Friday, October 24th, 2014
The Layman Online > Letters to the Editor > An open letter to the General Assembly of the PCUSA

An open letter to the General Assembly of the PCUSA

To the Moderator and Stated Clerk of the General Assembly,

 

I write to you with grief and sadness that our Presbytery of Stockton has lost six churches to the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, or ECO. It is on this basis that I feel prompted to write to the General Assembly of the PC USA. Repeatedly, the sessions of these churches stated that the reason for their departure was not with the Stockton Presbytery nor with the Synod of the Pacific, but with the General Assembly. Indeed, these session members of the six churches repeatedly expressed appreciation of the presbytery, its policies, ministries and fellowship. All the churches expressed frustration with the actions of the General Assembly, including changes to the Book of Order that were cited as Biblical concerns, judicial actions that they voiced as negatively impacting the authority of scripture and the confessions, and many years of actions of the General Assembly, particularly in 2012, but for the last 10 years or more with which many expressed Biblical and confessional concern. The ecclesiastical ties with the PCUSA have been severed, but the collegial bond with the Stockton Presbytery has not. I take great pride in pointing out that things were done decently and in order with civility, a feat which is rarely done. When the vote was taken to dismiss, a sense of sorrow and sadness permeated the atmosphere at this special stated meeting of the Presbytery of Stockton, which met on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, at the Manteca Presbyterian Church in Manteca, California.

 

It seems like there is a lot of churchianity taking place, but no solid Christianity. Paul says to Timothy that in the last days men will pay heed to seducing spirits, entertaining the doctrines of demons. There will come a time when men will not put up with sound doctrine (Scriptural and Biblical standards), but will instead gather together teachers who will tickle their ears, introducing destructive heresies, even denying the master himself, having a form of godliness, but denying its power. You have an outer empty shell, but no internal reality. Is it any wonder that Satan himself goes around masquerading as an angel of light. Isaiah says, “Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil.” You are seeing that Scripture come alive right before your very eyes when people say same-sex marriage is OK and is blessed by God.

 

Last year, the presbyteries approved the passage of Amendment 10A to the Book of Order. The ordination standard – G.60106(b) – has been deleted requiring chastity in singleness or fidelity in marriage between one man and one woman. Instead, a WATERED DOWN standard for ordination was approved which requires one to “JOYFULLY” serve the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

At the last General Assembly, the moderator chose a vice moderator who had previously conducted a same-sex marriage, in defiance of Scripture and the Book of Order. The moderator himself did not believe in same-sex marriage, but decided to choose this person as a running mate in the name of diversity. There is a term for this according to James. It is called being double-minded.

 

One resolution sent to the General Assembly required repentance for ordination standards, but that word was deleted out. People wanted nothing to do with a Gospel that required repentance. One other resolution had Scripture as a standard lined out.

 

There was a ruling done by the General Assembly Permanent Judicial Commission in one case where the PJC stated that there is a need to make allowances for multiple interpretations of Scripture. If there are multiple interpretations of Scripture, it can no longer be reliable as a standard. 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “All Scripture is inspired by God (literally God breathed), and is profitable for teaching, rebuking (and boy do we really need it!), reproof, and instruction in righteousness, so the man of God may be equipped for every good work.” We are not to correct it, but it is to correct us. If the Jesus, that the PCUSA JOYFULLY promises to serve, allows for all kinds of perversions and abominations to take place in the church, then you have a Jesus of 2 Corinthians 11. 2 Corinthians 11 states that there is another Jesus, and another Gospel, and this is of another spirit. Watch out!

 

Little by little things are starting to deteriorate at the General Assembly, and eventually the PCUSA. (May I add that there was a lesbian minister that performed a same-sex wedding at a previous General Assembly and nothing was done about it.)

 

I do not doubt the sincerity of many within the denomination, or the people entrapped in the same-sex lifestyle, but they are sincerely wrong. Solomon once said that there is a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end thereof is death. There is danger in allowing people who will not follow Scriptural standards in that they will lead sheep astray. They will be leading people in the wrong direction by the things they teach and the behavior they condone. This is the tragic part. You can also expect judgement to fall upon the PCUSA if it continues on the same  pathway. The Jesus that one JOYFULLY promises may in fact be GRIEVING the Spirit. (To grieve the Spirit in this instance may in fact be provoking the wrath of God.) If the General Assembly refuses to repent, Jesus will come and remove His lamp-stand from your presence.

 

I have said a mouthful, but I have a strong feeling that all this will fall on deaf ears. In Corinthians it is stated, “If our gospel is hid, it is hid to those who are perishing, for the god of this age has blinded the minds to the glorious gospel of truth. The Bible also goes on to say, “For this reason, God will send a strong delusion, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.”

 

My prayer is that God’s spirit will open the eyes and ears of the soul to receive the glorious light of the Gospel. Let the righteous remain righteous, and let the wicked continue on in its ways. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the PCUSA.

