Continuing Sad Decline into Apostasy in Mainline Presbyterianism.
News today, 20th July: DETROIT (AP) - The top legislative body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted by large margins Thursday to recognize same-sex marriage as Christian in the church constitution, adding language that marriage can be the union of "two people," not just "a man and a woman."
The PCUSA Assembly also voted to allow ministers to conduct same sex marriage in church, in States where this is now legal. During this long (over 10 year) campaign the PCUSA has lost about 37% of its membership, and some 428 congregations have left for more biblical Presbyterian denominations.
“What one generation tolerates, the next generation will embrace.” (Wesley)
Will our friends in the Church of Scotland who continue to believe either that the denomination can be persuaded to return to a biblical stance or that it would be wrong to leave at this time genuinely think that the current situation in the National Church will not deteriorate further?
The sad fact is that, not only will there be further inroads from the Liberal Agenda, but that the evangelicals themselves will be influenced and move to an accommodation that actually embraces the error in question. This in fact is what happened on the issue of Woman’s Ordination. First there was, on the part of evangelicals, opposition, then there was tolerance and accommodation, and finally the whole-hearted embrace of this practice. If history repeats itself, how long before the first CofS “evangelical” changes his or her mind and “discovers” that Scripture actually does embrace homosexual marriage and actively practicing homosexuals in office?
Meanwhile the gap at an ecclesiastical level becomes even wider.
Some CofS evangelicals think that they can embrace an apostate denomination but still be accepted at the corporate level by more consistent biblical denominations and churches. Actions do have consequences – the decision to remain “united” to a mainline apostate body is equally a decision to “disunite” or dissociate from biblical fellowship with evangelical bodies. They should not be surprised then when eventually those who hold to the supreme authority of Scripture and the necessity of discipline within the corporate body of Christ feel that those who compromise with error cannot themselves be embraced but must be kept at arm’s length for their disorderly and divisive conduct.
To quote the doctrinal basis of one trans-denominational evangelical partnership: “The unity of the body of Christ is expressed within and between local churches by mutual love, care and encouragement. True fellowship between churches exists only where they are faithful to the gospel.”
The future for mainline evangelicals looks like a double isolation. Isolated within the mainline church where they are no longer welcome but seen as exhibiting “antiquated gangsterism” and are dismissed as “grumbling grunters” who stand in the way of progress, (to quote recent Moderatorial attacks); but also isolated from other evangelical and Reformed fellowships who can no longer turn a blind eye to their compromise. Not a happy position to be in – but not an inescapable position because there is a way out through separation from the apostasy of the liberal mainline denomination. Sadly intransigence will see many choose to remain united to the body of death rather than experience the liberation of being part of a truly biblical denomination or fellowship of churches.