What is the Point of Belonging to a Denomination?

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McPatrickClan

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm really just curious... I am in the PCA and have been for about two years now. I know it's more than just a Christian "gang" but is the point essentially to have the higher courts to appeal to & that's about it?
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
Accountability is definitely an important aspect of it, but there is so much more as well! It serves as a visible expression of the union that Christ's church should have. It opens up many opportunities for missions, church planting, publishing, teaching, and education. It also makes it possible to have strong and cohesive colleges, seminaries, and camps. Plus, it reminds us that we are not limited to the local work of our own individual, autonomous church. Rather we are a part of the kingdom of God that stretches across the world. It reminds us that we stand in a grand tradition that we must carry on in faithfulness to Christ!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
If you believe as Mr. Calvin at least implied, that church discipline is one of the essential marks of a true church, one needs a mechanism for that beyond the local church.

It would be theoretically possible to limit church discipline (moral and doctrine) to only one church by itself, but there would be no practical way to appeal or have an unbiased "spiritual jury of peers."

Another is, the practical need to have a broader group confessing the same thing. If every particular church independently determined its confession, there would be little practical effect on its locality, let alone the world.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
To avoid, as much as possible, the heinous sin of schism.
That is to be sure true yet I truly believe we are far from honoring the positive side of that by our absurd notion of 30 "Presbyterian" denominations in the U.S. and Canada that have little to no good reason to be separate.
 

McPatrickClan

Puritan Board Freshman
If you believe as Mr. Calvin at least implied, that church discipline is one of the essential marks of a true church, one needs a mechanism for that beyond the local church.

It would be theoretically possible to limit church discipline (moral and doctrine) to only one church by itself, but there would be no practical way to appeal or have an unbiased "spiritual jury of peers."
This is what I am thinking is the strongest reason to have it. However, I am bit frustrated by what I have seen over my early years as a Christian. Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons? Primitive Baptists vs. Southern Baptists over the salaried compensation of Teaching Pastors?). I am just wondering, as a 32-year-old, if the wave is moving away from denominations. I know that a lot of churches believe that, though I have to admit that they are all congregationalists and have nowhere near the infrastructure of a group like the PCA.

It just seems like so much of what happens in many denominations is almost self-defeating exercises in rote processes. I mean, if I am trying to persuade my 20-something pals to join a Reformed denomination, what is the benefit to sell them on? Higher courts and that's it? That's good but until you have been through an ugly fight in a church, it's hard to explain how helpful your fathers and brothers can be.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Any form of Presbyterianism, including the continental Reformed, provides that tier of church courts which ideally serve to protect congregants and pastors alike.

Denominations exist because we are sinful. We look at the Scriptures and come to different conclusions. But there is a dilemma here. God is the source of all truth, and that truth is one, absolute, perfect. So what do we do with our differences? To deny our convictions is to deny truth. Our unity as Christians is in Christ. Nothing can or should interfere with that unity. But every careful student of Scripture is going to have studied convictions, and to say that doctrine doesn't matter is to strike at the very character of God.

Liberalism seeks unity by sweeping truth under the rug, seeking to create unions of denominations by denying essential doctrines. From Schliermacher on, the Christian faith is reduced to a mere philosophy. It is a minimalist approach which negates truth as truth in an effort to create or even force a unity upon disparate groups.

Godly, mature conservatives, on the other hand, retain their convictions but learn to work with Christians in other denominations, so far as possible. We simply have points at which we retreat to our own circles for some things. The Puritan Board is an excellent example of a conservative ecumenical forum. We each retain our convictions, but pray for one another, listen, argue, and fellowship with one another. Jointly we will not back down from the truth of God's Word, but individually we have differences over what the Scriptures teach and this divides us to some measure as we continue to search the Scriptures. We will not readily give up our convictions unless convinced from Scripture of the truth of a particular doctrine and we would not have it any other way. One day we will all have the mind of Christ.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons?
That shows a fairly comprehensive lack of understanding of the situation.

