This week, Tuesday through Friday, the PCA’s General Assembly is gathering in Greenville, SC. This is the annual meeting of our denomination’s highest “court”. Historic Presbyterian Church government uses such language because we believe that the church is to have connections and oversight beyond the local congregation. This is why we have local oversight by the Elders that we call the Session, regional gatherings of the church we call the Presbytery, and the national gathering we call the General Assembly.

We see Biblical support for such a gathering in Acts 15. As you recall, the early church was wrestling with how to assimilate Gentile Christians. Do they need to be circumcised? Do they need to adhere to the Old Testament dietary laws? The church sent leaders to Jerusalem to pray and discuss the matter as recorded in the book of Acts. If you’ll pardon the partisanship, they did so in a very “Presbyterian-ish” manner- it was done “decently and in order”. The decision rendered was to say that Gentile Christians need baptism, not circumcision, and that the dietary restrictions have been rendered obsolete. This decision was to be communicated to the Church at large.

Our General Assembly gathers this week to discuss and decide issues that affect the whole denomination. Today, denominationalism is viewed by many as a bad thing, as a cumbersome thing. We happen to think it’s a good, Biblical thing. It means that churches are binding themselves together for a common purpose. They see the connectionalism Scripture teaches among Christians and churches. As one of my former New Testament professors, Dr. Knox Chamblin, put it, “Denominations should provide lines of distinction, not walls of separation.” Denominations actually serve to bind Christians together more so than independent churches.

Now, we have to say that denominations will not exist in heaven! We realize that. We want to hold to our Biblical convictions as best we can and pray for other gospel proclaiming, Bible believing churches in all places at all times regardless of denomination affiliation. Besides, we’ll all be Presbyterian in heaven anyway when the truth becomes clear to all (I kid, I kid).

Pray for the work of the General Assembly this week. Pray that God’s Spirit rules and overrules the entire proceeding and that what is decided will further the glory of His name and the spread of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to every people, tongue, and nation!