Thursday, July 23, 2009

Presbyterian Sinkhole?

The most recent World Magazine is calling attention to continued theological and membership slippage by the Presbyterian Church (USA) in a clip entitled "Sore Loser."

The article cites a 70,000-person decline in membership, and a loss of 25 congregations who quit for other fellowships. The cause of the bloodletting is, of course, encroaching theological liberalism in the mainline denomination, especially the issue of homosexuality and whether practicing gays should be allowed in the pulpit.

However, one pastor described as a "liberal pastor/blogger," -- John Shuck -- blames it on other "baggage." What kind of baggage, you may ask? According to the article, here's what he says:

"Creeds, boring hymns, bashing gays, superstition, and the general nausea caused by Christian evangelism."

Oh. My. Lands. Or should I say, "aw, shucks?"

If this is the position of the majority of Presbyterian pastors in this particular branch of Presbyterianism, it's no wonder that people are leaving in droves. John Knox would be appalled.

Come to think of it, I have a strong suspicion that the Lord Jesus Christ would be appalled as well. Especially seeing how His command to evangelize is described as causing "general nausea."


Stan McCullars said...

The PCUSA is melting away like the witch in Wizard of Oz.

I say: Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

saunch said...

These are many of the same issues that prompted the creation of the PCA, the Presbyterian Church of America in the early 70's. Unfortunately in our section of Iowa, the only Presbyterian churches are PCUSA, not very conservative, not always biblical. While we're members of a Baptist church at the moment, we thoroughly appreciated the sound biblical teaching of the PCA churches we attended years ago in Alabama. I still get their newsletter and pray for them as they continually fight against the things that are neutralizing other denominations.

lee n. field said...

>Unfortunately in our section of Iowa, the only Presbyterian churches are PCUSA,

From what I read, the PCA is engaged in some pretty aggressive church planting. There's one in town here. I'm not jumping ship at this point. Amont other things I have read, the PCA may be having it's own identity problems (broad evangelical, vs. confessional NAPARC type reformed).

The PCA, if I remember correctly, split from the southern branch, before the northern and southern merged.

Scott Clark has some comments on planting Reformed churches in the Midwest and Great Plains.

>Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead!

With deep sadness. I grew up in that denomination. This would be sixties and early 70s, back when things weren't quite so weird as today. Even back then, I remember talk in the denominational magazine about the membership decline.

And, evangelicalism should be careful also to attend to the health of it's own house.

BTW, here's the blog of someone still fighting the good fight inside the PCUSA: A Classical Presbyterian.

Solameanie said...

Funnily enough, I always considered Presbyterians like D. James Kennedy "evangelical," despite Presbyterianism being considered a mainline denomination. The Presbyterian Church USA was the liberal branch, while the Presbyterian Church in America (Dr. Ron Gleason and Kennedy) was the conservative branch.

I formerly tended to view "evangelical" as one who firmly adhered to Christian orthodoxy, including belief in the need for evangelism. I am beginning to alter that view these days because "evangelical" is losing its meaning thanks to liberals in its midst.

lee n. field said...

Who's who? This help?

< funny>Not quite as complicated as your average end-times chart.< /funny>