How can the PCA remain faithful to its founding principles while effectively proclaiming the Gospel in today’s cultural context? Earlier today, PCA leaders representing three generations addressed this question at the General Assembly Seminar: “The PCA, Past, Present, and Future.”
Roy Taylor, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, recalled the origins of the PCA, and its 40-year-old commitment to remain true to the Scriptures, true to the Reformed faith and obedient to the Great Commission. Bryan Chapell, senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL, summarized current issues facing the PCA and evaluated our effectiveness in evangelism and church planting. Murray Lee, church planter in Birmingham, Ala., spoke from the perspective of a young pastor envisioning the future of our denomination.
Chapell commented on the importance of this discussion for the future of the PCA: “My sense is that most teaching and ruling elders in the PCA are thankful and grateful for our standards, but often confused and bewildered by how ineffective we seem to be in reaching our culture with the gospel. Therefore, it’s very important to discern how we may maintain our standards while at the same time being an effective instrument of Christ in our current day.”
Taylor says, “I hope all will see that we can have cooperative ministry and we want to be able to work better together across generational lines, ethnic lines, sociological lines.” In the last 40 years, our cultural context has changed considerably, he notes, with significant transfer of the population from small, rural areas, to large, urban ones. “We have to consider how we can better penetrate urban areas,” he says.
Taylor hopes that attendees came out of this seminar with a “greater appreciation for the past, an understanding of the complexity of the PCA and the culture in which we live presently, and a vision for future ministry.”
In coming weeks, byFaith will publish feature stories based on the content of these presentations.