Friday, May 26, 2017

When "Reforming" = Death By Progressivism

In response to a new report that shows what everyone already knows, that the ironically acronymed PC-USA (Presbyterian Church- USA), is in a death spiral in terms of membership, the "Stated Clerk", whatever that is, with the super pretentious styling of: The Reverend Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, went to the military jargon playbook and in the tradition of calling a retreat an advance to the rear, claimed that they were not dying, just "reforming". Lest you think he is using "reforming" in the sense of "semper reformanda" reforming, allow me to present his own words.
Regarding the report, Nelson said, "We are not dying. We are reforming," adding that PCUSA is "moving toward a new future as a denomination." 
"Despite cries proclaiming the death of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we remain a viable interfaith and ecumenical partner in many local communities while proclaiming a prophetic witness throughout the world," stated Nelson. 
"Our eulogy as a denomination has been written too soon, because God's Kingdom has not yet come. We are engaged both in the United States and around the globe. We are well-respected for our priestly and prophetic voice within Christendom." 

Praytell, who exactly are you "well-respected" by? The vibrant Episcopal community?

It turns out that people who are serious about the Christian faith are not all that interested in being an "interfaith" partner or as I like to call it, being unequally yoked with false and damning religions.

Pew Research does an interesting look at religious trends in America and you can learn a lot from  the statistics, although statistics need to be considered with caution. According to Pew Research, the PC-USA is basically an old, white, liberal, female denomination. More than 1/3 of members are 65, Social Security age and more than 2/3 are 50 or older. They are 88% White (so much for "diversity") and 55% female. Interestingly almost a third of members report incomes of $100,000 or more, and ready access to that money is probably the only thing keeping many PC-USA churches solvent. About 80% of PC-USA members are either not parents at all or have no young children under the age of 18. None of that bodes well for the long term sustainability of a denomination.

This shouldn't be a surprise. It will come as no shock that almost 2/3 of PC-USA members self-report that they essentially never read the Scriptures. I assume that in a survey like this it is common to have people overreport things like Scripture reading and church attendance, This is why you also find that around 2/3 of PC-USA members are pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality. After all, more than a quarter of them report that they "Believe in God; fairly certain". Fairly certain? A wishy-washy lukewarm faith is not going to convince many people to get our of bed on Sunday morning.

My point is not to make light of or mock the PC-USA. It is instead to warn yet again what always happens when churches give in to the world advice to compromise to try to appease the spirit of the age. The advice is always the same. Just compromise a little here and a little there. These aren't important positions. Doctrine divides man, just love on people and they will come! Once you start down that path, it is very difficult to stop. The Southern Baptists pulled it off thanks to some strong leaders and faithful members but that was a long time ago and the weight of the secular culture is too heavy for all but the most devout to resist once you start to listen to the whispers of "Did God really say?".

As J. Gresham Machen said so long ago and so prophetically (contrasted to the false "prophetic voice" of compromise), liberalism and Christianity are two different faiths and they are incompatible. The results of following the siren call of "ecumenism" and "interfaith voices" and "doctrine divides" inexorably leads to decay and death but no matter how many times that is shown to be true, there are always wolves among us who say "this time will be different". It won't be.

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