spacerAbout the PCA

spacerDenominational History and Doctrine


The purpose of the Presbyterian Church in America is rooted in “faithfullness to the Scriptures”, the reformed faith and obedience to the Great Commission. Its commitment to evangelism, mission work both at home and overseas and Christian education are strong.


The church was first organized in December of 1973 and first known as the National Presbyterian Church. Deligates representing approximately 260 congregations accomplished this for a communicant membership of over 41,000 at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. In 1974 it changed its name to Presbyterian Church in America or PCA. Its separation from the Presbyterian Church in the United States was due to opposition to theological liberalism, long-developing in the PCUS that denied the diety of Jesus Christ and the authority and inerrancy of the Scriptures. The PCA also held to the role of women in church offices in its traditionary state.


The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, joined the Presbyterian Church in America in 1982. This Evangelical Synod was formed in 1965 through the merging of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. The doctrinal standards of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Westminster Larger Catechism have been of great significance in presbyterianism since 1645 and are viewed as subordinate to the Bible. They express the distinctives of the Calvinistic or Reformed tradition.


The Westminster Standards and Reformed tradition recognize the unique authority of the Bible as distinct doctrine. Their claims are based on the Scriptures alone or “sola scriptura”. Included is the inspiration of the Scriptures as a special act of the Holy Spirit by which He guided the authors so that their words, in their original autographs, would convey His thoughts as He wished them conveyed, include a proper relation to the thoughts of other inspired books and be kept error free in fact, doctrine and judgement as an infallible rule of faith and life.


spacerDistinctives included are the doctrines of grace; that which God has done for mankind’s salvation.












Total depravity of man
Within himself man is incapable of reaching out towards God and at total enmity with God. (Romans 3:10-23)
Unconditional election by God’s grace
No condition exists in any person for which God would save him and before the creation of man God chose some for everlasting life. This was done out of His mere good pleasure (Ephesians 1:4 and 5)
Particular atonement
God of infinate mercy, to accomplish this planned redemption, sent Jesus Christ, his only Son, to die for the sins of a specific and large number of people. (Romans 8:29 and 30)
The grace of God as irresistible
The effectual work of the Holy Spirit moving upon a particular person called by God and applying the work of redemption (John 3:5 and 6)
The perseverance of the saints
The gracious work of the sanctification of God whereby He bestows on the saved person perseverance to the end. This process is not complete in his life but is viewed as good as accomplished from God’s perspective. (Romans 8:30, 38 and 39/Philippians 1:6)


The Book of Church Order sets forth the historic polity of Presbyterian governance as maintained by the PCA. This denotes rule by presbyters (elders) and the courts or graded assemblies. These courts consist of the session, which governs the local church; the presbytery, which governs regional matters; and the general assembly, being at the national level. The General Assembly is the largest gathering of the denomination staffed by Teaching and Ruling Elders from churches across the country to transact ecclesiastical business, deal with significant theological issues, review the year’s past ministry and prefare for the future of the denomination. There are two distinct classes of elders; teaching and ruling. Presbyterian governance is of a democratic nature being from the bottom of the church upward.


Most of the ministries of the denomination are coordinated from PCA headquarters in Lawrenceville, Georgia and consist of numerous Program Committees; Mission to the World, Mission to North America, Christian Education and Publication, Reformed University Ministries, with one service committed, and the Administrative Committee, which administers the General Assembly. Five agencies minister to the denomination as well; the PCA Foundation, PCA Retirement and Benefits, Inc. (in Lawrenceville), Ridge Haven (the conference center for the PCA near Rosman, North Carolina), Covenant College at Lookout Mountain, Georgia, and Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri (the national educational institutions of the Presbyterian Church in America).


As one of the fastest growing denominations in America, the PCA has 1757 churches and missions in the United States and Canada with over 346,814 communicant and non-communicant members as of December, 2010. Mission to the World has career missions in nearly 60 countries worldwide with over 520 career missionaries in residence. It has 169 two-year missionaries and over 6500 short term missionaries. Mission to the World has over thirty mission organizations and supports, in addition, 690 career missionaries in over 130 countries. It supports over 100 chaplains in the military, Veterans Administration Hospitals, prisons, hospitals and 45 campus ministers. Many members of the PCA are teachers and professors in all strata including universities and theological seminaries.


