Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A Denomination or a Political Institution?

I am becoming more and more convinced that our local churches function as a “church” and that the PCUSA functions (and is) a “political institution.” The PCUSA pays lip service to leading people to Christ but writes pages and pages of position papers on divestment from companies selling their products to Israel, lobbies congress for bills and policies that are contrary to official denominational policy, and jumps in bed with the latest feminist theology even when it is pagan to its core. The PCUSA is political to its core.

What would happen if the PCUSA was to ban all financial expenditures on “politics” for ten years and put all of that money into congregational development and evangelism? Let’s see… fire all political staff and disband all GA committees and work groups except for congregational development and evangelism. Give the $$$ to local congregations to advertise. Give the $$$ to congregations to update and improve their facilities. Give the $$$ to help fund evangelism efforts. Give the $$$ to plant new churches in areas of population growth. Give the $$$ to train churches in how to do podcasts. Give the $$$ to help churches to train worship teams.

Our church use to be one of the largest givers to presbytery, synod and denominational causes (based on per member) in our presbytery. The problem was that we gave so much that we couldn’t afford to buy educational materials for our church or to do any local programming our outreach. Two years ago we SLASHED our giving to those causes and God started blessing our church. Imagine that!! We began to listen to what God wanted rather than blindly give to denominational causes. Blessing. Blessing! Blessing!!

What would happen if the PCUSA was to follow suit?


At 12:44 PM , Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

It would be a great blessing if the PCUSA followed suit.

At 10:08 PM , Blogger Tony said...

No, I don't think it would be a good thing if PCUSA slashed its mission giving, which is what we did when we cut our GA contribution. Fortunately some of that has been restored.

And no, I don't think all "political" efforts should be abandoned. God calls us to be witnesses in the world and to the world. When our government needs to be reminded about the need to care for people and to bring about justice for the poor, we are the ones to do it. The full spectrum of the church (the greater church, not just Presbyterians) agrees on this. That's why evangelicals like Jim Wallis and John Stott make such a strong case for involvement. Of course, with involvement comes disagreement over particular issues, and likely some mistakes as well. I don't know the people who are jumping in bed with the feminists or mis-representing denominational policy to Congress. I do know of the people who are agonizing over what to do to end terrorism in Israel, and that they think limits on Israeli responses would be helpful. And I know of the people who are devoting considerable effort to serving the needs of those devasted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And I do know of people in the ethnic ministry office that are trying to help Native American, Korean, and other ethnic churches; and I know that their jobs are likely to be cut on May 1.

In short, or actually I guess long, PCUSA is us, just as much as Evergreen is us.

Sorry for the length of my comment, but thanks for reading.

At 10:26 AM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

My point isn’t that we should stop our denominations mission efforts. I was just pointing out that over the past ten years the PCUSA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on various things, including political involvement. The rate of membership decline has to be taken seriously at some point. We are withering away to nothing. If we don’t do something to build up congregations and start new ones we will need to call in denominational hospice for the PCUSA.

At 8:39 AM , Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

I think that we can witness for the Gospel in ways that are socially relevant in a public, moral way, but we should never be political in our alliances. But the PC(USA) Social Witness is now a tool of the political Left in this country. Do I want us to become a part of the political Right instead? No.

Pastor Lance has it right in his post.

Let's let the church do what ONLY the church can do. The rest we'll leave to Rotary and Kiwanis.


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