MTW and the Original Vision Network

Pastor Wes White has a post today about the work Dr. Paul Kooistra and Mission to the World (MTW) are doing to build a new network dedicated to returning the PCA to its “original vision.” It seems odd to me that MTW, which oversees foreign missions, would take it upon itself to do this. Here is a brief excerpt from the request for support sent out by Pastor Larry Hoop:

The torch is being passed. The generation that founded the PCA is passing from the scene and as a result we are at a crossroads. At this key moment in our denomination’s history it is vital that we renew our commitment to the original vision our founders established nearly 40 years ago. This vision is embodied in our long-time motto: “Loyal to Scripture, Faithful to the Reformed Faith, Obedient to the Great Commission.” Our founders envisioned:

  • a denomination firmly based on the inerrant Word of God, in contrast to the rampant liberalism they had contended with so long;
  • a denomination committed to a broadly Reformed theological position, steering clear of both a formless evangelicalism with sketchy theological commitments and a narrow sectarianism that could consume our energies building a theological fortress;
  • above all, a denomination aggressively pursuing the mission our Lord gave His church of making disciples of all nations.

This original vision has attracted many to the PCA throughout her history. It has fueled the evangelistic zeal that has resulted in scores of churches planted in the United States and Canada, and the development of the largest Presbyterian mission force in history. It can unite us today as it did at our founding nearly 40 years ago.

I have to say that I’m not really sure what “a denomination committed to a broadly Reformed theological position, steering clear of both a formless evangelicalism with sketchy theological commitments and a narrow sectarianism that could consume our energies building a theological fortress” means. It’s especially confusing in light of the reasons given in the formation of the PCA in 1973:

We have called ourselves “Continuing” Presbyterians because we seek to continue the faith of the founding fathers of that Church. Deviations in doctrine and practice from historic Presbyterian positions as evident in the Presbyterian Church in the United States, result from accepting other sources of authority, and from making them coordinate or superior to the divine Word. A diluted theology, a gospel tending towards humanism, an unbiblical view of marriage and divorce, the ordination of women, financing of abortion on socio-economic grounds, and numerous other non-Biblical positions are all traceable to a different view of Scripture from that we hold and that which was held by the Southern Presbyterian forefathers.

Change in the Presbyterian Church in the United States came as a gradual thing, and its ascendancy in the denomination, over a long period of time. We confess that it should not have been permitted. Views and practices that undermine and supplant the system of doctrine or polity of a confessional Church ought never to be tolerated. A Church that will not exercise discipline will not long be able to maintain pure doctrine or godly practice.

When a denomination will not exercise discipline and its courts have become heterodox or disposed to tolerate error, the minority finds itself in the anomalous position of being submissive to a tolerant and erring majority. In order to proclaim the truth and to practice the discipline which they believe obedience to Christ requires, it then becomes necessary for them to separate. This is the exercise of discipline in reverse. It is how we view our separation.

Check out the full post and discussion over at Pastor Wes’ blog.

3 thoughts on “MTW and the Original Vision Network

  1. sedgegrass says:

    Interesting comments on Wes’ blog. This has a similar feel to the ‘meeting’ that was called a while back to discuss the need for civility within the PCA. Kind of an ad hoc sort of thing that involved some PCA leaders but not others. Who gets to decide who is on the Board? Who took it upon themselves to pick the Board and then choose a leader, with an apparent non-profit status? Was it MTW staff? Seems highly irregular to PCA polity and MTW’s job parameters.

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