Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ties That Bind, Ties That Divide

One of my mates in the OPC recently accused us in the PCA of being "functional congregation-alists." He was responding to something I said about the diversity of our presbytery in areas like worship, theology, and overall philosophy of ministry. As it is elsewhere, it's pretty much live-and-let-live here in the Pacific Northwest.

He certainly has a point.

A denomination as broad as the PCA is bound to get messy and confusing, especially with respect to where we draw our various lines in the sand. On issues of worship, for example, one may identify himself with one set of allies, while he may disagree with those men over issues concerning biblical theology and Pauline eschatology. Conversely, those who share a similar view of the importance of eschatology may differ over whether justification or union with Christ is more central to Christian doctrine and life. And don't get me started on the bedfellows of a confessionalist who believes in women deacons.

I suppose what I'm wondering is whether the diversity and broadness of a denomination like the PCA is an asset or a liability. And if the latter, which issues represent ties that bind, and which are ties that divide?