Wednesday, September 3, 2014
O.K., I confess.
Sitting in my Kansas City study over 30 years ago, I was inspired/indigested to blurt out, "The PCUSA is irretrievably apostate under current management!"
Nothing has convinced me since that I was/am wrong about what's not been right for sooooooo long in the PCUSA.
Parenthetically, for you other denominational jingoists, I'm not convinced that any of the mainliners or sideliners are any better.
Denominations, as far as I can see, feed separation, segregation, spiritual arrogance/pride/bigotry/prejudice, and defiance of John 17.
While I've been encouraged even enticed to exit faithfully over the years, I've prayed and tried to remain faithfully for several reasons that I've written about here, there, and everywhere for about as long as that Kansas City inspiration/indigestion.
- Somewhere around 1979, I told Dr. Hans Evans as he was preparing to go home to Jesus in a Coatesville, Pennsylvania hospital that I was wondering if I had made a mistake by "becoming a Presbyterian" because I could see the signs/seeds of increasing apostasy. He urged, "Stay in our denomination! It's the best mission field open to us today!" True. No one has stopped me from heralding Jesus by the book since 5/8/77.
- John 17.
- I cannot turn my back on the precious pewsitting souls who are being polluted by apostate, accommodating, or fainthearted pulpiteers. Somebody's gotta stay in but not of to save the perishing from those who are making folks twice as fit for...
- Frankly, and I beg the forgiveness of those who have exited faithfully, I've always felt it's kinda cowardly to run away, hide, or quit. I prefer Wallace, Hamilton, Luther, Bonhoeffer, and a host of others who fought for the faith rather than ran to a neo-monasticism of the like-minded. It seems so contrary to my understanding of Matthew 28, Acts 1ff., and... Kick me out! That's cool! Kick me out for loving Jesus by the book and not paying for or participating in your apostasies! But I'm not running away or hiding or quitting with my tail between my, uh, spirit. I wanna be the good leaven that mixes in to ameliorate! I wanna be the salt that stings to heal. I wanna be light; shining for Jesus by the book! You know! I wanna be a missionary to mainliners. I wanna be a missionary to the world; and those mainliners have become as worldly as...
- Why would I wanna leave one stinking denomination for another stinking denomination? Total depravity ain't the exclusive character of the PCUSA! Why would I wanna leave one bureaucracy that stinks for another one that stinks? Besides, when it comes to Presbyterians of any alphabet identity, they all come from the same culture even though some like Jesus by the book a lot more than the PCUSA. They still employ the SOSO structures - just spiced with a much better flavoring of Biblical Christianity. But, as I've seen/heard, they have lots and lots and lots of sin too!
- Do I really wanna put properties and assets and ordinations and...at litigious risk? Do I trust our courts? Hello, O.J.! Hello, abortion! Hello, same-sex nuptials! And why would I pay blood money to get out? Didn't that $ come from saints who wanted to advance the Kingdom for Jesus by the book? Why would I use the money of saints to feed the beast? That's ironic at best and hypocritical at minimum and perhaps as unfaithful as...
- Considering I barely have enough time to be with my family and do my day job as it is and really don't like meeting with clergy and other ecclesiastical idolaters that bring Matthew 15 and 23 to mind, trying to exit faithfully seems like really bad stewardship of time, emotions, and energies; especially since nobody has stopped me yet from heralding Jesus by the book.
- Campolo told me back in 1982 that denominations are dead. Go back to the "stinking" reason! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand the gatekeeping and accountability denominational rationalizations. Yeah, yeah, yeah! Like mainline denominations hold their constituents accountable for anything anymore...other than $. I'm just not into the denominational scene anymore. If I'm forced out in a Kenyonesque kinda way, I'd rather try networking with others regardless of present or former or future franchises as long as they love Jesus by the book.
- Google the topic!
Howeeeeeeeever, a recent report and personal letter have caused me to think I may be forced out and better be prepared to...
I mentioned the report in "Remnant Network - 10."
Punchline: "You better tell Kopp that this remnant stuff is the Confessing Church Movement with teeth and they know it. If he's not careful, he's going to get his head chopped off!"
Go to the right column and click on #10 for the whole report.
