The PCA is wrestling with the questions surrounding how we understand and interact with those who identify as Same Sex Attracted (SSA) and its many variations. Many of the larger denominations have dismissed the issue by either denying what the Scripture says about it or ignoring that message. We, as a denomination and as a local church, want to hold the Scripture in a position of authority, because the Bible is God's word and it is our only rule of Faith and Practice.
Included below is a summary of our position and practice on the SSA question.
A Pastoral Statement on Human Sexuality
The following statement represents the collaborative effort of several Teaching and Ruling Elders within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). It is not intended to be a polemic against the culture or against any group of individuals but to be a pastoral statement on what the
Scriptures say about our sexuality and what Christ provides to free us from condemnation and slavery in the Gospel.
2. Some Christians and churches regrettably have not loved, listened to, or cared for those experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion in a manner befitting their identity as God’s image-bearers or, in the case of believers, as our brothers and sisters in Christ; and we exhort such Christians and churches to repent of these failures.
3. All human beings descending from Adam by ordinary generation are born sinners, having inherited both imputed guilt and enslaving corruption from Adam, and justly deserve God’s judgment and wrath (Rom 5:12; Eph 2:1-3).
4. By his death and resurrection Christ has not only procured the justification of his saints whereby they are forgiven and declared righteous in God’s sight but has also secured their freedom from enslavement to sin so that they are able to die unto sin and live unto righteousness in Him (Rom 5:12-19, 6:1-14; Col 3:5-11).
5. When the Spirit unites sinners to Christ by faith, Christ pardons and subdues the corruption of their nature by his grace and grows them in holiness as they work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12-13).
6. Even after such union with Christ, there remains a corruption of their nature that continues to generate all manner of sinful desires, such as anger, disobedience, pride, hatred, lusts, or unnatural sexual attractions (Eph 2:1-3).
7. While external temptations from Satan and the world are not sinful for those subjected to them, internal desires that arise from the corruption of the flesh, including romantic or sexual attraction to a member of the same sex, are sinful and must be pardoned and mortified in Christ (Heb 4:13; John 3:6).
8. The notion that unnatural sexual desires, due to the fall, are merely “disordered” but not sinful, conflicts with the biblical and Reformed doctrine that both the corruption of our nature itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin (Rom 7:5-8, 25; Gal 5:17; WCF 6.5).
9. Terms such as “gay Christian,” “same-sex attracted Christian,” “alcoholic Christian,” “lustful Christian,” “greedy Christian,” etc., do not rightly define the identity of believers; rather, Christians must consider themselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ, in whom they find their identity (Rom 6:11; 1 Cor. 6:9-11).
10. Sanctification is not fully realized in this life, and the remnants of corruption remain in every part of the Christian, which remnants prompt an irreconcilable war between the flesh and the Spirit, such that the Church should never promise the complete removal of sinful desires, including same-sex attraction (1 John 1:8; James 3:2; Gal 5:17).
11. Same-sex attraction, spontaneously arising from a Christian’s remaining corruption, differs from sin in which a desire is not only conceived in the heart but breaks forth into action, and those Christians who resist and refuse to act upon such spontaneous attractions in word, thought, and deed are actively mortifying sin in obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 10:13; Col. 3:5; WCF 6.5; WLC 151).
12. The progressive character of sanctification in this life should lead the church to welcome, love, and care for suffering sinners, including those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion, tenderly shepherding them to rest in Christ and walk increasingly in newness of life (1 Thess 5:14; 2 Tim 4:2; Rom 6:4).
13. No temptation has overtaken anyone that is not common to man, so the Church must avoid being a place where those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender confusion are alienated, but rather serve as a haven for sinners who are loved and encouraged to battle against indwelling sin in the covenant community (1 Cor 10:13; Heb 10:25).
We were part of the Cumberland Presbyterian's, who came to Dubois County in 1817. The first established services started in Dubois County at Fort McDonald in Portersville Indiana area. Shortly after that services were established in the Alexander Campground area in Ireland Indiana. by 1818, the Cumberland Presbyterians established log churches in the Ireland and Portersville areas. "The new town of Jasper was laid out in 1830, and it was during this same year that a log meetinghouse was erected by the Cumberland Presbyterians; near the Enlow Farm and Mill, who shortly thereafter built a frame church on the southwest corner of Sixth and Mill Street in Jasper. When the Dubois County Courthouse burned down in 1839, this church became the courthouse." until 1848. As progress evolved in the county and churches became old and needed replacement, the Ireland Church merged with the church in Jasper in 1940. The Portersville Church merged in 1988. All of the churches eventually combined with the FIrst Presbyterian Church of Jasper. A new church was built at our current site, 3240 Saint Charles St. in 2001.
More recently, we have joined the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). We believe that the PCA is more faithful to the teachings of the historic Presbyterian Church because they remain based upon scripture, the infallible word of God.
