The Presbyterian Lay Committee has a new resource posted on its web site The Layman “designed to describe the challenges faced by theologically centrist congregations who continue to adhere to the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the Confessions of the Church but which are no longer lived out in some of the policies and practices of the Presbyterian Church (USA).” It is also available in Spanish.
In the preamble, Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, writes:
This resource is designed for Elders and other church leaders who need materials that can be adapted for use in their own setting. What is offered here is a resource that is designed to describe the challenges faced by theologically centrist congregations who continue to adhere to the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the Confessions of the Church but which are no longer lived out in some of the policies and practices of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The document speaks in the first person from the perspective of a local church session that is seeking to describe the situation to members of the congregation.
The reader is reminded that the discernment process is spiritual. This is not a battle against flesh and blood but a battle for the witness and mission of the local church whom God has called and sent. The particular denomination with whom a local congregation feely associates provides either support for, or the stifling of:
- the proclamation of the Gospel for the salvation of humankind,
- God-honoring, Word centered Worship,
- Biblically faithful discipleship,
- the spiritual nurture and fellowship of the people of God, and
- opportunities for shared mission in the world.
Is the denomination of which you are a part assisting you in advancing these Great Ends of the Church in ways that glorify God and edify God’s people? If not, what is your denomination doing?
As representatives of Christ in the world today, Christians are called and sent to bear faithful witness to the character of God. We learn to recognize the authentic character of God through His Word and Spirit. So, as we evaluate the ideas advocated by a particular denomination we must ask, “Are they bearing honest witness to the character of God as revealed in the Bible?”
- Is the advocacy of the denomination (through statements, personnel, offices in Washington, seminary education, General Assembly actions, conferences, etc) aligned with the revealed will of God in the Old and New Testaments?
- Does it bring glory to God and does it build up the Church into her calling as the pure, unblemished holy Bride of Christ?
- If the ideas being advanced and advocated are not aligned with the Word of God, then what voices or what spirit is the denomination submitting itself to?
The answers to those questions will determine the course that must be taken; whatever the cost.
This resource is available in Spanish. No rights are reserved by the author nor the original publisher of the resource.
Carmen Fowler LaBerge, Layman.org
The entire resource is available by clicking here
It can also be found on The Layman’s PCUSA discernment resources page.