Additionally the PCA places a high emphasis on academic exploration as defined by apologetics and presuppositional apologetics. Many clergy also practice “cultural apologetics” as pioneered by Francis Schaeffer, a notable author of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod. Cultural apologetics engages with secular cultural activites such as music, film, art and literature to win souls to Christ. The PCA also places great emphasis to ministries of mercy to the poor, orphans, the elderly, people with disabilities both physical and mental, American Indians, and refugees.


The denominational magazine of the PCA is called byFaith and the PCA is a member of the National Association of Evangelicals and the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) which is an interchurch organization representing traditional denominations in the Calvinist tradition.



spacerNotable Presbyterians

Todd Akin - U.S. Congressman from Missouri

William M. Barker - Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court

Kenneth B. Bell - Former Justice of the Florida Supreme Court

Joel Belz - Former publiser of WORLD magazine and moderator of the 31s PCA General Assembyly

James Montgeomery Boice - Theologian and senior minister at Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Scott Brister - Former Justice of the Texas Supreme Court

Steve Brown - Professor at Reformed Theological Seminary , radio broadcaster and author

Michael Card - Musician and songwriter

Bryan Chapell - Pastor, author and president of Covenant Theological Seminary

Steven Curtis Chapman - Musician and songwriter

Edmund Clowney - Theologian and pastor, professor and president of Westminster Theological Seminary

Bob Corker - Former mayor of Chattanooga and the U.S. Senator from Tennessee

Jim DeMint - U.S. Senator from South Carolina

J. Ligon Duncan, III - Churchman and scholar

John Frame - Author, theologian and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary

George Grant - Pastor, educatr and author

Jars of Clay - A Christian-crossover band

J. Alan Groves - Hebrew Bible scholar, creator of Groves-Wheeler Morphology, Old Testament professor at Westminster Theological Seminary

Ben Haden - Pastor

R. Laird Harris - Churchman and scholar

Charles Hill - Author, theologian and professor at Reformed Theological Seminary

Bob Inglis - U.S. Congessman from South Carolina

Timothy J. Keller - Author, pastor and church planter

D. James Kennedy - Author, pastor, social conservative activist and moderator of the 16th PCA General Assembly

C. Everett Koop - Former U.S. Surgeon General

Paul Kooistra - Head of the PCA's Mission to the World

Sandra McCracken - Singer, songwriter

Carlos J. Moorehead - Former Congressman from California

Matt Morginsky - Musician and member of the O.C. Supertones

Gary North - Christian reconstructionist

Marvin Olasky - Editor-in-chief fo WORLD magazine

Vern Plythress - Theologian, philosopher and New Testament scholar at Westminster Theological Seminary

Richard L. Pratt, Jr. - Founder and president of Third Millenium Ministries

Robert L. Reymond - Theologian, author and Distinquished Professor of Systematic Theology at Knox Theological Seminary

Philip Graham Ryken - President of Wheaton College, former senior minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia

Kenneth L. Ryskamp - Senior Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and moderator of the 9th PCA General Assembly

John Smoltz - Professional baseball player

R. C. Sproul - Author, theologian and chairman of Ligonier Ministries

Jim Talent - Former U.S. Senator from Missouri

Tullian Tchividjian - Author and pastor

Derek Webb - Singer, songwriter, solo artist and member of Caedmon's Call.



