what looked like weak doctrine (at least to my untrained eye) it dawned on me that the pastor and his associates who greeted me that morning were possibly wondering who Larry Cook thought he was to question their doctrine and worship style after perusing my post that morning (yes, a long shot but it could happen). And I have to ask myself, "who do I think I am?" After all, they have graduated from a seminary and have been before their presbytery and been grilled thoroughly in matters of doctrine and belief.

    Using a different topic to ask my question, if we laypersons are not to preach the gospel because we aren't (not yet, anyway) called and ordained to do so, should not we also be discouraged from making public profession of what we see as error within a particular church or denomination? In other words, should we just keep our knowledge (because to me it is knowledge) to ourselves?

    I am really asking for guidance and understanding here. This is one of several issues that is presently driving me crazy and I ask for your forgiveness (especially Gabriel's) if I'm being difficult or insensitive.

  10. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    As some ministers say, "Just do what you want, it just doesn't matter."
  11. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian


    Your point is well taken. I think all of us on the Puritan Board ought to be circumspect about what we say, whether we are ordained or laity, about other churches. This is the internet, after all, and our comments may be spread far and wide. All of us need to keep the Ninth Commandment in the forefront of our thinking when we make comments. I am sure that all of us can improve in this area.

    But I don't think it is necessary to limit comments about churches just to ordained men. This Board is a "virtual gathering" of believers to edify one another. We are all under the oversight of our own churches (hopefully) and accountable to them if we say something improper. But, using good judgment and discretion, and Christian charity, I do think it can be appropriate to speak a word of warning in cases that are warranted as well as a word of encouragement as to the dangers and benefits of various churches that we encounter. We ought to not to be overly critical, but neither we should remain silent if a word of warning is merited.

    We often speak of thelogical doctrines in our discussions on this Board. In the area of pratical application, it should be noted that doctrines are not just abstract philosophies. Certain churches hold to certain doctrines and other churches reject those same doctrines. It's not inappropriate per se, I think, to identify which churches hold to which doctrines or practices.

    I appreciate your word of concern. It is easy to launch attacks in cyberspace and lack the sense of accountability for our speech that God requires of us. Let us all take heed to consider setting a watch over our lips. Not only should we speak the truth, but we should speak the truth seasonably, and in charity.
  12. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    Thank you for your post. That is the greatest area of danger and sin for "internet Christianity." I wonder how many of us would say the things about churches that we write in public, with others to hear us, and with (potential) discipline as a consequence. That is also the core of my problem with blogging these days.
  13. BrianBowman

    BrianBowman Posting Priviledges Revoked


    This thread has been very enlightening for me, and yes, we all need to be so careful about what we read and post on the Internet. Although I am unordained, I deeply desire to be a serious student of God's Word, Theology, and Church History. As part of this "journey" I've recently taken on the task of learning to read (and do mean really read and understand) Biblical Hebrew and later on Greek. I believe that all of us should be ever more considering the content of Holy Scripture and our obedience to it!

    To this end I'll be spending much more time in God's Word (and learning Biblical Hebrew) and much less time on PB.
  14. Puritanhead

    Puritanhead Puritan Board Professor

    I don't get it-- what did the Glasgow church to do -- to elicit such controversy in this thread. Everybody is always grumbling about what is going on at the church around the corner, but no one has been to the church around the corner.
  15. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    <post deleted>

    [Edited on 8-22-2005 by blhowes]
  16. CalsFarmer

    CalsFarmer Puritan Board Freshman

    Looks like the presbyterian version of the Boston Church of Christ Movement. As far as some PCA churches being off base...oh honey you do not know the HALF OF IT!!!!!

    BTW I checked out the 'Spiritual Gifts Evaluation' test on line at the Glasgow church website linked up....a little too gung ho for this one....
  17. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    When a Church chooses to not sing Psalms AT ALL, there's a big problem, especially if they're Westminsterian. When their "ministry" involves representations of God in dramatic form, there's a big problem. It doesn't take any authority in me to point these out, the Confession and God's Word does it for me.
  18. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    to all:

    why point this out at all? do you know someone who attends the church?

