By Charlie Brennan, Daily Camera.
The First Presbyterian Church of Boulder has raised more than 85 percent of the $2.29 million it is required to pay to the Presbyterian Church (USA) to secure its downtown property and complete its switch to a new denomination.
The initial payment of $750,000 was made on schedule last week, and the paperwork signed by officials of both First Presbyterian Church of Boulder and the Greeley-based Presbytery of the Plains and Peaks, the PCUSA-affiliated assembly from which the Boulder church has achieved dismissal.
With last week’s business matters handled, the 1,500-member First Presbyterian Church of Boulder is now officially aligned with ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, a network of more than 230 congregations founded in 2012 and based in Goleta, Calif.
Less than a week into cementing its new affiliation, not too much is different, First Presbyterian Pastor Erik Hanson said Tuesday.
“We made these changes really hoping that we would be able to retain what has been the most vibrant part of our ministry for decades,” Hanson said. “In a certain way, we hope very little feels different, in the short term.”
“not too much is different” – so much for nothing?
This is just stealing/blackmail by any other name…..
There are many churches in the discernment process and some are at the crucial time when a final decision by their Presbytery is being made.
I encourage all to be praying for these decisions and for God’s power and direction. Pray for the hearts of the Presbytery leaders to have softened hearts and allow gracious separation. Only then can there can be unity of vision by both sides. For conscience sake, we need to honor the calling and vision of each other and of the churches and allow separation.
2 Corinthians 12:18. “But now GOD has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.” So, let it be, AMEN.
What about members in these congregations that don’t want to separate – who is praying for them? How about pray for ALL on both sides of a schism to strive for more graciousness – your one sided approach here is disquieting?
It is!!! – the leaders of the congregation have stolen what was once a thriving PCUSA congregation, because they don’t have any real vision for the future of the church. They just want to pt up barriers and tell everyone how to interpret scripture on a small set of culturally sensitive issues.
You miss the point of my post. I say there needs to be unity of vision on both sides….that can only happen with gracious separation. Yes, I need to be gracious to those who stay in the PCUSA and ASK FOR PRAYER FOR THE PCUSA TOO. Thank you for this reminder and I do take that seriously. Both sides are obeying their conscience….
But the power over “church buildings” is on the side of PCUSA, but really we should be thinking about safe guarding the body of believers in those buildings. We need to honor that God is moving people around for His good will. We each are called to a place and we should honor that call on each other. That means gracious separation…..one chooses to stay and one chooses to go. In all things, God is sovereign and working for His will whether we stay or go. For the sake of purity, unity, and peace of vision we need to let each other obey the calling God give us.
You’re joking, right?
As in there is not much difference in the look and feel of the congregation and its worship and ministry before the transition to the new denomination as after.
The difference is in the congregation’s relations with the higher governing bodies—the Presbytery and the General Assembly. Instead of relating to higher governing bodies that are pursuing anti-Scriptural agendas, thus creating an adversarial relationship between the higher governing bodies and the congregation seeking to be faithful to Scripture, this congregation is now in a denomination where the higher governing bodies also seek to be faithful to Scripture, thus creating a much more peaceful, harmonious, and genuinely upbuilding relationship.
Loren, Maybe for about 10% of the people, the other 90% simply don’t want any gay weddings in their church. You vastly over represent the desire of the people here. The “anti scriptural” (your understanding of the interpretation of scripture – or mine? I bet they are not the same) agenda issues are with a small, small percentage.
Real Pres – You are correct in stating that this was a “once a thriving PCUSA congregation”. In fact, the PCUSA churches that leave the denomination on a weekly basis were all, in fact, “once thriving”. Speaking to your statement about vision…is the PCUSA finished with their “listening sessions” so that their vision can be formulated? Or are they waiting for the election to be over with?
The pcusa is waiting for the parting churches to get tired of being slowed played by the presbyteries so they will leave the door keys and the bank account numbers.
