CLICK HERE for a Korean translation of the article.
A Korean pastor’s group in California has raised the question of whether racial discrimination is behind a presbytery’s refusal to dismiss a Korean church from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
More than a year ago, on March 23, 2014, Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church (GSPC)—one of the largest PCUSA Korean congregations in Calif., —voted by 91 percent to leave the PCUSA. Out of the 817 votes submitted, 738 voted to leave and 74 voted to stay. The vote also gave approval to the terms negotiated for dismissal with the presbytery including the congregation paying $635,000 to the presbytery for its property.
San Gabriel Presbytery’s gracious dismissal policy states that if 75 percent –or more – of the congregation votes to be dismissed from the PCUSA to another Reformed body, then the presbytery would vote on the dismissal request at its following meeting.
Fourteen months later, San Gabriel Presbytery has not finalized the dismissal, even though the church followed the presbytery’s dismissal policy and met all of its requirements.
In a May 21 letter (Korean translation here), the Korean Pastors Association of Eastern Region of LA declared that it was “confounded by PCUSA’s unwillingness to comply with the very policy that it officially adopted.”
Calling the current impasse “truly disappointing,” the letter continued that the Pastor’s Association is “very concerned and worried over whether the Administrative Commission of San Gabriel Presbytery has unintentionally caused, fostered or condoned dissension and conflicts by inexplicably delaying its implementation of the Policy and the finalization of GSPC’s severance from PCUSA.”
Drawing comparisons between the congregation’s vote on dismissal and the recent vote by PCUSA presbyteries on same sex marriage, the letter made the point that “If the decision by the vote of an overwhelming majority of GSPC’s congregation is not respected because of a vociferous minority, then PCUSA’s decision to accept homosexuals will not be respected and followed. Both the decision of a majority of PCUSA members and the decision of a majority of GSPC members must be respected and followed. Otherwise, the credibility and integrity of PCUSA and the Administrative Commission will be seriously questioned, and the seed of distrust and anger will be planted.”
The letter was clear: “If GSPC’s decision must be revisited and reconsidered because of the vociferous objection of the minority, then PCUSA’s decision must also be revisited and reconsidered.”
The Pastor’s Association stated that it respected the process followed at arriving at the PCUSA’s decision on homosexual ordination and its decision on marriage, and likewise, requested that the AC respect the church’s overwhelming vote to be dismissed.
Stating that many other churches have – in accordance to the presbytery’s dismissal policy – been able to leave the PCUSA, the letter drew attention to the fact during the same time frame and under the same policy, Korean churches are having difficulties “creating doubts and bitter feelings in the hearts of our members.”
“Unfortunately, we are being forced to conclude that this is about discrimination toward Korean-American churches and that double standard does, in fact, exist in this matter.”
“If PCUSA truly considers local Korean-American churches and pastors as your own brothers and sisters in Christ, we sincerely ask for PCUSA’s full attention and support so that our Christian brothers and sisters will no longer suffer pain and no longer be disappointed.
The Korean Pastor’s Association of Eastern Region of LA consists of more than 30 churches and 50 pastors from Korean-American churches. Good Shepherd is an active member of the association, along with its pastor, Tae Hyung Ko.
The presbytery reported that it has accepted Rev. Tae-Hyung Ko’s letter of renunciation of the jurisdiction of the PCUSA dated March 29, 2015, effective May 11, 2015. Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church of Rowland Heights, Calif., has been approved for membership in ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians.
Related articles and links:
the Korean Pastors Association of Eastern Region of LA’s letter in Korean
Presbytery threatens to renege on agreement with Korean church
Presbytery postpones decision to appoint administrative commission for Korean church
Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church to leave the PCUSA because Biblical authority is being shaken
Just one correction: If I am right, Good Shepherd was not “received” into ECO. I believe they have been approved for ECO membership and READY to be received when released by San Gabriel PBY. Small, but important difference.
Thank you for that correction. It was Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Los Alamitos, Calif., who was received into ECO on 9/26/14.
I am still awaiting the data that says that religious liberals are more inclusive, loving, nonjudgmental or more free of inherent racial, social prejudice than other believe and value groups.
If the chilling of free speech on campus, to the presumption of police corruption and evil in urban policing, to the paternalistic assumptions PCUSA liberals apply to non-white, European people, I would say that the only thing that marks religious liberals is their ill-liberalism.
I’m at a loss to understand the ‘release’. Why wouldn’t the church just stop support of the hierarchy, and join with whom they chose? If it deals with property ownership, a question remains as to whether they will take a stand, regardless of the outcome re: the property.
This is not about race, it’s all about location, location, location…..
Just leave, start all over, building your own property making certain your new church does not become a 501C3. 501c3 allows the government to one day take away your new property and forces taxation. Start paying taxes allowed by law, and the days of tax exempt status will one day be removed. So, walk away, let someone else have the headaches of a dying church and denomination.
Start paying taxes? That would shut down 99% of the 501’s, that sounds great, but most donors’ would rather pocket their money than give it away without a tax benefit…that’s just the way it is…even if they “believe” in the cause.
The article implies they have negotiated a separation agreement with the PCUSA presbytery. A 91% vote in favor of leaving is a very clear majority. They should immediately disaffiliate from PCUSA and be ready to pay the $635K, if asked. I see no reason to stick around.
I am dismayed that once again the issues with the PCUSA is seen as if same sex marriage is the primary issue. In truth it is just one symptom of the true disease; that PCUSA has decided that God’s set of instructions left to us in His Word is no longer valid in today’s world and that they will lean as the wind of popular opinion blows, but not the popular opinion of their members in the pews! There are a host of things that PCUSA is doing to further it’s agenda and same sex marriage is but one. If people had been paying attention for the last 10 years they would have seen this coming!
This situation shouldn’t surprise anyone…. PCUSA cannot be trusted to make ethical decisions and is an organization in decline and in damage control. The leadership at all levels is in crisis mode and when in crisis mode bad decisions are commonplace. When it comes to the integrity of PCUSA, I don’t trust them in any matter, especially in business. Many folks are not aware that PCUSA was using our tithings to once support the criminal, community organization known as ACORN. They were the organization caught on video back in 2008/2009 giving advice to people on how to set up prostitution operations and how to launder money. The article about this can be found on layman.org. Just another example of why hundreds of churches are splitting from PCUSA. I hope every single church splits away.
The Korean congregations have been a bright light in the midst of the darkness that is the PC(USA). Attending communion at a Korean Church in our Presbytery, the relationship and reverence they had for God was evident when all the servers of communion wore black clothing and white gloves. It was a sacred moment. They make a difference in our Presbyteries for God.
Many other congregations (especially Korean churches) are seeing the witness and hearing the message of Good Shephard …….that is powerful and I thank them for standing up for Christ.
It is time for the Presbytery to let them go and Be obedient to God’s call.
The congregation is now affiliated with ECO and pastor Ko renounced the jurisdiction of the PCUSA and has been received into ECO as well. So, yes, as a church body they have “left.” The presbytery negotiated favorable dismissals (with property) for several anglo-dominated congregations but reneged on the mutually agreed upon settlement figure for Good Shepherd’s property. Therein lies the charge of the Korean pastors against the presbytery.
Paying taxes will separate the sheep from the goats, and God will keep HIS Elect promising us The gates of Hell shall
will never conquer the Church of Christ. Sooner or later taxes will have to be paid, no more 501c3, it is not IF but When.
Perhaps our Korean brothers should enlist the aid of some homosexuals in their quest for escaping PCUSA. They seem
to get everything they want from the denomination!