13 differences between the PCA and the PCUSA

pcaBy Andrew Webb

I was recently asked to outline some of the major differences between the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) and my own denomination the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and I came up with the following 13 point list:

1) The PCA does not ordain women to either of the offices in the church (Teaching/Ruling Elder, Deacon). The PCUSA by contrast ordains women to both offices.

2) The PCA affirms that the bible is inerrant and infallible in all that it teaches. The PCUSA does not.

3) The PCA repudiates abortion and considers it a violation of the sixth commandment. The PCUSA believes, there should be no limits on access to abortions, there should be public funding of abortions, and that there should be limits placed on people who demonstrate against abortion.

pcusa 4) The PCA is against homosexual behavior and same sex marriage and believes both are sins. The PCUSA does not consider homosexuality to be a sin, ordains practicing homosexuals and came within 30 votes of giving the go ahead to same sex marriage ceremonies in the church. Their next General Assemby (GA) will probably do so.

5) The PCA is against divorce except in cases of adultery or desertion. The PCUSA by contrast allows for no-fault divorce and remarriage.

Read more at http://biblebased.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/13-differences-between-the-pca-and-the-pcusa/


Comments 5

  • Brother Tim, whether or not women can/should serve our Lord in the diaconate has been a P.C.A. issue, much discussion. Now in the P.C.A., I know that some of our flocks recognize deacons’ assistants, women, a compromise, it seems. Certainly, whether or not “official,” service of women is invaluable, precious to our Lord. (All of us are called to serve one another in his name.) Overall, presbyterian leadership has been subject to much debate, at least since the civil war; the P.C.A. maintains an historic presbyterian understanding of this: our Lord mediating his rule through holy men. Brothers and sisters in Christ, across the P.C.A. look at this as we’re challenged to change, trusting his Spirit to show us his will, a difficult issue. We just want to please him in all things. Thanks for your comment and fellowship. My prayer is to see a reformation in the visible church, beginning with me! Dale
    P.S. We’ve lost some good congregations because we won’t change our conviction on this.

    • Hi Dale. Lost PCA congregations or missed out on PCUSA congregations joining? I know there’s been an active discussion within the PCA on deaconesses. Its worth noting that the conversation is nearly identical to that in the PCUSA in the 70s with similar arguments on both sides of the issue. We base a lot of strife between brothers and sisters (that might be otherwise united) on a few verses that we read a lot into. If these issues are not those that are “plain” or “necessary unto salvation”, then perhaps we should be considering that some disagreements over things not “plain unto all” should be de-emphasized and left to God to arbitrate. However, I suspect that some of the other points (e.g. 2 and 6) may be equally problematic for our brothers and sisters in the PCUSA. Most of the other points are positions that many PCUSA congregations don’t hold, thus the constant emigration out of the PCUSA to EPC/ECO/RCA.

  • There are PCA churches with women deacons the churches that do are just not dealt with constitutionally and the GA avoids confronting the issue judicially

  • Item 4 is the one that gets almost all the attention and press coverage. But item 3 is an enormously important difference between these two denominations.

    • Point 2 of the 5 listed here is the most important, but in the link points 6,7, and 8 are key. The others, including 4 are consequences of the differences I highlighted.

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