Skip to comments.Disappearing Act: Presbyterians Embrace Leftist Politics, Shun Reformed Roots
Posted on 07/03/2014 6:28:21 PM PDT by ReformationFan
Over the last two decades, more than three-fourths of Iraqs Christians have fled the country, driven out by a combination of Muslim fanaticism and economic and social collapse. Iraq, however, isnt the only place to experience a mass Christian exodus in recent years.
Look at the Presbyterian Church (USA), the 10th largest denomination in this country. But youd better look fast. The PC(USA), which is the nations largest Presbyterian denomination (at least for now), is driving out members through its own brand of leftist fanaticism.
From a high of more than 4 million members back in 1965, the Louisville-based PC(USA) has seen more than half of its members disappear through the back door, reaching the current level of 1.7 million people. This includes a nasty hemorrhage of 103,000 members between 2011 and 2012. All this despite a merger in 1983 that gave the denomination a temporary shot in the armbut before current controversies that threaten to drive the PC(USA) into ecclesiastical extinction.
The death spiral appears to have everything to do with continuing church efforts that shun the denominations theological roots in favor of political and social relevance.
At last months 221st General Assembly, held in Detroit, PC(USA) delegates voted in favor of three controversial measures that fit quite nicely into current leftist politics.
--The PC(USA) voted to divest from three companiesCaterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutionsthat provide equipment Israel uses to raze houses, operate checkpoints and communicate in the occupied West Bank, Christianity Today says. The decision makes the denomination one of the few in the U.S. advocating financial divestment as a peace strategy.
Paul deJong, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers, said that his congregation will send a formal protest. The actions of the denomination are at best misguided, at worst represent outright racism, and certainly give every appearance of intentionally promoting anti-Semitism, deJong said. One must question the motives of anyone who vilifies Israel with greater fervor than any other nation, especially when we consider the numerous places in which violence is being reported continuously. Such as Iraq.
--Delegates voted down a resolution that would have condemned the murder of babies after botched abortions, such as happened in Kermit Gosnells grisly chamber of horrors.
--The General Assembly voted to change the definition of marriage from a civil contract between a woman and a man to a unique commitment between two people. Additionally, according to Christianity Today, The new authoritative interpretation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Book of Order gives individual pastors discretion to perform same-sex ceremonies where the practice is legal.
More theologically conservative Presbyterians have seen the handwriting on the wall for some time. In 2010, the denomination voted to abandon its expectation of monogamy in marriage and celibacy in singleness for its clergy. This past March, the 3,400-member Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, pastored by John Ortberg in Californias Silicon Valley, overwhelmingly voted to leave the PC(USA), despite the $9 million price tag. MPPC cited differences over the authority of Scripture and in church-planting strategy.
Other observers have been blunter, including Mark Tooley, who is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, D.C. In fact, the exodus from the PC(USA) after the marriage vote may increase for congregations and individuals, Tooley says. Many exiting PC(USA) churches have joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, while others helped create a new denomination called the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Despite the impact on denominational finances, PC(USA) elites, committed more to the Left than to the churchs health, seem mostly indifferent.
Two earlier, more conservative denominations started by PC(USA) dissidents include the Presbyterian Church in America and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.
The PC(USA)s leftwing death wish not only disregards Scripture. It also contradicts the teaching of the spiritual founder of Presbyterianism, the Protestant Reformer John Calvin. Though known largely for his emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the 16th-century theologian Calvin spoke of many matters.
While Calvin was a man of his times in saying some harsh things about Jewish peopleI have had much conversation with many Jews: I have never seen either a drop of piety or a grain of truth or ingenuousnessnay, I have never found common sense in any Jewhe also affirmed that Jews and Christians have the possibility of equal access to God by faith. By contrast, the PC(USA) has singled out Israel (incidentally the Middle Easts only democracy) for special censure.
Regarding the sanctity of human life, the distinction between Calvin and the PC(USA) is even clearer. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house, than in a field, Calvin wrote, it ought surely to be deemed more atrocious to destroy a fetus in the womb before it has come to light. The denomination, however, has long held membership in the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, which opposes restrictions on abortion.
