Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders are doing plenty of explaining inside and outside their churches these days after their church’s top legislative body took stances in June on two volatile issues — opening the way to same-sex marriages involving its pastors and churches and pulling investments in companies aiding the Israeli-occupation of Palestinian lands.
The divestment vote has strained relations with the Jewish community, historically a partner with Presbyterians in interfaith dialogues and lobbying for civil rights, immigration reform and other causes.
The marriage vote is testing the commitment of the dwindling ranks of conservatives in the denomination. Church leaders have been distributing letters and fact sheets to the congregations and holding high-level talks with their counterparts in other denominations and in mission churches abroad, many with more conservative views on marriage.
“These are difficult times in many ways,” said the Rev. Sheldon Sorge, general minister of the Pittsburgh Presbytery. “We have certainly received expressions of concern from individual members about General Assembly decisions.”
That’s the understatement of the year!
GA 2014 will be characterized as the Assembly of Shooters of both feet. Same sex and no Israel. Nothing like hastening the decline of one of the once flagship Mainline denominations.
Makes me sad that the agenda of the culture guides the PCUSA to ruin. But 35 years ago, we were told
that the world sets the agenda of the church. Surely does.
reminds me of when Tom Tewell made the cover of a tabloid newspaper in New York City.
reportedly he got a six figure payout, landed on his feet in a corporate PCUSA job in Atlanta.
with all the publicity i wouldn’t be surprised if the opposite of fallout happens, and frankly i think that’s what this is all about; attracting a new crop of dues paying members, many who probably otherwise would have no interest in anything that has to do with organized religion. reminds me also of corporate America.
I’m sure those at the highest levels of the PCUSA don’t care that they’re facing fallout. They’re hard-core liberals who don’t even have compassion for babies who survived abortions. This so-called denomination has been hijacked by ruthless and sociopathic people.
People who have no interest in organized religion will not flock to the PCUSA. The only thing that will keep the PCUSA going is the money that was tithed & willed to them.
They might be shooters of both feet, but they were so proud of themselves and uncaring about what they had set in motion.
“Conscience clauses protecting pastors who oppose such ceremonies might help keep some traditionalists who want to stay within the denomination, the Rev. Paul Roberts, pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, told the assembly last month.”
Not likely. The only consciences that Theological Liberals are interested in protecting are Theologically Liberal ones—the Kenyon case proved that. It is a matter of PCUSA polity that ministers who, as a matter of conscience, refuse to participate in the ordination of women, even if they are willing to work beside them in ministry, are excluded from ministry in the PCUSA. It is only a matter of time before ministers who, as a matter of conscience, refuse to participate in the ordination of practicing homosexuals, bisexuals, or individuals who have undergone sex change operations, or refuse to participate in same-gender “marriage” services are also excluded from ministry in the PCUSA.
One of the unheralded bits of data from the 2011 survey of mid councils is a comment made repeatedly by mid council leaders. They suggested that General Assembly should only meet every 5-10 years, because every time the GA meets, it generates church “policies” that most church members do not understand nor accept. Presbyteries spend a year in an uproar over voting on constitutional changes, and activities that would build up the church get pushed aside. In local churches, elders perceive that their only recourse is to cease to be Presbyterian, so, in the year following an assembly, we lose many churches (the equivalent of one a week in 2012-13). That settles down in the off year, but then we start anew with another round of new policies that are an anathema to the local parishioner. What a great business model!!
Ultimately, we will be a “denomination” of a few hundred folks who agree on absolutely EVerything. So much for diversity; so much for reconciliation.
i’ve watched one local PCUSA church in particular go from well over 1000 members down to 75. those who are left are mostly hard core liberals, several of them de facto excommunicated Catholics, intent on pushing their liberal agenda on the PCUSA, and indeed they have. some of these individuals very quietly went about their business, verbally active in meetings but not too much, however always on Sunday mornings engaged in what i call cocktail party behavior; effusively wooing the congregation with handshaking, back slapping, politicking. it started out as a simple couple minute gesture, and evolved into a full blown 5-10 minute party of sorts, right in the middle of the service. by comparison, in the Catholic Church it’s a simple ‘peace be with you’ to the two neighbors on either side in the pew, and maybe the two front and back. i’ve also watched as some of these same individuals in the local PCUSA church have slowly worked their way up to controlling positions in the community. i hate to say it but based on everything i’ve witnessed this looks to me like a calculated effort to take the church down from within. i see the same sort of thing going on in the Catholic Church, only worse. many priests have worked their way up through the ranks to positions of power, leading homosexual lifestyles, or worse, while professing to follow their vows. we’re obviously living in the end times. there are no easy answers regarding how to react to all of this, but i do believe at some point it’s going to become a matter of self preservation, literally. even if they are very small in number the level of evil we’re dealing with is off the charts. trying to have a conversation with any of these folks is pointless, i’ve tried, countless times. they generally say one thing, do another, that type of thing. or profess one set of beliefs, live another. as i’ve said here several times before, if you’re interested in seeing for yourself what’s going on in places like this i recommend reading the posts at amyhamnerwalker on twitter. she is the wife of an elder at a PCUSA church here in florida. there’s no attempt whatsoever in her comments to hide what they’re up to, it’s all right there for anyone to see.
technically the PCUSA should be classified as a real estate investment trust, since that’s it’s primary business. there’s very little if anything Biblical going on in the PCUSA buildings here in FL that i’m familiar with.