Roy Taylor Elected Moderator of 48th General Assembly
By Megan Fowler
Moderator of 48th General Assembly

Roy Taylor was elected moderator of the PCA’s 48th General Assembly Tuesday night by acclamation.

This is the first Assembly since 1998 that Taylor will not serve as stated clerk of the PCA General Assembly.

Known for his dry wit and dapper bowties, Taylor brings to the job institutional history and a mastery of the PCA Book of Church Order, Rules of Assembly Operation, and Robert’s Rules of Order. As stated clerk he briefed and advised moderators through procedural puzzles facing the Assembly, often with the help of parliamentarians.

He has also attended every Assembly since the denomination’s founding in 1973, making him “the most over-qualified moderator in PCA history,” according to Paul Kooistra, who nominated Taylor for moderator.

For the past two decades Taylor has been at the moderator’s right hand. He’s the one moderators have looked to when they needed to know what the constitution says, Kooistra said. And he has a well-deserved reputation for being fair. With record attendance and several divisive issues before the 48th Assembly, the selection of Taylor, he added, is “a no brainer.”

Taylor grew up in a Baptist church in Birmingham. At age 5 he professed faith in Christ, and at age 8 sensed a call to ministry. After high school he enrolled at Southeastern Bible College in Birmingham. While there he served as student pastor at McCalla Bible Church. He also met Donna Wich from Columbus, Ohio. The couple married during Taylor’s senior year of college.

After college he attended Grace Seminary in Indiana. His studies in dispensationalism left him unconvinced that the popular theology of the time aligned with Scripture. His apologetics professor required reading a volume by Cornelius Van Til, and with this introduction to Reformed theology, Taylor became eager for more. In his free time, he read Hodge, Berkhof, and Berkouwer to supplement his assigned reading.

During his time at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Taylor became a Presbyterian. He joined Carrolton Presbyterian Church where he met a young Reformed Theological Seminary intern, John Robertson, who would later serve alongside him in the Stated Clerk’s office as business manager.

As his time in New Orleans drew to a close, Taylor accepted a call to serve as the pastor of Rainbow City Presbyterian Church outside Gadsden, Alabama. Around this same time, the organizing committee of the Presbyterian Church in America was meeting in Asheville. He attended this gathering and, along with his church, became part of the new denomination.

After serving Rainbow City Presbyterian Church, the Taylors moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where Taylor served as professor of practical theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He served two terms at RTS, from 1977-1982 and then 1993 until 1998. Between teaching posts, Taylor served as senior minister at First Presbyterian Church of Hattiesburg.

In 1998 Taylor left RTS to serve as stated clerk. He immediately brought unity to the PCA offices in Atlanta, “because of his humble, fair-minded, fair-handed approach to everything,” Kooistra said.

While stated clerk, Taylor also served on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals from 1998-2020, serving as board chairman from 2006-2020. In 1998 and 1999 he served as president of the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC). And from 2006-2020 Taylor was a member of the board of World Relief.

He was also an adjunct professor at RTS campuses in Orlando, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

Taylor called it a “great honor” to moderate the General Assembly. In his years working for the PCA Taylor has seen the denomination grow more theologically astute in its nearly 50 years. And though teaching elders hold a variety of opinions, he said they all fall “within a conservative spectrum.”

Since retiring Taylor has relocated to Greenville, South Carolina, and become full-time caregiver to his wife of 56 years, Donna, who has Alzheimer’s disease. Taylor expressed appreciation for other PCA leaders who have trod this road before him, including Allan Fleece, Kennedy Smartt, Charles McGowan, and Henry Lewis Smith.

Kooistra, too, knows the heavy privilege of caring for a terminally-ill wife. He cared for his first wife, Jan, until her death in 2007.

“It is a privilege — not a blessing or fun — to help your wife out of this world,” he said.

The Taylors have two children and nine grandchildren.

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