When it comes to marriage, of course, marriage between homosexuals was unknown in the 16th century and would have been considered an abomination. Calvin, according to one reviewer, made sexual sin and crime, marital formation and dissolution, children's nurture and welfare, and family cohesion and support essential concerns for both church and state. His philosophy can be summed up in this quote: Matrimony is a good and holy ordinance from God.
The theological and numerical decline of the PC(USA) is likely irreversible, according to Tooley. Although church liberals love to insist their policies appeal to the rising generation, all of the available evidence indicates just the opposite, Tooley says. Essentially, the PC(USA) . . . resolved to become even smaller, older, and whiter, creating a future that depends more and more on endowments instead of live people.
And when the endowments run out, can the PC(USA) be far behind?
If they are anything like the ELCA, previous generations were generous to the point where the upper levels of the hierarchy can do whatever they want almost in perpetuity. That being said, the families who used to keep quiet when mom or dad willed a hefty chunk to the church are now more likely to make a bit of a scene. Not too many farms around here are being used to ease the trip to eternity compared to the old days.
Sounds like PC(USA) is worth more dead than alive.
$2,640 per member to leave?
who are these members of the general assembly?????? how do they get their positions?
I always notice these apostates never use scripture to support their decisions in church govt!
—The General Assembly voted to change the definition of marriage from a civil contract between a woman and a man to a unique commitment between two people. Additionally, according to Christianity Today, The new authoritative interpretation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Book of Order gives individual pastors discretion to perform same-sex ceremonies where the practice is legal.
Vivo Sola Scriptura!
There’s nothing in Scripture that authorizes what the PCUSA had done concerning the definition of marriage.
Really? They disagree.
They don’t disagree. They know full well what the Bible says on this issue. They just don’t care.
Vivo Sola Scriptura!
I used to belong to a PCUSA church. Expenses exceeded donations. So far as I know they were borrowing equity from the building (I never understood the treasurer’s report so I could be wrong about that - but there was no doubt that expenses exceeded donations).
I’m not sure what will happen first - either the members will die off, quit, or the church will run out of equity. I suppose if it’s either of the first two, the presbytery will come in and take whatever is left.
$2,640 per member to leave?
The denomination owns the local church property.
Some presbyteries let congregations go graciously. Others do not.
and there is nothing graceful about the PC-USA, right?
So happy about Menlo Park Pres. It’s my old church! I didn’t know they had left. It means it’s still conservative! It was a great church when I attended.
Those living in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Nothing about the papacy, Mariolatry, Purgatory, Indulgences, etc. in the Bible either — but the RCC asserts their truth.
the PCUSA is apostate... much like the Roman Catholic Church. Finally... common ground between the two denominations. Who knows? Maybe they took their lead from the RCC!
PCUSA - stands for Politically Correct United Satanic Assembly.
So Presbyterians allow polygamous clergy now?
“So Presbyterians allow polygamous clergy now?”
Not until the government declares polygamy legal. That’s the standard, the government not God and His Holy word.
Give it a couple years.
when will Protestants realize that they are Protestants???
Do these people not read their Bible? Throughout, God tells us those who bless Israel will be blessed; those who dishonor or curse her will be cursed. You can’t miss the message.
Quote-when will Protestants realize that they are Protestants??
Only if they come to realize that they are really, at the core, greco roman latin daughters worshipping things that their greco roman latin mother taught them first- only to adopt those traditions and teaching that seemed reasonably biblical or harmless and throwing some stuff out that they couldn’t find in scripture..
But today, they are following the counterfeit pope gregory calendar, the pope’s counterfeit sabbath and the pope’s counterfeit holy days, and certainly those don’t seem to register as problems that they have with their mother... even though those are also not found in scripture..
Those are just ‘givens’... and those are core to christian worship and not theological dogmas or doctrines that get debated at much length... and until they come to grips that they are more counterfeit Tammuz than Torah, thanks to mother -they will follow their mother to her destination..
