Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Journey Through the Wilderness Took Forty Years

Thank you all so much for all of your letters of concern! Your thoughts and prayers are greatly appreciated!

I have no idea why God called it the “Holy Land.” Some parts are good for farming but lots of it is dry and unfertile. The land was been conquered and re-conquered over and over again. What made it the “Holy Land” is that it was the place that God had called his people to go to and possess.

The journey to that land did not take place over night. First, Abraham was called to leave his place of residence and travel to this yet unseen land. Then, during the time of Joseph the people left that land for the food and sustenance found in Egypt during the extreme famine. The next chapter in the journey for that land is found in the life and times of Moses. Even then, the journey to the land took forty years and many (almost every adult) would not step foot onto that “Holy Ground.”

I am not so naive as to believe that a particular church or denomination is the new “holy land.” Every church and denomination will have struggles and disagreements. There will be “well-meaning” individuals on all sides of those debates and disagreements. After all, fallible people are involved in churches! Including ME!!

There is a lot of prayer and fasting that will need to happen before any person or church decides to stay in the PCUSA or leave the PCUSA. To stay for unbiblical reasons is just as bad as leaving for the wrong reasons! I have spent a fair amount of time in prayer and Bible study but have yet to spend time with fasting, prayer and the study of God’s Word. This is something that will begin in the very near future. I am hopeful that our Session calls our church to a time of fasting, prayer and the study of God’s Word as we seek God’s will for the PCUSA, Evergreen and individuals and their families. At tonight’s Session meeting I will ask the Session to begin a time of fasting, prayer and the study of God’s Word.

My wife has been out of town on a project for the company she works for. She flew into SeaTac late last night. I did not tell her of the GA decision until we were headed home from the airport at about midnight (no sense in worrying her while she was out of town). Her first comment (jokingly) was, “Please don’t resign from the church until we sell our old house.” I love my wife! This morning she reminded me that two years ago I spoke of the PUP report and how it could have a HUGE impact on us and the church. She called it, “the line in the sand.”

Has the PCUSA crossed the line in the sand that separates a “biblical church” from an “apostate church?” That is the question that we are all faced with.

I have read many writings that say “nothing has changed” – we still have our constitution that tells us what the rules are. That is true. Those are rules that every pastor and elder has promised to uphold and enforce. Has that happened when the “rules” were to be enforced? No way! A Presbyterian pastor admits to officiating at a “marriage” of a gay couple and the Presbytery refuses to discipline the pastor. A Presbyterian church allows an atheist to become a member. An openly gay pastor admits to being gay and having a lover and the Judicial Commission refuses to discipline the pastor because no one has seen the pastor and the pastor’s lover have sex, so there is no real proof of breaking the rules (even thought the pastor openly said that they are sexually active. All of these events (and countless others) happened when there were to be NO EXCEPTIONS! It is now “open season” on exceptions. Some congregations and Presbyteries will seek to enforce the “rules” and others won’t. We are no longer “connectional,” we are “congregational.” I fear that we have ceased to be a Presbyterian church.

Serious decisions will need to be made by EVERY Presbyterian – and we will not all arrive at the same conclusions. Now is the time for EVERY Presbyterian to dedicate a serious length of time to prayer, fasting and the study of God’s Word. The journey will be long and difficult (I love to eat). I just hope that it doesn’t take forty years!


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