Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More PC-USA stuff

I attended a Shenango Presbytery meeting last night on the denominational issues.  It had a large turnout (175-ish) and I haven't seen that large of a cross-church gathering that fired up in a long time.  It felt like a church softball game.

Everyone was about on the same side.  There was a general wondering of "how did we get here?" and "is this what the denomination is focused on?" "What about Jesus?".  I wonder the same thing but on more than the issue of ordaining those who will not submit to "faithfulness and marriage and chastity in singleness" (old language now removed).  Also, and just as stomach churning for me, is how did we get so tied to "social justice"?

Social Justice is a vague term to cover many errors.  On the surface who would be opposed to social justice.  A just society is essential and a good thing.  But when social justice is used to support social programs and political ideologies everyone loses.  Social Justice becomes a joke and those truly suffering from injustice are ignored.  It seems like giving them padding for the shackles instead of removing the shackles.  We can feel better about ourselves, have a nice padded program, pad a pad company profits, and leave those suffering exactly where they are so we can find them and "help" them tomorrow.  Social Justice is about the programs and not about stopping the injustice.

The meeting last night was refreshing in that people are getting involved, aware, and passionate about their churches.  It may lead to the PC-USA having fewer congregations.  It may lead to some changes in the PC-USA.  I don't know if much will change for the denomination though.  And truly it seems like it isn't much of a hop for churches to switch to another Presby denomination.  All should be considered prayerfully.  Hopefully it drives everyone to their knees.

'The Church is not a thing like the Athenaeum Club,' he cried.  'If the Athenaeum Club lost all its members, the Athenaeum Club would dissolve and cease to exist.  But when we belong to the Church we belong to something which is outside all of us:  which is outside everything you talk about, outside the Cardinals and the Pope.  They belong to it, but it does not belong to them.  If we all fell dead suddenly, the Church would still somehow exist in God.'
The Ball and the Cross - GK Chesterton


  1. We should talk. I'm not sure what that meeting was about, but several elements of this post seem contrary to what I've been hearing for the last several years.

    (1) It is not easy for a congregation to leave the PC-USA as the denomination owns all of the property / assets and there is the issue of the pastor's retirement plan assets that are held / run by the denomination. Also, there are no other PC denominations that do not have significant theological differences from the "orthodox" PC-USA. The closest is the EPC with ordination of women issues, the next is maybe the RPC with dancing and music issues. These differences are mild by comparison to the current liberal trend in the PC-USA, but wrong is still wrong.

    (2) I think you'll have a hard time getting any traction with that definition of "social justice". The term is like "Religious" or "Christian" in the media: it means "whatever I want it to mean right now, and I'm not going to tell you what that is!" I don't disagree that the definition you propose is a common one, but I think it is one of the more innocuous. The most insidious is the one that says, "act out the gospel though social justice programs first, and don't worry about preaching or teaching true worship." This one is the antithesis of recent evangelicalism, and in my informal opinion, they are equal and opposite heresies. The weird part is that they are hard to separate because you can hear both errors proceed sequentially from the mouth of the same preacher in the same sermon. Yet they are diametrically opposed and equally miss the heart of the gospel.


  2. The ease of leaving is completely dependent on the Presbytery. The presbytery holds the property in trust. Shenango has about 70 churches and is very conservative. They have expressed opening the door for churches to leave graciously with minimal financial burden. Sept 27th (I think) they are approving the document spelling out the plan.

    Our pastor is fully vested in his pension so it can't dissappear. It is probably similar to 401k rather than pension tied to a company. From my shallow knowledge - EPC lets the women ordination issues upto the local churches, PC-USA made it a universal affirmation for all churches. I'm not too familiar with RPC & their wrestlings.