Ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) hold the preaching of God’s Word in the highest possible regard. Given their denomination’s creedal stance, this outlook is understandable! The Westminster Confession of Faith declares: “The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture” (I:6). Since in part it is the nature of Scripture to convey the eternal purposes of God and his gracious plan for redemption, it is only logical that the confession emphasizes the importance of preaching the Scriptures: “The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and considerable hearing of the Word … are all parts of the ordinary worship of God” (XXI:5).
Worship in the Presbyterian Church of America is marked by an accent on what are regarded as timeless principles first articulated in the earliest years of the denomination. These principles, however, are most often seen as reflecting the need for maintaining doctrinal standards rather than dictating a need for only traditional artistic expression. Thus, while psalm-singing is fostered and traditional hymns are heard, there is, especially in newer congregations, an acceptance of less formal orders of worship and newer musical styles. Most churches observe the passing liturgical year only minimally, and the use of the visual arts is sparing but on the increase.
Several historic streams have shaped the worship of the relatively young Reformed denomination known as the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).