That Clears It Up (for the PCA)

Among the matters that Greg Jao, vice president of InterVarsity, clarified to Rod Dreher:

You state that Michelle Higgins spoke as a representative of BlackLivesMatter. That is not correct. Michelle Higgins primary affiliation from Urbana’s perspective is as a minister of South City Church, a PCA congregation which engages in justice activism in St. Louis as part of its ministry. She spoke as a Christian minister (who does affirm our Doctrinal Basis) from the St. Louis area who has worked alongside the BlackLivesMatter movement. The distinction is important.

59 thoughts on “That Clears It Up (for the PCA)

  1. Hmmm… I thought there had to be a mistake and this was really the EPC. I guess I don’t understand the difference anymore.


  2. Higgins (whose father is the pastor) is listed as “Director of Worship and Outreach” — a neatly non-biblical office.

    She also retweeted someone who referred to her conference talk as a “sermon” without correction, clarification, or qualification.

    Note also that there are female deacons on the staff page — not deaconesses. Are they ordained? Are the male deacons ordained? Does anyone care?

    Welcome to PCA 2016. Thanks, TKNY.


  3. From Minister Higgins’ bio on the South City site:

    Why is the Gospel good news? The gospel is good news because it is the truth. It is the candle to which we hold all things. We are set free by this news and yet it calls us to serve. We search and research and ponder over the gospel, and yet in it we find meaningful answers to life’s profound questions.

    I was thinking something like this might be a more appropriate answer from a PCA minister:

    That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.

    He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood, and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil. He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven; in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.

    Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him.

    But maybe that’s not justicey enough. I’d have to ask our resident unificator.


  4. CW, they have a conference for folks like you to deal with your plain to everyone else, sin of white privilege. Don’t say anything, just sit there and be reckoned with. I’d go but I’m really busy being The Man.


  5. SDB, I attended the EPC GA in a neighboring city in 2014 as a self-appointed old school PCA observer (I wore a blue helmet). Their GA was much more tame, middle-class, and “traditional” than the PCA GA. Interestingly, the keynote speaker was TKNY hisself.


  6. This PCA church “engages in justice activism in St. Louis as part of its ministry.” What if my church in Appalachia decide to engage in 2nd amendment activism including concealed carry classes? Reckon that would be well received by the smart set/cool kids/SJWs?


  7. CW: This PCA church “engages in justice activism in St. Louis as part of its ministry.” What if my church in Appalachia decide to engage in 2nd amendment activism including concealed carry classes? Reckon that would be well received by the smart set/cool kids/SJWs?

    Open carry, closed table.


  8. Something about being raised in a home full of catholic women and having nuns for teachers has just made me immune to female ministers. I can’t hear them. I mean, I see their mouth moving but hell if I know what they’re saying. It’s like a reverse dog whistle. It hits that certain pitch and I can’t hear for nothing.


  9. cw, “Their GA was much more tame, middle-class, and “traditional” than the PCA GA. Interestingly, the keynote speaker was TKNY hisself.”

    In other words, they were trying to be hip. How will you keep them in the suburbs once they’ve seen TKNY.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. cw – What if my church in Appalachia decide to engage in 2nd amendment activism including concealed carry classes?

    I assumed you were home-schooling the little unificators in concealed carry.


  11. Publius,

    I wonder if the Pipe (see what I did there?) carries his health insurance card with him.

    So sad that’s where his hope lies, to borrow from his argument.


  12. The Pipe. I like that – it must be your wrasslin’ background.

    Does The Pipe believe in health insurance or is that too worldly?


  13. Okay. It seems that a trend in the non-denoms is equating Pastor with Elder and then equating Deacon with Minister.

    I ran across this in a local non-denoms position papers:

    With that in mind, we believe that the terms “deacon”
    and “minister” are interchangeable, referring to the
    same office and qualifications. When we use the word
    “minister” in our context we are referring to the same
    office that has been described above as “deacon”—a
    deacon/minister holds a position of service, not a
    position of pastoral/elder authority.

