I’ve previously linked to Anthony Bradley’s critique of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), but I thought – especially given a recent discussion on church planting on the Phoenix Preacher blog – that this excerpt needed to be presented. The following quote is Bradley’s commentary on Bill Bishop’s book The Big Sort:
Pulitzer-prize finalist Bill Bishop’s data-tested thesis is that social conservatives and social elites sort themselves politically and form churches around already accepted social norms. This will explain how the PCA grew and why it likely won’t grow beyond its current cultural demographic in the near furture. For example (page numbers to Bishop’s book are in parenthesis)….
…7) Low income whites, in general, have maintained their allegiance to Democrats as late as 2004. The Republican party experienced its largest growth, in past two generations, among middle- and upper-class Americans [regardless of race] (120). You will rarely find a PCA church of low income white people with allegiance to the Democratic party because low income whites are a culture many PCA’ers detest (121).
(8) Ideological and social white flight has left rural America behind (137). The most neglected and ignored churches in the PCA are rural. They have been left behind by surburban and city center white elites (137). As I’ve written before, middle-class elitism does not seem to care about poor white people.
Now, there is more than one side to every story, and I have yet to come across any critical response to Bradley’s assertions. But if there’s any truth to this, this is very disturbing to say the least. Pastors who are highly regarded by some of us are PCA. PCA pastors are influential in the Reformed church planting movement that’s become prominent over the past decade.
It’s interesting to me, now that I think about it, how there are no church plants targeted towards the trailer park, nor the projects.
I’m not a church planter, nor a pastor. I am an outsider, and a white male who is neither dirt poor nor affluent (in American terms).
Some of you are pastors, and church planters, and can comment on whether this is legit or not.
Check out this J.I Packer quotation from Tony Reinke’s blog.