The 36th General Assembly, after many hours of committee and floor debate, answered Overture 9 in the negative, declining to establish a study committee. This action was taken in spite of a minority report that attempted to persuade the assembly to answer in the affirmative. As the coordinator of Christian Education and Publications, under whose oversight the Women in the Church is positioned in the PCA, a number of people have asked my opinion on the issue.
In liberation theology, God is seen as the God of the oppressed – and therefore against the oppressors and their false god. Jesus is found in the movement for liberation and freedom. Jesus came as a liberator, and he identifies with those mobilized for liberation.
In this particular article, I want to focus your attention on the theme expressed in the title above; the church as a believing community learning to live in communion. As our Westminster Confession of Faith says in 26-1, “All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their head by his Spirit, and by faith, have fellowship with him in his graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory: and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces.”
I am being asked more and more what the term “missional church” means. Does it mean what we have generally thought regarding missionaries leaving and going to other parts of the world to evangelize and church plant? Often those questions have been asked in relation to discussion on the negative and narrowing impact of much of the modern church growth philosophy, especially as it relates to the church and the kingdom.
The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second largest Presbyterian denomination in the USA and relatively young as far as denominations go, begun in 1973. Overall, Presbyterians are a small minority of Christians in America. We need to realize, however, that we are part of something bigger than we usually think.
It becomes more and more obvious that people are deficient in understanding the church and the kingdom; hence, they have not embraced nor understood them as clearly as God would have. As a result, from a human standpoint, the church is taking a licking. People, lacking a biblical view of both, are saying things that should not be said about either. There is apparent confusion about how the local church fits into the universal church and then how the universal church, including the local, relates to and is part of the kingdom.