But counterfeits are not easily detected unless one studies what is genuine..and pastors, preachers and ministers are too busy...some are busy being ‘ecumenical’...
They just don’t think they have a pope and their church mother to thank for what they were taught and know is a work day, holy day and sabbath, all counterfeits to what is found in scripture. And the list goes on.....but some things are sacred to protestants and catholics alike that would get me in trouble...
Protestants are more united, like the world, with their mother and her popes, than they care to admit....
The first reformers were very blunt in what the papacy represented... today the world accepts the papacy timekeeping(in innocent ignorance), its determination of work days( for the major business and major political worlds), the world’s holy days (like the one coming up on goddess Friya’s Day) and sabbaths (for the three major religions)...
So something that unites the business, political and religious world, named after a pope, is just a ‘given’ for even people conditioned to be opposed to the papacy on principle..
they called that kind of system ‘babylon’ awhile back.
$9million to leave?
Marriage is a sacrament, not just some contract
Still got nothing, I see.
today the world accepts the papacy timekeeping(in innocent ignorance), its determination of work days( for the major business and major political worlds), the worlds holy days (like the one coming up on goddess Friyas Day) and sabbaths (for the three major religions)...
...so that’s what’s wrong with the world today...our calendar...and here I was thinking it was something else...like maybe the wholesale secularization of our slovenly culture...silly me...
But today, they are following the counterfeit pope gregory calendar, the popes counterfeit sabbath and the popes counterfeit holy days, and certainly those dont seem to register as problems that they have with their mother... even though those are also not found in scripture..
A bitter holdout for the Julian calendar, still stung by the change to Gregorian?
Just wondering exactly what it is you're advocating.
Our Heavenly Father’s calendar.. Found in the sky and in Scripture...
One that the Messiah of Israel fulfills with the set times/appointed times found in the Word..the one with its template in ezekiel 46...
The one that is counterfeited today with the likes of december 25 and easter and its pseudo sabbath.
The Julian was calculated around the sun too....
Our Heavenly Father’s calendar uses the sun, moon and stars..
All those gods and goddesses like Frigg/Friya that gets her own day every week is certainly not in scripture..
Worship of the sun and false gods is not new...just high tech today...
It is the conforming to the world when scripture commands us to do just the opposite...
But certainly the fake sabbaths and fake holy days of the world today make perfect sense in a counterfeit world, run by the god of this world, a master deceiver and counterfeiter...
Don’t beat yourself up for being silly... satan has had 2000 years to counterfeit the things of God.
The Word did become flesh and dwelt among us..
His new moons, Sabbaths and feasts, found only with His calendar, point to the coming King and Kingdom...
And those have been erased with the world’s timekeeping...
And scripture says times and laws could/would change... Daniel 7:25
Silly me, I read the Word and believe what it says...
I figure it’s the only way the PCUSA and her fellow liberal denominations can make any money since people are leaving them in droves.
John Machen saw this coming 100 years ago when the Presbyterians abandoned the Westminster Confession and they formed the conservative Orthodox Presbyterians.
B.B. Warfield maintained that correct doctrine was the primary means by which Christians influenced the surrounding culture. He emphasized a high view of scripture. When we fail to understand correct doctrine, we fail to influence our culture.
Clarification: John Machen saw this coming 100 years ago when the Presbyterians abandoned the Westminster Confession and they [sic John Machen and others] formed the conservative Orthodox Presbyterians.
I understood. I’m a PCA layman and consider J. Gresham Machen a true Presbyterian hero.
I guess so. It is sad that this kind of money is what keeps freaks like the pcusa, ecusa, elca alive
Though, how “Orthodox” arethey really? Do they hold to all the tenets encapsulated in the nicene creed? The Athanasian?
