Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Presbyterian Church in America‘s General Assembly in Greensboro, NC. Held in the spacious accommodations of the Khoury Convention Center, the week had a feel of a reunion to it. PCA ministers and elders greeted one another warmly and enjoyed extended fellowship with one another. Many of the men brought their families with them, and the wives and children would mill about as they waited on their dad to rejoin them after a meeting. As a guest, I was made to feel welcome throughout the week.
The deliberations and events surrounding the gathering of this nation’s largest conservative Presbyterian denomination were quite remarkable. Observing meetings and debates held in an assembly that is three times the size of the House of Representatives was quite an experience. Walking down hallways and regularly seeing leading Christian teachers and authors such as Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, or Kevin DeYoung made me realize again just how “resource rich” the PCA truly is. Over a hundred exhibitors of Christian ministries filled a ballroom and spilled over into other hallways with booths offering literature, products for sale, or little freebies (the RUF tin can mints was the best give-away item in my book). Catching up with former students and other friends was a wonderful blessing.
A ministry that I was made more aware of during my time there was the Gospel Reformation Network (GRN). A group of seven PCA leaders, including men such as Ligon Duncan, David Garner, Richard Phillips, and Harry Reeder, started this network to cultivate healthy, gospel-driven churches within the PCA. Originally a movement to stress the fullness of the doctrine of sanctification in response to erroneous teachings, the GRN has become more full-orbed in wanting to see the PCA keep from “mission drift.” Thus, this network seeks to focus the church by promoting the following seven main items of vision and ministry.
I attended a seminar where a number of those who belong to the GRN participated. As they explained their purpose and fielded questions from those in attendance, my heart rejoiced in hearing their desire and plans to help their denomination stay tethered to their confessional heritage and gospel focus by not falling into such pits as political pandering, liberal leanings, and ministry minutia. Through such means as articles on their blog, seminars and conferences, and especially forming “companies of pastors” of 6-8 men encouraging and holding one another accountable to the above purposes, they are seeking the Spirit’s blessing on their church.
I find much to commend and learn from in this movement. Here is a video where some of the men involved describe their aim.