The PC(USA) is holding its General Assembly in San Jose this week and I'm worried about the cultural decisions it may make. Why do we think that 21st century Christianity is any better than 1st century Christianity?
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I worry about the Church. Not my local congregation, but the denomination we are identified with. The PC(USA) is having its bi-ennial General Assembly this week, and I’m worried about the whole process.
Sometimes I think that I’m an old dinosaur for holding on to traditional beliefs. I feel as though I’m on a different journey than most of my peers and denominational colleagues. It can be very lonely, isolating, and draining on my soul. I just want to do the right thing, and I wish that the Church would do the same.
I struggle with many of the cultural issues and theological tangents that the denomination has become obsessed with. Everybody has their own agenda. Everybody wants their own way. Everybody desires to reshape the Church into something new, something emergent, or something progressive.
But what’s wrong with the old ways? Are they broken? What’s wrong with believing that the spiritual truths of the 1st Christian century are worth holding on to in the 21st century? Are we so sure that our cultural ways are right and that the first Christians are outdated, archaic, and wrong?
2 Thessalonians 2: 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.
I like what Paul has to say to the Thessalonian church: ‘Stand firm and hold on to the teachings we passed on to you.’ I understand that. I get that. I’m with him all the way. If we lose our grip of what we initially believed, then we’ve lost our faith, our purpose, and our Lord. If we allow the times to shape the Church, then we’ve set aside the Lord of Time. Christianity is not easy to believe; Christ is not an easy Teacher to follow, nor is He a soft King to serve. Our beliefs are meant to challenge our society, and our faith is meant to keep the message alive. Committees and councils, assemblies and organizations won’t do that for us.
It takes focus and determination, resolve and dedication, as well as commitment and humility to be real Christians. The disciples in the 1st century knew that; do 21st century Christians know it too?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are the Head of the Church, its Master and Leader, its Sovereign and King. If ever we needed You before, we sure do need You now. Guide us and goad us; lift us and lead us; push us and pull us until we do what You truly want, and not what we falsely desire. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to: email@example.com