PCA 2013 General Assembly — The YECs get their turn

In 2012, two old-Earth Christian geologists gave a presentation at the General Assembly (annual meeting) of the Presbyterian Church in America. Gregg Davidson is a professor of geology at the University of Mississippi, and Ken Wolgemuth is an oil industry consultant, and their presentation was entitled “The PCA Creation Study Committee a Dozen Years Later: What Does Science Say Now?”

The PCA is a theologically conservative denomination, holding to biblical inerrancy, as well as conservative positions on a number of other issues. Like a majority of denominations that hold to biblical inerrancy, the PCA does not take a position on the age of the Earth. There are large numbers of scholars, pastors, and elders within the PCA who believe the Bible teaches a young Earth, and large numbers who believe the Bible does not require a young Earth.

In the 1990s, the PCA created a committee to address the issues surrounding origins, such as the age of the Earth and biological evolution. The committee released its Report of the Creation Study Committee in 2000. This is a fairly balanced document, outlining the biblical arguments in favor of young-Earth creationism alongside those for three old-Earth biblical interpretations.

However, some young-Earth creationists within the PCA were outraged that the denomination would include these old-Earth Christians at the General Assembly. There were those who were upset that any old-Earther would be give the floor in a General Assembly seminar, others who were angry because of perceived ties between the speakers and the theistic evolution (a.k.a. evolutionary creation) organization BioLogos, and others who merely asked why equal time was not given to young-Earthers.

I see that this year’s General Assembly has a YEC seminar, as well as a YEC exhibitor. Here’s the description for the YEC seminar:

Astronomy Reveals Creation
Seminar Speaker: Dr. Jason Lisle, Director of Research, Institute for Creation Research

Critics of the Bible have often attempted to use the methods of science to persuade others that the Bible is not trustworthy. We are told that the universe is a cosmic accident—a “big bang” followed by billions of years of evolutionary processes. However, these attempts to discredit biblical creation do not stand up to rational scrutiny. The science of astronomy confirms that the Bible is true. In this highly visual presentation, astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle shows powerful scientific evidence that confirms that our universe is not an accident, but has been designed and created by God as the Bible teaches in Genesis. The Christian can be encouraged that the Word of God is absolutely trustworthy on all matters. This includes not only matters of theology and morality, but matters of science and history as well.

The Institute for Creation Research will have a booth in the exhibition hall.

It appears that there are no old-Earth seminars or exhibitors.

I pray for unity, clarity, faithfulness, love, grace, and peace within the denomination in regards to this sometimes divisive issue.

Grace and Peace



If my recollection is correct, one of the presenters was unable to be at last year’s seminar, though he had been scheduled.

Davidson and Wolgemuth are available as speakers for seminaries, Bible schools, and other organizations through Solid Rock Lectures.

I wrote about the 2012 General Assembly here: PCA General Assembly includes a seminar on the age of the Earth. Here are some quotes and comments I found at the time from blogs advocating YEC-only within the PCA:

“there appears to be a move to kick Young Earth Creationists out of the PCA tent.”

“the assault on biblical creationism will most assuredly destroy your denomination.”

“After reading the description of the anti-YEC Seminar, I was so rattled spiritually and emotionally that I could barely concentrate for the rest of the day.”

“I won’t be attending the actual Seminar. I don’t trust my ability to be gracious and to play well with others in that setting, not to mention to keep my head from exploding.”

“Can someone invite a YEC scientist, with credentials, to attend the seminar and raise objections to the so-called “evidence” that will be presented?”

Davidson and seven other PCA geologists have written an article entitled PCA Geologists on the Antiquity of the Earth which was published in Modern Reformation magazine in 2010. YEC geologist and PCA church member John Reed wrote a response which is posted on the Answers in Genesis website.