1. The EPC allows ordination of women to all offices, not just the diaconate.

2. The EPC has greater allowance for tongues than does the PCA.

Neither of these is a 'minor' difference.

Administrator, Southwest Church Planting Network (PCA)
Now THERE's a position that wouldn't exist for a non-denominational church.
 

Backwoods Presbyterian

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons?
That shows a fairly comprehensive lack of understanding of the situation.

1. The EPC allows ordination of women to all offices, not just the diaconate.

2. The EPC has greater allowance for tongues than does the PCA.

Neither of these is a 'minor' difference.

Administrator, Southwest Church Planting Network (PCA)
Now THERE's a position that wouldn't exist for a non-denominational church.
Just as a minor point of clarification the EPC has Presbyteries that do not ordain women as Elders. It is an issue for each individual Presbytery.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Just to meddle a bit outside my own immediate territory, what is to prevent all of the exclusive psalmody groups from merging? If the many EP micro-denominations were to merge into the RPCNA, it might almost double the size of the RPCNA. The resulting denomination would have much greater strength, missions capability, etc.

Legitimate objections???
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
Any form of Presbyterianism, including the continental Reformed, provides that tier of church courts which ideally serve to protect congregants and pastors alike.

Denominations exist because we are sinful. We look at the Scriptures and come to different conclusions. But there is a dilemma here. God is the source of all truth, and that truth is one, absolute, perfect. So what do we do with our differences? To deny our convictions is to deny truth. Our unity as Christians is in Christ. Nothing can or should interfere with that unity. But every careful student of Scripture is going to have studied convictions, and to say that doctrine doesn't matter is to strike at the very character of God.

Liberalism seeks unity by sweeping truth under the rug, seeking to create unions of denominations by denying essential doctrines. From Schliermacher on, the Christian faith is reduced to a mere philosophy. It is a minimalist approach which negates truth as truth in an effort to create or even force a unity upon disparate groups.

Godly, mature conservatives, on the other hand, retain their convictions but learn to work with Christians in other denominations, so far as possible. We simply have points at which we retreat to our own circles for some things. The Puritan Board is an excellent example of a conservative ecumenical forum. We each retain our convictions, but pray for one another, listen, argue, and fellowship with one another. Jointly we will not back down from the truth of God's Word, but individually we have differences over what the Scriptures teach and this divides us to some measure as we continue to search the Scriptures. We will not readily give up our convictions unless convinced from Scripture of the truth of a particular doctrine and we would not have it any other way. One day we will all have the mind of Christ.
Wayne, exceedingly well said! :amen:
 

Simply_Nikki

Puritan Board Junior
Any form of Presbyterianism, including the continental Reformed, provides that tier of church courts which ideally serve to protect congregants and pastors alike.

Denominations exist because we are sinful. We look at the Scriptures and come to different conclusions. But there is a dilemma here. God is the source of all truth, and that truth is one, absolute, perfect. So what do we do with our differences? To deny our convictions is to deny truth. Our unity as Christians is in Christ. Nothing can or should interfere with that unity. But every careful student of Scripture is going to have studied convictions, and to say that doctrine doesn't matter is to strike at the very character of God.

Liberalism seeks unity by sweeping truth under the rug, seeking to create unions of denominations by denying essential doctrines. From Schliermacher on, the Christian faith is reduced to a mere philosophy. It is a minimalist approach which negates truth as truth in an effort to create or even force a unity upon disparate groups.

Godly, mature conservatives, on the other hand, retain their convictions but learn to work with Christians in other denominations, so far as possible. We simply have points at which we retreat to our own circles for some things. The Puritan Board is an excellent example of a conservative ecumenical forum. We each retain our convictions, but pray for one another, listen, argue, and fellowship with one another. Jointly we will not back down from the truth of God's Word, but individually we have differences over what the Scriptures teach and this divides us to some measure as we continue to search the Scriptures. We will not readily give up our convictions unless convinced from Scripture of the truth of a particular doctrine and we would not have it any other way. One day we will all have the mind of Christ.
Wayne, exceedingly well said! :amen:
:ditto: :up: Nicely put.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons?
That shows a fairly comprehensive lack of understanding of the situation.

