Friday, May 12, 2006

Pastor Lance responds to the May 2006 Presbyterian Panel Survey.

I think that it is ridiculous to ask a Presbyterian Elder, Deacon or Minister of the Word and Sacrament if they believe that Jesus “is the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through him.” If their answer is “no,” then they are not a Presbyterian. Let me explain. Here is how it goes:
First, a person is a sinner and separated from God.
Second, a person is led by the Holy Spirit to the realization that they need Christ in their life.
Third, they give their life to God through Jesus Christ – they are now a Christian (I agree with Bill Hybels and prefer the phrase “Christ-follower”).
Fourth, join a Presbyterian church or another church.

If they are not a Christ-follower they cannot be a Presbyterian—PERIOD!!!

I liked that the survey had hard statements concerning the PCUSA and its ongoing battles. These issues have been dividing the PCUSA for decades. They need to be settled one way or another. To live in theological limbo is killing the national church.

The statement about non-geographic Presbyteries is inspired. It would be difficult to administer. However, it is thinking outside the box.

I am glad that the writers of the survey realize that there is no one list of essential tenets of the Reformed faith. It would be fabulous if the essentials of the Reformed faith, for the PCUSA, would be clearly written in The Book of Order.

We need to remember that the Presbyterian Church had its beginning in a church split or schism. We like to deny that fact. The Presbyterian Church is not the “body of Christ” – it is one part of the body of Christ (and a small part at that). The PCUSA has almost nothing to do with the Assemblies of God or Nazarene Churches—is the body of Christ divided? The PCUSA has little to do with Saddleback or Willow Creek—is the church divided? They are all a part of THE BODY OF CHRIST! If the PCUSA were to split we could say the same thing as long as the new denominations were “Christian!” I have read that Luther would have stayed in the Catholic church had he not been kicked out. I don’t believe that for a minute! He recognized that the Catholic Church of his era was corrupt and unscriptural. Calvin would never have put up with the Catholic Church. A split (the Reformation) was the best thing that could have happened. It may be time for a new Reformation in the PCUSA.

The results of the May 2006 Presbyterian Survey will be very interesting to look at. The results may show that our denomination is very similar to the Catholic church of Luther and Calvin’s era. Are we, indeed, corrupt and unscriptural? We may know in just a few weeks.


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