November 13, 2023
“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”
This is the first of a three-part series based on the message given at the opening of the PCA’s first General Assembly in 1973. The message was delivered by Ruling Elder Jack Williamson and can be found in its entirety here.
We have committed ourselves to the rebirth and continuation of a Presbyterian Church loyal to Scripture, the Reformed Faith and committed to the spiritual mission of the Church as Christ commanded in the Great Commission. For us the Bible is both necessary and sufficient. Apart from Scripture man is hopelessly lost. Created in the image of God, man has fallen and darkness has engulfed him. Man in sin is not only spiritually ill, he is spiritually dead. He is not only confused in his pilgrimage through this world; he is lost. He is like a person in a forest. without a rnap, compass or guide and no idea which way to go.
To be sure, there is revelation in creation. God continues to speak to all men in spite of their sin. but the consequences of sin are such that men cannot hear. Other sounds distract them and drown out the call of God. They hear His call but indistinctly. The calls of the world and self are too strong. Without some leading, they will never find their way to the Father’s house. That is why salvation from God is necessary. Apart from it, the Apostle Paul declares in shocking language that men are “separated from Christ, alienated from the common wealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12).
To abandon or depreciate Scripture is tantamount to abandonment or depreciation of Christianity itself. In paradise, in the Garden of Eden before the fall, there was no Bible; and there will be no Bible in the future Paradise of glory. But in our present condition our immediate communion with God is lost.
Now, in the Bible, God reveals, to the regenerate, a world of thought, a world of energies, a world of full and beautiful life, which stands in direct opposition to this ordinary world, but proves to agree in a wonderful way with the new life that has sprung up in our heart. It is our only infallible rule of faith and practice, in the accepted and ordinary meaning of these terms. We believe that the Holy Scriptures fully contain the will and word of God and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation and sanctification are taught therein.
We shall not consider any other writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those of divine Scripture. Nor shall we consider custom, traditions, councils or decrees as of equal value with the truth of God as found in the Scripture, since that truth is above all. The Word of God written is without error and our final authority.
We are committed to a church loyal to Scripture. We are committed to a church loyal to the Reformed Faith: Ecclesia Reformata. By this we mean a church that has been renewed according to the Word of God. We shall attempt to recover Christianity in its original purity and to remove from it the beliefs and practices that have become attached to it in our day and generation without foundation in the Word of God.
We acknowledge that this can only be accomplished by the Spirit of God. So we pray that His Holy Spirit shall so fully indwell us that this church shall be a clear reflection of the body of Christ.