1. The EPC allows ordination of women to all offices, not just the diaconate.

2. The EPC has greater allowance for tongues than does the PCA.

Neither of these is a 'minor' difference.

Administrator, Southwest Church Planting Network (PCA)
Now THERE's a position that wouldn't exist for a non-denominational church.
Just as a minor point of clarification the EPC has Presbyteries that do not ordain women as Elders. It is an issue for each individual Presbytery.
Yes, that should have been my point 3 - a much higher level of local option, at least on paper.
 

Simply_Nikki

Puritan Board Junior
. . .well, I worked on it.

[we really need a smilie who sheepishly puts his foot out and makes little circles in the dirt: The "Awe Shucks" Smilie.]

Thank you for the kind words. You too, Nicki.
This may be the closest... :eek: lol
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
If you believe as Mr. Calvin at least implied, that church discipline is one of the essential marks of a true church, one needs a mechanism for that beyond the local church.

It would be theoretically possible to limit church discipline (moral and doctrine) to only one church by itself, but there would be no practical way to appeal or have an unbiased "spiritual jury of peers."
This is what I am thinking is the strongest reason to have it. However, I am bit frustrated by what I have seen over my early years as a Christian. Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons? Primitive Baptists vs. Southern Baptists over the salaried compensation of Teaching Pastors?). I am just wondering, as a 32-year-old, if the wave is moving away from denominations. I know that a lot of churches believe that, though I have to admit that they are all congregationalists and have nowhere near the infrastructure of a group like the PCA.

It just seems like so much of what happens in many denominations is almost self-defeating exercises in rote processes. I mean, if I am trying to persuade my 20-something pals to join a Reformed denomination, what is the benefit to sell them on? Higher courts and that's it? That's good but until you have been through an ugly fight in a church, it's hard to explain how helpful your fathers and brothers can be.
I wouldn't be trying to sell them on a Reformed denomination, but rather a Reformed doctrine.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
1. Viewing the church as larger than the local congregation is the Biblical pattern -- at a time when most people walked (or sailed) most everywhere, you still see an intense interest and involvement in the other congregations in the first century church. You see an intense love for the brethren, financial support, correction, encouragement, and teaching to encourage sound doctrine.

2. A Presbyterian form of government recognizes our sinful nature. No one man is expected to lead -- a plurality of elders, and at the regional level, presbyters, creates a system of accountability, encouragement, continuity, and an opportunity to submit to one another in love.
 

Zenas

Snow Miser
If you believe as Mr. Calvin at least implied, that church discipline is one of the essential marks of a true church, one needs a mechanism for that beyond the local church.

It would be theoretically possible to limit church discipline (moral and doctrine) to only one church by itself, but there would be no practical way to appeal or have an unbiased "spiritual jury of peers."
This is what I am thinking is the strongest reason to have it. However, I am bit frustrated by what I have seen over my early years as a Christian. Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons? Primitive Baptists vs. Southern Baptists over the salaried compensation of Teaching Pastors?). I am just wondering, as a 32-year-old, if the wave is moving away from denominations. I know that a lot of churches believe that, though I have to admit that they are all congregationalists and have nowhere near the infrastructure of a group like the PCA.

It just seems like so much of what happens in many denominations is almost self-defeating exercises in rote processes. I mean, if I am trying to persuade my 20-something pals to join a Reformed denomination, what is the benefit to sell them on? Higher courts and that's it? That's good but until you have been through an ugly fight in a church, it's hard to explain how helpful your fathers and brothers can be.
The issue of female deacons is absolutely a reason to remain distinct. Distinctions and convictions are important and worth remaining separate over. Abandonment therefrom for the sake of unity ends in apostasy. See generally PCUSA. Ought the Baptists and Presbyterians form one denomination? No one would be able to agree on who is to be baptized. One side would "lose" and then be subjected to a practice that they clearly are convicted is unscriptural. I'd rather keep the separation.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
McPatrickClan
This is what I am thinking is the strongest reason to have it. However, I am bit frustrated by what I have seen over my early years as a Christian. Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons? Primitive Baptists vs. Southern Baptists over the salaried compensation of Teaching Pastors?). I am just wondering, as a 32-year-old, if the wave is moving away from denominations. I know that a lot of churches believe that, though I have to admit that they are all congregationalists and have nowhere near the infrastructure of a group like the PCA.
Sometimes, Christianity is spoken of in terms of "just believing in Jesus." But for reformed theology, it's about confessing doctrine from the whole of Scripture because God commands us to "worship Him in spirit and in truth."

