Yesterday, I wrote about my bewildered reflections about what was occurring at the PFR (Presbyterians for Renewal) conference. I was dismayed by the anxiety and perplexity that other pastors were facing in the midst of the current denominational crisis. Today, I feel as though God has answered some of my questions and I feel more in tune with what Christ is doing here.
The PC(USA) is largely a Progressive church and for Biblically Conservative pastors like myself, it has placed us in a minority position. It gets harder each year to try to maintain the traditional standards and biblical values in a denomination that feels its calling is to reflect the culture rather than Christ. As we drift away from New Testament teachings and Reformed doctrine, our identity changes. In my opinion, we become more of what the world wants, and less of what God wills.
This dilemma is nothing new and the Church has had to deal with this in every denomination, as well as every generation. Unfortunately, the Gospel of Christ is being watered down and His message is being treated as just one more ancient holy teaching in the midst of all other religions. In other words, the Good News is no longer godly, and Jesus is just another jolly guru.
So the PFR has been set up to help BC pastors come together as a means of support, strategy, and celebration. It gives us an opportunity to voice our faith, as well as our fears. It allows us to embrace and encourage one another, so that we can return to our churches renewed, re-strengthened, and reinvigorated in the Lord.
For me, I’ve found a whole group of people across the East, who love the Lord and seek to bring others to Christ. For our churches, we have been given a new hope, path, and vision for the future. We may be in the minority in the denomination, but instead of feeling like voices crying in the wilderness, the challenge is to become the yeast in the bread, or the mustard seed of faith that our denomination needs to do the will of God, instead of what the world wants.
As Isaiah stated so long ago, when we cry to the Lord for help, He will answer us and He will show us where He is in the midst of our churches, communities, and denominations.
Prayer: Lord God, the world seems to be trying to shape Christ’s Bride, the Church, into what it wants. Enable us to recognize that the Church belongs to Him and that He will keep it beautiful, faithful, and unblemished to glorify His ministry and to honor Your Everlasting Name. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.