It has recently come to my attention that there may be some confusion over what the PCA as a denomination believes concerning marriage. Lest there be any confusion, we in the PCA believe the clear Biblical teaching that marriage is to be a one flesh union between a man and his wife (Gen 2:24, Matt 19:5, Mark 10:7, Eph 5:31 just to name a few of the places in which this thoroughly Biblical truth is more clearly noted). Our denomination specifically affirms this stance, and in fact during the recent PCA General Assembly, we voted to call our churches to pray for those who have been, and are being, persecuted for their defense of the sanctity of marriage, and the sanctity of life. At the same time the PCA was meeting for her General Assembly, another Presbyterian denomination was also gathering for its annual meetings. There, the PCUSA voted to redefine marriage, calling it an institution between two people traditionally considered to be between a man and a woman. The PCUSA also voted to allow their ordained ministers to perform “same-sex wedding ceremonies.”
I know for some of you this sounds like a confusing list of initials...PCA and PCUSA. It may sound like squabbling over definitions. If so, please bear with me. I am not trying to throw rocks at another group, but I am trying to provide a clarification. Part of the confusion lies in the fact that the word Presbyterian is in both denominations. Please know that this word refers to a form of church government, and not to an understanding of Scripture. In the PCA, our understanding of Scripture is Reformed, which I will briefly summarize in this way: we believe in the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of Scripture, the sinfulness of man, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and transforming work of the Holy Spirit.
It is important to note these distinctions and how they apply to our view of marriage, but let me add this...I am writing here with some hesitation. My hesitation does not surround the issue of homosexuality. In fact, I’ve already written on this this topic (see Coming out of the closet: A defense of marriage). My hesitation is two-fold. First, I don’t want to define the PCA as a denomination, or the gospel for that matter, in terms of one particular sin. The truth is, my self-righteous pride is a sin just as is sexual sin (heterosexual or homosexual). More than standing against one particular sin, we stand for, and are a people committed to the person of Jesus Christ. We rightly see, both ourselves, and Him, in the Word of God...our sole source of ultimate truth. In His Word we find the good news that Christ came to save us from our sins (all of them) and we receive that salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone.
Secondly though, I hesitate because I don’t want you to think that we believe we are better than anyone else. I do love the PCA. But lest there be any confusion, I and the rest of the PCA need Jesus desperately. I think I love the PCA though, because while we are not perfect (sometimes very far from it) we know this fact: Our only hope in life and in death, is Jesus Christ.
Despite these hesitations, I’ve been asked the question. So here is my enthusiastic response...the PCA believes and affirms that marriage is to be a union between one man and one woman. We do so because this is the clear teaching of God’s Word. So not only do we affirm marriage, we celebrate it. But lest there be any confusion, my calling is not to point people to a denomination. It is to point them to Jesus Christ.