Sunday, October 5, 2008

Last one out turn out the lights!!

Just finished reading the Sunday paper. Seems like another mainline Protestant denomination is undergoing upheaval because of a move from biblical and traditional standards.

The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh (ECUSA)has voted with approximatedly 2 to 1 majority of laity and 3 to 1 in clergy to secede from the ECUSA and align themselves under an Anglican Province in the Southern Cone (evidently based in Argentina). What this will do is move about 56 or so congregations to the Anglican Church from the Episcopal.

The reasons they're leaving are the same for many other ECUSA churches moving under an Anglican Province, the trend in ECUSA doctrine, biblical authority and sexual ethics moving toward what is happening in the culture and away from standards that have been in place for 2,000 years.

There were those conservatives who wanted to reform from within: "Jesus' instruction to the church is to seek and save the lost, many in the leadership of the Episcopal Church are still among the lost ... and are leading other souls astray. I believe those of us who can see that are sent by Christ to those very people to call them to repentance and new life."

However, those who voted to leave talked about leaders who deviate from classic doctrines are not fit to follow. One of those pastors cited a diocese that declared all humans were "begotten children of God," a title the ancient creeds give to Christ alone.

"We only want to preserve the faith that the people who came before us have believed and loved and known," he said.

And what did the liberals do, they took their ball and went home claiming they did not want to condone these actions by staying for the rest of the convention.

So much for discourse. Of course, this has been done in the past, when those mainline Protestants who support the conservative view are labeled fundamentalists or anti-gay or so on. In reality, many of us Presbyterian moderate/conservatives have great compassion for our gay brothers and sisters, and pray for them daily to recognize that while we love them as brethren, we cannot condone actions or a lifestyle that the Book of Confessions and Scripture call sin.

So that makes two ECUSA dioceses that have decided to leave, San Joaquin and Pittsburgh. And have no doubt, there are individual congregations outside of those two dioceses whose vestries are looking at severing ties.

Which makes me wonder ... with so many large churches deciding to leave their mainline denomination, churches that are growing on a regular basis, and seeding new church plants that hold to the same biblical standards. With liberal churches slowing losing members, either through transfer to a more moderate or conservative church, or members just dying off, I'm wondering what will happen to the PCUSA in the next 10 to 20 years.

As the title suggests ... the last one out please turn out the lights!!

And so it goes .....

(Some quotes and paragraphs taken from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report by Ann Rodgers, Oct 5 2008)

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