PCA Affirms Biblical Standards in Report on Human Sexuality

Its assessments may come as a surprise to many PCA naysayers…

Originally intended for the 48th PCA General Assembly which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ad Interim Committee Report on Human Sexuality released earlier this year affirmed Biblical standards. This was amidst concerns that the PCA might compromise on this important area.

The authors made clear that the PCA has no intention of surrendering on these issues nor do they intend to sow the seeds for future capitulation. The report affirmed that a Christian’s most important identity is in Christ and that they should not identify themselves by their sinful desires.

The report opens with 12 statements on Marriage, Image of God, Original Sin, Desire, Concupiscence, Temptation, Sanctification, Impeccability, Identity, Language, Friendship, and Repentance and Hope. These statements were followed by commentary across several other areas including how the Westminster Standards characterize sin and how that should inform a Christian’s understanding of sexual identity and repentance from sexual sins.

A portion of the Preamble of the report stated:

The two tasks could be called the “pastoral task” and the “apologetic task.” On the one hand, Overture 42 asks that the Report “help pastors and sessions shepherd congregants who are dealing with same-sex attraction” (M47GA, 104). On the other hand it asks for “suggested ways to articulate and defend a Biblical understanding of homosexuality, same-sex attraction, and transgenderism in the context of a culture that denies that understanding” (M47GA, 105).

There is no reason why these two tasks need to be pitted against each other, although they often seem to be. One reason they seem at loggerheads is that attached to each undertaking is a set of fears.

One set of fears is that we will be harsh and unfeeling toward people who have been wounded and deeply hurt—and often by the Church. A hard-sounding stance toward them at this moment may only make it easier to discredit the Church in people’s minds. As a consequence, many are afraid that the Church will speak in ways that only support the powerful cultural narrative that orthodox Christian belief is toxic for hurting and struggling people.

Another set of fears, however, is that we will compromise at the very place where the world is attacking the Church in our culture. We see many professing Christians and whole denominations surrendering to the sexual revolution. We do not want to be one of them, nor even now in subtle ways to sow the seeds for some future capitulation. As the natural family is a fundamental unit of human society and is the normal means of care and nurture, all sins which threaten, undermine, or marginalize it are both spiritually dangerous and detrimental to human flourishing.

Part of the problem with regard to addressing these issues is that many of us are far more gripped with one set of fears than the other. But because both of these tasks—the pastoral and the apologetic—are required, we should give each of them strong attention.


You can read the committee’s 62 page report in full here. Presbyterians in the PCA should be thankful for this report and appreciative of the hard work of it authors represented.

The committee members included:

TE Dr. Bryan Chapell, Northern Illinois Presbytery (Chair)
TE Dr. Kevin DeYoung, Central Carolina Presbytery
TE Dr. Tim Keller, Metropolitan New York Presbytery
TE Dr. Jim Weidenaar, Pittsburgh Presbytery
RE Dr. Derek Halvorson, Tennessee Valley Presbytery
RE Mr. Kyle Keating, Missouri Presbytery
RE Mr. Jim Pocta, North Texas Presbytery