Presbyterians And Presbyterians Together: A Call To Charitable Theological Discourse

NOTE: This document is posted here for historical interest and research only. This document was published in April, 2006  and provoked considerable discussion in conservative Presbyterian and Reformed world in connection to the Federal Vision controversy. Since that time the original publication site has been removed. Here are some responses from the period that are still available on the web:

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United in Mission
We are followers of Christ and heirs to Presbyterian and Reformed traditions, particularly as embodied in historic confessional standards. As such, we are committed to our Reformational heritage and believe it has an indispensable role in the mission of the Triune God, alongside and in cooperation with other churches, in our local communities, in North America, and throughout the world.

We embrace the highest view of Scripture’s absolute authority and trustworthiness and a fidelity to the Reformed theology of our doctrinal standards. These commitments are in no tension with the church’s missional calling to function, by Christ’s Spirit, as an alternative society within our dominant cultures. These commitments do not undermine, but support the larger shape of that calling:

  • worshipping our God who meets us in Christ through Word and Sacrament.
  • proclaiming his Gospel of grace to the ends of the earth.
  • serving others in deeds of love and mercy, embodying God’s justice and peace.
  • engaging and countering our cultures with the renewing power of Christ.
  • nurturing healthy, growing, and reproducing churches.
  • developing gifts the Spirit has granted to men and women among God’s people.
  • uniting with other Christians in mission as an expression of Reformed catholicity.

In these areas God calls us in Christ, empowered by his Spirit, and guided by his Word, to proclaim and be a sign of the reign of God to the eyes of a watching world.

To remain faithful to this calling, we must not allow legitimate differences and diversity within our own tradition to become obstacles to witness or to obscure the Gospel’s power in forming a new humanity around the person of Jesus Christ.

Together in Diversity The Reformed tradition, particularly as expressed confessionally, represents a definite set of dogmatic contours, doctrinal boundaries, and exegetical trajectories. And that is a tradition we happily and warmly embrace as our own, in conformity with Holy Scripture.

Nevertheless, the Reformed tradition itself has evolved, and even in its formative years, always included differing perspectives on matters of theological detail. Moreover, our tradition typically allows those submitting to its fundamental system of doctrine nonetheless to dissent conscientiously from specific confessional expressions and propositions where such dissent is neither hostile to the system as a whole nor strikes at the vitals of religion, as determined by the judgment of our gathered presbyters.

There are numerous areas in which acceptable differences historically exist. Among others, these include:

  • how we interpret the biblical doctrine of creation as to chronology, timing, and process
  • how we characterize the pre-lapsarian covenant, particularly as to probation, grace, merit, and reward, and its relationship to and distinction from the covenant of grace
  • the way we prioritize and integrate the tasks of biblical theology, historical-grammatical exegesis, apostolic typology, redemptive historical thinking, and study of ancient contexts
  • the relative role we grant to specific experiences of conversion in relation to practices of Christian nurture and the ordinary means of grace within the covenant life of God’s people
  • how we best characterize the spiritual life of covenant children prior to their coming to a maturing faith through the ministry of the Word
  • whether we regard sacraments truly to offer Christ and whether, when effectual, they confer grace instrumentally or are only occasions for the imparting or promise of grace
  • how we interpret and enact biblical teaching on worthy participation in the Lord’s Supper
  • how we apply the regulative principle of worship practically to worship style and order, frequency of communion, the church year, and the like.
  • how we translate scriptural teaching on the Jewish Sabbath into a new covenant understanding of resting upon Christ and celebrating the Lord’s Day.
  • how we construe and implement biblical principles of church polity in accordance with our respective church orders
  • how the church rightly relates to the civil magistrate and wider culture while maintaining her proper spiritual identity and mission.
  • the way we apply Scriptural teaching on election to the lived experience of God’s people as the church visible.
  • how we confess the return of our Lord and the final judgment in relation to the millennium and progress of the Gospel.

Of these differences, some are more matters of doctrinal content, emphasis, or articulation, while others are more matters of pastoral application or expression of our doctrine.

