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PCUSA General Assembly Lost It’s Way?

Discussion in 'Confessional, Covenantal, Creedal - Presbyterian' started by Midas, May 19, 2019.

  1. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    Good morning,

    The recent wave of state abortion legislation (including NY’s not-covered expansion) got me wondering last night what the PCUSA GA has provided as guidance on the topic, so I researched it. 3 hours later I am not sure I want to remain in a PCUSA church (it’s a good church, I’ll probably step back from that cliff):

    Abortion
    Gay “marriage”
    Taxes
    Climate Change

    It’s like the PCUSA is the 23rd candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2020. When did it turn into such an organ of American political (particularly social) liberal thought? So many of these positions fly in the face of the Bible, church tradition (abortion is forbidden in the Didache), and rational interpretation that it’s hard to believe it got through on anything more than a popularity vote among a very determined group of people. How can this be reversed?

    More importantly, for an individual Presbyterian, how do we reconcile belief in Jesus, the Bible, Christian tradition, reformed theology, and Presbyterian church governance (which heretofore seemed to reinforce each other), when Presbyterian governance is deliberately undermining the religion?
     
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  2. S.O.J.I.A.

    S.O.J.I.A. Dynamic UNO

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    It is what it is...
     
  3. Albion

    Albion Facilitator

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    There was a fear expressed, a few years ago, that Presbyterianism seldom comes to mind when the average American thinks about the spectrum of Christian churches. Nothing in particular gets associated with the Presbyterian churches one way or the other, according to that analysis.

    Whether that is true or not, it is widely agreed that such is basically what befell the Congregationalists in the late 20th century. This, despite the fact that they, like the Presbyterians, have a famous place in both Christian church history and in American history. So it can happen.

    Therefore, I am wondering--as an outsider--if a resultant surge of interest on the part of church leaders in having the church become more ’relevant,’ etc. may account for the turn you are wondering about, Midas.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
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  4. rnmomof7

    rnmomof7 Legend

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    The problem for PCUSA churches that wish to remain confessional is under the PCUSA the denomination owns everything.. the physical building, the pastor retirement and health plans etc..

    The PCUSA has not been a Christian church , let alone a reformed denomination in many years. In an attempt to be "relevant " they have become "greater light" churches, ordained women and accepted liberal norms .

    When I moved into my current home 15 years ago , I was thrilled that there was a presbyterian church 5 minutes from my house. I decided to visit a pastor led bible study.. what I learned was they tended toward universalism ...live a good life and you are saved.. One of their home groups used a book for study that taught new age philosophy .

    There is a sweet EPCA I have visited that actually bought out the PCUSA to keep their historic church ..It cost a million dollars ...

    It may be the wave of liberalism has not yet hit your particular church..but it will
     
  5. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    Are you sure about that? A wealthy parishioner paid off the mortgage on my church, the Pastor never stopped talking about it and how much we needed it at the time. It would seem odd to me that the liability and the asset don’t travel together.
     
  6. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    So what is a Presbyterian to do? Reform the reformed church back to orthodoxy, or separate and find something that is at least orthodox (even if not Presbyterian)?

    My concern about leaving is that it seems that none of the mainline reform churches escape this problem. The anglicans are a mess, they’re basically the “cool mom” of Christianity.

    And I don’t particularly like the loner churches à la “Bob’s Bible Church” because they run the danger of personality cult.

    Yet I see no viable path to take back the GA.
     
  7. rnmomof7

    rnmomof7 Legend

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    Actually the EPC I was talking about carried a huge bank lone ( mortgage) on the facility to buy out.. when the loan was ready to expire and need to be renegotiated it happened a well off member ended paying it off..
    Yes I am sure the PCUSA owns all the physical plants
     
  8. rnmomof7

    rnmomof7 Legend

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    What to do? What ever you choose to do.. do you want to support an apostate denomination?
    If your particular church has not been impacted with the apostasy maybe you dont care ...

    I left a PCA where there was literally no doctrine being taught ..most of the church had no idea of Reformed doctrine... the nearest really reformed church was an hour away.. there was an EPC about 25 minutes away ...I strongly disagree with their position on women ..but the pastor was the best pastor I ever had..his sermons were solid as was the SS.. I just tried to ignore their position on women..

    When my original PCA changed pastors and a very reformed pastor took over I returned there..
     
  9. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    It's hard to know what can be said usefully in such a situation.