We are not free to misrepresent God, his law, his plan of redemption according to our own imaginations. The third use of the law, according to Calvin was the law as a "mirror" of the Christian life.

Our interaction as Christians is based on the gospel. But most interaction is discipling in the full counsel of God's Word. If we neglected that, we would miss a primary focus of the church- sanctification and I think even miss part of the "Great Commission" (which is to preach the Gospel and "teach these things.").

Your illustration of the EPC v PCA is an illustration of the point.

Several have cited certain specific differences but there is a most important one, in my understanding.

That denomination would ground itself on the notion that the whole of the Westminster Standards (that's the doctrines of grace, covenant theology, and the Confession itself) are "nonessentials."

That is not to say there are not Christians there, nor that the denomination does not follow Scripture more than the mainline denomination it is departing from.

But to make your whole system of doctrine "nonessential" is to make oneself ambiguous and unable to disciple.

It would be like an employee with a job description saying that, "the important thing is he shows up on time, 'works hard' and stays his full shift. Everything else are nonessentials."

Well, obviously its important what the employee is doing while there, and whether it is furthering the productivity and value goals of the company in this eyes of his management. They are not paying him, the shareholders are not investing in him, just to "keep busy" in his own self-determined way.

The unity of the church must be grounded in doctrinal agreement in reformed theology.

That's part of a theology centered on God, informed by His revealed Word.

Now we live in a culture, in a generation that rationalizes that it is somehow "more spiritual" to not do the hard work of informing and applying all of Scripture to all of life. So we say, as long as we "believe in Jesus" nothing else really matters. Look at how specifically God deals with Israel in the Old Testament to know how untrue that is!

Reformed theology picks up on the "ordinary means of grace" to build our faith. These are the ways God has provided for His people to grow, which includes reading and studying and applying His Word. If that doesn't matter (because everyone is free to ignore, disobey or judge it irrelevant), then we are denying a central tenet of the Christian life.

Allowing, independent individual development of theology with the implication that one (e.g. a brand new person with no teaching) is as good as any other tends toward disunity, and acts against maturing in the faith, e.g. sanctification.

It also makes likely disunity over doctrine and a likely future split. This is likely to happen in a denomination that does not authoritatively face a biblical issue like whether God has qualified women to rule over and teach authority over men, either as obedience to Scripture or reflective of the priority in Creation. (I don't believe refusing to follow these will lead to God's blessing, nor unity).
 
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A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
In Charles Hodge's address What is Presbyterianism?, he explains:

III. As then presbyters are all of the same rank, and as they exercise their power in the government of the Church, in connection with the people, or their representatives, this of necessity gives rise to Sessions in our individual congregations, and to Presbyteries, Synods, and Assemblies, for the exercise of more extended jurisdiction. This brings into view the third great principle of Presbyterianism, the government of the Church by judicatories composed of presbyters and elders, &c. This takes for granted the unity of the Church in opposition to the theory of the Independents.

The Presbyterian doctrine on this subject is, that the Church is one in such a sense that a smaller part is subject to a larger, and the larger to the whole. It has one Lord, one faith, one baptism. The principles of government laid down in the Scriptures bind the whole Church. The terms of dmission, and the legitimate grounds of exclusion, are everywhere the same. The same qualifications are everywhere to be demanded for admission to the sacred office, and the same grounds for deposition. Every man who is properly received as a member of a particular church, becomes a member of the Church universal; every one rightfully excluded from a particular church, is excluded from the whole Church; every one rightfully ordained to the ministry in one church, is a minister of the universal Church, and when rightfully deposed in one, he ceases to be a minister in any. Hence, while every particular church has a right to manage its own affairs and administer its own discipline, it cannot be independent and irresponsible in the exercise of that right. As its members are members of the Church universal, and those whom it excommunicates are, according to the Scriptural theory, delivered unto Satan, and cut off from the communion of the saints, the acts of a particular church become the acts of the whole Church, and therefore the whole has the right to see that they are performed according to the law of Christ. Hence, on the one hand, the right of appeal; and, on the other, the right of review and control.

