A BRIEF HISTORY
PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN AMERICA

            The Presbyterian Church in America has a strong commitment to evangelism, missionary work at home and abroad, and to Christian education.  From its inception, the church has determined its purpose to be “faithful to the Scriptures, true to the reformed faith, and obedient to the Great Commission.”

            Organized at a constitutional assembly in December 1973, this church was first known as the National Presbyterian Church but changed its name in 1974 to Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  It separated from the Presbyterian Church in the United States (Southern) in opposition to the long-developing theological liberalism which denied the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy and authority of Scripture.  Additionally, the PCA held to the traditional position on the role of women in church offices.

            In December 1973, delegates, representing some 260 congregations with a combined communicant membership of over 41,000 that had left the PCUS, gathered at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and organized the National Presbyterian Church, which later became the Presbyterian Church in America. 

            In 1982, the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, joined the Presbyterian Church in America.  The Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, had been formed in 1965 by a merger of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, General Synod.

            The PCA has made a firm commitment on the doctrinal standards which had been significant in presbyterianism since 1645, namely the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms.  These doctrinal standards express the distinctives of the Calvinistic or Reformed tradition.

            The PCA is one of the faster growing denominations in the United States, with over 1700 churches and missions throughout the USA and Canada.  There were over 335,000 communicant and non-communicant members as of December 2000.

            The influence of the PCA extends far beyond the walls of the local church.  Mission to the World has 519 career missionaries in almost 60 nations of the world, 169 two-year missionaries, and over 6500 short term missionaries.  Because of the unique relationship between Mission to the World with over thirty mission organizations with whom some of our missionaries are working, some consider that the influence is far greater than our size might indicate.  Indeed, PCA churches support an additional 690 career missionaries, covering over 130 nations.  Further, with more than 100 chaplains in the military, Veterans Administration, prisons, and hospitals, and 45 college and university campus ministers, the Gospel is proclaimed to a rather large audience around the world not reached through usual outreach channels.  Because of the emphasis on education, there are many members of the PCA who are teachers and professors at all levels, including a significant number of large universities and theological seminaries. 

            In this new century, the Presbyterian Church in America continues its commitment to evangelism world-wide and the building up of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ.

            People known who are part of this denomination are: Michael Card (popular singer) Steven Curtis Chapman (contemporary singer), Jars of Clay (contemporary group), Philip Ryken (President of Wheaton College), Tim Keller (pastor of Redeemer PCA, NY), RC Sproul (Ligonier Ministries), D. James Kennedy (author of Evangelism Explotion), Bryan Chapel (President of Covenant College), Edmund Clowney (President of Westminster TS), Derek Webb (singer-songwriter), among many others.