Wednesday, July 19, 2006

New Wineskins Report 2 - Wednesday Night

Answer some questions that you have left on the blog...

1. How many delegates will be attending? Over 700 people have pre-registered for the event. With 121 endorsing congregations that would mean there would be approximately 242 voting delegates (could be a few more due to multiple staff churches).

2. Quotidian grace asks about “the kind of church and denominational organization they are favoring.” The church they envision would be:

-Biblical

-United on essentials

-Missional

-It would have the local church as the most important part of the church hierarchy

-There would be a flattened structure

-It would be very connected

-It would be Reformed but my sense is that the word “Reformed” is not going to be high on their priority list. I may be wrong on this. “Reformed” is important in their written documents but I did not hear the word used even once today.

3. Backwoods Presbyterian wants to know the difference between NWI and other renewal groups. Here is how some of the NWI board members summed it up. Presbyterians for Renewal (PFR) has been on the renewal scene for ages and ages. Many in PFR have adopted carried the stay-fight-win banner. The Coalition is an umbrella group that brings people and groups together. They have not tried to set an agenda for the PCUSA. The Coalition meeting I attended in Orlando several years ago would prove this to be true. It was a great gathering of people who were frustrated with the denomination but there was no agreement on how to move forward. The Constitutional Presbyterians are so new that they are not much of a group. To be honest, I don’t see why they exist. Our constitution has been ignored or openly broken for years without any consequences. Their encouraging us to obey and enforce the constitution is noble but will have little consequence (in my opinion). Their group is not very organized as of this time. The Confessing Church Movement is just that, a movement. It has no organized structure. This could change in light of the passing of the PUP report and the Layman’s recent postings on the denomination. The NWI is very organized, they have a plan and at time line (more on this in a few moments!) if it passes the member voting. Backwoods also asks about the “real message” of NWI to the denomination. That will be covered in just a moment when I touch on their recommendations.

The Evening Gathering.

The evening speaker reiterated that the reason for the meeting is that the PCUSA is in crisis. To face this crisis we must be about “Confessing Biblical Truth.” We do this by:

-“declaring the faith in the Fact of the Word of God”

-“faith, not fear”

-demonstrating it in “Unity” – our unity is in Christ, not a denomination

-“acknowledging when it is time to pursue new wine” (and new wineskins-he said this once).

Another board member gave a concise talk called “Why We are Here”

Macro issues:

*Global Church – God is doing amazing things in the church around the world and the PCUSA is not experiencing this powerful movement of God.

*PCUSA – Is in crisis.

*Congregations – the issues that have plagued the denomination will now be fought out in our congregations and presbyteries.

Convocation issues:

*Enjoying and seeking God – this will be a major focus of the convocation. We need to be seeking God if we are going to hear God and follow his leading.

*“Live It Now” is the theme. We cannot wait for future events to begin be the church God wants us to be.

*Move forward together -- whatever we do we want to do it together.

Just before the meeting closed for the night the “plan” was handed out for us to read (our homework). The recommendations will be discussed and voted on by official delegates on Friday afternoon and/or evening. During the next six months, within and between congregations and as presbyteries we will:

  1. Confess Biblical truth
  2. Define ordination standards of belief and behaviors
  3. Work together to discern the future of our relationship with the institutional PCUSA. Do this by asking questions similar to those posed by the Presbytery of San Diego.
  4. Evaluate congregational and presbytery giving by intentionally supporting ministries which reflect our faith and missional priorities.
  5. Take steps to see that the property of the congregation is protected for proper use in serving Jesus Christ and his Great Commission.
  6. Meet with other Presbyterians (Constitutional Presbyterians, Coalition, Presbyterian Global Fellowship, etc.) to speak to and hear proposals for way to move forward together.

