A Message from Dr. Bryan Chapell
I love the Presbyterian Church in America for her commitment to the truth of Scripture, the importance of sound doctrine, and the urgency of advancing the mission and message of our Savior Jesus Christ. Should the Lord grant me the privilege of serving the PCA in the Stated Clerk’s position, then I would have no higher goal than doing all that I could to advance these distinctives of our church.
I believe our beloved PCA is at a crossroads with regard to her influence in both the wider church and surrounding culture. We carry a unique calling as a Reformed church with a missional zeal. Our historic strength has been maintaining a Bible-centered mission that does not yield to the singular pressures of Reformed fundamentalism, distinction-less Evangelicalism, mere social progressivism, or strident political conservatism. Each of these emphases have sought ascendency in our ranks, yet we have continued to evaluate ideas and establish priorities based on Scripture. Most in our movement remain committed to respect those among us who differ in perspective but prioritize God’s Word. Still, as our culture polarizes and our denomination becomes more distant from her roots, it becomes increasingly difficult for the strands of our biblically Reformed rope to stay woven together for the purposes of our original vision and our future calling.
My own convictions, strengths, and interests lie in working with leaders of various regions and perspectives to unify our mission with integrity, brotherhood, and unwavering commitment to the Scriptures. I believe that we are at our best and strongest when faithful brothers and sisters seek to do the Lord’s will together with deference to one another and humility before God, reflecting the integrity and grace of Christ. Neither orthodoxy of doctrine nor orthodoxy of community can be compromised in the church that would truly honor Christ.
In seeking to honor the truth and love of my Savior, I have been blessed to serve as pastor of three historic churches, as president of our denominational seminary, as moderator of our General Assembly, as a multi-term member of the Standing Judicial Committee, and as a member of committees drafting standards for our mission committees, educational agencies, and General Assembly. Brothers and fathers in my presbytery have allowed me to serve as a moderator, credentials committee chair, and church planting chair. I also rejoice to be in cooperative ministry with other believers, serving as President of the Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents, on the standards committee of the Association of Theological Schools, and in various leadership capacities with The Gospel Coalition, Serge, and the Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. Through the organization of Unlimited Grace Media, the Lord has allowed broadcasts of his grace from our present church to reach more than 75 nations daily. By the Lord’s blessing, we have also been able to serve many of these brothers and sisters through translated books on preaching, worship, holiness, marriage, and prayer.
I look to my days of being raised by a bi-vocational Baptist preacher and agribusinessman in Memphis, Tennessee, whose entire ministry was spent faithfully preaching in one-room churches throughout the rural South, and I thank the Lord for so teaching me that his Spirit knows no boundaries of human creation. Since my youth, my convictions have changed to embrace the Reformed distinctives of Scripture, but my appreciation for Christ’s work among all generations and peoples have never been more strong. The Lord who claimed my soul by his grace alone, and has shown his covenant love to my children and grandchildren despite my many weaknesses and sin, was working long before I knew Him in the lives of faithful believers from many churches and backgrounds. I bow before the wideness of his mercy that shined his gospel light for me from many directions, and now beckons our church to shine it for the salvation of many more people.
My capacity even to consider serving the PCA in this important position would not be possible without the ministry of faithful women who have graced my life . The same mother who listened to this child’s Bible memory verses, continues to be a witness of Christ’s unconditional love to her children, grandchildren, and many great, grandchildren from her PCA church in Olive Branch, Mississippi. My wife, Kathy, has endured my many absences with a strength of character and a beauty of spirit that has led our four children, their spouses, and their children to a loving relationship with their Savior. She has also enabled her husband to rejoice in profound appreciation of the Proverbs 31 woman she embodies. He would not have known his Savior near so well, had she not loved Jesus even more dearly.