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Presbyterian Church(USA) Comparison Chart

Comparison of Basic Beliefs and Viewpoints of Three Presbyterian Denominations: 
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) (PCUSA), Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians 
(ECO), and Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) 
At the request of Mid-Council leaders in the Presbyterian Church (USA) this comparison chart 
has been developed. Every effort has been made to make this as accurate as possible, using the 
official documents of each denomination as sources.

Download PDF

(350.8 KB)

  1. Mateen, I tried for accuracy over the boldface answer, and I think that is the most accurate answer. Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    February 23, 2015

  2. Charles, since you all have been very direct on most all the questions deserving of "Yes" or "No" answers, shouldn't the answer in the PCUSA column on the fidelity and chastity issue start with a bold-face "No," before proceeding with the explanatory note? Logically, the answer has to be "No," the way the question is worded, it seems to me.

    by Mateen

    February 23, 2015

  3. Thanks, Charles. Got it. Pass my greetings...

    by GLEN HALLEAD

    February 13, 2015

  4. Glen, Interesting question. Yes, I am sure that the EPC and the ECO both claim rightful heritage, but they do so in different ways. The EPC, the PCA, and the ECO have all emphasized their newness in their founding, so the EPC says that their 2015 General Assembly will be their 35th. The PCA calls their 2015 GA their 43rd. The ECO speaks of having a Synod meeting only, and they have talked about the inaugural and second synod meetings, etc. The PC(USA) claims explicit continuity, so it did not re-number GA's from one upon reunion in the 80's.

    by Charles Wiley

    February 13, 2015

  5. Charles would it not be fair to say that both the EPC and the ECO also - claim continuity back to the founding of the Synod of Philadelphia in 1706. Or is this a statement that reflects they might not make that claim explicitly? Thanks for clarifying this...

    by Glen Hallead

    February 13, 2015

  6. The PCA is not included simply because there is no current pattern of PCUSA congregations considering the PCA. As for growth, I'd be curious to see the latest stats. I know the PCA was growing for a long stretch, but it was my understanding that it had slowed down. Growth is always an interesting stat, because it shows something is happening--further analysis always needs to be done to see precisely what is happening.

    by Charles Wiley

    January 16, 2015

  7. You should add the PCA denomination to the comparison list - after all it is growing!

    by Bud

    January 16, 2015

  8. You're most welcome, Julie.

    by Charles Wiley

    January 7, 2015

  9. Charles, Thanks so much! I appreciate your clarification.

    by Julie Throne

    January 7, 2015

  10. Thanks for your comment, Dana Gilmour. I appreciate the depth of your conviction. One of the points of "Our Challenging Way" is that the church is always negotiating competing commitments. The question for the PCUSA is how to be faithful to Jesus Christ in its sexual ethics, its marriage practices, and in its life as a faith community. It seems like you're suggesting that traditional (at least in terms of the last couple of centuries) marriage is an essential of the church. As for Landon Whitsett's remark on sola scriptura, two things: 1) I don't think he meant what you think he meant. 2) regardless, Landon was not speaking for the church in that remark. We must be faithful to the gospel. Abandoning faithfulness is not an option. Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    January 4, 2015

  11. 1. Let me apologize for being a little too strident regarding Office of Theology and Worship; they've historically done great unbiased work with clarity and reasonably balanced study. 2. I would recommend all read, re-read and then discern the depth of their paper: Our Challenging Way: Faithfulness, Sex, Ordination, and Marriage", corrected, 11/6/14. Briefly, it addresses the marriage amendment: "...As a denomination, we regard it equally faithful to teach and practice the marriage of two people without regard to their gender...Can a denomination do this? Denominations...build...polity structures...to sustain members of the denominations...embodying the Christian faith, which means that denominations have to choose what matters...No denomination can be built on complete diversity on everything...it is not possible to live all these ways at once." 3. In 2010, the vice-moderator of the GA declared "Sola Scriptura is dead..." Given the disconnect between polity and the declarations of the GA which highly values political correctness, just what does the PC(USA) really stand for in 2015? Is it any wonder the PC(USA) lost 3 churches and 2000 members A WEEK in 2013?

    by Dana Gilmour

    January 4, 2015

  12. Julie, My apologies. Those two pages were left out by accident. I am emailing it directly to you, and the download will be updated on this page as soon as possible. Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    December 31, 2014

  13. In the chart, under the PCUSA's section for "essential tenets," it states "that chapter is attached." It is not. I assume that you mean F-2 of the book of order, but am not sure.

    by Julie Throne

    December 30, 2014

  14. Dana Gilmour, I'm sorry this document disappointed you. I am curious which version you're referring to. One in wide distribution does note sources, but they refer to one person's views or actions here, or another group's statement there, but then compares those to the ECO or EPC's official statements. That is an unbalanced comparison. Our comparison chart attempts to correct this imbalance by using parallel statements from each denomination. Doesn't that seem fair? Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    December 6, 2014

  15. Alan, I was out of the office on med leave when you left your comment. Sorry to be slow to respond. I appreciate your suggestion, but I doubt we'd find much cooperation at this point. Unlike many of the other charts floating out there, we have tried to only use faithful summaries of official documents in this piece. Send me an email on the ones you think we might not have gotten just right. We're trying to be as fair as we know how to be. Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    December 6, 2014

  16. This document is an appalling, slanted re-write of the previous document. It contains NONE of the explanatory footnotes that document how what the BOO or judicial decisions vary from actual practice and preaching in the PC(USA). Extremely self-serving. Expected better from Theology and Worship. Additionally, the treatise on the 'way Forward" mentions May actions at the Church of Scotland GA--but omits the strong stand of 21 May Session V on marriage is between one man and one woman. 369 to 189 (There were 2 formal dissents: Rev Alistair Cook and Rev John T. Mann

    by dana gilmour

    December 6, 2014

  17. Nicely done. There are only a few minor places where I think the other two denominations might take exception or expand the summary of their beliefs. Personally, I would send it to them and ask them to comment or edit the section that applies to them. Then I would write an introductory paragraph stating that this had been done. It would make it the most credible source out there. This will also separate our way of interacting with the way they have practiced in the recent past. I like it when we are the ones who are 'squeaky clean' and up front. Just a suggestion.

    by Alan Adams

    November 4, 2014

  18. Manuel, Thank you for the encouragement.

    by Charles Wiley

    May 23, 2014

  19. A must have in every congregation's Sunday School and Cathequisms. :)

    by Manuel Silva-Esterrich

    May 23, 2014

  20. Thanks so much, Don. Someone else pointed this out to us last week, and I will revise and have it up this week. Not quite sure how that mistake got in there. Charles

    by Charles Wiley

    May 5, 2014

  21. Just so you know...I notice that in the revised comparative chart of the 3 denominations, the ordination question to candidates regarding the scriptures for the PCUSA, omitted are the words 'in the Church universal, and God's Word to you.'

    by Don Barkley

    May 5, 2014

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