    Click to access 15_womenleadership.pdf


  14. Let’s be charitable about any order/ecclesiastical irregularities that may exist in Higgins’ church. I mean, THEY’RE ONLY A FEW MILES FROM THE DENOMINATIONAL SEMINARY IN A PRESBYTERY LOADED TO THE GILLS WITH EXPERTS, THEOLOGIANS, PHDS, AND PROFESSIONAL PRESBYTERIANS. So give ’em a break. #unificate


  15. Somebody once commented to me that the PCA is silly. I think that about sums it up. Can anyone in this denomination get comfortable with ordinary? They run the gamut from hipster baptists to halfway houses to rome, but seemingly nobody can manage ordinary. We’ve got relational, incarnational, transformational, social justice radicals, southern genteel and now slavery induced post traumatic stress groups(black and white. This will be a concentration at CTS any semester now). But apparently, nobody’s got the competence or confidence to just do ordinary.


  16. Sean, the OPC is ordinary border line weird. That’s why ordinary is not appealing.

    It’s like our current phase of Islamophobia. Everyone is afraid of Muslims but no one wants to be thought to be THE Donald.


  17. The PCA is a heavy, seemingly fancy and modern passenger train. It has several types of coaches — they don’t match and their connectors are of different types, too. Some old guys (most of whom have recently retired) made it work for years. No one remembers how. Now the train is going downhill at about 85 mph and is approaching.a series of curves. There are four types of people on board: those who believe they can negotiate the curves (in spite of the fact that no one has before), those who are oblivious and comfortable, those who plan to jump from the left at the last minute, and those who plan to jump from the right — the last straw club. Depending on timing and physics it could end badly for everyone.


  18. cw – Are you last straw club?

    The OPC is open and accepting refugees (from the PCA, ahem) by letter of transfer. We’ll leave the light on.


  19. Higgins a minister? Hardly. She can call herself anything she likes, but we will call her, and those who support her using the title, an apostate. The Bible is very clear on who can hold the office, and it’s not her.


  20. The friction caused by these social, gender, and ecclesial issues reminds us of the genius of the Roman church. They have women in their pantheon (Mary and saints), have space for them in the church structure (nuns in habits and slacks), have a adopted at least a lite form of the social gospel across the board, and make room for most conservative (think Spanish fascist) elements and most far-left (Latin American Marxists). It continues to be all good. Prots are just rookies making needless problems for themselves.


  21. And why don’t the OL papists pile on or even comment on issues such as these? Because our deviants and liberals can’t hold a candle to theirs. Nor can our tackiness and bling, our fairly boring sex scandals, or our trafficking in wealth and worldly goods.


  22. Question for those more attuned to all things PCA. I’m in the Great Lakes Presbytery of the PCA. Which of the four groups on the train best represents them?


  23. Good morning CW,

    You asked for it. The pile on, I mean 🙂

    What you said about tackiness, and bling, and trafficking in wealth( Solomon had wealth….so depends on where you get it and how well you use it).
    There’s the sex scandals and cover-up too. Quite a laundry list. No need to point fingers. I’m working on taking the splinter out.:)


  24. Why is it when things go bad for protestants, Catholics take the lumps?

    The OL dining car has whiskey, gambling, tabacco and cussing, I’m moving to the caboose for some fresh air.


    Have a great day!


  25. C dubs, it’s not even deja vu at this point. We were really doing liberation theology in the RC and had priests and religiuos getting jailed and shot and killed in foreign countries trying to free the oppressed in the name of jesus and Marx. Again, white suburban, yuppie white inner city loft dwellers and black radical conservative american prots just play at it. They don’t mean it. They just want the cache. Not that I’m recommending liberation theology but lets not confuse conferences on white privilege and screeching ministers with the misspent blood, sweat and tears on the RC side. The PCA has an opportunity to one radical thing, and that’s preach the gospel and rightly administer the sacraments. They’re so far behind the curve on the ‘boots on the ground’ transformation of the world that it’s actually not funny and rather embarrassing.


  26. C-dubs, all hail modernity and technology. You will be assimilated. They( millenials) will lead you where you never wanted to go in your old age.


  27. Sean,

    Candy Crush, or as they call it in A Brave New World — “soma” nearly consumed my auto-repair-father-in-law.

    I hate my generation.


  28. cw, “Prots are just rookies making needless problems for themselves.”

    That’s what happens when you actually try to use the keys of the kingdom rather than installing images of them everywhere (in Rome anyway).


  29. Susan, “Why is it when things go bad for protestants, Catholics take the lumps?”

    Susan, there are honest Roman Catholics who don’t traffic in hype like Ross Douthat and Boniface at Unam Sanctam blog.

    And then there are fairy tale RC’s.

