Thursday, May 13, 2010

PCA Strategic Plan: Post 10

As with Post 9, I have placed my comments in brackets at the appropriate point.


The external challenges listed earlier in this plan should not blind us to the opportunities for Gospel progress that are also present. Because all people are made in the image of God the aspects of their culture that oppose the Gospel inevitably disclose aspects of human need. Thus, the fractures of a culture are openings for the Gospel, revealing where hearts are hurting, longing, empty and open. Below are some indications of Gospel opportunities in our culture: [In short, people have spiritual longings.]

1. Pervasive Spiritual Longing Evident in Explosion of Alternative Spiritualities

2. Relational Longing (due to loss of community, family and fathering)

3. Longing for Something “Certain” Evident in Rise in North American Catholicism,

Islam and Ancient/Future Worship

4. Longing for Racial Reconciliation

5. Cultural Regard for Piety that is Humble and Non-judgmental (e.g. Mother Teresa)

6. Appreciation for Biblical Preaching among “Churched” and “Once-churched”

7. Lack of “Grace Understanding” in Christian Media and Most Pulpits

8. Rapid Spread of Global Christianity (often through Pentecostal prosperity gospel,

with which there is growing disenchantment)

9. Disappointments in Post-modernism

10. Loss of Confidence in Economy, Experts and Government

11. Lack of Institutional or Denominational Loyalty (especially among young)

12. Fear of Terrorism and War

[All of these are true, but then, they have almost always been true. Even the first century was a “postmodern” age. There are also two sides to all these coins. In some sense, these things might draw people to the gospel, but the gospel remains an offense. In short, I’m not sure what this list tells us that we didn’t already know.]


The internal challenges listed earlier in this plan should not blind us to the resources and strengths we possess for Gospel progress. God does not leave us helpless in the face of challenges or without resources to pursue Gospel opportunities. The PCA has been richly blessed with means to confront challenges and to pursue Gospel opportunities that God reveals to us. Below are some of the PCA’s significant resources and strengths:

1. “They Preach the Bible Here….” (The vast majority of people who attend our churches are drawn to the PCA because of the belief that we are committed to proclaiming the truth of Scripture.)

2. Theological Cohesion, Soundness and Depth (Despite our internal debates, the breadth of theological difference among us is quite small on the theological spectrum. In addition, we generally share an appreciation for the necessity of Word and deed in faithful witness of the Gospel) [So really, how bad are the divisions listed above under “Internal Challenges”? Have they overstated the divisions there and understated them here?]

3. Historical Emphasis upon the Gospel of Grace

4. History and Expectation of Growth

5. History of Valuing Mission

6. History of Valuing Cultural Influence [First, what does this mean? Second, can it be documented?]

7. History of Planting Churches (esp. suburban)

8. Large and Well Supported Mission Agency [Is it well-supported or not? “Internal Challenges” seems to indicate some question here.]

9. Sound and Solid Educational Institutions (providing value continuity) [So how helpful is this if we are still left with #11? Are our institutions teaching our identity. In speaking with graduates of our institutions, I'm not sure that the institutions are teaching our identity. But maybe that's just my perception.]

10. Theological Respect for PCA in Broader Evangelicalism (except for actual position on women and perceived position on race) [The position on women is a problem. Shall we abandon our stance to fix it?

11. Connectional Theology (despite non-connectional practice)

12. Cultural Niche for “Traditional” and “Family Focused” Churches (the downside

obviously is our limited connection with non-churched or unwed persons)

13. Significant Denominational Support from Most Mid-size and Large Churches

14. Good Will of Most Congregants and Pastors (delighting to be in the PCA)

15. Large and Well Organized Women’s Organization

16. RUF

17. Openness to Ethnic Diversity (despite lack of accomplishments)

18. Key Innovator Churches and Leaders (Perimeter, Redeemer, New City, New Life,

Seven Rivers, Harbor, Southwest Church Planting Network, etc.) [Ooh! Love those innovator churches! Does that mean we all ought to be innovator churches? What about those churches that are growing and at least seemingly healthy that aren’t innovator churches? Are innovator churches necessarily a good thing? In the end, however, what does this mean?]

19. Support and Growth of National Seminary and Associated Seminaries

20. Pockets of Strong Children and Youth Ministry

21. Willing workers Among Growing Retiree Population

22. Significant PCA Representation in Leadership of Major Evangelical Organizations

[Again, I’m not sure that this tells us anything that we didn’t already know, nor do I find it particularly helpful, as many key items are either not defined or not explained.]

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