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Monthly Archives: May 2006

Read: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06147/693671-84.stm

Psalm 2:1 “Why do the nations rage?”

Psalm 46:8-10 “Come, behold the works of the LORD, who has wrought desolations in the earth. 9 He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire. 10 ‘Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'” NASU

Mic 4:1-3 “And it will come about in the last days that the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains. It will be raised above the hills, and the peoples will stream to it. 2 Many nations will come and say,” Come and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob, that He may teach us about His ways and that we may walk in His paths.” For from Zion will go forth the law, even the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And He will judge between many peoples and render decisions for mighty, distant nations. Then they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they train for war.” NASU

How long, O Lord? How long until You reign in peace?

I’m growing increasingly discouraged in my view of the Presbyterian Church (USA). At the Wednesday evening contemporary worship service on campus yesterday, Don Dawson preached about the need for a church to care about missions, lest it turn in on itself, collapse, and die. In firing over fifty of their missionaries this week, that is exactly what the PC(USA) seems to be doing to itself. The reason for the “budget cuts” of course is the shrinking numbers within the denomination. What’s wrong in this chain of logic? “Our denomination is shrinking, so let’s cut the programs that seek to evangelism.” What?!

Secondly, there’s the debate about the report from the Task Force on the Peace Unity and Purity of the Church. For non-Presbys out there, this report was commissioned a few years ago in hopes of creating some sort of definitive answer to the denomination’s bitter intra-political debates. Neither liberals or conservatives are especially pleased with the PUP report, though, probably because it demands more time to discern the answers to the questions at hand. It does so by suggesting (idealistically) that the denomination remain unified while allowing its ordination standards to be applied selectively by each presbytery. In plain language, local groups of church would be able to ordain anyone (regardless of theology, sexual orientation, or other controversial issues) with no recourse from the national church.

At a lunch-time discussion of the report yesterday led by Dr. John Burgess, it became apparent that while the report may have the best intentions and might even be a solution in an idealistic world, in reality it will do more harm than good. Whether it passes or fails at this summer’s General Assembly, people will be upset and will surely talk about splitting the denomination.

It is times like this that I am thankful that I’ve always identified myself as a Christian first and a Presbyterian second. My faith is in Christ alone, regardless of what comes of the denomination I happen to be a part of now. In all honesty, I felt called to serve within the Presbyterian Church specifically because of all that is wrong in it now, and that’s why I’m at a Presbyterian seminary now. Now the question is whether or not there will be one denomination, two, or several for me to choose from when I finish school.

Without speculating about the answers to those questions now, I will simply say that I’m thankful for the emergent church movement and what it’s doing to transcend these downfalls of denominationalism. I’m grateful for the Open Door and the other like-minded churches and people here. Whenever I wonder why God called me to leave Colorado and come to seminary in Pittsburgh, The Open Door is the first answer. In a post-denominational world, churches who 1) care about following Jesus in both word and deed and 2) will actively engage their culture and surroundings to do so will surely be the most “successful.”