Thursday, July 20, 2006

New Wineskins Report 4 - Thursday Late Afternoon and Evening

There was a great presentation this afternoon on what NWI means when it says that they are “evangelical” and “Reformed.” Ok everyone, take a deep sigh of relief.

Evangelical: NWI firmly believes that the Church is to be about the Great Commission. NWI firmly believes that those who are apart from Christ need to experience the redeeming work of Jesus in their lives. We have spent too many years and too many $$$ fighting over issues that are important but keep us from the work of Christ. The church in the 2/3 developing world KNOWS about and practices evangelism. We need to regain our focus on evangelism.

Reformed: NWI firmly believes that we are to be a Reformed ministry that is grounded in the theology of the Reformed tradition. The Reformed theology is the theological foundation that will keep NWI grounded. This grounding will keep us from falling back into the theologically muddy waters that are present in the PCUSA today.

The idea of “one-foot-in and one-foot-out” was introduced to the entire gathering. The concept is that a congregation would have one foot in the NWI and one foot out of it. There are some congregations that will have that other foot in the PCUSA. The NWI would function side-by-side with the PCUSA. The denomination’s constitution would govern the church and the church would not renounce jurisdiction of the denomination (at least at this time). Other churches that are not going to stay in the denomination are encouraged to keep one foot in the NWI while they place their other “foot” some place out.

There was also a significant presentation on church property law. It was VERY BORING. Important, but boring. There is a book out on the topic. Let me sum it up this way:

  1. It all depends on state law.
  2. Contact an attorney that specializes on property and trust law in your state. I spoke with representative from two different churches from two different states that have attorneys working on this issue. If your church is seriously considering leaving the PCUSA and would like to learn from their experience let me know that state you are in. If it is from one of the states I will get your contact information to the appropriate church.
  3. A major component for property issues is specific to a local church, who it was formed, what the property deed says, minutes of congregational and session meetings, etc.

It has been a long, long, long, long day. I have never been with so many people who are so frustrated with the PCUSA but are even more hopeful for our desired future. I do not get the sense that the actions of this gathering are being driven by anger or fear. They are being driven by our risen Lord who is calling us to a bright and glorious future. What will that future hold? The GAPJC will most likely the course the NWI will take. Do I believe that the amendment to the PUP report solidified the requirement of G 6.0106B. Yes I do. Will churches say that the new AI gives ordaining bodies the option of saying that “B” isn’t an essential of the Reformed faith. Yes I do. How will the GAPJC handle the case? In the past, they have let a person’s ordination stand even when an ordaining body was found in error of how it failed to apply “B.” If the GAPJC does that in cases involving the PUP report and the new AI then it will spell the end of the PCUSA as we know it. If the GAPJC says that “B” is not “essential” then it will spell the end of the PCUSA as we know it. It is clear that the delegates of the General Assembly were led to believe that the amendment would have no impact on the PUP report. The report was assed with the specific intent to give ordaining bodies the right to set aside certain provisions in our constitution. I find it difficult to believe that the GAPJC will uphold “B,” enforce the constitution and remove the ordinations of persons who fail to live by “B.”

Signing off from Tulsa for tonight.

Pastor Lance


At 7:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pastor Lance,

Thanks again for the updates on the NWI convocation.

Have you talked to any representatives from Texas whose church has attorneys exploring the church property issue?

Thanks again. I look forward to future blogs.

Concerned Elder

At 7:59 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good reporting!

But what is the "Reformed tradition" that they would adhere to?

Without a clear-cut statement of definition and essentials that are more clearly and specifically Reformed than what the NWI has now, there is still plenty of 'mud' in the 'water'.

It seems to me that we talk about many terms that we have no real working definitions for. To me, that's a problem.

Keep up the good work!

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