Why Stay in the PC(USA)?
10. “Let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Mark 10:9) Jesus famous quote on marriage should be equally valid for the Church. For every member who has joined the PC(USA) and every elder (teaching and ruling) who has been ordained, surely we believe God called us through the Church (which in our case is the PC(USA).) God called us together. Who are we to divide it up?
9. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35) How are we showing our love for one another by divorcing ourselves from one another?
8. “Whatever you want others to do for you, do so for them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) If someone disagrees with you, do you want them to take up everything and leave you?
7. “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward in heaven will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.” (Luke 6:35) It’s not an understatement that people feel like they have theological enemies in the larger Church today. Ministers, elders, and members sometimes have different understanding of Scripture, authority, and of our mission. But how do we show love to those we see as enemies? Do we really care about them? Or do we just want to get away from them?
6. “Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:43-45) Can we be servants in the very place God called each of us? How do we serve Christ’s Church in this culture, at this time, and in this place? Is it a service to the larger Church or to our society to see yet another denomination being formed or an established one further fracturing?
5. “If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.” (John 13:14-15) If there is something wrong in the Church today, let’s address it together with a servant’s, not a master’s, heart. Jesus didn’t turn away some disciples because he saw them as dirtier than others. Just the opposite! The only ones who turned away from him chose to turn away, just as the rich young ruler did because he thought the work of Christ was beneath him.
4. “For this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow in his footsteps.” (1 Peter 2:21) Is it tough in the Church today? It is. It’s way more challenging than when people’s views were more homogenous. But are we called to run away from what is hard? Jesus did not. He worked for reconciliation, and the Beatitudes show how he flipped conventional worldviews on end, even if it meant doing what was hardest.
3. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the words that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my father.” (John 14:12) What a powerful action it would be to see Presbyterians re-invigorate this denomination for Christ’s Church for the 21st century. What a sad thing it will be if our greatest achievement is to further divide it.
2. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” (John 14:1) We get so wrapped up in who owns what and in who says what. But God’s kingdom is not of this world, and our focus should not be here but in leading others to eternity in Christ’s name. We need to trust that God knew this conflict would come and sees us as being up to the challenge, rather than simply quitting.
1. “Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’” (Luke 9:60) Church today should not be concerned about preservation. That was not Jesus’ concern. He wanted his followers to be moved by the Spirit and do a new thing, guided by his example.
Church is not about winning fights. It’s about following Christ together (as the body of Christ) in the here and now and proclaiming, together, the coming Kingdom of God.
Let us get to work on the Great Ends of the Church instead of the work of dividing and divorcing. The Great Ends of the Church are the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of the truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world. Can’t we continue to do the hard work of doing these together, strengthened by each other?
What do you think?
Until next time,