The PCA at a Crossroads
A Word from Jon D. Payne | GRN Executive Coordinator
Dear Friends of the GRN,
Warm greetings from Charleston, South Carolina! Like many of you, I missed attending the 48th PCA General Assembly in June. Our annual summer gathering is always a joyful and encouraging week of Christ-centered fellowship. It’s also an important time to labor for the spiritual health and unity of the church. In God’s mysterious providence, however, our plans to gather in Birmingham were not meant to be. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps” (Prov. 16:9).
The 2020 assembly was shaping up to be a consequential one in light of the Ad Interim Study Report on Human Sexuality. Moreover, there were (and are!) several overtures related to Rev. Greg Johnson, Memorial PCA, Transluminate, and the Missouri Presbytery. Many of us are deeply concerned about the influence of Revoice doctrine upon our churches and surprised by the sympathy it has received from some in our ranks. Perhaps of even more concern is the growing ascendancy of critical theory and elements of the social gospel within the PCA.
Importing secular ideologies into our churches will poison and ultimately kill them. The landscape of church history is littered with the ruins of well-intentioned churches that thought becoming like the world was the best way to reach the world. They couldn’t have been more wrong! Our risen Lord Jesus Christ gave His church clear marching orders—The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18–20). It’s critical that we do not lose sight of it. Our mission—as it was for the apostles and the early church—is to faithfully preach the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ, make mature disciples through the ordinary means of grace, and plant (and strengthen) healthy churches everywhere. If the church does not carry out these God-given tasks, who will?
We are at a crossroads in the PCA. I believe that the next two years will reveal what path the denomination will choose. Will it choose the path of biblical and Reformed confessionalism, the way that strives to fulfill the Great Commission through the means that God Himself promised to bless for the salvation of the elect? Or will it choose the path of compromise, allowing the culture to shape the agenda and message of the church? Will we remain Faithful to the Scriptures, True to the Reformed Faith, and Obedient to the Great Commission? Or will we embrace a progressive and confessionally dismissive agenda? Time will tell.
Since 2012 the Gospel Reformation Network has been committed to cultivating healthy Reformed PCA churches. As a network of PCA teaching and ruling elders, we’ve sought to winsomely encourage our denomination to stand firm in the grace of God, hold fast to her confession, and fulfill her mission. The seven GRN distinctives are meant to foster a robust and faithful Presbyterianism. Our annual GRN luncheons at General Assembly (averaging 300+ TEs and REs), multi-speaker day conferences (e.g. A Time to Stand), weekly articles, companies of pastors, seminary luncheons, new literature (e.g. Mere Presbyterianism), brief instructional videos, and other resources are all designed to fulfill our mission to cultivate healthy churches and encourage long-term denominational fidelity.
As the 48th PCA General Assembly approaches, the Gospel Reformation Network remains committed to positive denominational encouragement and biblical reform. To do this, however, we need your sincere prayers and generous financial support.
Would you be willing to join the growing number of PCA churches that support the work of the GRN? Would you be willing to share this letter with your session and/or with individuals who have benefited from the work of the GRN and are concerned about the future of the PCA? Would you generously support the work of the GRN so that our message would continue to be heard at this critical juncture? Would you join the GRN Council—Ligon Duncan, Harry Reeder, David Garner, Richard Phillips, Jason Helopoulos, Mel Duncan, David Strain, and myself—in working toward denominational reform?
* Churches and individuals may give through the giving button on the GRN website or by sending a check made payable to “Gospel Reformation Network” and sent to:
The Gospel Reformation Network
c/o Mr. Mel Duncan
105 River Street
Greenville, SC 29601
Please feel free to reach out with questions and stay tuned for news on our plans for the 2021 PCA General Assembly in St. Louis, June 29th—July 2nd. Until then, take advantage of the numerous resources at and stay connected through our Facebook page.
Soli Deo Gloria!
Rev. Dr. Jon D. Payne
GRN Executive Coordinator
Senior Minister, Christ Church Presbyterian
Charleston, South Carolina