The Office of the Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has received numerous emails regarding the recent action of the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA) in redefining marriage.

On March 17, 2015 the Presbyterian Church (USA) approved language that allows its ministers to officiate at same-sex marriages in its churches.  The change comes after the General Assembly and a majority of that denomination’s 171 presbyteries approved an amendment to their Book of Order that describes marriage as “a unique relationship between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

There are several Presbyterian denominations in the United States.  The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA),  formed in 1973  as an evangelical denomination in the Reformed  theological tradition, is the second largest.  We, like other evangelical, conservative, orthodox, and traditional Christians from many branches of the Christian faith, believe that, from creation, God ordained the marriage covenant to be a unique bond between one man and one woman.  This biblical understanding is what the Church  has always believed, taught, and confessed. Therefore, we believe that the divinely sanctioned standard for sexual activity is fidelity within a marriage between one man and one woman or chastity outside of such a marriage.

Throughout history, there has often been a conflict between what the Church  has  believed, taught, and confessed and the society to which the Church ministers. The Church, in contrast to the broader culture, is to base her views and practices on authoritative and timeless divine revelation found in the Holy Scriptures, and not on the changing and frequently subjective social practices within the society.  The Church, therefore, has certain unchanging objective standards of biblical ethics.

This is especially challenging in this post-modern era of relativism. We think that the comparatively recent interpretation that biblical prohibitions against same-sex intimacy do not apply to “a same-sex marriage” is based on false premises and  faulty reasoning and, therefore, is erroneous –  no matter how well-intentioned.

The PCA in both its doctrinal standards (Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 24 “Of Marriage and Divorce”) and church polity (Book of Church Order, Chapter 59, “The Solemnization of Marriage”) affirms biblical marriage as being between one man and one woman.  Neither the General Assembly nor any of the Presbyteries nor any Session (board of elders) of any congregation that is presently a member of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has redefined marriage. Nor does  the PCA intend to do so.

As we affirm what is sometimes called a traditional view of marriage, which we prefer to call biblical marriage, we seek to follow  the apostolic practice of “speaking the truth in love.”  We reach out to all persons with the Good News by which we  are being saved that “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”

Roy Taylor is the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America.

23 Responses to PCA Affirms Biblical Marriage

  1. Kevin Rudolph says:

    Well written. Thank you Roy.

  2. Bob Mattes says:

    Nicely said, Roy. I praise God for the faithfulness of the PCA to the Scriptures against a tidal wave of societal decay. But then, it’s really no worse today than it was in Paul’s day – sinners still prefer sin.

  3. Peter Herz says:

    Yes, thank God for the PCA’s witness to what marriage is. Unfortunately, our post-modern culture wants those with enough money and power to indulge in whatever they will.

  4. Marie Bowen says:

    Thank you for your faithful stand, Roy. I am a member of the PCUSA but I stand with you and the PCA when it comes to marriage as well as abortion. Turning away from the biblical teaching about marriage is a very serious offense and harmful to the Truth of the gospel. Jesus used marriage in describing his own relationship with the Church. To introduce the confusion of culture about marriage into the church is to obfiscate the meaning of our relationship to Jesus Christ as Head of the Church. Pray for those of us who are called to an increasingly difficult task of ministry in the PCUSA.

  5. Stacy Williams says:

    I’m very thankful the PCA is adhering to biblical truth when so many others aren’t.

  6. David Felts says:

    A very well written, concise article. I am so thankful it has finally been addressed on a denominational level.

  7. Hella Smith says:

    My question has to go further than just the actual statement. My question then becomes what now? How do we as a church/ christian answer to those who have questions about being in a monogamous same sex relationship seeking love? Or how is that different than someone who is now on their 3rd marriage??

    • Dale White says:

      Would you accept the Bible as being the final authority on this? If so, the answer has already been given. If not, then it become just a matter of personal opinion. Personal opinion isn’t trustworthy but the Bible is.

  8. Yong Cho says:

    I respect what PCA stands for and encourage all members of Biblical faith to stand still together.

  9. Joel E Yeager, MD says:

    Very nicely stated. My wife and I have recently come to the PCA because of its stated fidelity to the timeless truths of Scripture. Our experience in some less-orthodox churches has shown the danger of a “tolerant” mindset which glorifies diversity at the expense of unity and ultimately tolerates almost everything while standing for almost nothing. Soli deo gloria!

  10. Patricia Kubicek says:

    Thank you for this Biblical Truth stands. We need to be firm with Scriptural teaching.

  11. Joseph Bishop says:

    We are in agreement with the PCA on the issue of marriage.

  12. Richard Mercer says:

    An excellent statement, Roy. Let us hope by God’s grace that we will be able to maintain this position in the changing social climate.

  13. Young (Hyung Yong) Park says:

    Roy, you have stated well that the biblical teaching of marriage is between one man and one woman. It is sad that we hear that the Christian Churches do not follow the teaching of the God’s word. We are happy that PCA is faithful to the truth of the Word which is the standard of our faith and practice.

  14. Marla H. says:

    Thank you for continuing to stand strong for Biblical marriage as God intended.

  15. Byron G. Curtis says:

    Thank you, Roy.
    Well said. And, sadly, necessary to say.

  16. Ruth Read says:

    Thank you for a clearly stated, concise article addressing this issue. We have been in a PCA church for 23 years, have recently moved, and have not found another church that stands on God’ s Word on this issue.Please continue this fight for a firm stand on the truth of God’s Word.

  17. Phillip Lake says:

    Thank you for clearing up the difference between the PCA and the PCUSA. Even though I am Southern Baptist is was still very hard to hear the news that the “Presbyterian” Church had made this decision. It would be nice (comforting) to a great deal of people if you were able to bring this difference to light for all to know.

  18. Randy Nabors says:

    Thank you Dr. Taylor for representing all of us in the PCA well, may the Lord help the differences between us and those that have strayed from the teaching of Scripture be crystal clear for everyone to see. May the Lord help us to never see this with arrogance or pride but in humble gratitude to God for his mercy, and with a broken heart for those are not only deceived by the Evil One but are deceiving others.

  19. Dan Pruitt says:

    On top of all the other comments, well spoken, brother. May our Lord strengthen us to stand for the teachings of Scripture, in the face of political correctness, with humility and trust in our Lord, for our strength and perseverence.

  20. Peter Chirichetti says:

    I am elated to read your comments regarding the PCA”s stand regarding egregious decision of the Presbyterian Church (USA) regarding gay marriage. I am privileged to attend the Chapel PCA church in Beaver, PA where we are so fortunate to hear the word of God preached word upon word, line upon line and precept upon precept — week in and week out. I pray that the PCA remain firm in their stand and adhere to the teachings of the Church Fathers and the Reformers and not deviate form the word of God in order to appease the politically correct. Let us all pray that God will remove the veil form the eyes of the leadership of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

    Soli Deo Gloria,
    Pete Chirichetti

  21. Mr. Casey S. Smith says:

    I am humbled and joy-filled to be elected by God! As well that by Divine Providence He unveiled my eyes (Deut 29.29) to the Truth of THE Reformed Faith 18 years ago. It’s Scriptural defenses such as this, here in the article, that make me proud to be apart of the PCA! Keep contending for THE FAITH handed down for the Saints (Jude3)! If none else shall remain, we will prevail and concur with Luther in April 1521, “Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason…my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

  22. Barbara Brown says:

    Thank you for those comforting words. It is so refreshing to hear that the PCA has no intentions of changing their views on marriage.