Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Parker Williamson And Others Start Process For Split In Church

I stood in the hallway last night. We were in front of the Press Room, waiting for a press conference that was to follow the evening's decision on the PUP report. Parker Williamson was there, having conversation in hushed tones, giving careful instructions to a group of people on how they were to orchestrate what today's online edition of the Presbyterian Layman called "an impromptu press conference." The writer says there were more than 100 present. Try 48.

Distributing a prepared statement, the group declared, "This recent decision marks a profound deviation from Biblical requirements, and we cannot accept, support or tolerate this decision."

When asked if this meant schism, Parker Williamson declared schism had already happened.

So who is leading the split?

Rev. Richard Burnett, of Constitutional Presbyterians
Rev. Paul Gaug, of Evangelical Presbyterian Pastors Fellowship
Rev. Robert Pitman, of Knox Fellowship
Rev. Sid Rice, of Literacy & Evangelism, International
Rev. David Henderson of the New Wineskins Initiative
Rev. Dean Weaver, of the New Wineskins Initiative
Kristin Johnson, MDiv., of OneByOne
Alan Wisdom, of Presbyterian Action
Terry Schlossberg, of the Presbyterian Coalition
Rev. Susan Cyre, of Presbyterians for Faith, Family & Ministry
Rev. Michael Walker, of Presbyterians For Renewal
Rev. Parker Williamson, of the Presbyterian Lay Committee
Elder Marie Bowen, of Presbyterians Pro-Life
Rev. Brad Long, of Presbyterian Reformed Ministries, International

At the top of the list is the name of Richard Burnett, who is the Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Erskine Theological Seminary. He identified himself as a spokesman for the Constitutional Presbyterians. One of the things that organization calls for is for churches to ask, "What will be the future relationship between this session or presbytery and the P.C.(U.S.A.)?"

The Constitutional Presbyterians also urge churches to "evaluate" their giving -- which I take to mean "don't give to the PCUSA." He highlights the work of the new Presbyerian Global Fellowship. I've wondered what this organization was all about. They claim on their web page that "Presbyterian Global Fellowship is not an effort to start a new denomination or to write a new constitution." But with this association with Constitutional Presbyterians, I wonder.


Anonymous Chris said...

At least the Renewal leaders have the integrity to come together and say that if they need to leave, they will do so in an orderly fashion. This is in great contrast to the revisionists who say that they will abide by our Constitution and Confessions "while working for justice" and then turn around and flaunt their disobedience.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To "evaluate" one's giving is sort of like "discernment" which is also a popular overused word with negative connotations.

The split is underway but it will be slower in coming than some think and will blindside those who naively believe PUP is a good thing. It opens the door to all kinds of abuses, and they will come.

The ordination of people who would not normally be ordained will happen, first in the more liberal parts of the country. Then there will be pressure for all churches to accept them and employ them. (Athiests, homosexuals, and who knows who else, depending on the "discernment" of the particular group.) There will be some sort of penalties or pressure on churches who "discriminate". It's a downward spiral that a few can already see.

A split or divorce might be a good thing. Then everybody can do whatever they want.

10:03 PM  
Blogger Gruntled said...

Talking schism is easy. Making one is hard. If they convince even 100 congregations, out of 11,000, to split, I would be surprised. Most of those renewal leaders now rattling the saber will still be in the PC(USA) five years from now. I think the way to make PUP work is to actually enforce those national standards -- on the gay-ordainers on the left, and the schismatics on the right.

10:41 AM  
Blogger Ray Schroeder said...

I hope there is not a split. I believe the renewal organizations need to continue to work within the denomination to reverse PUP. There was no reason for recommendation 5 (except to try to create a loophole in the ordination standards). But to leave the denomination doesn't prove anything. In the fourth century Athanasius worked all his life in opposition to the Arians and was finally vindicated only after his death. Most every bishop in his time were Arians. They had control of the church, but Athanasius and his followers didn't leave or try to create another church. Not that there are Arians in the church, but this is an issue of Biblical authority. Conservatives need to take the long term view on this struggle.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hard to believe you were at the same GA I was. To say nothing has changed is either disingenuous, dishonest, or you are demented. Everything has changed. With the heresy of the Trinity report and the blatantly excused defiance of any constitutional standards, the church has left us. I and many others will be leading congregations out of this apostate and unfaithful social club.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Hydropsyche said...

As a person in a pew (or choir loft, usually) I've really enjoyed your accounts of the GA. Thanks for writing. I just thought you could use a little positive feedback since it seems like you're getting hit kind of hard by angry folks.

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Apostle John!

We haven't spoken in a while, so I thought I'd chime in!

My take on the Constitutional Presbyterians is that they are pulling back from financially supporting the institution so that there can be a time of regrouping while they see what is actually going to happen.

What we DID see at the GA was in fact the end of the renewal movement as we know it.

Read my latest post and I analyze why I can say that.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like the other anonymous guy is acting out of fear. Fear that the "liberals" will creep into his/her territory. You know what? If I were a homosexual elder, deacon or pastor, your church is the last place I'd want to be! Have you ever thought of that? Atheist? Calm down. Think clearly.

Those who are ready to abandon the church to which they were called to be a part, do so over an issue that Jesus never talked about. I find that interesting, especially since many of the "conservative" groups provoking church to pull out of the denomination, like Parker Williamson's, claim "Jesus Christ alone as the truth of God's Word".

2:18 PM  

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