The Presbyterian Church in America has voted to leave the National Association of Evangelicals due to the interdenominational group’s history of public policy advocacy.
At the PCA General Assembly on Wednesday, the theologically conservative Presbyterian denomination voted 1,030 to 699 in favor of overture calling for them to leave the NAE.
Known as Overture 3, or “Withdraw from the National Association of Evangelicals,” the measure had originally passed the South Carolina-based PCA Pee Dee Presbytery at their stated meeting last October.
To justify leaving the NAE, the overture quoted the Chapter 31 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which says councils and synods “are not to intermeddle with civil affairs which concern the commonwealth, unless by way of humble petition in cases extraordinary; or, by the way of advice, for satisfaction of conscience, if they be thereunto required by the civil magistrate.”
“… the NAE has frequently intermeddled in civil affairs, by publicly pushing for action on the environment, immigration, and has changed its original stance on the death penalty,” reads the overture.
The measure also cited as a concern the NAE’s passage of a resolution in 2018 titled “Fairness for All” in which the evangelical group expressed support for antidiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, provided they included robust religious liberty protections.
“… many prominent conservative and evangelical thinkers and leaders have denounced this compromise as not leading to ‘fairness’ for all who uphold biblical teaching on sexuality and marriage, but rather attempts to guarantee religious freedom for some organizations and institutions while potentially undermining the pre-political religious freedoms of all Americans codified in the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution,” continued the PCA overture.
The overture also concluded that PCA “has no need of the benefits of membership in the NAE, especially of having a voice in Washington championing political concerns that would not even be permitted as a subject of discussion before its councils, let alone be adopted as positions.”
At present, the NAE boasts around 40 different member denominations and church networks, with their online list, accessed by The Christian Post on Thursday afternoon, still including PCA.
Other member entities include the Assemblies of God, ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, the Salvation Army, the Wesleyan Church, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance.
The decision comes as the current NAE president is a pastor ordained in the PCA, Korean American Pastor Walter Kim of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Named as the new president in October 2019 and taking office on New Year’s Day 2020, Kim became the first person of color to serve as president of the prominent evangelical organization.