spacerFamous Presbyterians

George Akerson - First White House press secretary

Buzz Aldrin - Astronaut

Lamar Alexander - U.S. Senator from Tennessee

Sherwood Anderson - Short story author

Philip Anschutz - Founder of Qwest

Dick Armey - U.S. Representative

Robert Bacon - U.S. Ambassador to France

Lloyd Bentsen, Jr. - Senator, Secretary of the Treasury

Clifford K. Berryman - Political cartoonist

Marsha Blackburn - Tennessee Representative

John C. Breckinridge - U.S. Vice President

Phil Bredesen - Tennessee Governor

David Brinkley - Journalist, broadcaster

William E. Brock - Secretary of Labor

William Jennings Bryan - Scopes Monkey Trial prosecutor

James Buchanan - 15th U.S. President

Pearl S. Buck - Author

Warren Burger - Supreme Court Chief Justice

Frederick Buechner - Author

Aaron Burr - U.S. Vice President

Rev Aaron Burr - Co-founder of Princeton University

Raymond Burr - Actor

Richard Burton - Actor

John C. Calhoun - U.S. Vice President

Donaldina Cameron - Missionary to China, social actvist

Gower Champion - Broadway director, choreographer

Andrew Carnegie - Businessman, philanthropist

Jim Carrey - Actor

Thomas Cartwright - Father of English Presbyterianism

Beverly Cleary - Children's book author

Grover Cleveland - 22nd and 24th U.S. Presidents

Henry Sloane Coffin - Clergyman, author

Arthur Holly Compton - Physicist, Nobel Prize winner

Ralph Conner - Canadian novelist

Ann Coulter - Conservative writer and pundit

Katie Couric - Television personality

Charles G. Dawes - U.S. Vice President

Daniel Defoe - English novelist

Brian DePalma - Film director

Bob Dole - U.S. Senator

Elizabeth Dole - Senator, head of the Red Cross

William O. Douglas - Supreme Court Justice

John Foster Dulles - U.S. Secretary of State

Dwight D. Eisenhower - 34th U.S. President

William Faulkner - Author

Marlin Fitzwater - White House Press Secretary

Bill Frist - Senate Majority Leader

Greer Garson - Actress, Academy Award winner

Frank Gifford - Football player, sportscaster

John Glas - Scottish clergyman

John Glenn - Astronaut, Senator

E. L. Godkin - Publicist

Porter Goss - CIA director

Ruth Graham - Wife of Billy Graham

Benjamin Harrison - 23rd U.S. President

Rutherford B. Hayes - 19th U.S. President

Ed Harris - Actor

Will Hays - Creator of Hollywood's self-censorship "Hayes Code"

Thomas A Hendricks - U.S. Vice President

Alger Hiss - Russian spy

J. Edgar Hoover - FBI director

David Hume - Scottish philosopher

Andrew Jackson - 7th U.S. President

Stonewall Jackson - Confederate general

Jack Kemp - Football player

Jomo Kenyatta - President of Kenya

Sandra Knight - Television and film actress

John Knox - Founder of Scottish Presbyterianism

Melvin Laird - Secretary of Defense

Carol Lawrence - Actress

Elijah Lovejoy - Abolitionist martyr

David Letterman - Late night talk show host

Ida Lupino - Actress

Jeanette MacDonald - Actress

Peter Marshall - Minister, U.S. Senate chaplain

Thomas R. Marshall - U.S. Vice President

Cyrus McCormick - Inventor

Carl McIntyre - Misister, anti-communist

Walter Mondale - U.S. Vice President

Agnes Moorehead - Actress

Lucy Maud Montgomery - Novelist

Robert McNamara - Secretary of Defense

Ian Paisley - Minister, political leader in Northern Ireland

Ross Perot - Businessman

Jame Knox Polk - 11th U.S. President

Joseph Priestley - Chemist, minister

Dan Quayle - U.S. Vice President

Christopher Reeve - Actor

Nancy Reagan - Wife of Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan - 40th U.S. President

Debbie Reynolds - Actress, singer

Condeleeza Rice - U.S. Secretary of State

Sally Ride - Astronaut

Fred Rogers - Minister, childrens show host

Roy Rogers - Cowboy, actor

Donald Rumsfeld - U.S. Secretary of Defense

Dean Rusk - U.S. Secretary of State

Ray Schultz - Singer, bassist

William Sheppard - Missionary to Africa

Charles Stelzle - American labor reformer

Adlai E. Stevenson - U.S. Vice President

Robert Louis Stevenson - Author

Jimmy Stewart - Actor

Billy Sunday - American preacher

Curt Swan - Comic book artist

Shirley Temple - Actress

Daniel D. Tompkins - U.S. Vice President

Colleen Townsend - Actress, Presbyterian author

Leslie Uggams - Entertainer

Martin Van Buren - American statesman

Dick Van Dyke - Actor

Hendrik Verwoerd - Prime Minister of South Africa

Henry A. Wallace - U.S. Vice President

Sam Walton - Founder of Wal-Mart

John Wayne - Actor

James Watt - Developer of the steam engine

William A. Wheeler - U.S. Vice President

Woodrow Wilson - 28th President

Ralph Winter - Movie producer

Margaret Wise Brown - Children's book author.




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