Over the next couple of months, there are several churches in various states that will be voting to withdraw from the PCA and, hopefully, request affiliation with Vanguard Presbytery. The sentiment of several of those churches is well summed up by one pastor who told me, “When you have to overture the General Assembly to amend the BCO to include language which forbids homosexual or same-sex attracted ministers, you have already lost the battle.”
There are several things that make Vanguard Presbytery (and the new denomination which will be formed) an attractive option for those who want a confessional and reformed denomination:
First, the first priorities of every court in this new denomination will be to pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, for revival, and for the gospel to be preached in sound doctrine.
Second, there will be an emphasis on the spirituality of the Church and her mission.
Third, the Great Commission will be fulfilled at the session and presbytery levels, but not at the General Assembly level where such committees always degenerate into bureaucracy and hierarchy.
Fourth, the office of evangelist (alluded to in all Presbyterian books of polity, including the PCA BCO) will be a reality in Vanguard Presbytery.
Fifth, the polity of Vanguard Presbytery will be distinctly grassroots and will require that any overtures to amend the Constitution must show the Scriptural necessity for doing so and the impact of making such a change.
Sixth, there will be no permanent committees, boards, or agencies at the General Assembly level.
Seventh, Vanguard Presbytery will require full subscription to the Westminster Standards which is not to be confused with “every jot and tittle” subscription which is reserved for Scripture alone.
Eighth, Vanguard Presbytery will allow only one view on creation, that is, that God created the heavens and earth in the space of six 24-hour days and all very good.
Ninth, in Vanguard Presbytery every congregation will own their own property and will be unimpeded in leaving the denomination at any time for any reason.
Tenth, Vanguard Presbytery will live out the true meaning of what every Presbyterian book of polity says about church power, that it is “wholly spiritual and is ministerial and declarative only.”
Eleventh, every committee, commission, board, or agency of any court in Vanguard Presbytery will be completely subject to the court that appointed it which means that executive committees and executive sessions will not be permitted to function for the whole body.
Twelfth, Vanguard Presbytery will not countenance a spiritual oligarchy that makes distinctions among ministers and churches and, thereby, becomes guilty of judging with “evil motives” (James 2:4). Every pastor and congregation, large or small, will be treated well, but none will be treated with “an attitude of personal favoritism” (James 2:1).
Dewey Roberts, Pastor at Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Destin, FL
Author: Historic Christianity and the Federal Vision;
Samuel Davies: Apostle to Virginia