This is the Presbyterian theory on this subject; that it is the scriptural doctrine appears, 1. From the nature of the Church. The Church is everywhere represented as one. It is one body, one family, one fold, one kingdom. It is one because pervaded by one Spirit. We are all baptized into one Spirit so as to become, says the apostle, on body. This indwelling of the Spirit which thus unites all the members of Christ’s body, produces not only that subjective or inward union which manifests itself in sympathy and affection, in unity of faith and love, but also outward union and communion. It leads Christians to unite for the purposes of worship, and of mutual watch and care. It requires them to be subject to one another in the fear of the Lord. It brings them all into subjection to the word of God as the standard of faith and practice. It gives them not only an interest in each other’s welfare, purity, and edification, but it imposes the obligation to promote these objects. If one member suffers, all suffer with it; and if one member is honoured, all rejoice with it. All this is true, not merely of those frequenting the same place of worship, but of the universal body of believers. So that an independent church is as much a solecism as an independent Christian, or as an independent finger of the human body, or an independent branch of a tree. If the Church is a living body united to the same head, governed by the same laws, and pervaded by the same Spirit, it is impossible that one part should be independent of all the rest.

2. All the reasons which require the subjection of a believer to the brethren of a particular church, require his subjection to all his brethren in the Lord. The ground of this obligation is not the church covenant. It is not the compact into which a number of believers enter, and which binds only those who are parties to it. Church power has a much higher source than the consent of the governed. The Church is a divinely constituted society, deriving its power from its charter. Those who join it, join it as an existing society, and a society existing with certain prerogatives and privileges, which they come to share, and not to bestow. This divinely constituted society, which every believer is bound to join, is not the local and limited association of his own neighbourhood, but the universal brotherhood of believers; and therefore all his obligations of communion and obedience terminate on the whole Church. He is bound to obey his brethren, not because he has agreed to do so, but because they are his brethren—because they are temples of the Holy Ghost, enlightened, sanctified, and guided by Him. It is impossible, therefore, to limit the obedience of a Christian to the particular congregation of which he is a member, or to make one such congregation independent of all others, without utterly destroying the very nature of the Church, and tearing asunder the living members of Christ’s body. If this attempt should be fully accomplished, these separate churches would as certainly bleed to death, as a limb when severed from the body.

3. The Church, during the apostolic age, did not consist of isolated, independent congregations, but was one body, of which the separate churches were constituent members, each subject to all the rest, or to an authority which extended over all. This appears, in the first place, from the history of the origin of those churches. The apostles were commanded to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. On the day of Pentecost the promised Spirit was poured out, and they began to speak as the Spirit gave them utterance. Many thousands in that city were added to the Lord, and they continued in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and prayer. They constituted the Church in Jerusalem. It was one not only spiritually, but externally, united in the same worship, and subject to the same rulers. When scattered abroad, they preached the word everywhere, and great multitudes were added to the Church. The believers in every place were associated in separate, but not independent churches, for they all remained subject to a common tribunal.