Such diversity, we believe, is healthy and welcome as part of the ongoing life of God’s people as we seek to grow up into unity of faith and live together in the peace of Christ. John Calvin himself writes,

For not all articles of true doctrine are of the same sort. Some are so necessary to know that they should be certain and unquestioned by all men as the proper principles of religion…Among the churches there are other articles of doctrine disputed which still do not break the unity of faith…Does this not sufficiently indicate that a difference of opinion over nonessential matters should in nowise be the basis of schism among Christians? (Institutes 4.1.12)

We lament our past failures to love our brothers and sisters as we ought, the ways we have broken the unity of faith over inessentials, and how we have countenanced foolish controversies, strife, and disputes within God’s church.

In virtue of the church’s mission, we purpose together to seek truth, all the while bearing patiently with and listening carefully to one another. We thereby seek to resolve our differences in the bonds of peace and unity, as is befitting those who confess the name of Jesus Christ, seek to live the Christian story, and work to advance his kingdom.

Signatures

Súler D. Acosta
Associate Pastor
New Life Philadelphia PCA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

James Adams
Member
Village Seven PCA
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Daniel Adamson
Assistant Pastor
All Souls Fellowship PCA
Decatur, Georgia

Kirk Adkisson\
Organizing Pastor
All Souls PCA of Boulder
Boulder, Colorado

Vito Aiuto
Organizing Pastor
Resurrection PCA
Brooklyn, New York

Paul H. Alexander
Pastor, Ukraine Mission Pastoral Resource
Mission to the World, PCA
Odessa, Ukraine

Daniel Allen
Ruling Elder
Redeemer PCA
Austin,Texas

Joshua Anderson
Member
Trinity PCA
Charlottesville, Virginia
MDiv student
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Seima Aoyagi
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

John H. Armstrong
President
Act3
Carol Stream, Illinois

Alex Arnold
PhD student
University of Notre Dame
Member, CRC
South Bend, Indiana

James Lincoln Ashby
Assistant Minister
Christ the King PCA
Houston, Texas

David L. Bahnsen
Ministry Leader
Redeemer PCA
Newport Beach, California

John Allen T. Bankson
Pastor
John Knox PCA
Ruston, Louisiana

Michael Wilson Barber
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

William S. Barker
Professor of Church History Emeritus
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Adjunct Professor of Church History
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri
Attending Old Orchard PCA
Webster Groves, Missouri

Tuck Bartholomew
Organizing Pastor
City Church PCA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jeffrey Baumbach
Ruling Elder
First PCA
Dothan, Alabama

Paul Baxter
Deacon
Church of the Good Shepherd PCA
Durham, North Carolina

Robert Beatty
Pastor
Christ Covenant PCA
Lexington, Kentucky

Loren Bell
Student
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Brett Bonecutter
Pastor
Ancient Hope CREC
Mission Viejo, California

Jonathan Bonomo
Student, PCA
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Langhorne, Pennsylvania

David A. Booth
Member
Amoskeag OPC
Merrimack, New Hampshire

Randy Booth
Pastor
Grace Covenant CREC
Nacogdoches, Texas

Cal Boroughs
Pastor
St Elmo PCA
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Arthur Boulet
MDiv student, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Matt Boulter
Assistant Pastor
Christ the King PCA
Austin, Texas

Anthony Bradley
Assistant Professor
Apologetics & Systematic Theology
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Dennis A. Bratcher
Lay member
Canadian Reformed Churches
Norristown, Pennsylvania

Lawrence E. Bray
Deacon
Reformed PCA of Boothwyn
Boothwyn, Pennsylvania

Uri Brito
Intern / Seminarian
New Life PCA
Casselberry, Florida

Tobey Brockman
Associate Pastor
Zion PCA
Lincoln, Nebraska

Matthew Brown
Organizing Pastor
Park Slope PCA
Brooklyn, New York

Matthew Paul Buccheri
Assistant Pastor
Redeemer PCA
New York, New York

Kevin James Bywater
PhD student
University of Durham, England
Member
Cheyenne Mountain PCA
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Ray Cannata
Organizing Pastor
Redeemer PCA
New Orleans, Louisiana

