The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Presbyterian Church in America

The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second largest Presbyterian Protestant church body in the United States, after the Presbyterian Church (USA). The PCA has a strong commitment to evangelism, missionary work, and to Christian education. From its inception, the church has determined its purpose to be "faithful to the Scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission."

In December, 1973, delegates from 260 congregations that had left the Presbyterian Church in the United States, gathered at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and organized the National Presbyterian Church, which became the Presbyterian Church in America in 1974. According to PCA's official website, it "separated from the PCUS in opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture. Additionally, the PCA held to the traditional position on the role of women in church offices."

In 1982, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, joined the Presbyterian Church in America. The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, had been formed in 1965 by a merger of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod.

The PCA has made a firm commitment on the doctrinal standards which had been significant in presbyterianism since 1645, namely the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and the Westminster Larger Catechism. Among the distinctive doctrines of the Westminster Standards and of Reformed tradition is the unique authority of the Bible as the inspired word of God. The Reformers based all of their claims on sola scriptura, Scripture alone is the highest authority.

According to its official website, the Presbyterian Church in America has over 1450 churches and missions throughout the USA and Canada. There were 311,817 communicant and non-communicant members as of 2002.

Additionally, the denomination has formed its own agency for sending missionaries throughout the world (Mission to the World), its own ministry to students on college campuses (Reformed University Ministries), and its own college (Covenant College) and seminary (Covenant Theological Seminary). It shares control of a publication company, Great Commission Publications, with its sister denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Most recently, the PCA has founded their own denomonational magazine, by Faith.

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Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04