Should They Stay Or Should They Go?

It’s a question that more than a few PCA elders and members are asking right now. The recent Standing Judicial Commission’s (SJC) decision to reject the complaint against Missouri Presbytery has left many disheartened. Moreover, the current presbytery voting tallies on Overtures 23 and 37 show that there is no guarantee they will meet the two-thirds threshold necessary for a vote at next summer’s General Assembly. What if the overtures fail? Would this mean that all positive momentum gained this past June at the 48th General Assembly is lost? Has the time to depart the PCA finally come? The answer is a resounding NO!

It is not time to depart the PCA. It’s time to contend for the PCA—to humbly contend for the biblical and confessional faithfulness of our beloved church.

Divergent Visions for the PCA

The recent disclosure of National Partnership (NP) emails punctuates the fact that there are vastly divergent and competing visions for the future of the PCA. Most are now recognizing that these disparate visions are highly incompatible. The cache of NP emails also reveal that there are profoundly different methods of seeking to advance those visions. Over the years we (the GRN Council) have been encouraged to adopt similar political machinations as the NP, but we’ve firmly resisted. It’s not our way. It never has been. Read more»

Jon Payne | “Should We Stay Or Should We Go?” | November 16, 2021


Subscribe to the Heidelblog today!


  1. As a student of 20th century American church history and the schisms in the Presbyterian Church and the Northern Baptist Convention, I cannot help but hear echoes of the events leading up to the schisms in those bodies as I read Jon Payne’s article. I hope and pray that God is gracious, but it seems like the handwriting is on the wall.

  2. The PCA is rapidly approaching the point where those who are contending for a confessional church and those aligned with the National Partnership will have any semblance of fellowship broken. The views, goals, and methodologies of the two groups are so antithetical as to make any accommodation impossible. The straw that will finally break the camel’s back will be if overtures 23 and 37 are not ratified after receiving overwhelming support at the last GA. The SJC’s verdict in the Missouri Presbytery/Greg Johnson case was a real blow but the failure to ratify at least one of the overtures will add insult to injury. The confessional group has been continually advised to “be patient” and to “let the church courts do their work”. What has been the result? The NP has used this hesitancy to further consolidate their control of the PCA. With their “successes”, the NP will have no motivation to seek accommodation. Quite the opposite is likely.

    • Unfortunately I think you are correct. If not previously, the die was cast with good faith subscription. The Confession becomes a nose of wax. Good feelings become paramount and sound doctrine is so unloving. End of story.
      Maybe not, but it doesn’t look good.

    • There was no hesitancy, Bob. Multiple presbyteries, churches, and ministers used the appropriate mechanisms of the court to pursue the matter vigorously.

    • Jeremiah: Are we more concerned that all the judicial process boxes are checked or that just judgments are made? If you don’t think that the National Partnership’s hand was in the resulting SJC verdict in the Missouri Presbytery/Greg Johnson case then it confirms to me that ongoing fellowship between confessionalists and NP supporters is no longer a viable option.

    • Bob: I believe that if you do things unbiblically, you haven’t won regardless of the outcome. Why should I be dismissive of using the ecclesiastical means at my disposal by thinking of fidelity as checking boxes? I’m not Presbyterian by an accident of history or geography. I am Presbyterian because it is biblical. Of course I mourn the outcome! But the outcome is the Lord’s. My job is to be faithful. I don’t know if God will heal the PCA or if he’ll raise up a faithful denomination from its ashes, but I know what means He has given us, and I know good men who spent countless hours pursuing those ends. To characterize those men as somehow hesitant is what I balk at, as my original comment reflects. It just isn’t true. Good men were working on behalf of the people of God. To despise their efforts is to wrong them.

  3. Jeremiah: To say that I despise the efforts of good men is to set up a straw man, When I spoke of hesitancy on the part of the confessional contingent, I was speaking about the inherent godly hesitancy of these good men to use extra-biblical means like the NP does to influence the process of the church courts. The NP knew this and used it to thwart justice. I am not at the spiritual level where I can look at the actions of the NP and the results philosophically or dispassionately. I *hate* what the NP has done to the PCA. I will likely have to move on from the PCA but it is not currently within me to call it a blessing. This really matters to me.

Comments are closed.