Franklin Tanner Capps
MAR student, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Westminster, South Carolina

N.A. Carswell
Ruling Elder
Community PCA
Louisville, Kentucky

David Cassidy
Pastor
Redeemer PCA
Austin, Texas

Robert Chapa
Deacon
Cornerstone Community PCA
Artesia, California

Biao Chen Pastor
Chinese Evangelical Church
Third Millennium Ministries
Orlando, Florida

Ken Christian, Jr.
Assistant Pastor
New Life PCA
Virginia Beach, Virginia

Stewart Clem
Director of Arts
Grace PCA
Stillwater, Oklahoma

Matthew Clement
Member
St. Peter Church
Bristol, Virginia

Scott Collins-Jones
Co-Pastor
Woodland PCUSA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philip Court
Part-time student
Presbyterian Theological College
Yarraville, Victoria, Australia

Randy Crane
Pastor
West Friesland PCA
Ackley, Iowa

Garrett Craw
MA student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Thomas Crawford Member
Christ the King PCA
Austin, Texas

Scott Cunningham
Deacon
Redeemer PCA
Athens, Georgia

John Cunningham
Ruling Elder & Church Counselor
Trinity PCA
Charlottesville, Virginia

Rob Davis Ruling Elder
Christ the King CREC
Springfield, Missouri

Bill DeJong Pastor
Covenant URCNA
Kansas City, Missouri

John Dekker Candidate for the Ministry
Presbyterian Church of Tasmania
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan DiBenedetto Youth Intern
Faith PCA
Cincinnati, Ohio

Dan Dillard
Pastor
Grace Reformed OPC
Bend, Oregon

Douglas B. Doll
MDiv student
Visiting Instructor of Greek
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Justin Dombrowski
MA student, Ancient Judaism
Member
Emmanuel PCA
New York, New York

Justin Donathan
Incoming student
Covenant Theological Seminary
Member
Christ the King PCA
Norman, Oklahoma

Gilbert F. Douglas, III
Ruling Elder
Trinity Presbyterian CREC
Birmingham, Alabama

J. Darren Duke
Member
Harvest PCA
Jacksonville, North Carolina

Joshua Aaron Eby
Assistant Pastor
Redeemer Church PCA
Knoxville, Tennessee

George Edema
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Peter Enns
Professor
Old Testament and Biblical Hermeneutics
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michael A. Farley
PhD student
Historical Theology
Saint Louis University
Music Director
Crossroads PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Andrew Field
Pastor
Grace PCA
Palo Alto, California

Travis Finley
CDL Truck Driver, DC
Baltimore, Maryland
Member, PCA

Bruce R. Finn
Church Planting Coordinator, PCA
Metro Philadelphia Church Planting Partnership
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michaela M Forbes
MATS student
Covenant Theological Seminary
Youth and Community Worker
Edinburgh, Scotland

Jonathan Foster
MDiv student, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Alan Foster
Pastor
East Lanier Community PCA
Buford, Georgia

John Frame
Professor
Systematic Theology and Philosophy
Reformed Theological Seminary
Orlando, Florida

Gene Franklin
Pastor
Grace Covenant CREC
Hockley, Texas

Diana S Frazier
Member, PCA
Chapter President
Women in the Church
Signatory, The Cambridge Declaration

Nathan Froyd
Member
Christ the King PCA
Houston, Texas

Jamison Galt
MDiv student
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Charles Garland
Pastor
Ivy Creek PCA
Lawrenceville, Georgia

S. Joel Garver
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
La Salle University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Keith Ghormley
Associate Pastor
Zion PCA
Lincoln, Nebraska

Shane F. Gibson
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Rick Gilmartin
Director of Worship & Discipleship
Tabernacle PCA
Waynesboro, Virginia

James Graves
Ruling Elder
Amoskeag OPC
Manchester, New Hampshire

Douglas J. Green
Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Theology
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Troy Greene
MDiv, Beeson Divinty School
Member
Park Cities PCA
Dallas, Texas