For, secondly, the apostles constituted a bond of union to the whole body of believers. There is not the slightest evidence that the apostles had different dioceses. Paul wrote with full authority to the Church in Rome before he had ever visited the imperial city. Peter addressed his epistles to the churches of Pontus, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, the very centre of Paul’s field of labour. That the apostles exercised this general jurisdiction, and were thus the bond of external union to the Church, arose, as we have seen, from the very nature of their office. Having been commissioned to found and organize the Church, and being so filled with the Spirit as to render them infallible, their word was law. Their inspiration necessarily secured this universal authority. We accordingly find that they everywhere exercised the powers not only of teachers, but also of rulers. Paul speaks of the power given to him for edification; of the things which he ordained in all the churches. His epistles are filled with such orders, which were binding authority then as now. He threatens the Corinthians to come to them with a rod; he cut off a member of their church, whom they had neglected to discipline; and he delivered Hymeneus and Alexander unto Satan, that they might learn not to blaspheme. As a historical fact, therefore, the apostolic churches were not independent congregations, but were all subject to one common authority.

In the third place, this is further evident from the Council at Jerusalem. Nothing need be assumed that is not expressly mentioned in the record. The simple facts of the case are, that a controversy having arisen in the church at Antioch, concerning the Mosaic law, instead of settling it among themselves as an independent body, they referred the case to the apostles and elders at Jerusalem, and there it was authoritatively decided, not for that church only, but for all others. Paul, therefore, in his next missionary journey, as he “passed through the cities, delivered to them,” it is said, “the decrees for to keep, which were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.” Acts xvi. 4. It matters not whether the authority of that Council was due to the inspiration of its chief members or not. It is enough that it had authority over the whole Church. The several congregations were not independent, but were united under one common tribunal.

4th. In the fourth place, we may appeal to the common consciousness of Christians, as manifested in the whole history of the Church. Everything organic has what may be called a nisus formativus; an inward force, by which it is impelled to assume the form suited to its nature. This inward impulse may, by circumstances, be impeded or misdirected, so that the normal state of a plant or animal may never be attained. Still, this force never fails to manifest its existence, nor the state to which it tends. What is thus true in nature, is no less true in the Church. There is nothing more conspicuous in her history than the law by which believers are impelled to express their inward unity by outward union. It has been manifested in all ages, and under all circumstances. It gave rise to all the early councils. It determined the idea of heresy and schism. It led to the exclusion from all churches of those who, for the denial of the common faith, were excluded from any one, and who refused to acknowledge their subjection to the Church as a whole. This feeling was clearly exhibited at the time of the Reformation. The churches then formed, ran together as naturally as drops of quicksilver; and when this union was prevented by internal or external circumstances, it was deplored as a great evil. It may do for men of the world to attribute this remarkable characteristic in the history of the Church, to the love of power, or to some other unworthy source. But it is not thus to be accounted for. It is a law of the Spirit. If what all men do, is to be referred to some abiding principle of human nature; what all Christians do, must be referred to something which belongs to them as Christians.

So deeply seated is this conviction that outward union and mutual subjection is the normal state of the Church, that it manifests itself in those whose theory leads them to deny and resist it. Their Consociations, Associations, and Advisory Councils, are so many devices to satisfy an inward craving, and to prevent the dissolution to which it is felt that absolute Independency must inevitably lead. That then, the Church is one, in the sense that a smaller part should be subject to a larger, and a larger to the whole, is evident. 1. From its nature as being one kingdom, one family, one body, having one head, one faith, one written constitution, and actuated by one Spirit; 2d. From the command of Christ that we should obey our brethren, not because they live near to us; not because we have covenanted to obey them; but because they are our brethren, the temples and organs of the Holy Ghost; 3. From the fact that during the apostolic age the churches were not independent bodies, but subject in all matters of doctrine, order, and discipline, to a common tribunal; and 4. Because the whole history of the Church proves that this union and mutual subjection is the normal state of the Church towards which it strives by an inward law of its being. If it is necessary that one Christian should be subject to other Christians; it is no less necessary that one church should be subject in the same spirit, to the same extent, and on the same grounds, to other churches. [emphasis added]
Thanks to Mr. Sparkman for preparing this electronic edition of Hodge's address! :)
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Often, I see denominational distinctions drawn over seemingly minor differences (i.e. PCA & EPC being different over female deacons? .
The issue of female deacons is absolutely a reason to remain distinct. Distinctions and convictions are important and worth remaining separate over. Abandonment therefrom for the sake of unity ends in apostasy. See generally PCUSA. Ought the Baptists and Presbyterians form one denomination? No one would be able to agree on who is to be baptized. One side would "lose" and then be subjected to a practice that they clearly are convicted is unscriptural. I'd rather keep the separation.
As was pointed out the EPC leaves female ordination up to the local church and presbytery. That being said (and as a member of the EPC), I would rather see conservative men stay in the EPC and help bring it back to a complimentarian state vs. saying "oh well they are liberal now, forget them."
 