For the whole NWI group their action plan (if approved) will be:

  1. Connections will be formalized as the New Wineskins Association of Churches (NWAC).
  2. NWAC will call for a congress of renewal leaders this year to pursue common ground for a preferred future.
  3. Develop networks and foster relationships with common cause partners (not sure what this means)
  4. Form a nine person strategy team that will develop a transition plan and make recommendations to the 2007 winter convocation. It will include but not be limited to dismissal of congregations from their presbyteries.
  5. NWAC will gather in the winter of 2007 to receive and act upon the recommendation of the strategy team.

It appears that the message to the PCUSA is that we are planning to leave!

10 Comments:

At 12:00 AM , Anonymous Jon Thomasson said...

Thanks, Pastor Lance, for keeping us all updated. I am linking your posts on the SaveHollywoodPres website. May the Lord provide wisdom, love, and courage!

 
At 6:14 AM , Blogger Quotidian Grace said...

My thanks as well for taking the time to report back. Very interesting developments...

 
At 7:17 AM , Anonymous Jon said...

Thanks for the updates. I look forward to reading your report of the rest of the meeting.

I'm hoping there will be a list New Wineskin congregations maintained as I expect my current one would not be following this path.

 
At 9:38 AM , Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

Thanks for this detailed report!

This is very disturbing to me. Here;s why:
NO mention of the Reformed faith? None?

What do they want the church to be?

I adhere to a faith that is Reformed because that is biblical. I joined a Presbyterian church--on purpose-- to be Reformed in my faith, not generically evangelical.

Based on what you report, there will be no way that I could ever join the NWI. That would be leaving the frying pan to end up in the fire. What is the point of abandoning one non-Reformed denonination to end up in another non-Reformed one?

For me, theology matters. And the Reformed faith, reformed according to Scripture, is what I will stand upon.

May God bless your efforts, but they will have to be without me.

Thanks for your work.

 
At 9:47 AM , Blogger Gruntled said...

Is it your sense that most people present are ready to leave the PCUSA, or is it just the New Wineskins leadership?

 
At 1:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also want to thank Pastor Lance for his updates. I look forward to reading each one.

I agree with Toby in principle but let's wait until the end of the convocation to decide whether or not NWI intends to be truly Reformed or generally evangelical.

This group has certainly done some of the right things in finding our way forward - the 21 days of prayer and repentance that proceeded the NWI convocation, the emphasis on worship during the convocation, and the daily private devotions and prayer that continue now that it has begun.

I also agree we don't want to leave just to find ourselves in another theological dilemma in a few years. The cure should not be worse than the "disease."

On the other hand, I do not think those of us with "classical" or traditional Presbyterian beliefs can continue in the PCUSA as it currently is. Too many folks with apostate and heretical beliefs are in positions of power that can and do self-perpetuate. From a human standpoint, fighting this "stacked deck" would not be easy for those who choose to stay. Only God can revive and reform this part of His Church. Will God revive or judge the PCUSA? This is the question we face.

If conservative individuals, congregations and even presbyteries leave in large numbers, will there be enough left to make a difference?

I echo Jon - may the Lord provide wisdom, love and courage!!

 
At 6:21 PM , Anonymous Presbyterian Gal said...

Pastor Lance, are there any Los Angeles area churches responding to the NWI? I am experiencing a response of "I don't care what happens at the GA. It has nothing to do with how the individual congregations operate. It does not affect you at all".(this from a pastor who I feel is a truly righteous man). I truly believe that if the PCUSA congregations follow the GA decisions that there will be a "wrath of God" consequence. I've had dreams about it. Thank you for your hard work updating us.

 
At 8:04 AM , Blogger Classical Presbyterian said...

Presbyterian Gal,

Just ask the pastor who told you that:
"Then where will our future pastors come from, if the denomination and all of its agencies and seminaries turn to the radical left?"

You can't rely on Fuller forever! Sooner or later, the Lousiville Lefts will shut that down. They will force pastors to go to the institutional seminaries and in 10 or 20 years....YOUR CHURCH will have a liberal pastor!!

Sooner or later, we will reap locally what we sow in the national church. That's a fact of history.

See what that pastor says to that!

 
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