Jason Greer
MDiv student, PCA
Reformed Theological Seminary
Charlotte, North Carolina

Bryan Gregory
Associate Pastor
Back Creek ARP
Charlotte, North Carolina

Bobby G. Griffith, Jr. MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Matthew T. Grimsley
Chief Musician and Assistant Pastor
Redeemer Church PCA
Knoxville, Tennessee

David Hagopian Teaching Elder
Ancient Hope CREC
Mission Viejo, California

Joshua Hahne Church Planter
King of Kings PCA
Buckeye, Arizona

John K. Haralson, Jr. Pastor
Grace Church Seattle, PCA
Seattle, Washington

Jeff Harlow Pastor
Christ the Redeemer CREC
Pella, Iowa

Todd R. Harris Headmaster
Covenant Classical School
Fort Worth, Texas

Ken Harris Visiting Instructor in Old Testament
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Barb Harvey Member
Covenant OPC
Dayton, Ohio

Jonathan Hays
Ministerial Intern
New Song PCA
Salt Lake City, Utah

Walter Henegar Associate Pastor
Christ Church PCA
Atlanta, Georgia

Weston Hicks Member
Redeemer PCA
Austin, Texas

Will Hinton Member
Intown Community PCA
Atlanta, Georgia

Theo Hoekstra Pastor
Grace Covenant Church (Independent)
Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada

Mark Horne Assistant Pastor
Providence Reformed PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Joel Hunter Elder
Tates Creek PCA
Lexington, Kentucky
Virgil Hurt Pastor
Providence CREC
Lynchburg, Virginia

J. Nelson Jennings
Teaching Elder, PCA
Associate Professor of World Mission
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Greg Johnson Associate Pastor
Memorial PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Joseph Johnson Chair, Religion Department
Greenwood Christian School
Member
Due West ARP
Greenwood, South Carolina

Clay Johnson MDiv student
Covenant Theological Seminary
Member
New City PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Charles Johnson Ruling Elder
Director of Christian Education & Community
Twin Oaks PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Tony Johnson (Joncevski) Minister
St. Kilda-Balaclava
Presbyterian Church of Australia
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

David Jones Campus Minister, PCA
RUF at Stanford University
Stanford, California

Joan Jones
Member
Evergreen PCA
Portland, Oregon

Glenn Jones Seminary student
Reformed Theological Seminary
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Russell S. Jung MDiv Student
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Michael Kelly Assistant Professor of Old Testament
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Ewan P Kennedy Pastor
Westminster PCA
Elgin, Illinois

Reggie M. Kidd Professor of New Testament
Reformed Theological Seminary
Orlando, Florida
Pastor of Worship
Orangewood PCA
Maitland, Florida

Iron Kim Associate Pastor
City Church PCA of San Francisco
San Francisco, California

J. Al LaCour
Campus Minister for Internationals
RUF – International, PCA
Atlanta, Georgia

Edwin Lang Headmaster
Geneva Academy PCA
Monroe, Louisiana

Wayne Larson Pastor
Redeemer PCA
Des Moines, Iowa

Timothy R. LeCroy
MDiv 2006, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
PhD student
Saint Louis University
St. Louis, Missouri

Thomas Lee Pastor
Cornerstone PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Peter J. Leithart Teaching Elder, PCA
Trinity Reformed Church
Senior Fellow
New St Andrews College
Moscow, Idaho

Stephen K. Leung Ruling Elder, PCA
Chinese Christian Church of Virginia
Student
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

John P. Lindsay Pastor
West Hopewell PCA
Hopewell, Virginia

David Linton
Ruling Elder, PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Samuel T. Logan Executive Director
World Reformed Fellowship
Chancellor and Professor of Church History
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tremper Longman III Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies
Westmont College
Santa Barbara, California

Glenn Lucke PhD student, Sociology
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

Kris Lundgaard Member
Redeemer PCA
Austin, Texas

Kurt Lutjens Pastor
Grace & Peace Fellowship PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Gregg MacDougall Associate Pastor
Calvary PCA
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania

