Continuing Faithfulness Requires Clear Language

The need for theological clarity led the General Assembly to change our rules as found in the beloved Book of Church Order (BCO), a process that comes to the body through overtures. This year, the PCA significantly strengthened its commitment to complementarianism, avoiding the pitfalls of other denominations, by starting the process to clarify the Book of Church Order by adding the language: Furthermore, unordained people shall not be referred to as, or given the titles of, the ordained offices of pastor/elder, or deacon. In addition, the denomination continued a trend of tightening the requirements for ordained officeholders by adding the following descriptions of elders and deacons: He should conform to the biblical requirement of chastity and sexual purity in his descriptions of himself, and in his convictions, character, and conduct.

There is more to that language than some might recognize. With that act the PCA took a stand and rejected the errors of the Revoice conference and its affirmation of so-called “Side B” LBTBQ identity. The Side B advocates call for the inclusion and affirmation of some form of LGBTQ identity within the church. This language takes a decided stand against such confusion, particularly with reference to ordained officeholders.

The PCA also encouraged (but did not mandate) the use of background checks for officers by approving this statement: Be it resolved that Presbyteries and Sessions are encouraged to adopt policies for conducting background checks on every candidate for office.

A letter written last year by a special commission condemning gender reassignment surgery and genital mutilation was approved and commended to the church. Interestingly, theological concerns were raised by an individual minister about a bestselling book, Jesus Calling, written by a Covenant Theological Seminary grad and PCA missionary, Sarah Young, who died in 2023. After considerable debate—including a dramatic statement of disapproval from Mrs. Young’s husband—the matter was sent to two different PCA agencies for assessment and response to the concern…

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