Our church is part of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). But not everyone is familiar with this denomination. So we are going to do a three-part series explaining and introducing the PCA through these blog posts. The hope is that this will be informative and encouraging to you!
First, let's address the larger issue of denominationalism. Why are we in a denomination at all? Why not be a non-denominational church? And aren’t denominations contrary to the spirit of unity?
Our response is that denominations are a healthy way to be connected to a church heritage. We do not “do church” ex nihilo, out of nothing. But rather, everyone is influenced by a particular church heritage – a certain way of practicing church leadership, baptism, orthodoxy, community life. In other words, everyone is doing church within a tradition. The only question is whether we will be self-conscious of it.
Being part of a denomination acknowledges our heritage and gives us a self-awareness of the flaws and weaknesses of our heritage. For example, Presbyterians are strong on theology, but a big weakness is that we are a very cerebral, heady tradition, and rather weak on “doing” the gospel. Historically, Presbyterians are great at writing theology textbooks and founding seminaries, but not very good at frontier evangelism and community engagement.
Being Presbyterian doesn’t mean we arrogantly look down on other denominations. Rather, it means we humbly acknowledge the weaknesses of our own tradition and respectfully listen to the strengths of other traditions.