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.