What a Reformed Pastor of an “Evangelical” Church Needs to Do
Run away to Confessionalism! Todd Pruitt was the lead pastor of Church of the Savior in Wayne, Pennsylvania from 2008, until he completed his pilgrimage as the Lead Pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Harrisonburg, Virginia. He is a graduate of Southwest Baptist University and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He writes about his pilgrimage in a post, “Running to Confessionalism,” in A Place for Truth. For those pastors—or church members—who have immersed themselves in the waters of Lake Geneva, but are trying their best to swim along Willow Creek, here’s an enlightening first three paragraphs:
From the end of 2008 to 2013 I was the lead teaching pastor of a large non-denominational church in the northeast. During my time there I was told by various elders to lead the church in a more “broadly evangelical” direction. By others I was encouraged to lead the church to become more narrowly Reformed. I was told that our theological “tent” was too big and that it was too small. In those few years I understood the wisdom of the words of Dirty Harry, “A man has to know his limitations.” There are a few things I can do. There are other things I could probably learn to do. But one thing I will never know how to do is lead a church in two opposing directions simultaneously. During that sojourn I came to the conviction that the entire project of “big tent” evangelicalism is failing. Whereas broad evangelicalism used to mean John Stott, now it encompasses Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Gregory Boyd. The tent pegs of evangelicalism’s big tent have been moved out too far. It can no longer support the weight of its own contradictions. So, in August of 2013 I ran to confessionalism. Specifically my ordination was transferred to the Presbyterian Church in America and I became the Lead Pastor of a PCA congregation. The experience has been like finding an oasis in a desert. It has been like discovering a GPS after meandering blindly through an unknown country. Too dramatic? It does not feel that way to me. It is nearly impossible to effectively put down error and nurture unity within a church whose minimal statement of faith is only able to identify the grossest of heresies.
Run away to your “oasis in a desert”: a truly Reformed church!
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