The PCA:  Who We Are

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is an Evangelical, Reformed Presbyterian denomination.

By Evangelical, we mean that we emphasize the gospel (good news of salvation) through faith in Jesus Christ, as well as affirming other orthodox Christian doctrines and holding to the inerrancy of Scripture.

By Reformed, we mean that we are connected to the teachings of the historic church and the doctrinal beliefs recovered by the Reformation.  These doctrinal beliefs are expressed in the Westminster Confession of Faith with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms.  All officers of the Presbyterian Church in America must personally subscribe to and uphold the teachings of the Westminster Confession of Faith.

By Presbyterian, we describe our representative form of church government.  Local churches are governed by a “Session” of “presbyters” (elders), elected by the members of the congregation.  Representatives of local churches within a geographical area compose a “presbytery.”  Representatives of presbyteries meet annually at “General Assembly.”  Thus, through the combined efforts and resources of all of the churches, we are enabled to advance God’s Kingdom much more effectively.  The Committees and Agencies of the PCA help lead this Kingdom work.

The Regional Gulf Coast Presbytery

The National General Assembly

The PCA Denomination

The PCA:  Summary of Our Beliefs

  • We believe the Bible is the written word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and without error in the original manuscripts. The Bible is the revelation of God’s truth and is infallible and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice.
  • We believe in the Holy Trinity.  There is one God, who exists eternally in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
  • We believe that all are sinners and totally unable to save themselves from God’s displeasure, except by His mercy.
  • We believe that salvation is by God alone, as He sovereignly chooses those He will save.  We believe His choice is based on His grace, not on any human individual merit, or foreseen faith.
  • We believe that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God, who through His perfect life and sacrificial death atoned for the sins of all who will trust in Him, alone, for salvation.
  • We believe that God is gracious and faithful to His people not simply as individuals but as families in successive generations according to His Covenant promises.
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells God’s people and gives them the strength and wisdom to trust Christ and follow Him.
  • We believe that Jesus will return, bodily and visibly, to judge all mankind and to receive His people unto Himself.
  • We believe that all aspects of our lives are to be lived to the glory of God under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Westminster Assembly in session (1640's). Painting by John Roberts Herbert

The Westminster Assembly in session (1640’s).

The official doctrinal position of Covenant Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America is contained in the documents known as the Westminster Standards. The Westminster Standards are composed of three documents: the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF), the Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) and the Westminster Larger Catechism (WLC).  We also affirm the ancient orthodox Christian creeds (The Apostles’ Creed and The Nicene Creed).

The Westminster Assembly moved to The Jerusalem Chamber in 1643

The Westminster Assembly moved to The Jerusalem Chamber in 1643

PCA-visionFrom the PCA Vision 2000

As one communion in the worldwide church, the Presbyterian Church in America exists to glorify God by extending the kingdom of Jesus Christ over all individual lives through all areas of society and in all nations and cultures. To accomplish this end the PCA aims to fill the world with churches that are continually growing in vital worship, in theological depth, in true fellowship, in assertive evangelism and in deeds of compassion.

The distinctiveness of the PCA lies in our stress on both reformation and revival. Without an emphasis on revival, “reformation” may become either a mimicking of political ideologies or sterile doctrinalism. Without an emphasis on reformation, “revival” may become a shallow pietism or mysticism. Only reformation and revival together can accomplish the Great Commission of our Lord.
  • Biblical & Theological Application. We are committed to the Scriptures and the historic Westminster Standards based firmly on a biblical theology that answers the questions and issues of each culture and people to which we minister.
  • Worship & Cultural Transformation. We are committed to worship that practices the presence and power of God within the church to the transformation of the surrounding culture through biblical application in population centers around the world.
  • Evangelism & Social Justice. We are committed to the winning of new converts and their incorporation into the church through the ministry of the Word and to significant ministry to the needy through deeds of mercy and service.
  • Spiritual Gifts & Authority. We are committed to the freedom of every member to minister through spiritual gifts and also to the responsibility to do so under spiritual authority and loving discipline.
  • Apologetics & Fellowship. We are committed to dynamic, prophetic confrontation of non-Christian thought forms and behavior and also to the demonstration of the truth through the practice of holiness and love in Christian fellowship.
  • The Family—Biblical & Broken. We are committed to guarding and strengthening the biblical family and also to a ministry to the broken family forms such as the divorced, the widowed and the unwed parent.
  • Teaching & Discipleship. We are committed to teaching and discipling men and women in the whole counsel of God and also to ministering to the needs of the whole person.