What About Deepfakes?

As technology advances, it is only becoming easier to lie. That statement might be surprising at first glance. With the advent of photography, audio, and video recording, we have gained access to more truth than ever before. We are now able to . . . Continue reading →

What In The World Is ChatGPT?

ChatGPT and similar tools that generate text or images are one example of advances in technology that use algorithms built from data rather than being human-handcrafted. You probably have used some of them: Data-generated algorithms can identify faces in photographs, control autonomous . . . Continue reading →

Help With The “Nones”

People who once identified with a Christian religious tradition but now identify with none are the fastest growing group in America today. Sociologist Stephen Bullivant labels these individuals “nonverts” and argues in his book of the same title that these individuals have . . . Continue reading →

The Truth About Ministering To The Elderly

I have been a Presbyterian pastor for twenty-five years, the last three of which I was privileged to serve as an aged-care chaplain. I ministered in three Presbyterian nursing homes with a community of 220 residents, some 400 staff, and hundreds of . . . Continue reading →

We’ve Been Dating It All Wrong: Richard Denton And The Arrival of American Presbyterianism

Pre-1700’s Presbyterianism in America is shrouded in mystique. Some would say it did not really exist since there was no formal Presbytery established until 1706. Too often it is made to appear that Presbyterianism suddenly dropped into the colonies out of nowhere, . . . Continue reading →

Irony and the Presbyterian Church in America (Part 3): Strategic Planning And Corporate Culture Change

When the 35th GA convened at Memphis’ Cook Convention Center June 12–14, 2007, the PCA was changing from the inside out. Its expanded Overtures Committee met for the first time, and the CMC (Cooperative Ministries Committee) was begun. CofCs (Committee of Commissioners) . . . Continue reading →

Irony and the Presbyterian Church in America (Part 2): The Urban Turn

The 14th GA met in the elegant Academy of Music (a performing arts center) in the city center of Philadelphia, June 23–27, 1986. In addition to sweltering summer temperatures, a sanitation strike threatened conveniences. Nevertheless, the Assembly met in city center Philadelphia, . . . Continue reading →

Irony and the Presbyterian Church in America (Part 1): The First General Assembly

Every re-telling may choose its focus, phrasing, and pace. Think of the following as a tour guide through a relatively short sliver of ecclesiastical history. Many of the same events, persons, emphases would come across differently depending on the tour guide who . . . Continue reading →

The Simplicity of Biblical Polity

A “senior pastor” is one elder among many (as Peter, Paul, and the unnamed elders were at the Jerusalem Council, Acts 15:23) and has no extraordinary authority.* Unfortunately, some—usually large—presbyterian churches become de facto staff-led rather than elder-led. The senior pastor becomes . . . Continue reading →

PCA Overture To Distinguish Laity From Officers

The Presbyterian Church in America’s (PCA) Book of Church Order (BCO) contains no glossary, but maybe it needs one. This is not to fault the BCO’s early-70’s authors—no previous generation of Presbyterians had trouble figuring out what most of the words meant, . . . Continue reading →

Small Is Beautiful

If Google is a reliable search engine, the anniversary of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church on June 11 passed without any mention by the press. The reasons are not hard to fathom. The OPC is small, and it lacks a celebrity. In an . . . Continue reading →

What The Dying Of The PCUSA Means

PCUSA Logo

When, Dean Kelley published Why Conservative Churches Are Growing (New York: Harper & Row, 1972), the Protestant mainline was already in crisis. They were shrinking, and, as Kelley’s title suggests, the “conservative” churches were growing. This book was published the year before . . . Continue reading →

Samuel Would Like A Word With Americans Hankering For A King

Samuel Relating to Eli the Judgements of God upon Eli's House, oil on canvas by John Singleton Copley, 1780. Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut.

Understandably, for many American Christians, the fight or flight instinct has kicked in. They are made to pay taxes to support institutions—for example, public schools—that demonstrably work against their interests and seek to subvert the authority of parents in the family by . . . Continue reading →

What’s In A Denominational Name?

Today, neither the Orthodox Presbyterian Church nor the Presbyterian Church in America bear their first chosen names. Different as the two denominations are, the reasons for their name changes and even their slates of rejected names are quite similar. And the names—those . . . Continue reading →

Give Me the Hills and Hollers, Or I Die!

So, in general, there is some awareness in the wider church of this reality in underserved America’s small-town and rural regions. There is still, however, a greater need to raise up an explicitly Reformed and Presbyterian witness to serve these areas.
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