PCA cancels plenary panel featuring David French after opposition


The Presbyterian Church in America has canceled a panel discussion planned for its church-wide meeting next month that would have included evangelical writer and New York Times columnist David French in response to much opposition.

ByFaith, the official magazine of the PCA, reported on Tuesday that the panel scheduled for the June General Assembly of the theologically conservative denomination in Richmond, Virginia, has been canceled.

“The concerns that were raised about the seminar and its subject matter were so significant that it seems wisest for the peace and unity of the church not to proceed in this manner,” the PCA Executive Committee stated in the report.

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“Instead, the seminar time will be allocated to a prayer meeting that humbly asks our God for the good of his church in a polarized political year, using the means of grace provided by our Lord for his people.”

PCA Stated Clerk Bryan Chapell apologized to the commission for the conflict that caused “some brothers to be worried about the witness of our church and other brothers to be concerned about how our church processes different views while protecting reputations.”

“The purpose of the seminar was to help our churches deal with political tensions and, instead, controversy ensued. This is contrary to the intended goals of the seminar and the goals that AK members and staff have so conscientiously pursued with me over the last. four years,” Chapell stated in his statement.

“If I had known some of the ways the panelist expressed himself or was understood in past writings, I would have made a different choice for the purposes of this seminar.”

The Christian Post contacted a representative of French for a response and was informed that the columnist is not currently making statements on the matter.

Earlier this month, PCA announced that French, a prominent evangelical critic of former President Donald Trump, would participate in a panel at the General Assembly titled “How to Be Supportive of Your Pastor and Church Leaders in a Polarized Political Year.”

The decision to include French on the panel invited criticism from many members of the PCA and conservative Christians.

PCA Teaching Elder Ben C. Dunson wrote a column denouncing the involvement of the French, citing that of the French support for legalizing same-sex marriage, anti-Trump statements, defense of drag queen storytellers and how he allegedly “defames the character of Christians who disagree with him on these issues.”

“The General Assembly seminar announcement is worded to indicate that it will help us avoid political polarization. David French is the poster child for political polarization,” wrote Dunson, visiting professor of New Testament at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina.

“Maybe he's right and we all have no choice but to vote for Joe Biden for President, but that's hardly a non-polarizing position to take. French's place on this panel will not fulfill the seminar's own stated purpose.”

The Daily Wire reporter and author Megan Basham cited French's “divisive reputation” and argued that PCA leadership “knew fully the impact French's inclusion on a panel would have on polarizing politics.”

“They deliberately took actions that they knew would draw attention away from the business of the PCA and toward secular political concerns and debates,” she. tweeted.

“In other words, they chose to deliberately disturb the peace of this meeting. This is an important thing to remember as discussions about what to do now move forward.”

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