What We Believe | Presbyterian Church in America
What We Believe
For God’s Plan of Salvation, click here: THE GOOD NEWS
For the Westminster Standards, click here: WCF
For the Book of Church Order, click here: BCO
If you are looking for the PCA’s position about a specific topic, please visit the PCA Historical Center’s collection of PCA Position Papers here: PCA POSITION PAPERS
A good summary of what the PCA believes can be found in the Preface to the Book of Church Order: (see below)
PREFACE TO THE BOOK OF CHURCH ORDER
I. THE KING AND HEAD OF THE CHURCH
Jesus Christ, upon whose shoulders the government rests, whose name is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; of the increase of whose government and peace there shall be no end; who sits upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom to order it and to establish it with judgment and justice from henceforth, even forever (Isaiah 9:6-7); having all power given unto Him in heaven and in earth by the Father, who raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all (Ephesians 1:20-23); He, being ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things, received gifts for His Church, and gave all offices necessary for the edification of His Church and the perfecting of His saints (Ephesians 4:10-13).
Jesus, the Mediator, the sole Priest, Prophet, King, Saviour, and Head of the Church, contains in Himself, by way of eminency, all the offices in His Church, and has many of their names attributed to Him in the Scriptures. He is Apostle, Teacher, Pastor, Minister, Bishop and the only Lawgiver in Zion.
It belongs to His Majesty from His throne of glory to rule and teach the Church through His Word and Spirit by the ministry of men; thus mediately exercising His own authority and enforcing His own laws, unto the edification and establishment of His Kingdom.
Christ, as King, has given to His Church officers, oracles and ordinances; and especially has He ordained therein His system of doctrine, government, discipline and worship, all of which are either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary inference may be deduced therefrom; and to which things He commands that nothing be added, and that from them naught be taken away.
Since the ascension of Jesus Christ to heaven, He is present with the Church by His Word and Spirit, and the benefits of all His offices are effectually applied by the Holy Ghost.
II. PRELIMINARY PRINCIPLES
The Presbyterian Church in America, in setting forth the form of government founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God, reiterates the following great principles which have governed the formation of the plan:
1. God alone is Lord of the conscience and has left it free from any doctrines or commandments of men (a) which are in any respect contrary to the Word of God, or (b) which, in regard to matters of faith and worship, are not governed by the Word of God. Therefore, the rights of private judgment in all matters that respect religion are universal and inalienable. No religious constitution should be supported by the civil power further than may be necessary for protection and security equal and common to all others.
2. In perfect consistency with the above principle, every Christian Church, or union or association of particular churches, is entitled to declare the terms of admission into its communion and the qualifications of its ministers and members, as well as the whole system of its internal government which Christ has appointed. In the exercise of this right it may, notwithstanding, err in making the terms of communion either too lax or too narrow; yet even in this case, it does not infringe upon the liberty or the rights of others, but only makes an improper use of its own.
3. Our blessed Saviour, for the edification of the visible Church, which is His body, has appointed officers not only to preach the Gospel and administer the Sacraments, but also to exercise discipline for the preservation both of truth and duty. It is incumbent upon these officers and upon the whole Church in whose name they act, to censure or cast out the erroneous and scandalous, observing in all cases the rules contained in the Word of God.
4. Godliness is founded on truth. A test of truth is its power to promote holiness according to our Saviour's rule, "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matthew 7:20). No opinion can be more pernicious or more absurd than that which brings truth and falsehood upon the same level.
On the contrary, there is an inseparable connection between faith and practice, truth and duty. Otherwise it would be of no consequence either to discover truth or to embrace it.
5. While, under the conviction of the above principle, it is necessary to make effective provision that all who are admitted as teachers be sound in the faith, there are truths and forms with respect to which men of good character and principles may differ. In all these it is the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other.
6. Though the character, qualifications and authority of church officers are laid down in the Holy Scriptures, as well as the proper method of officer investiture, the power to elect persons to the exercise of authority in any particular society resides in that society.
7. All church power, whether exercised by the body in general, or by representation, is only ministerial and declarative since the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and practice. No church judicatory may make laws to bind the conscience. All church courts may err through human frailty, yet it rests upon them to uphold the laws of Scripture though this obligation be lodged with fallible men.
8. Since ecclesiastical discipline must be purely moral or spiritual in its object, and not attended with any civil effects, it can derive no force whatever, but from its own justice, the approbation of an impartial public, and the countenance and blessing of the great Head of the Church.
If the preceding scriptural principles be steadfastly adhered to, the vigor and strictness of government and discipline, applied with pastoral prudence and Christian love, will contribute to the glory and well-being of the Church.
III. THE CONSTITUTION DEFINED
The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America, which is subject to and subordinate to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, the inerrant Word Of God, consists of its doctrinal standards set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith, together with the Larger and Shorter Catechisms, and the Book of Church Order, comprising the Form of Government, the Rules of Discipline and the Directory for Worship; all as adopted by the Church.