How Long Will Korean Language Presbyteries continue within the PCA?

Am I the only person in the PCA silly enough to think that it’s a scandal and a shame that we are officially segregated from our Korean-American brethren?

Specifically, for the last 29 years we have had separate Korean Language Presbyteries (KLPs). These KLPs occupy the same areas as regular PCA presbyteries which are made up of men from every other ethnicity in the PCA.

The original intention of the PCA was that the KLPs would be a temporary measure that went away as soon as our constitutional materials were printed in Korean. 29 years later, they not only still exist, an overture is before this year’s General Assembly to begin multiplying them. [Editor’s note: the original URL (link) referenced is no longer valid, so the link has been removed.]

The overture itself contains the following statement: “the 1982 PCA General Assembly gave permission for Korean Churches in the 5 PCA to form Korean language presbytery, and in 1992 the PCA General Assembly again gave permission for the Korean Language presbyteries to exist permanently in the PCA”

I’ve checked the Minutes of the Twentieth General Assembly (1992, Roanoke) and no such permission exists. Rather reports were made regarding continuing efforts to produce Korean translations of our constitutional documents. The record of this assembly still reflects attempts to integrate the Korean speaking members into the PCA rather than making ethnically segregated KLPs a permanent part of the PCA.

It’s also worth noting that presently:

* The majority of KLPs fail to submit presbytery records for review

* The vast majority of KLP members do not attend the General Assembly

* Attempts have been made by the KLPs to hold their own Assembly and to send what were in essence fraternal delegates to the PCA GA.

At this point, we seem to have endorsed the idea that a permanent middle wall of partition between believers is ok, and we certainly aren’t following the Presbyterian (and more importantly Biblical) practice of connectionalism.

It is highly questionable whether any meaningful oversight by the PCA GA over the KLPs is currently occurring, and one needs to seriously ask whether we should be expanding a non-biblical practice or instead working on ways to integrate our church.

I take it that no one would propose that the problems with integrating Hispanic and non-Hispanic PCA churches would best be solved by forming permanently segregated Spanish Language Presbyteries, and yet that is exactly what we seem to have decided in reference to the KLPs.

I went to seminary with many Korean brothers, I was a ruling elder for 4 years in a Korean-American church plant, integration is difficult, but not impossible, and certainly won’t happen if we never actually try.

Andy Webb is a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America and serves as the pastor of Providence PCA in Fayetteville, NC