    Are you a member of a PCUSA church? Our positions have been pretty consistent since the early 20th Cent, and have generally been well publicized. (I'd say that historically we've been more consistent than the Democratic party.) They're based on solid Scriptural exegesis, though I understand that it often takes a while for that to overcome tradition.

    If you're committed to traditional social positions, and identify them with Scripture, you may not belong in the PCUSA. However we have a variety of congregations, and within many congregations, a variety of members. If you insist that there can be no liberal witness within the denomination, it's going to be hard to accommodate you. But there are fine conservative individual members and congregations.
     
  10. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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  11. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    Midas, you may wish to begin searching out a more conservative denomination.
     
  12. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    The idea of an “apostate denomination” hurts my eyes.

    I don’t think there is any scripture to endorse the concept. I think individuals can be apostates but I am skeptical about congregations.

    I keep coming back to the example of Paul and the Corinthian church. He didn’t snap them off and discard them. He pulled them close and condemned them. Paul reformed misguided churches, he didn’t part ways as far as we know. In my mind, the takeaway is as regards churches, rather than individuals, the example is to call them out on their wayward ways and demanding that they return to the way. The private writings of Luther and Calvin, and as suggested by the names “reformation” and “reform” imply continuity of the church.
     
  13. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    Why? So that we can all “repeat the sounding joy” to each other? I have no quarrel with the theology of reform Christianity, or (conceptually) with Presbyterian church governance. In fact, I find it well supported by scripture, sacred tradition, and good reasoning. The denomination isn’t my problem, the PCUSA is. I would only need a new denomination if I were to equate the PCUSA with the denomination; or if that were a valid position, if I were to disregard the reformist principles that are the foundation of the denomination. I don’t see any rational justification for that.

    I think it’s reasonable and realistic to acknowldge that the denomination is broader than the PCUSA (look only to the Kirk for that), that the PCUSA acknowledges the primary of scripture and sacred tradition over its interpretations of it, and that the PCUSA is out of alignment with both. In my estimation the proper course of action is to reform from within.

    I do not, however, think I need to pretend that the leftist virtue signaling coming out of the GA is consistent with scripture or sacred tradition. That would require me to ignore the plain language of the Bible and millennia of documented interpretation.
     
  14. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    Please explain to me how “allow[ing] for transgender and non-binary people to use the facility that matches their gender identity” is a pretty consistent and well publicized position since the early 20th century?

    PC-Biz

    That’s as early 20th century as the Kardashians. I don’t know about you but I cannot find too many sources from 1903 that use the terms “non-binary people” and “gender identity”.

    Honestly, who are we trying to delude here?
     
  15. Gracia Singh

    Gracia Singh Newbie Supporter

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    What I mean, Midas, is finding a more conservative branch of the Reformed family of denominations / churches would be a better option than staying with a branch which seems to have compromised deeply with the spirit of the world.
     
  16. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    It's the method that is constant, not the specific conclusions. That's what "always reforming" means.

    The PCUSA has generally followed the best available evidence. In the early 20th Cent, not much was known about sexual orientation and gender identity. The major issues there were the use of critical Biblical scholarship and evolution.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  17. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    It is a scientific fact that mammalian gender is binary. It is a psychological fact that transgender people suffer from sexual dysphoria. It is a scientific fact that a human fetus is a human. It is a scientific fact that sexual reproduction is for reproduction. The Bible and sacred tradition only reinforce these empirical facts.

    Then by what outcome oriented definition of “best available evidence”, and informed by what political agenda, does one conclude that the positions taken by the PCUSA are based upon “best available” evidence?

    Isn’t it more likely that a coalition of politically motivated apostate individuals have simply hijacked the church governance in bad faith?

    More Light Presbyterians - Wikipedia

    Don’t we have biblical examples or prophesies of churches falling off the path and either being called back:

    1 Corinthians 7:36- 40

    Or simply dying off because they failed to produce fruit: John 15:2.

    Either way, people have a very good sense of the inauthentic and this “cool mom” routine will only carry so far. I think it’s possible and even probable that within my lifetime the PCUSA will be defunct or reformed along orthodox lines.
     
  18. Paidiske

    Paidiske Clara bonam audax Supporter

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  19. Midas

    Midas Newbie

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    .
     
  20. hedrick

    hedrick Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I'm not replying to the substance of this posting for two reasons (1) rules of this forum don't permit it, (2) useful discussion requires all parties to accept that others are operating in good faith. This kind of belief about your discussion partner makes it clear that this basic agreement isn't present.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2019
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