Instead of the church compensating presbytery, presbytery should compensate the church for the members it lost on account of its affiliation with the PCUSA
“Your understanding of the interpretation of scripture—or mine? I bet they are not the same.”
Differences in the interpretation of Scripture has historically been used to explain the differences that have divided Protestant denominations from one another—for example, whether or not we should baptize the infant children of believers, the mode of baptism, whether God’s predestination of men and women unto salvation is based upon something He foresees in them or upon His sovereign will and good pleasure alone, the meaning and significance of the Lord’s Supper, and the differences in church government. It has also been used to explain the profound differences between Protestants and Roman Catholics—for example, the veneration of Mary and the canonized Roman saints, the physical presence of Christ in the elements of the Lord’s Supper, and the doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone versus Justification by Faith and Works.
But the differences between Evangelicals and Theological Liberals in Presbyterianism, Anglicanism, Methodism, Lutheranism, and others cut across denominational lines and are even more profound than the significant differences between Evangelical Protestants and Roman Catholics, and they cannot be simplified to differences in “understanding of the interpretation of scripture”.
To begin with, Evangelicals agree with John Calvin, who wrote, “This is the first clause, that we owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God; because it has proceeded from him alone, and has nothing belonging to man mixed with it.” (Commentary on II Tim. 3.16) Conversely, Theological Liberals agree with the PC(USA)’s Confession of 1967 §9.29, which says, “The Scriptures, given under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are nevertheless the words of men, conditioned by the language, thought forms, and literary fashions of the places and times at which they were written. They reflect views of life, history, and the cosmos which were then current. The church, therefore, has an obligation to approach the Scriptures with literary and historical understanding.” This is not a simple difference in the interpretation of Scripture; this is a fundamental difference in understanding of what the Scripture is: Is the Scripture the Word of God alone, or some kind of conflation of the Word of God and the word of man?
This profound difference in understanding as to what Scripture is leads to a fundamental difference in just how Scripture is to be interpreted. Evangelicals agree on this matter with the Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1 §9-§10, which says, “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture, is the Scripture itself; and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it may be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly. The Supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.” Conversely, Theological Liberals’ belief that “the church … has an obligation to approach the Scriptures with literary and historical understanding” leads them to interpret Scripture by literary and historical criticism, which thereby becomes an authority that they hold over the Scriptures—a human authority that presumes authority over the Word of God. This, in turn, leads Theological Liberals to subject the Scriptures to other human authorities, such as the authority of the Theory of Evolution and, more recently, the authority of psychological theories of human sexuality and sexual orientation.
Thus, trust in God, as He has revealed Himself through the Scriptures, has been lost in Theological Liberalism, to be replaced by fundamental trust in the world’s ways, especially as they approach the Scriptures. When Theological Liberalism has gained ground in the PC(USA) and its predecessor denominations (e.g., the defeat of the Deliverance of 1910, the replacement of the Westminster Standards with the Book of Confessions, the defeat of the 1978 Authoritative Interpretation on Human Sexuality and the removal of the former G-6.0106b from the Book of Order, and the redefinition of marriage), it has hailed these changes as wrought by God’s Holy Spirit, as if He had led the PC(USA) to make these changes.
But these changes make the PC(USA) look increasingly like the world, for the presuppositions and prejudices underlying each of these changes comes from the world and not from the Word of God. As Paul wrote, “Since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (I Cor. 1.21, emphasis added) Yet Paul warns us, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12.2) Likewise, James asks, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4.4) And the Apostle John enjoins us, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and the pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (I Jn. 2.15-17)
And so, this is the chief of the “anti-Scriptural agendas” of which I previously wrote. Again, it is not merely a difference in our “understanding of the interpretation of scripture”; it is the wholesale submission of the Christian faith to the authority of the world, wherein those who thus submit it hope to thus curry the world’s favor. And I think it is important to more than “a small, small percentage”, as you characterize it.