Sean Mahaffey Teaching Elder
Grace Covenant CREC
Texarkana, Arkansas

Andrew Malkus Ruling Elder
Grace and Peace Fellowship PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Rick P. Martin Ruling Elder
Community PCA
Louisville, Kentucky

Andrew Vander Mass
Pastor
Crossroads PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Stephen R. Master
Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Drew Matter
MDiv Student
Westminster Theological Seminary
CityChurch PCA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Amanda McClendon
member
Redeemer PCA
Waco, Texas

Jonathan D. McGuire
Pastoral Intern
Director of Student Ministries
Trinity PCA
Rye, New York

James McGuire
Senior Pastor
Ward EPC
Northville, Michigan

Daniel McKinney
Assistant Pastor
Jordan PCA
West Jordan, Utah

Herb Melton III
Ruling Elder
Community PCA
Louisville, Kentucky

Rogers Meredith Pastor
Christ Reformed Church
Meeker, Colorado

Sara Mersfelder Minister of Congregational Life
City PCA
Denver, Colorado

Jeffrey J. Meyers
Pastor
Providence Reformed PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

J. Dawson Miller
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Joseph Minich Member,
PCA
Student
Catholic University of America
Hyattsville, Maryland

Melissa Partain Moore
Treatment Foster Care Case Worker
Delta Community Supports, Inc
Member, Trinity OPC
Hatboro, Pennsylvania

William Murray Member
Christ Covenant PCA
Cullman, Alabama

Sam Murrell Pastor
Forest Park PCA
Baltimore, Maryland

Bob Myers
Pastor
Covenant PCA
Doylestown, Pennsylvania

A. Randy Nabors
Pastor
New City Fellowship PCA
Chattanooga, Tennessee

William J. Nielsen
Licentiate
North Texas Presbytery, PCA
MDiv Graduate
Westminster Theological Seminary
Dallas, Texas

Cynthia R. Nielsen
PhD student, University of Dallas
MAR, Westminster Theological Seminary
Member
Park Cities PCA
Dallas, Texas

Joost Nixon
Pastor
Christ Church CREC
Spokane, Washington

David Bruce Noble
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Leon Pannkuk
Regional Director
Evangelism Explosion
St. Louis, Missouri

Patrick R. Park
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Michael N. Parker
Associate Pastor
New City Fellowship PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Brian Penney Pastor
Covenant Christian Fellowship CREC
Copiague, New York

Lloyd Pierson Pastor
Faith Covenant OPC
Kalispell, Montana

Brian Prentiss Associate Pastor
Grace PCA
Palo Alto, California

Sean Radke
Youth & College Ministry Team Leader
Twin Oaks PCA
Ballwin, Missouri

Matt Redmond
Pastor of Student Discipleship
Westminster PCA
Greenwood, Mississippi

William Reichart Assistant Pastor
Big Creek PCA
Alpharetta, Georgia

Andrew Richardson Pastor of Children’s Ministries
Redwood Chapel Community Church (Non-denominational)
Castro Valley, California

Meredith Riedel DPhil candidate, PCA
University of Oxford
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Stephen Robertson
Member
Valley Presbyterian PCA
North Hills, California

Peter Rowan MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

P. Andrew Sandlin President, Teacher
Center for Cultural Leadership
Church of the King CREC – Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, California

Michael Saville ThM, Covenant Theological Seminary
Licentiate, Western Canada Presbytery PCA
Calgary, Alberta

Ronald W. Scates Senior Pastor
Highland Park PCUSA
Dallas, Texas

Matthew Seilback MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Jeremy Sexton MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Michael Sharrett Pastor
Redeemer PCA
Lynchburg, Virginia

Amy L. Sherman
Senior Fellow & Director
Sagamore Institute Center on Faith in Communities
Charlottesville, Virginia

Gil Shivers Elder
Grace Covenant CREC
Hockely, Texas

Laurence C. Sibley, Jr. Minister, OPC
Lecturer in Practical Theology
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Riga, Latvia
Visiting Professor
Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary

