Is the PCA going liberal?

This question rages on the major message boards.  The initial answer seems to be “no.”  For those of us in former Baptist circles, who fought old-school liberalism to the death, and have the scars to prove it (no joke; I was actually physically attacked in college on this point), it would seem that the PCA isn’t going liberal.  The denomination believes in inerrancy (sort of) and the Westminster Confession (loosely speaking).   The objection seems to be:  if we say the PCA is going liberal, that waters down the term.  The PCUSA is liberal and there is a big difference.”

But the road to liberalism takes different turns.  This morning i just finished rereading Gary North’s Westminster’s Confession: The Abandonment of the Van Til Legacy.  Other issues about theonomy aside, North made several observations which seem to have been vindicated:  With the hiring of Ed Clowney as President, Westminster Seminary moved towards a broader evangelical base.  They never rejected the old Confessionalism, but with the move towards neo-Evangelicalism it became harder to maintain the old Confessionalism.

I actually think Westminster Philly moved back towards a more confessional stance in the last ten years.  However, what North projected of WTS actually is true of the PCA.  If by liberal one means “denying the supernatural,” then the PCA isn’t going liberal, at least not anytime soon.   I think it is better to say they are going “neo-evangelical,” best represented by Christianity Today.  Is neo-Evangelicalism liberal?  Not at first glance.  However, most neo-evangelical movements eventually go liberal.   Christianity Today, a bastion of supposedly right-wing Christianity, at one time hosted a symposium and invited (if not endorsed) pro-abortion physicians and theologians (one of the theologians, by the way, who endorsed abortion, also wrote an essay in Theonomy: A Reformed Critique; just thought I would throw that out there.)

Here is the difference between liberals and mainstream status quo institutional conservatives:  liberals are cunning and they know they are consistent in terms of their covenant-breaking (whereas conservatives think liberals will adopt a common-ground neutral playing field, Roe v. Wade notwithstanding).   They know just how to play the game to marginalize conservative.   And in terms of the PCA, they probably don’t even see themselves as “liberal.” I don’t even think they are liberal.  However, history does play out that when Confessional bodies seek the lowest-common denominator, they usually get it.  At which point the question comes up:  how exactly are you Confessional?

7 comments on “Is the PCA going liberal?

  1. Trent says:

    D o you know of books on church history that chronicle the doctrinal corruption of the RCC and the EO?

  2. olivianus says:

    Ancient Christianity by Isaac Taylor-I have a summary here:

    Drake’s Triadology Stuff (Special attention to The Pagan Doctrine of God and its Influence on Early Christian Theology)

    History of Romanism by John Dowling

    Why I Am Not Eastern Orthodox:

    George Gillespie, English Popish Ceremonies

    Bishop Hall, Serious Dissuasives From Popery

    Gibson’s A Preservative Against Popery with the Supplements (More than 15 Volumes)

    Dr. Comber’s Roman Forgeries in the Councils During the First Four Centuries in Gibson’s Preservative Against Popery Vol. 15.

    The Protestant’s Evidence, The Succession of Protestant Doctrine in all Ages by the Rev. Simon Birckbek (Part 1), Supplement to Gibson’s Preservative Against Popery Vol. 2

    The Protestant’s Evidence, The Succession of Protestant Doctrine in all Ages by the Rev. Simon Birckbek (Part 2), Supplement to Gibson’s Preservative Against Popery Vol. 3

  3. olivianus says:

    Oh and not to forget the book that has never been refuted, Alexander Hislop’s Two Babylons.

  4. sm says:

    The best part of that book is when he explains the politics of Westminster after 1964. He said the book on Machen’s biography was a joke, one should have been fired for teaching and holding views on abortion in the 1970’s, and that the seminary couldn’t write critiques of any relevant subjects in american culture. North goes on to say that the whole of western civilization was crumbling and those guys couldn’t write against anything except theonomy.

  5. […] And such a “reformed” society would end up looking like the broader PCA culture. […]

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