Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Will We Split

Later today we have the PUP report -- the Peace, Unity and Purity task force report.

I have a fantasy that the report will be approved without debate.

I have a fear that it will be passed by a small margin and that some of the ultra conservatives will split the church. The forces are gathering now for a split. The ground work is being laid.

Professors at Erskine Theological Seminary are sowing seeds -- but I'm not sure for what. Erskine is an ARP seminary -- Associate Reforemed Presbyterian Seminary. Are these professors trying to open the door to their denomination in the hopes that the ultra conservative PCUSA will leave and join them?

Who knows.

And then there is the Layman newspaper. They are talking openly with people about how to pull their congregations out of the denomination with their property.

I lack wisdom to know what will happen.

But I still will remain a minister of the Presbyterian Church USA, and I hope that we will be at peace, have unity, and with both of those somehow find purity.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ultra conservatives cannot split the church unless a lot of people agree with them. One could also say that the liberals are driving a large number of people out.

A newspaper reported that 50,000 members left the PCUSA denomination last year. It looks like the leadership has lost touch with the membership. Before you know it they will have a very small group of like minded people left and everybody else will be gone.

The ground work for the split has been being laid for a few years. We'll see if it really happens. We belong to a different presbyterian denomination. Quite a while back our local church saw this conflict coming and changed our advertising to appeal to those who might leave the PCUSA as a matter of theological conscience. They are going to go somewhere and it may as well be our church. We have had a few inquiries and a few people have visited but not much else yet. Many conservative PCUSA grassroots members are aware of what's going on and they are upset by it. (Most of these we talked to have never heard of the Laymen newspaper)

Good people who are unhappy about the direction the denomination is taking will leave on their own. This is America and we have freedom to do as we choose. ETS and any other group can't be blamed for offering them a new church home.

8:10 PM  
Blogger DennisS said...

According to Reuters, 57% voted to allow a particular church to call and ordain a homosexual elder or pastor.

But wait, doesn't this require approval by the majority of Presbyteries before the Book of Order is changed? (It would in the RCA.)

Undoubtedly, some churches will leave the denomination. But I'll guess that the vast majority will stay. This decision doesn't require a church to call a homosexual elder or pastor, it just allows a church to make that decision.

Our church (central Kansas) will stay in the denomination - regardless the outcome. We'll likely never call a homosexual elder or pastor though.

I'm RCA, serving a PCUSA church, and I believe this was the correct action for the PCUSA to take. I've been thinking of this possibility for over a year.

Before someone blasts me for this stance, let me state that I am straight, married, faithful, and have three teens. But I've also had college roommates who were gay, and bi. They were, and are, real people with real problems. They never tried to persuade me, nor even drop any suggestions.

As long as a homosexual elder or pastor isn't pushing homosexuality from the pulpit, but is preaching Christ - crucified, Lord & Savior - then I don't have a problem with them ministering to others who are hurting.

This then becomes a local decision for a church. Since there aren't bishops in the PCUSA to determine where a pastor will serve, then this works for the PCUSA.

8:30 PM  
Blogger DennisS said...

BTW - I'm glad Stanley Anderson didn't use his money to sway this vote in either direction. He could have suggested he would give the money depending upon the outcome of the vote suiting him. But this didn't happen.

Hooray for Mr. Anderson!

Our little PCUSA church needs revitalization in a big way. Over 70% of our membership has been here for 20 years or more. The majority, 55%, have been here for 30 years or more. Yet our average attendance of 52 last year, put us in the top half of churches in our synod (KS & MO).

8:49 PM  
Blogger Preacher Mom said...

I am curious about your statement about ETS. I graduated from there (more of a choice of logistics that anything else), but have not stayed "in touch" with the seminary since graduation almost a decade ago. What kind of influence are they trying to exert (only a small portion of the student body is PCUSA, and only a tiny portion of the faculty), and who is the spokesperson?

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Michael Bush said...

I'm just finding this post, so long after the fact. I'm one of the trouble-making professors at Erskine.

Both of us who have been involved in this are PC(USA), not ARP. I don't know what constitutes "tiny" in our alumna's eyes, but about thirty percent of the faculty here are PC(USA). It's the second largest denominational representation on this faculty after the ARPs, who are required by the bylaws to make up half the faculty.

My colleague and I have done nothing for the benefit of Erskine in this discussion, nor have we spoken for Erskine. We have done what we have out of a desire to help the PC(USA) stay together in the face of the PUP commission's apparent determination to cause a division. We have acted solely as individual Presbyterian ministers, out of nothing but our own conviction that the heritage of this denomination is worth preserving. Your post borders on the paranoid. We're just preachers who love the church and don't want it to self-destruct.

5:32 PM  

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