Reasoning Together is designed to allow expression of the variety of views current in the PCA (thus the name), but we do hold to a particular point of view – that it is imperative for the PCA to maintain its unity, and that we can do that by rallying around our historic commitments.

This may bring to mind two questions:

  1.  What are the “historic commitments” referred to? We believe they are well expressed in our much repeated motto (which actually predates our foundation as a denomination): “Loyal to Scripture, Faithful to the Reformed Faith, Obedient to the Great Commission.” In the history of the PCA, there has been little controversy about the first and the last of these, but on more than one occasion we have disagreed over what it means to be “faithful to the Reformed Faith.” The viewpoint of this site is that historically and constitutionally, the PCA has chosen a course that could be characterized as one of responsible freedom: it is responsible in that it has set as its boundaries the system of doctrine contained in our Confession and Catechism, yet allows substantial freedom of belief and practice within those boundaries and has made the lower courts the principal arbiters as to where those boundaries stand.  We believe that commitment to that freedom has allowed the PCA to maintain a degree of unity unknown to other presbyterian denominations, which have split when they have become either so inclusive that they have abandoned Reformed (and, often, evangelical) commitments or have become so narrow that others with like commitments have been excluded. We are committed to promoting this responsible freedom in order to maintain our unity.  But this may lead to a second question:
  2. Why is it imperative to maintain our unity?  Of course the Biblical (and therefore best answer) is because our Lord commands it – see John 17. But there is also a practical answer which is no doubt a consequence of the first: our unity has allowed us to marshal our resources for a level of ministry far out of proportion to our size, and we want this to continue.

We don’t plan to take a position, pro or con, on issues about which good men in the PCA disagree; but we will take the position that we as a denomination should exercise great tolerance toward those different views. We will argue for this in our “Commentary” posts.

And we invite you to respond to this and future commentary posts. You don’t have to agree with us; we only ask that you follow the guidelines for interaction outlined elsewhere  on our site: be thoughtful and respectful.

10 Responses to Our Point of View

  1. Mike Singenstreu says:

    Hey Larry…Mike Singenstreu here…It will be good to interact on your new site…thank you for spearheading such an endeavor. We need to develop unity more and more from the presbytery level up to the GA level to help people remember we are brothers and there is a greater enemy out there than ourselves. Having said that though, lively debate is necessary among brothers…that old “iron sharpening iron” thing!!! It is a good thing when we debate in love for the Scriptures not for our position!

    So thank you again…My Prayer is that is will be a great aid in developing further unity within our ranks!

  2. Andrew BARNES says:

    My questions concerning this are: How will this actually create unity? What is unity? Biblically, what does Jesus say are the steps to get to unity? Will “Reasoning Together” actually facilitate those steps to get to unity?

    Thanks, Andrew

  3. Mike Singenstreu says:

    “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Phil. 1:9-11) This passage speaks to what Paul expects unity to look like and how he expects it to grow and to what end … just a thought

  4. Andrew Barnes says:

    Michael,

    I’m not disagreeing with you obviously, but what about Ephesians 4:1-24? And I was looking for an answer from Pastor Hoop, since he is coordinating “Reasoning Together”.

    • Mike Singenstreu says:

      Good choice of verses Andrew..I love Ephesians…But I chose the passage that I did for 2 reasons: First; because I am beginning a sermon series in Philippians this week :-); second, I like to use texts that aren’t always used to prove a point. Often among us pastors we get use to using the “standard” perhaps even the most helpful texts in points because most people in the pew are not as literate in the Scriptures as we would like them to be… but I have been challenging my people for years with reading the entirety of Scripture over and over again and they like it when I use the less than normal texts since “all of Scripture” is to be used not just the ones we all easily refer to….

      Hopefully Larry will respond…he’s a good…

  5. Larry Doughan says:

    While I am not the same Larry, I am encouraged by what Mike and Andrew have shared. I believe that is a step for us in the right direction and illustrate Ephesians 4:25 reminding us that we must speak truth to neighbors as members of one body.

    I guess I am more struck by the interaction in Acts 15 between Peter, Barnabas, Paul, James and other brothers in time of disagreement. That discussion could have split the church at its very beginning. Yet brothers were willing to talk together and seek to do what God had called them to do.

    Paul wrote the Ephesians to do everything they could to give the Devil no foothold. Sound advice for them and for all who follow the Lord.

    What a great setting for us to seek to do that.

    • Mike Singenstreu says:

      Hey Larry…long time no see…You really have gotten wise in your old age! The passage in Acts ought to guide all of us leaders that God has called in the church, but I think the first thing is that as leaders we have to remember today is that God called us here…I think as elders we don’t want our people to forget that but sometimes we do. Respect and honor doesn’t mean we simply give in obviously if Acts shows us anything it is that brothers can disagree on the how but that doesn’t mean that somehow one brother is in theological error. By jumping to such conclusion we are dissing God’s choice and not showing the office the authority it demands. When discipline is needs we will know.

  6. Jesse King says:

    So in light of your discussion on unity, how would you suggest one deal with the issues of homosexuality and so called gay marriage. Scripture is clear, The Confession of Faith is clear, both are condemned, the first is a sin and the second is also and does not meet God’s definition of and creation of marriage. These cultural issues can create disunity in the body if not dealt with according to scripture and the long standing PCA positions.

  7. Larry Hoop says:

    Jesse,
    Thanks for your comment. I believe our answer to your question is that we advocate responsible freedom – freedom within definite boundaries (Scripture and the Confession). Those boundaries would clearly preclude gay marriage and recognize homosexual behavior as sinful, and I personally know no one in the PCA advocating otherwise. But they would not dictate exactly how we minister the gospel to those involved in homosexual sin, any more than they dictate how we minister the gospel to those involved in heterosexual sin, greed, etc. Allowing each other this freedom within our Biblical and Confessional boundaries enables us to maintain our unity.

  8. Wayne Good says:

    I don’t believe unity is as important as holding to the truth. I feel the PCA is slowly deteriorating by allowing too many different views to be expressed and even proclaimed from the pulpit. We willl find ourselves fragmented in a few years over issues such as Federal Vision and Theistic Evolution to just name two and there are others. Too allow these different views to be orthodox and kosher will only lead to division. Larry, I am not sure what your definition of “good men” would be. So called “good men” have caused a lot of havoc in the past. I am very concerned that there will be other issues added to the ones we already have and soon we will not know what we are to believe. Thanks Larry, for getting some disscussions going.