By Mateen Elass, on his personal blog.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is racing to take the lead over other post-Christian liberal Protestant denominations in enthusiastically courting the wrath of God
Despite all the biblical and statistical evidence concerning the misguided course its leaders have charted over the last 50 years, the denomination continues to thumb its nose at both God’s revelation and its own credal formulations. One might think that this shrinking, politically leftist group would be satisfied with having embraced the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the casting aside of Scripture and creeds in order to affirm same-sex marriage as God’s latest blessing for human beings. But the genius of fallen human nature seems to be the capacity to ever more creative ways to oppose God.
The latest comes in an overture (no. 50) to the 2016 General Assembly proposed by the Presbytery of New York City. Entitled “On the Admission of, and Apology for, Harms Done to the LGBTQ/Q Members of the PC(USA), Family and Friends,” this overture, if passed by the GA, would require the denomination to “admit harms done and apologize to those it has wronged” from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning communities. To be clear, this is not talking primarily about harms and wrongs through unloving attitudes toward this particular group of sinners (such attitudes should be repented of). What this presbytery wants is for the denomination to admit it has been wrong over the years to assert the biblical truth that the sexual relationship is divinely intended exclusively for those linked in the covenant of heterosexual marriage. By approving this overture, the PCUSA would declare that it has erred in following clear, biblical truth, and that its proclamation of biblical sexuality (embraced by the church universal over all centuries until these recent aberrations) has in fact caused harm to those engaged in such sinful practices. Concomitantly, such a declaration would cement in place the recent moral transgressions of the denomination in approving “gay ordination” and same-sex marriage. Far from being merely decisions to keep in step with a secular society, these actions would be seen as helping to “right the wrongs” committed by heterosexist leaders of past generations.
The “wrath” of God is a theological concept as old as Sodom, and usually associated with the OT concepts of fire, brimstone, or the physical, real-world and real-time manifestation of God’s displeasure. But more times than not the greater displeasure of God is worked out in evolutionary changes over broad measures of time, vice fire from the clouds or some dramatic moment of judgement.
As pertains to the PCUSA, the membership loss, loss of institutional vitality,trust, comatose or zombie churches presbyteries, deconstruction of the entity is well known and researched.
In a global sense, this is in a many ways a golden era in global Christianity. The Assemblies of God in Brazil last year baptized more people, 1.2 million as there are PCUSA folks. More communicants were presented in the RC church of India than baptisms in all North American Protestant denominations combined. The Anglican church in Nigeria will plant over 400 churches this year. In a macro sense, these are salad days for the faith.
The problem with liberal protestant denominations is that they all read the Pew reports about church attendance and assume the faith is dying. No, only “they” are dying at an accelerating rate. The faith in general, the church of Christ move on, only they are in a death spiral. Is that a physical, visible sign of the “wrath” of God?
This is true. God is not mocked or insulted. Actions and behaviors have real world consequences. Old liberal mainline apology tours, insulting people of faith, active persecution of the faithful never goes down well in history. The PCUSA is only reaping exactly what they have sown. And they did that to themselves. I think God has very little to do with that process. At times He just allows history to take its course.
Thank you for this truth telling article. We each answer to God in the final analysis. For too long in the PCUSA there has NOT been a respect nor awe of God to whom we give answer. We see this in the way Presbytery leaders went into a session and asked each if they would give their alliegence to the PC(USA)…. The real question should have been
“Do you give your allegence to The Lord God, Jesus Christ.”
We see this lack of awe when Presbytery leaders rejected the majority vote of their elders. Presbyters vote at Presbyteries as a way to discern God’s will for the church by the majority vote, but over the past 20 years the leaders rejected the majority and sent people to the GA’s that orchestrated their will not God’s will. They rejected the very core of what it means to be Presbyterian and the way we discern God’s will. They rejected Scripture. This voting block has taken over the denomination, but with every vote that is against the clear meaning of Scripture, God has made His will known to evangelicals. That is why we see a movement toward separation.
The leadership at the top, PMB, OGA, presbytery Executives and all
are seeking to clarify their vision going forward. Until they have a proper awe of God and repentance before the face of God, they will continue down the path of God’s wrath. It is a serious thing to go around the will of God and harden your heart to His ways and “Do whatever seems right in your own eyes”.