JDKetterman

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, they are already Calvinistic but I guess not Reformed.
Before I became Reformed, I was Calvinistic in my doctrine of salvation. I believe what sold me into going to a Reformed faith/denomination was the doctrine of the church and sacraments. This was something for me that I did not get from my evangelical upbringing.
 

Dao

Puritan Board Freshman
What is the Point of Belonging to a Denomination?
I don't get non-denomination. They say they're creedless and at the same time follow whatever the pastor believes. That goes for SBC. They believe in creedless and yet have pages of written statements of beliefs they don't even keep.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
I'm really just curious... I am in the PCA and have been for about two years now. I know it's more than just a Christian "gang" but is the point essentially to have the higher courts to appeal to & that's about it?
For Baptists, one of the main reasons is to show unity with churches of like faith and order. :handshake:

-----Added 12/14/2009 at 11:33:02 EST-----

That goes for SBC. They believe in creedless and yet have pages of written statements of beliefs they don't even keep.
As a Southern Baptist I can say this simply isn't true. The vast majority of Baptists throughout history and today are creedal or confessional. Now there are certainly exceptions to this but they are not representative of the whole. Consider the SBC's official position statement on creeds and confessions:

Creeds & Confessions

In some groups, statements of belief have the same authority as Scripture. We call this creedalism. Baptists also make statements of belief, but all of them are revisable in light of Scripture. The Bible is the final word.

Because of this distinction, we are generally more comfortable with the word "confession." Still, we are "creedal" in the sense that we believe certain things, express those beliefs and order our institutions accordingly. There have always been Baptist limits. And within these limits, there have always been Baptist preferences.
 

Osage Bluestem

Puritan Board Junior
I'm really just curious... I am in the PCA and have been for about two years now. I know it's more than just a Christian "gang" but is the point essentially to have the higher courts to appeal to & that's about it?
I joined the PCA because I believe that it is the most biblical denomination I could join. I share a common confession with them.

So since I trust them and believe they are faithful men to the gospel I willingly place myself as a layman under their authority that they have received from Christ through his church of believers because I believe that is biblical.

:pilgrim:
 

Mushroom

Puritan Board Doctor
For consistent Confessional subscription regardless of geographical location.

Except maybe NY.... and CA.... and LA.... and SD.... and... well... nevermind.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
Somewhat off-topic, and splitting hairs perhaps, but am I correct in stating that one isn't a member of a denomination, but rather one is a member of a congregation, and that local church is a member of the deonomination? For example, I'm a member of Woodgreen Presbyterian, which is part of the PCA. "I" am technically not a member of the PCA. If true for the PCA, is this also true for other denominations?

Obviously, what deonomination the local church belongs to is one factor to take into consideration in becoming a member of that congregation.

As to why a local church should be part of a larger denomination, I think that the posters have given good answers: commonality of purpose / pooling resources, unity of the church, greater degree of accountability for its leadership etc...
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Somewhat off-topic, and splitting hairs perhaps, but am I correct in stating that one isn't a member of a denomination, but rather one is a member of a congregation, and that local church is a member of the deonomination? For example, I'm a member of Woodgreen Presbyterian, which is part of the PCA. "I" am technically not a member of the PCA. If true for the PCA, is this also true for other denominations?

Obviously, what deonomination the local church belongs to is one factor to take into consideration in becoming a member of that congregation.

As to why a local church should be part of a larger denomination, I think that the posters have given good answers: commonality of purpose / pooling resources, unity of the church, greater degree of accountability for its leadership etc...
And to add to that, pastors are members of the presbytery, not the local congregation...
 
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