Christopher T. Smith
Associate Pastor
Providence Reformed PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Jason S. Smith
Humanities Teacher
Oak Mountain Classical Christian School
Birmingham, Alabama

William Smith
Pastor
Community PCA
Louisville, Kentucky

Brian Steadman
MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Michael Stevens
Pastor
All Nations PCA
Oakland, California

Josh Stevenson
Member
All Saints CREC
Elverson, Pennsylvania

Anthony Stiff Student, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Daniel Stoddart Deacon
Christ Church Mission, PECUSA
Wilmington, Delaware

Donald S. Stone Pastor
Lehigh Valley PCA
Allentown, Pennsylvania

Jon Storck MDiv student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Gregg Strawbridge Pastor
All Saints Presbyterian CREC
Moderator
Augustine Presbytery
Lancaster, Pennsylvania

George Stulac Pastor
Memorial PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Michael Quinn Sullivan Deacon
Redeemer PCA
Austin, Texas

Travis Tamerius Pastor
Christ the King PCA
Columbia, Missouri

Stephen S. Taylor Associate Professor of New Testament
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Michael Taylor
Member
Cornerstone PCA
St. Louis, Missouri

Robert Terry
Ruling Elder
Christ PCA
Flower Mound, Texas

Russ Theisens Director of Student Ministries
Faith PCA
Cincinnati, Ohio

Greg Thompson Pastor
Trinity PCA
Charlottesville, Virginia

Ryan Tompkins Pastor
Trinity Harbor PCA
Rockwall, Texas

Joseph Tong President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophical
International Theological Seminary
Los Angeles, California

Mark Traphagen MDiv student
Westminster Theological Seminary
Member
liberti PCA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Robert Ulrich
Member
CREC
Laguna Niguel, California

Hendrik van Dorp, III Member
Covenant URCNA
Pantego, North Carolina

Garry Vanderveen Pastor
Christ Covenant CREC
Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Michael Vendsel MAR student, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Andrew Voelkel Assistant Pastor
South Baton Rouge PCA
Baton Rouge, Lousiana

Bryan J. Walker
MDiv Student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Richard Wattenbarger Member
Tenth PCA
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jeremy A. Weese MA student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Sam Wheatley Pastor
New Song PCA
Salt Lake City, Utah

Shayne Wheeler Organizing Pastor
All Souls Fellowship PCA
Decatur, Georgia

Andy White
MDiv Student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Hank Whitmore Ruling Elder
Auburn Road PCA
Venice, Florida

Jonathan W. Williams
Deacon
Bridwell Heights PCA
Bristol, Tennessee

Michael D. Williams Teaching Elder, PCA
Professor of Systematic Theology
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Laurence Windham Member
St. Peter Church
Bristol, Virginia

Brandon G. Withrow PhD candidate, PCA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Bradley G. Wright Associate Pastor
Grace Woodlands PCA
Grace Woodlands, Texas

Stephen Young
MDiv Student
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Jeff Zehnder Seminary student, PCA
Covenant Theological Seminary
St. Louis, Missouri

Donald Zylstra Member
Lynwood URCNA
Lynwood, Illinois

ABOUT
Presbyterians & Presbyterians Together is an inter-denominational grass-roots movement among Reformed pastors and leaders that desires to heal and move beyond the various rifts that seem to perennially surface in our tradition. While we acknowledge that important and substantive issues need to be considered and worked-through, we want to do so in the bonds of peace, not in a context of mistrust, suspicion, and sectarianism.

Christian charity assumes the best of the brethren, not the worst. Unfortunately, it seems that our ability to dialogue in profitable ways is often circumvented by assuming the worst of each others’ motives, commitments, intelligence, and diligence. Our hope and prayer is to encourage a renewed commitment to vigorous dialogue that is salted with love and affection, rather than rancor and animosity.

We do this all for the sake of Christ’s Gospel and our Triune God’s mission to a lost and broken world.  God calls us in Christ, empowered by his Spirit, and guided by his Word, to proclaim and be a sign of his reign before the eyes of a watching world.  Living as people shaped by that calling, we remain committed to truth and pursuing truth in love.  It is in that spirit that we offer the petition of this document.