    If you would go so far as to post this info on the web for the world to see did you take the time to contact the church, talk to the pastor, and verify your concerns? Was it PERSONAL? I mean, the BIBLE says that we are not to bring an accusation against an elder without at least 2 witnesses. And that means more than a click on a link. Or does the BIBLE somehow not apply since the church is so obviously out of bounds???

    Or is this just a drive by character assasignation for the fun of it because there are so few legitimate targets to shoot at???

    So they may be wrong in many areas - why do WE need to spend time talking about it?


  19. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    This post had nothing to do with bashing churches or even this church in general. It was for discussion in regards to why/how the PCA allows churches which are obviously/blatantly unconfessional and ANTI-Reformed in practice to be a part of the denomination without discipline. No need for jumping to conclusions and subsequently down my throat.
  20. pastorway

    pastorway Puritan Board Senior

    to all....ALL....EVERYONE on the PB......

    but to you Gabe - if that was your goal then perhaps you could have asked about a hypothetical church with drama, women leading ministries, etc instead of posting a LINK to a specific church for review by everyone who clicks it.

  21. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    It was my goal, as my first post indicates. Thanks for the advice.
  22. raderag

    raderag Puritan Board Sophomore

    There is NO typical for the PCA, as it is very diverse in worship styles. It is important to remember that the PCA gives much more autonomy to the local Church than other Presbyterian denominations. This is because of the abuse of the PC South on the denomination.

    [Edited on 8-22-2005 by raderag]
  23. youthevang

    youthevang Puritan Board Freshman

    I have actually visited Glasgow Reformed Presbyterian Church at least 3 times because I have friends who are members there. The pastor is really good and he preaches the doctrines of grace with gusto. Why is their worship the way it is? Well, I could ask that question in regards to a lot of PCA churches that I have been investigating - but not too this extreme.

    I am working on my MDiv degree and I would love to be a pastor in a PCA church, except I have one problem. Most of the churches that I have investigated don't show evidence of worship that is reformed. (But I am not saying that one does not exist.) I guess you can call me hardcore because I believe in a "Liturgical Presbyterian."

    I have two questions for all the PB members: 1) How many of you go to a PCA church whose worship is really reformed? 2) What conservative Prebyterian denominations still use the psalter and a liturgy?

    I hope that my post is not inappropriate. If it is, please forgive me. I desire wholeheartedly to pastor a church whose worship is contemplative, yet reverent and God centered. I guess you can call me "old fashioned."
  24. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    One thing we need to remember about the PCA, their DoW is not apart of their constitution (with the exception of 3 chapters).
  25. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate


    However, given the Westminster Confession of Faith, isn't there quite a bit about worship that is confessed by these churches which should be binding on them in practice??

    To not sing ANY psalms AT ALL seems to be a direct violation, for starters. Not to mention introducing elements of worship not set forth in Scripture, etc.
  26. Puddleglum

    Puddleglum Puritan Board Sophomore

    How do you know that they never sing psalms?
  27. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    They list all the songs they sing on their website so people can prepare for them. They are all either traditional hymns of the last 300 years or contemporary songs.
  28. twogunfighter

    twogunfighter Puritan Board Freshman


    Not sure what you mean by "really Reformed" but our mission church in north KC uses a form called covenant renewal that is very responsive reading heavy and uses no contemporary music. We do not use the psalter though just the Trinity hymnal. There is one other PCA church in the area that uses the covenant renewal form and the rest have caved to the contemporary stuff (but we have a liberal presbytery). I have also gone to churches in NC and TN that have very conservative worship services. All churches have some type of liturgy so I am not quite sure what you mean by "using a liturgy." I am sure some of our PCA elders on the board may have more enlightenment.

  29. raderag

    raderag Puritan Board Sophomore

    Our church uses the same covenant renewal style. We don't use the Trinity hymnal, and do take some of our music from the Psalter.
  30. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    I don't disgree about not singing any Psalms. The Psalms should be sung.

    But though the PCA DoW is not constitutional, and a church is not mandated to follow it, the DoW is considered by the PCA as being compatable with the WCF. If you get a chance to read the PCA DoW (you can find it on their web site) you will note that in regards to singing, the PCA allows for hymns as well as Psalms. So a church can sing hymns without singing Psalms.

    The BCO also makes the Session responsible for the Worship service, so if someone had a complaint about the service, they would need to bring their complaint to the Session.
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