In one single meeting, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has managed to withdraw itself from the concentric circles of Biblical authority, cultural impact, effectiveness in spreading the Gospel, and furtherance of God’s enjoinder to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” It’s really quite an accomplishment, in the negative sense, and it adds to the widening split in the American church.
Church and politics in inextricably entwined in America. Either the church is influencing and driving political thought, or political groups are feverishly courting the church for their support. Such has it always been, regardless of the opinion of extremist atheists like the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
These days, there are two wedge issues facing the American Christian church: gay marriage, and Israel. Increasingly, the side of these issues on which a church lands is determined by its view on the authority of Scripture, and the role of the church itself. Sadly, I am not so sanguine about the prospects of Biblical Christianity in America as in the past.
When the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its 221st general assembly to
[approve] a recommendation from its Civil Union and Marriage Issues Committee allowing for pastoral discretion to perform “any such marriage they believe the Holy Spirit calls them to perform,” where legal by state law
that body attributed its decision to their discernment of God’s will.
Please know that the same triune God in whom we place our hope, faith and trust in is still in control, and that the Assembly’s action today is the result of deep discernment to hear God’s voice and discern God’s will.
This news pleased the liberal crowd (HuffPost called it “monumental”), and is another step in fulfilling the LGBT social agenda of fracturing the church and demonizing Biblical adherents who oppose gay marriage. From the decades old book After The Ball: How America Will Conquer Its Fear and Hatred of Gays in the 90’s:
At a later stage of the media campaign for gay rights-long after other gay ads have become commonplace-it will be time to get tough with remaining opponents. To be blunt, they must be vilified. (This will be all the more necessary because, by that time, the entrenched enemy will have quadrupled its output of vitriol and disinformation.) Our goal is here is twofold. First, we seek to replace the mainstream’s self-righteous pride about its homophobia with shame and guilt. Second, we intend to make the antigays look so nasty that average Americans will want to dissociate themselves from such types.
The public should be shown images of ranting homophobes…bigoted southern ministers drooling with hysterical hatred to a degree that looks both comical and deranged; menacing punks, thugs, and convicts speaking coolly about the “fags” they have killed or would like to kill…
Enough said. The goal is stated in black and white, and the results are evident.
The influence of the Bible-believing church in our culture is harmed when entire denominations depart from Biblical authority, and credit the will of God as the source. It not only harms the church in influencing American society and informing political and government policies, it also harms the Church (capital C)’s primary mission in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For if Christians can’t agree on the source and authority of the Word of God, how can any nonbeliever trust the Gospel when it is proclaimed from that same Bible?
I recently heard from an nonbeliever to whom we were witnessing that they could not accept being part of a religion that rejects gays, because they claim it’s hypocrisy. (A side note: the Bible does not reject gays, it declares homosexual behavior to be abomination and homosexual desires to be counter to God’s plan and therefore to be exchanged for a relationship with God—see Romans 1:24-27)
When denominations deny the historical and accepted tenets of Biblical authority, souls are lost. When the PCUSA accepted gay marriage, they traded it for the power to preach the Gospel, and souls will be lost.
The PCUSA assembly also approved a measure to divest in certain Israeli made companies and products. Even liberal HuffPost found this disturbing.
There was an audible gasp on the floor at the COBO Center in downtown Detroit after the motion passed. “In no way is this a reflection of our lack of love for our Jewish brothers and sisters,” Heath Rada, the church assembly’s moderator, told the assembly afterwards. [emphasis mine]
With a slip of the tongue, Rada made clear the exact motivation for his denomination joining the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) wolf pack: lack of love for Jews. The official BDS movement is sponsored by the Palestinian BDS National Committee (I shudder to even link to this). This makes perfect sense, since the Palestinian ruling organizations are the only beneficiaries of the goals of BDS. Those goals are to force Israel to give in to international pressure and give up its remaining land and sovereignty to the Palestinian people, whose leaders refuse to recognize the legitimacy of Israel as a country, as a government, and as a people group deserving of its own land.
There is no reason to support BDS unless you support Palestinians over Jews, and the Palestinian cause seeks to eliminate Jews from the Levant and annihilate Israel. Even staunch atheists and flaming liberals have no reason to support BDS. (I am shamelessly linking my personal blog, which provides quite a bit of history and background).
But the PCUSA has declared themselves on the side of hate. Even the edited language of the motion is self-conflicting:
“[1. Reaffirm Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign nation within secure and internationally recognized borders in accordance with the United Nations resolutions.]
“[1.][2.] Declare its commitment to a [negotiated] two-state solution [(two states for two peoples)] in which a secure and universally recognized State of Israel lives alongside a free, viable, and secure state for the Palestinian people.
Notice that they had to add paragraph 1 by amendment; the original didn’t even affirm Israel’s right to exist, and the edited version makes no mention of it existing as a Jewish state. The edited version is telling in removing the word “negotiated” and “two states for two peoples”. The only possible end that can be achieved in fulfilling these points is the ultimate destruction of Israel (demographics are powerful) as a Jewish state.
It is entirely appropriate to link support of BDS with lack of love for Jews. Any solution which achieves the ends of BDS results in Israel no longer existing as a Jewish state. Without a Jewish state, there remains no refuge, no bulwark in the world against a repeat of the Holocaust.
Invective? Jew-hatred is alive and well all over the world. Imagine a world without Israel, and imagine yourself as a Jew within that world, and then say it’s invective.
If you are a member of a PCUSA church, and you disagree with your denomination’s decisions, your choice is clear: leave your church for a more Biblical-based denomination, or stay with a divided conscience.
This will increasingly be the choice of many believers in the days to come, as the fractures in the church widen. Some say this is a bad thing, but I say it’s healthy for the church. Better to remove the cancer and gather the healthy than to weaken the entire body. What may be healthy for the church, however, may not be healthy for America—as the influence and foundation of America’s Bible-believing church wains, we are all in danger.
The Bible says “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov 29:18). The PCUSA has made America a little more blind with their terrible decisions.