    On which side are you?


  30. ZRIM,

    I live in the outskirts of LA. Tom and I will , sadly, never cross paths.


    I had to squint reading that last one. Whuh?
    Maybe it’s you who are picking and choosing. I frequent the CCC and Vatican documents.


  31. George,

    Thanks:) I haven’t heard that song in quite awhile. Is LA the same NF?
    If yes, then I might be a redneck.

    I used to know all the words to sneaky snake too. I also knew all the words to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive. 🙂

    Speaking of music……and Tom


  32. Well, I’ll admit that you got the last word on that one. I never had any use for Bowie and his weird glam-rock or whatever they called it. Disgusting.


  33. Susan, but you don’t read fellow Roman Catholics:

    We are witnessing [at present] a peculiar insistence on the mercy of God which sounds foreign, very foreign to Catholic ears. We hear talk of the Lord who is always forgiving, but this insistence is never preceded and accompanied by the memory of the gravity of sin, in [all] its deadly consequences.

    It’s the same old story: Catholic truths are taken, isolated from all the rest and transformed into something else. It’s the technique for the founding of a new Church, the church of humanity which is not the Church of Christ.

    In all of this there is something illogical, something not reasonable: why in the world would the Lord accept you with mercy if you didn’t need to be pulled out of sin and death?

    Today it is fashionable, even in the Church, to talk about the goodness of God without referring to the seriousness of sin – every sin. In fact, those in the Church who still dare to denounce evil and its gravity, are seen as an enemy of God’s mercy, to be eliminated like a false prophet, so that the beauty of the “new church” may finally shine through.

    Many moral disasters will occur this Holy Year if we don’t return to the true Mercy, the mercy of Christ, Who, in accepting you, sorrowful for your sins, forgives you and says: “from now on, sin no more.”

    The mercy of God, of Christ, can never be separated from the firm condemnation of sin, every sin. Rather it is in teaching properly the gravity of sin that the Church has always opened hearts to the true mercy of God.

    Whom are we supposed to believe? You or a Cardinal?


  34. Goodness, George. The music is what I like. Maybe it’s a generational thing, or neck of the woods? I don’t go for the celebrity aspect. That men shouldn’t wear makeup, I agree. I like a lot of 80’s artists( The Cure for instance )though and it was part of the artistry. Never liked Boy George. Sorry this is turning into assocation and stream of consciousness writing!

    Take care, George


  35. Oh my. PCA-level suck,

    “The faithful have no alternative but to gather in church to celebrate a sort of priestless Mass even in the cities where there is no lack of priests. On Sunday they could fan out to the various churches, but instead they prefer to concelebrate among themselves and leave the faithful to the mercy of unbridled fanatics, when the fanatics are not the celebrants themselves, who sometimes modify the liturgical texts as they please because they are not even capable of understanding them, who turn the singing of the Sanctus into a dance rhythm, who do not commemorate the pope, the bishop, the deceased. Priests so shiftless that typically on Mondays, like the barbers in Italy, they take a day off and do not celebrate Mass, not even in the cathedrals. Or do not visit the sick, do not bring viaticum, do not celebrate funerals. And they cannot always justify themselves by bringing up the scarcity of their numbers.”


  36. @CW

    Does it really matter how most people feel about the PCA? Denominations are pragmatic in nature. When the alliance no longer makes sense, people can dissolve it and form new alliances. As I understand it, conservatives are now a minority in the PCA. That’s true to an extent in the GA, but certainly true in the pew on Sunday morning. If you think that you


  37. Bobby,

    As I understand it, conservatives are now a minority in the PCA.

    Depends on what you mean by “conservative.”


  38. Yikes!! That Presbytery needs to seriously address South City Church!! My word.
    Female Deacons??? No, way. That is strictly forbidden and was ruled against a couple of years ago at the GA. Several churches in the Philly area where I am from had to make ministry changes because of that ruling. How on earth is South City promoting female deacons?
    It is also unacceptable that this woman is calling herself a minister of the Word (even though Intervarsity doesn’t necessarily see as much of a problem with it, the PCA officially does not allow women in that office).

    And finally, I’m noticing that this is the same church where Kyle Keating serves as an elder. He is a pro- Gay Christian apologist and has promoted theological projects by people like Julie Rodgers, Wesley Hill, and Eve Tushnet

    This church has serious issues.
    Come on Presbyteries!!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.