What We Believe
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Fraternal Address to the PCA General Assembly

Chad B. Van Dixhoorn

New Horizons: August 2021

Report on the 87th General Assembly

Also in this issue

God’s Faithfulness in Affliction

Questioning Self-Definition

Mr. Moderator, fathers, and brothers: My name is Chad Van Dixhoorn, and I bring you greetings from the OPC.

It’s important to us that the acronym “OPC” has only one “O,” for we don’t think we’re the “Only Orthodox Presbyterian Church.” Evidences of your commitment to orthodoxy are on display in matters as mundane as your review of presbytery records, or as substantive as your committee’s report on sexuality.

We praise God for your constant reference to the holy Word of God in debates and key documents. And since even enemies of the truth can quote the Bible, we are especially grateful when we see church leaders supplying sane scriptural interpretations, offering helpful confessional quotations, and embracing faithful ethical implications.

May you remain loyal to your Father’s will in all things.

As we in the OPC think about the PCA, items for praise come quickly to mind. We’re grateful that the PCA has continued to own our joint mission of educating God’s people in the work of Great Commission Publications. We’re thankful for your faithful preachers, for not a few of our members have watched PCA services during the pandemic. And we rejoice to forge closer connections to PCA missionaries consciously committed to indigenous church planting.

May the Holy Spirit draw millions to Christ, and then give them a Christ-like community to support them in their journey home!

I’m personally thankful that the PCA keeps grappling with the history and reality of ethnic and racial inequalities and injustice. This is a matter of critical importance, especially for Reformed Christians. There are multiple reasons why Reformed people especially need to grapple with racial injustice. One reason is that whenever Reformed people have defended or allowed such injustice, we have had to set aside our biblical theology in order to find room for racism.

The fact is that the best system for opposing racism from a biblical point of view is the covenantal understanding of the Bible offered by the Reformed faith. No one has taught more clearly that Old Testament Abraham is the father of all new Testament believers than the Reformed. No one has taught more clearly that all nations under the gospel are equal before the Lord, united in one covenant of grace. The Reformed church ought to be the safest place for every race. And so when Reformed people have wandered from these truths in order to promote our prejudices, we have been especially guilty.

Looking at my own denomination’s history, I see an encouraging 1974 committee report on race-related problems and solutions, but you can hear from the very date of the report that we were slow to listen, and then slow to speak.

And might it be that we are too slow once more? If Reformed confessions offer the best biblical theology to help with race, they also offer the best theological anthropology to deal with sexuality. I pray that this time, we will all be faithful, and in that way helpful.

The truth is that we must act as Christians even if our diagnosis of the problem cannot be the same as the world’s diagnosis. We must act, for the world needs to see the blessing of God’s grace culture, building people up, instead of the curse of our enemy’s cancel culture, tearing people down.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit draw together first his church, and then this country, as only a triune God can!

May God bless the Presbyterian Church in America.

The author is an OP minister and professor at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. His remarks were at the opening of the first full day of business of the PCA’s general assembly, prior to its consideration later of overtures that addressed sexuality and racism. New Horizons, August-September 2021.

New Horizons: August 2021

Report on the 87th General Assembly

Also in this issue

God’s Faithfulness in Affliction

Questioning Self-Definition

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