18 thoughts on “PCA 2013 General Assembly — The YECs get their turn

  1. Pingback: PCA 2013 General Assembly — The YECs get their turn « The GeoChristian | GalacticSlackerHQ

  2. Yes, I will pray that this does not become a more divisive issue than it is. Many denominations are struggling with it, and we should hope that we can work together for the glory of God despite our difference on this issue.


  3. Jacob

    I had a hard time finding a church that was conservative but was also very accepting of people who have Old Earth or Theistic Evolution views. I finally found such a church. I am not very current about what is going on in the PCA denomination – I hope this Assembly is not an indication that the PCA will become a young earth only denomination.


  4. geochristian

    Jacob — I don’t think the PCA is on the verge of a YEC takeover, though it is clear on some PCA and Reformed blogs that there are YECs who would be happy to see all us old-Earthers leave the denomination.

    One possibility that I gather from some PCA blogs is a split, which I think would be a tragedy.





  5. Jacob

    I hope sanity prevails and there is no split on such an issue. There are so many challenges and to split just so everyone you sit next to on Sunday morning reads the first chapters of Genesis exactly like you do? I have read some good books published by Intervarsity that gave the Old Earth perspective. I hope they will be allowed to continue to publish helpful books like that. I found refuge in a church that was started by conservatives who left the Episcopal Church over various issues. But people from many backgrounds get along and there and there is not an official “creed” about how to read Genesis (there is the Nicene Creed, which they take very seriously). I think the church is its own worst enemy sometimes.


  6. geochristian

    The young-Earth seminar is within the next hour (at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time, Tuesday 6/18). I am praying for unity and grace within the PCA in regards to this divisive issue.


    1. This was an excellent, excellent seminar. Worth hearing over again. He certainly talked about YE, but this was not the thrust of the presentation. The main point of the presentation was, that the universe confirms what the Bible says about astronomy.


  7. geochristian

    Jeff — Thanks for the update. Will the seminar be posted online?

    There is certainly common ground between old-Earthers and young-Earthers on this one. The universe had a beginning, the heavens declare the glory of God, and the creation points to a creator.


  8. Jeff – Lisle is very sneaky with his words. When he says the universe confirms what the Bible says about astronomy, he means way of viewing the universe as being 6,000 years old confirms his interpretation of what the Bible says about astronomy. Kind of circular.


  9. I left out a word – I meant to say “Jeff – Lisle is very sneaky with his words. When he says the universe confirms what the Bible says about astronomy, he means his way of viewing the universe as being 6,000 years old confirms his interpretation of what the Bible says about astronomy. Kind of circular.


  10. Th ere are tw Garden of Eden mentionef in th e Bible. In Ezek28:13, the garden was covered with stones while the garden during Adam was covered with trees, plants and vegetations.

    Reading 2Peter3-17, in v5b”the earth was formed out of water through water by the WORD of God.” When? – at Genesis1:3-10

    In Gen1:1, God created the
    universe, the stars, moons, earth. Apostle Peter in 2Pet3:1-7 was talking about earth cleansings; by Ice, Water and the near future by Fire.

    Gen1:2 a was the description of the earth after the first


  11. Genesis1:2 “The earth was without form and void…”—This was the description of earth after the first earth cleansing, by Ice.” And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the (solid) WATERS.

    God repositioned the sun and the moon Gen
    1: 3-10, so that ice will melt away, to expose the dry land, and the water contained as Sea. These wad


  12. After “the earth was formed out of water and through water” (2Peter3:5b) God refiiled the earth again with living things. Note
    Gen1:28 (KJV), God instructed Adam and Eve to REPLENISH the earth.(It means there is life before (wiped out after the 1st earth cleansing)

    I believe SCIENCE is the


  13. I believe SCIENCE is the fulfilment of Daniel12:4 “knowledge shall increase at the end time.” God permit science to be developed for us to understand the deep things of God and not to be used to refute His WORD.


  14. Pingback: An A Priori Argument Against Young Earth Creationism | ajrogersphilosophy

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