QUOTES
“For many years I have felt that Presbyterians have wasted valuable time debating one another, time that could better be spent in worship, evangelism, and nurture. Pure doctrine is important, but total unanimity on every disputable issue is impossible, and that is not required by Scripture. So we need to be more careful about our priorities. We also need to take much greater care to be fair and gracious to one another when debates do arise. The principles expressed by the Presbyterians Together document give us biblical guidance in this area.” 
— John Frame

“Jonathan Edwards believed that censoriousness among Christians was one of the reasons why the Great Awakening lost its revival power. I believe he was right! And I believe that censoriousness is having the same kind of negative effect in our conservative Presbyterian circles today. The document ‘Presbyterians and Presbyterians Together’ is a wonderful Edwardsean call to orthodox and evangelical Presbyterians to avoid censoriousness for the sake of the Gospel. I am honored to sign the document and I hope that many, many others will do so as well.”
— Samuel T. Logan 

“Presbyterian and Reformed people often seem bent on using their marvelous insights into Scripture and Christian tradition in ways that do not provoke others to love, but rather to controversy. Some of this is, sadly, necessary. We are told to ‘earnestly contend for the faith’ as ministers of the Word of God. But the mission of Christ, in this increasingly dark time in Western history, can ill afford the continued border wars that keep promoting new schisms about boundary issues that should not be allowed to divide us further. I humbly and wholeheartedly support this present expression of unity with regard to our fundamental oneness in the great confessional tradition that Reformed Christians still happily embrace. It is not without reason that my own tradition speaks of accepted confessions as our ‘Forms of Unity.'” 
— John H. Armstrong 

“What impressed me at first glance was that the document called for ‘charitable theological discourse.’ It is not a call to silence differing views or to put an end to debate. Instead, it is a call to debate theological issues in love and respect for one another. If the Reformed Church starts down the path of suppressing different view points from being discussed in a charitable way, then it starts down the same path as the popish inquisition. Rooting out and expelling heresy is of utmost importance in the Church of Christ, but it cannot be done without love (1 Cor 13). I am reminded of what Matthew Henry said in his commentary on 1 Corinthians – ‘In the great things of religion be of one mind: but, when there is not unity of sentiment, let there be a union of affections.”
–Lawrence E. Bray

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who started this?

Through informal discussion, a group of Reformed leaders, pastors, seminarians, and laity found they shared a burden for more irenic and profitable theological dialogue on substantive issues of faith and practice.  They went on to draft an inter-denominational document toward that end and circulated it to early signatories.

Is this an effort to cease dialogue?

The exact opposite is true. We long for true dialogue that escapes the rhetoric of division and derision. Our tradition must mature by working through these issues in a more profitable manner than we have heretofore pursued and, in that context, calling for trust in how our church structures function.

Are you trying to circumvent the work of church courts?

Absolutely not. We want to encourage the courts to work carefully through these issues without being politicized by certain factions, and to cultivate charity so these courts can continue functioning in a healthy and proper way.

Why now?

The level of rancor in our tradition has been elevating over the past several years and threatens our witness and ability to co-labor for the sake of the Gospel. We felt it was time to encourage greater unity before unnecessary schism erupted.

Are you starting a new organization?

Not at this time.

Doesn’t this threaten true unity by compromising the truth of the Gospel?

No. The Gospel is threatened more when we factionalize into sects over issues that should be lovingly and thoughtfully considered – and even tolerated within certain bounds.

Can people who are Reformed, but not Presbyterian sign this?

Of course. Anyone who is Reformed or who is a concerned observer is welcome to add their voice to the chorus.

Is this motivated by an effort to promote a particular agenda?

Not at all. This document does not advocate a particular point-of-view on any issue, but only suggests that various differences have always found their home within the bounds of the historic Reformed tradition and that the church must be allowed to discern appropriate boundaries without needlessly hostile rhetoric.