By John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos.
Given the recent decision to bless vice, the status of the Presbyterian Church (USA) is difficult. Is it Christian?
The PCUSA has removed itself from the line of historic Christian churches and we can only pray for her recovery. Talking to the Presbyterian Church USA will now be interfaith, not ecumenical dialog, yet discussion must continue as we would with any sect historically related to Christianity, but not Christian. The PCUSA fits the classic definition of a “cult,” though the word has become useless outside of academia since it has become merely an insult.
I think it is better just to say: the PCUSA is not Christian in the traditional sense of the term. It is no longer part of the “mere Christian” community.
I am not insulting the PCUSA to say it is not Christian, just identifying it. Of course, since I am a Christian, I think it is a bad thing to be non-Christian, but the PCUSA apparently does not agree. Organizations are not going to Heaven, no not one. I am not judging the rightness of people in the PCUSA just whether the denomination is part of “mere Christianity” (as CS Lewis calls Christendom).
The PCUSA may be a church, it may be (for all I know) Presbyterian, it is certainly American having cut itself off from most of the global church, but it is not Christian.
Saying that a group “isn’t Christian” leads to four general responses.
I will tell you right now the louisville sluggers are going to take exception to this, because during the gay marriage voting, they swore up and down, on Jesus, God and buddah that we a still a Christian denomination. Just saying it might offend them
“Is the PCUSA still Christian?”
Uh, the author went to Biola University–inerrantist and anti-women. Say no more.
Provocative question. I think the response is how one chooses to unpack the denomination. Is the management, institutional matrix, OGA, Louisville, Christian? Are its minister members, clergy, Christian by and large? Are its member churches or houses of worship Christian? Are its lay membership, folks in the pews?
I think you need to take different cuts or points of view on the various layers and come to a determination based upon three key factors.
1. Observable behaviors: How do they act.
2. Observable confessions/ doctrine. What do they confess and value.
3. Consistency of being. Do they act, talk, behave, conduct themselves as such. What Paul would call “fruits of the Spirit”.
On those factors I think it’s safe to say that the results are at best a mixed bag, and very localized as to church, clergy, presbytery in question.
I tend to think the PCUSA as Christian as I tend to think of Quakers and Unitarians as Christian. Iffy both in what they think and say about themselves. Suffice to say that the PCUSA is in the process of evolving, changing, in transformation. It has clearly departed the Reformed Communion by any classic definition of the term, now moving into a more or less a pan-global, pantheistic, big tent, relativistic entity long on politics and ideology, light on confession and doctrine, much like Quakers and Unitarians.
Good point. The absolute first thing we should do with any argument is seek to disqualify the person making it. This is simply the single best way to make sure that the debate gets framed only by those with whom we already agree, and that the debate remain in the realm of feelings and in the language of victimization rather than including or resorting to logic.
Thank you, Anne, for your bravery.
Anne– And worse than that, he’s probably a Christian.
The PC(USA)’s decision to uphold that which is decidedly un-biblical in supporting same sex “marriage” is gravely disappointing, but may not disqualify it from being “Christian” per se. It certainly constitutes evidence against it being Christian, but proper theology or compliance with all Biblical principles are not the litmus test for Christianity. One’s view of scripture is certainly an indication of how one approaches God and God’s Word, (and yes – Christ is The Word), but one’s view of the English Bible or the autographs is not the definitional sole definitional criteria. That being said, one’s Christology is the sole defining aspect of Christianity. A Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, and that one must rely upon God’s grace, through Christ, and Christ alone, for salvation. If you waiver on that one point, you make the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the Cross optional, and therefore not necessary. Has PC(USA) abandoned that aspect of Christology? I believe it has, but would welcome thoughts from those on the progressive side of the PC(USA) to respond.
Apostate sums up the wacko, worldly PCUSA. There’s warnings throughout the Bible of apostate wolves roaming amongst us. Furthermore, these methodical steps away from scripture and towards the worldly European, Post American leftist model is more of a political strategy than anything else. Disgusting and sad. Yes, high level leftist elites have orchestrated this strategy for 40 years, using incremental steps to mold the church and USA into the worldly paradise they imagine.
So, therefore you agree with his points.
The PCUSA is no longer a Christian denomination! However each individual’s Christianity is dependent on their relationship with Christ!
PC(USA)= progressive apostasy. Definitely NO LONGER Christian. And they’re NOT done yet. Discretion currently available to sessions and teaching elders regarding marriage will be the next to go. Then deal with accommodating the balance of the 5 letters: G,L,B,T,Q. Only accommodated the first 2 so far. Then add a 6th letter: M for multiple marriage. (3 or more.)
They’ve completely abandoned the founding 5 SOLA’S of the Reformation; sad.
My congregation decided the PCUSA was apostate and without hope of reform. We left in 2008. We have received blessing after blessing ever since.