Letter from Florida:
Dear Dr. Kopp, You sound sincere but sincerity is not enough if you really care about your church. What happens if you die? What happens when you retire? If you remain in the PCUSA, what will stop them from making sure the interim and next pastor don't follow the party line? If you really care about protecting your church from them and really care about the next generations in your church, you better think this through a little more than you have. I would like you as my pastor now; and I'm guessing your church likes you now. But what about after you're gone? Can you be sure that whoever follows you will hold your same convictions or be like the people that you are trying to keep away from your church? You don't trust them now. Can you trust them then? I like what you say and agree with you only if you can be sure they won't take over after you're gone. Sincerely,...
O.K., I've gotta pray and study and consult some more.
While I'm still all for remaining faithfully as part of the faithful remnant that doesn't respect denominational lines of any kind in favor of Jesus by the book with His high priestly prayer as a pattern for true peace, unity, and purity, I hear...goosesteps...
Here are some voices from the remnant.
From my favorite devotional writer in Bixby, Oklahoma:
Isaiah 62:6 "On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen; All day and all night they will never keep silent."
Matthew 26:41,"Watch and pray..."
If your heart is grieved by the growing apostasy in the Church...you may be a Watchman. If you can see danger, evil, or darkness approaching while others seem to be in a state of slumber...you might be a Watchman. If you've felt the growing need and urgency to pray while others party...you might be a Watchman. If you feel an urgency to "sound the alarm"...you might be a Watchman. If you sense a growing desperation to bring in the Great Harvest of Souls...you might be a Watchman. If you, like Nehemiah, received a burden from the Lord to repair the breach in the walls...you might be a Watchman.
Oh Watchmen on the Wall!! Don't be discouraged and don't succumb to fatigue! Stay alert and watchful! Let your voice be heard in the corridors of the Nations and in the prayer portals of heaven! Your eyes will see what others can not see! Your ears will hear the sounds of the battle afar off and the sounds of the approaching rains! You will see the dust clouds of the approaching enemies of Christ, but you will also see the approaching day of Redemption!
Be His voice! His eyes! His watchman on the Wall! Be available to Him!
Watching and Praying,
From that same saint:
Stand firmly against the apostasy! Remember the words of David when he saw the armies of the Lord ridiculed and under great intimidation by the giant..."Is there not a cause?!" My friend, there is a cause! Go in the Name of the Lord! He will go with you! You have my prayers and His support!!
From a geezer like me in Harvard, Illinois:
I assume you mean the note about 501(c3) federal tax exemption.
Currently most PCUSA churcches have their tax exemption covered under the denomination's federal tax status. One reason the G.A. is so particular about churches turning in their statistics is this is part of the federal requirements for us to be exempt. These numbers are acutally reviewed by the IRS wiht regularity. Of course the "property clause" in the constitution makes all this possible. Our tax Emempt status is purely at the ruling of G.A. in a recent revision of our tax status with them I had to go through changes in our church by-laws to keep our endowment fund covered under the 501(c3) status. The person in the legal depaartment of G.A. was not very helpful or friendly. In the conversation it was very obvious that individual church's exempt status was considered a priviledge. THis is the basis on which I contend G.A. will use this as a future weapon against churches refusing to pay per capita or otherwise not in line with G.A. policies.
Church in our denomination can and have sought theit own 501(c3) status. It is a 15 page form which most reasonably intelligent people can complete - however it is arduous. Approval take about 18 months after it is filed. This is something our church will do soon. All evangelical churches should pursue this before the next G.A. assembly.
I’m not saying whether to do this or not, that’s up to each congregation . . .
I talked with a person from our congregation who deals with the IRS on a daily basis and her opinion (and it is just an opinion) is that the denomination would be on very tricky ground if it tried to yank 503c status from a congregation that is continuing under the franchise umbrella. They really can only do that with congregations that are no longer under the umbrella. That’s a rational read of the situation. We all know that “rational” does not always carry the day with these 2 organizations. If the denomination did threaten to yank 503c status it would seem that dismissal would go hand-in-hand with that act. In fact, it would take dismissal out of the presbytery’s hands which would be a nice dust up. Revoking 503c status would really be playing with fire . . . perhaps to apt a metaphor . . .
For what it’s worth.
From someone years from getting an invite from the socialists at AARP:
Having talked to one of the legal wonks at General Assembly about the tax exempt status of our own church - having been left in that conversation with a very scary view of the powers-that-be - and having seen the stupidity of G.A. officials I think we can forget about rational thinking.
Just my opinion
Blessings and Love!