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May 13, 2004

From Hubby

Reflections on 5 Years in the PCA

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Posted by TulipGirl  |  05:54 AM|  TrackBack (0)  |   Words

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Your DH said: Anyway, I've been thinking back about our time in the Presbyterian Church in America (not to be confused with the PCUSA, the ones who ordain virtually anyone with a pulse -- gay or straight.)

I respect his love and passion, but as a cradle PCUSA member, I find the last phrase inaccurate and unfair.

Posted by: Joanne aka Happy HSer at May 13, 2004 06:37 PM

Hi Joanne. . .

Just wanted to respond briefly. First of all to say that I meant no offense to any individual PCUSAers. I have a huge number of family members in the denom, and am not one who writes it off entirely. I'm thankful for the various renewal movements, and for brave people like the Confessing Church sorts who are fighting the good fight.

Nevertheless, I stand by my statement. It's a figure of speech, and of course not meant to be taken literally. But the thought behind it is true -- the PCUSA has pathetically low standards for ordination as an elder. I have a close relative who has served 20 years as a ruling elder. He'd never heard of the Westminster Confession before I mentioned it to him. He said, I quote, "Isn't that what Catholics do?" when I mentioned teaching the Catechism to my children.

This is only one example among many. Even the conservative PCUSA churches that I've been acquainted with would be at best broadly Evangelical, and none have been Presbyterian in any genuine sense outside of their governmental system.

Then there are the Liberationist pastors in my town, the very theologically liberal pastor of the church we worshiped at in Texas, the ultra-feminist Chaplain when I was in the Army, etc.

Am I indicting every church in the denom? Not at all. While I haven't been to any, I've seen writings from some very solid pastors and thinkers in the PCUSA. That doesn't change the fact that ordination standards for Biblical and doctrinal faithfulness are scarily low.

It's offensive to you that I need to preface identifying myself as Presby with a disclaimer. Fair enough. It's offensive to me that the mainline church has so soiled the once-good name of Presbyterian that such a disclaimer is now necessary.

Posted by: Discoshaman at May 13, 2004 11:15 PM

My DH is an Elder in the PCUSA. :)

I took your comment, however, to refer to the ordination of Pastors. PCUSA is very big on evaluating "call" and hours of prayer about discernment. Ordination of Pastors requires more than a pulse.

We went to a confessing church we we first moved here (Texas, incidentally). In fact, being a confessing church was one of the first things the elders tripped over themselves to tell us. It was bizarre - their need to share that aspect of doctrine over any other doctrine or program. They didn't tell us first about SS classes, the choice in service style, music, children's programs. Instead, they felt it was important to tell us how concerned they were about what adults do with their genitals. I found it odd.

Nonetheless, we stayed. I should have known better, though, when I read how they proudly offered the GKGW program. (BTW, that has changed in part due to my influence)

Anyway, I do agree that the PCUSA church is one of the more liberal. But UU it's not. ;)

Posted by: Joanne at May 13, 2004 11:54 PM

Joanne-

I'm glad that some churches in the PCUSA are sound about evaluating call and the like. I just haven't seen it in the ones I've experienced.

I was speaking specifically about ordination, which is why I cited the examples I did. These people are all monstrously unfit for the ministry to which they've been approved. They're the equivalent of "people with a pulse."

I'm happy to modify the comment on my post though, to reflect the happy exceptions you've cited. :) And you're right, it isn't the UU yet. And thank God for that.

Posted by: Discoshaman at May 14, 2004 12:42 AM


 
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