This Day in Presbyterian History:
Now what, PCUSA evangelicals?
In what was called a “refuge camp” across the border, Presbyterian and Reformed evangelicals met on August 24, 2011 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to discuss what could be done in the light of the General Assembly and subsequent presbyteries voting in the majority to allow homosexuals full participation in the clergy ranks of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.
This was no small gathering. It was composed of 2000 individuals, from 49 states, representing 830 congregations of the PCUSA, with 70 middle governmental and denominations officials present. Sponsored by the Presbyterians for Renewal, it introduced the newly formed Fellowship of Presbyterians, which has at its purpose to enable churches to find ways to work within or leave the parent denomination.
Within or without! Those two options have several sub-options found in them, but there is still the hope that somehow they might be permitted to work within the camp of the PCUSA. Indeed, the options presented to the delegates included three positions to work within the PCUSA. Yet two of these would require constitutional changes to the Form of Government which would allow either conservative presbyteries within an existing presbytery, sort of a church within a church idea, or the election of two committees to examine candidates for the ministry in each presbytery. These were all the “within” options.
It was only the last option which suggested the possibility of separation from the church altogether and affiliation with a New Reformed Body, whatever form that new body would encompass. Other bodies, which have already declared their separation from the UPUSA, such as the New Wineskin churches are planning meetings to reach out to the group which met in Minneapolis in August 2011.
All agreed something had to be done. The tent which was supposed to let everyone in had just collapsed in the middle. By the time this historical essay is presented in 2012, hopefully there will be a clearer idea of where the evangelicals left in the apostate denomination will go.
Words to live by: It seems to this contributor that the lines in the sand have been moved again and again by the evangelicals in this liberal Presbyterian denomination. All the arguments that by staying in, we can influence the liberal churchmen for good have failed to take in the truth that the liberal philosophy of the modernists can likewise weaken the evangelical and Reformed standards. And yet it can most decided do that, and has done that. There are denominations true to the Scriptures, the Reformed Faith, and the Great Commission of the gospel. Support them by your support, and return to your biblical foundations as a church.
Through the Scriptures: 1 Chronicles 7 – 9
Through the Standards: Praying in the name of Christ
WLC 180 — “What is it to pray in the name of Christ?
A. To pray in the name of Christ is, in obedience to his command, and in confidence on his promises, to ask mercy for his sake; not by bare mentioning of his name, but by drawing our encouragement to pray, and our boldness, strength, and hope of acceptance in prayer, from Christ and his mediation.”