How Long Can the PCA Go on Like This?
I never believed I would live long enough to hear this exchange in a Presbytery exam. Committee chairman: “What is your view of the use of alcohol and tobacco?” Candidate for transfer: “I’m for them.”
Not a word of qualification, clarification, or explanation. Not a single follow-up question. A few snickers. Not a single vote against reception.
Now, this could never have happened 40 years ago. Back then, you might be cut a little slack on the days of creation or the ordo salutis or baptism. You might use a little tobacco with chewing more tolerated than smoking, but smoking tolerated only if you limited the company among whom you lit up. But alcohol? If you imbibed, you did not say you did, and if you did among others, you entered a bond of secrecy. If it should come out in an examination, the result might be the reopening of the Christian experience and call to the ministry parts of the examination.
I know of three men slipping into a bar many years ago in the John Wesley Hotel to use the “wooden nickels” for a free one issued to us when they checked in. (I shall not reveal their identities, though for sufficient money paid to me or to exercise coercive power over them, I might.) But, now I hear that at General Assembly there are sometimes announcements made of smokers being held in bars.
I can also see a possible development in the intinction debate growing out of this. If use of alcohol and tobacco are to be allowed, must they be used separately? Or, may the tobacco be infused with spirits and then taken?
What is happening to the PCA? Are we becoming the OPC?