Metaphorically just meeting in Detroit in ways that don't stretch reimagination, the PCUSA has just given the green light to same-sex nuptials and red light to anyone who likes Israel.
While some have been forecasting this for years about a denomination "irretrievably apostate under current management" with decisions increasingly only coincidental to its confessional heritage not to mention, which it increasingly doesn't, Jesus by the book, an exodus from its annually decreasing membership is picking up more pace than the fall of Iraq to religionists as close to Islam by their book as the commissioners in Detroit have proven to be to ours.
Not to worry!
Detroit's moderator has appointed a "reconciliation" task force to go to churches and judicatories for "conversations about unity" and...
Unity assumes something about Someone to be united about.
To reach common ground, ya gotta have common ground.
The truth is there is a decreasing minority in the PCUSA that still believes in Jesus by the book and an increasing majority that kinda does when it fits into their ideology with two feet planted firmly in the air.
Sooooooo when someone asked me how those who still believe in Jesus by the book supported by the confessions of the PCUSA that used to, uh, "guide" us because they, uh, encouraged faith and obedience to Jesus by the book were gonna "receive" the moderator's reconciliation team, I said, "While I embrace this gesture as well-meaning though naive and theologically inane and intellectually dishonest, it is being considered laughable across the board by most folks a little left of moderate to right."
When pressed, I went on, "Actually, I think he's gotta be a few fries short of a happy meal. Really, talking about reconciliation with Jesus-loving-Bible-thumping believers after doing what they did in Detroit is like a psycho uncle coming up to you after raping and mutilating your momma and saying, 'Hey, I know you're a little miffed about this; but I'm sure we can find common ground and stay just one big happy family.'"
Anyway, though He may not mean much to 'em anymore by the book, I was thinking about what Jesus had to say about reconciliation...
Matthew 18:15-17 is our Lord's reconciling recipe.
I really like Clarence Jordan's paraphrase in The Cotton Patch Version of Matthew.
Moretheless, here's the plan according to Jesus by the book:
1. Try to work it out face to face.
2. If that doesn't work, bring along a few fair and objective folks who will tell the truth to both of you while insuring neither of you is tempted to lie about the conversation to others at a later date.
3. If that doesn't work, try a committee, board, or bunch of good folks to sort it all out.
4. If that doesn't work, isolate and avoid 'em. Or as 8th graders say, "Just blow 'em off!"
Now read Romans 16:17-20; Titus 3:10-11 for more context to #4.
Though our Lord commands us to love and seek reconciliation with even the unlovable people in our lives, He knows some folks are not reciprocal and will remain irrational and irascible.
Now read Matthew 10:5ff.
That's why I wrote in a book that never sold much, "Trying to be rational with the irrational is illogical; the ancillary being, being wrong invalidates argument and being right does not necessitate it."
Simply, reconciliation requires common ground for there to be common ground; for unity assumes something about Someone to be united about.
Precisely, polity is not enough to hold a denomination together if a decreasing minority still believes in Jesus by the book and an increasing majority kinda does when it fits into their ideology with...
If reconciliation ain't really possible because of such an irreconcilable chasm between the decreasing minority and increasing majority in the PCUSA, what's the forecast?
Apart from some 1st century Pentecostal thing or parousia - both of which appeal to me - I see three movements.
First, the denomination will continue to decrease in membership and cultural influence.
Second, the triumphalists who are on a winning streak apart from Jesus by the book will be increasingly strident and mean to folks who remain faithfully in the franchise according to Jesus by the book and supported by its confessional heritage.
Third, the increasing majority will increasingly conspire to drive out the decreasing minority like the prevailing religionists in Iraq that kinda reminds me of what happened to Bonhoeffer and...
Say it ain't so!
Of course, reading Jude contextually, all of this is quite...positive...in the end.
In other words, the Jesus-loving-Bible-thumping believers of all denominations may be disappointed as the apostates break His heart; but knowing who wins in the end keeps the salt pouring and reflecting light shining.
Blessings and Love!
A quick note on that reconciliation overture. It was originally a motion brought to the Marriage & Civil Unions committee by a conservative commissioner after the votes to send the AI and the BoO change to the floor.
The person was hurting, and believed that such a reconciliation step would help the denomination. While many thought this was a fools errand, it was supported and sent to plenary.
Yes, I agree that this gesture will go over with some like lead balloons, but the heart of the person who suggested it was good, if somewhat naive.
I appreciate your clarification, brother.
I recall my daddy once warning, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
Jesus told us to be "wise as...tender as..."
Or as MLK, Jr. wrote, "Be tough-minded and tender-hearted."
I am very tender toward the heart of the person who thought this was a great idea; yet tough about the misguided naivete.
There has been a war for souls in our franchise for a long, long, long time.
There is no common ground or reconcilation except through Jesus by the book.
Of course, mon ami, I know you and he share that.
If you know him, tell him that we love him even as we no longer share that optimism.
We will remain faithfully...to Jesus by the book.
So help us, Lord!
In your recent articles on the GA reconciliation team you did not use the new way to spell what they are doing. Now it should be spelled "recon-silly-ation".
Our hearts and prayers are with you and the faithful congregation of Belvidere Presbyterian on the issue forced upon you by the PCUSA General Assembly. Both my wife and I were raised in the faithful Presbyterian church and have served as USA ruling elders, in my case back as far as 1967. I grieves us to see the church depart from its necessary basing on God's Word.
We only left the denomination for the Presbyterian Church in America when the PCUSA standards appeared to have departed from the Biblical base and confessions.
Keep the faith,
I just read this quote that is telling me what foolish things happened at this GA.
"There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true."
Soren Kierkegaard. (1813-1855)
Songs to sing to the growing majority or the decreasing Biblically faithful minority:
"Happy Trails to You"
"Can't Get No Satisfaction"
"Don't Bring Me Down" [The Animals]
"Canadian [Presbyterian] Sunset"
"The MTA [Kingston Trio]" [Riding forever 'neath the streets of Boston]
"Fantasy Island" theme song
"Gilligan's Island" theme song
"Breakin' Up is Hard to Do"
"Somewhere Beyond the Sea" [the last Presbyterian member is waiting for me]
"Garden Party" [Ricky Nelson]
"I Will Go On" [Celine Dion from Titanic]
and speaking up re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic........
Great article, Dr. Bob!
Wow. You compare the moderator of the GA to a psycho rapist.
Touchy, touchy, touchy...
If you interpreted it that way, you will have to take a deep look inside, mon ami.
But it is a good way to avoid the issue.
Blessings and Love!
While we post comments from all of our anonymous readers despite their irreverence/ignorance to John 3:19-21 except for pathologically transferring stalkers, we are praying deliverance from upokrisis (transliteration) and the courage of conviction to emerge from shadows and let us have it in a Christian kinda way...We love you anyway moretheless and pray His best graces for you!
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