The Athanasian creed is a later creed and I don't ever recall reciting that as a declaration of faith but I believe this is due to it length. It can be found in the prayers of early Reformed book of prayers. According to Wikipedia, the Athanasian creed has also been effectively dropped from the Catholic liturgy since the Second Vatican Council. It is however maintained in the Forma Extraordinaria, per the decree Summorum Pontificum, and also in the rite of exorcism. I believe, like the Protestants, it was dropped not over content but of length.
The Westminster Confession has this to say about the Trinity.
Of God, and of the Holy Trinity
I. There is but one only, living, and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute; working all things according to the counsel of His own immutable and most righteous will, for His own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him; and withal, most just, and terrible in His judgments, hating all sin, and who will by no means clear the guilty.
II. God has all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He has made, nor deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them. He is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom are all things; and has most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them whatsoever Himself pleases. In His sight all things are open and manifest, His knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to Him contingent, or uncertain. He is most holy in all His counsels, in all His works, and in all His commands. To Him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience He is pleased to require of them.
III. In the unity of the Godhead there be three Persons of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father;  the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. 
Yup..as long as you do realize our Heavenly Father’s calendar numbers days in scripture and doesn’t name them after other gods and goddesses..
Those day names are only in English and German. You can follow French day names if you wish
Ok, pretty orthodox. <3
THANK YOU for pointing that out, I've been waiting for someone to do it for some time now. I just haven't been in the mood for the argument but the calendar in my missal reads:
Exactly, delc and co who talk about Friday and then Easter etc seem to forget that those names are only in English or at the most in Germanic languages. In Italic, Greek, Slavic, etc. languages it is not these. But evidently some folks think the Bible was originally written in English....
They are all unbiblical, in any language...
His days are numbered, not named... but scripture hasn’t been followed by those who were entrusted with it, Israel... so those of us who were never taught it, can’t remember it...
It is why the world has no problem finding their own birthdays, even birthdays for countries and its leadera, with the world’s calendar.
But the world has to ‘guess’ what day the most important man ever born, Messiah of Israel, was born- even to the point they make up a date...
The exact opposite occurs on our Heavenly Father’s calendar...
The Messiah’s birthday can be known and everybody else’s is just a big ‘old guess....
That is not an accident...
But some don’t think the whole world can be deceived... Scripture says otherwise..
The days of the week are unbiblical in any language? Even Hebrew and Aramaic?
Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the SIX working days; but on the Sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the NEW MOON it shall be opened.
His month template
New moon, work days, sabbath..
New moon day- Day 1 of every one of His months.
1st work day- Day 2 of every one of His months.
2nd work day- Day 3 of every one of His months.
3rd work day- Day 4 of every one of His months.
4th work day- Day 5 of every one of His months.
5th work day- Day 6 of every one of His months.
6th work day- Day 7 of every one of His months-preparation day
Sabbath- Day 8 of every one of His months- His 7th day Sabbath..
Repeat 1st work day, etc, until next new moon day.-.
Those above can be translated into any language that has numbers... and they are not named for gods, goddesses, or parts of Creation..
scripture confirms it and I am not proficient enough in Hebrew or Aramaic but I am guessing ‘the ‘names’ of the week in those languages are numbers or a form of number-1st, 2nd,3rd, etc- but if you know otherwise, I would be happy to learn it....
But the world doesn’t use the template given to Israel for their timekeeping...they were given this Truth, and stumble upon this for the months they celebrate His Feasts- that is, unless their pope appointed sabbath conflicts with those Feasts He gave them..then they postpone His feasts..
One needs only to count to 29 or 30 in any languabe to get His monthly calendar..or just count to seven 4 times each week in His months..
But His moon, tiw, woden, thor, friya, saturn and His sun don’t get their days that way in the 50 plus countries and territories of the world who have English as some sort of official language...
Again, if you can show me where Hebrew and Aramaic uses names for their days like the english-as opposed to numbers or a counting, I would be happy to learn that..
In english, today is the tenth day of His third month- the second day of His work week.
That excludes reverance for Tiw, and the day he usually gets at this time around (at least) with the English speaking world- but, to each their own...