 

Tadashi Agari

Elder Commissioner to the Presbytery of Stockton

Synod of the Pacific

 

 

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14 comments

  1. Jean Grimm says:

    I left the PUSA for different reasons: political ones. I live in a multicultural community. Which ever PCUSA one attends, and I have attended 3 or 4 faithfully in my small Midwestern city , PCUSA churches are virulently anti Israel, anti Jewish, and preach anti Israel dogma from the pulpit. Granted, these are youngish ministers who have been educated in liberal Presbyterian seminaries and have been indoctrinated their with their anti war, social justice tripe. My father liberated Aushwitz, where Jewish men, women and children were incinerated, gassed to death , turned into glue. Yet, in this progressive age, the PCUSA has decided to make the state of Israel the enemy, and I have to hear anti Israel rants from thirty year olds who have no recollection of WW2. I will not contribute money OR my per capita member “donation” to a social organization(PCUSA) who have staked a postion as anti Israel and who spew seeds of anti semetic discord from the pulpit . Not only this, many positions positions in the modern PCUSA are incongruous: anti Pro Life, anti Jew, pro gay marriage, anti bible as the word of God, anti miracle, anti Heaven( it’s on earth if you do enough Good Works—hello, NOT a Reformation postion). I leave the building( can’t even think of it as a church anymore) with my head spinning and sick to my stomach. Enough said. God is showing me the way out. Does anyone else feel this confusion? I am 60.

    • Donna C says:

      Sister, you are so right. And I agree with you on the issues. My great uncle was liberated from Dachau (OSS) and I have been to Israel. We cannot as Christians break that eternal kinship with Israel, no matter what. And, like you, I have faced a monetary dilemma in a church which says they are aligned with ECO but remains tied to PCUSA. So I also have found a way to help my church without participating in the PCUSA. In feeding the homeless once a month, I purchase all the paper goods (it’s a lot) and I don’t ask for reimbursement. I could and they would give me the money back; the Mission Committee always offers. But I can’t support PCUSA – there’s just something so wrong in that. Even if 10% goes to PCUSA, that 10% too much. And if I want to otherwise contribute to charities, I can do so on my own. That will never stop.

      Now, don’t forget, the two big issues were gay marriage and Israel. But read the GA chart again. Don’t forget they pretty much endorsed everything from illegal immigration and sanctuary to legalizing drugs. There were a myriad of things the GA voted on that are just as outrageous as the main two items that are getting all the publicity. Oh yeah, like divesting from oil companies and opposing the mortgage deduction – however you might feel about these things, when did they become GA business?

  2. Lance Douglas says:

    Has anyone else downloaded this letter in PDF format and printed it? Well……I really like the article, but the title prints the most inappropriate heading. I hope it wasn’t purposely done like this, because it basically negates itself and the author. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it says: “An Open Letter to the General Ass”. Unfortunately, I didn’t look at this before printing and giving to a precious little lady in my church who doesn’t us internet, but wants information. Please see if this can be corrected!!! She thought it was a “Freudian typo”. That almost ruined my witness.

  3. Um … as someone who was brought up Catholic, James. Your friend is in for a shock.

  4. James J. Grimes says:

    Want a laugh???? An acquaintance of mine recently left a PCUSA congregation and has been going to a Roman Catholic church with the intention of converting. His explanation? At least there is stability in the RC church and he can pick and choose what he believes based on his biblical beliefs.

    Who would have thought?

    • Mike Zorn says:

      “… he can pick and choose what he believes based on his biblical beliefs.”

      He’ll have a big surprise when he tells that to his parish priest.

      • Reformed always says:

        It used to be the Reformed bodies at one time called the Roman Catholic Church as apostate while the same so called Reformed body, the PCUSA is apostate to the core endorsing the gay lifestyle, abortion while the RCC opposes the same. Who is really Apostate??

  5. Clay J. Brown says:

    In response to previous comments, I’m compelled to ask: where IS this church that’s drifting to the right? Is Ian referring to his particular congregation, or the denomination as a whole? If it is the denomination, then I have yet to see it. This claim seems counterintuitive to me, based on my understanding and experience as a PCUSA minister active in presbytery. From my perspective, the PCUSA seems to be rapidly moving left of center theologically, socially, and politically. But I’m aware my perceptions can be off; I’m willing to be educated. But right now, I just don’t see it.

  6. Dan says:

    Ian,

    Surely we want a “big tent” and not be so restrictive and homogenous. That is what I love(d) about the PCUSA. But eventually if one keeps stretching and stretching the tent it becomes so big you move out from under that tent and into a different one. What I would disagree with you about is that it isn’t those turning PCUSA into something more conservative or Southern Baptist. It is the opposite. It is PCUSA which has changed. Those who may be conservative have watched PCUSA shift and change. If anything, those leaving are being more faithful to historical PCUSA than those staying. I want to be in a big tent of diversity, but eventually the diversity becomes so great you are working towards different definitions of what a disciple of Jesus is. That is what is happening and who knows what is next. So many are leaving, but by leaving they are remaining true to the original PCUSA although it may now have a different denominational name. The irony in all this is In order to be more like the historical PCUSA that so many love and believe in, they then have to leave PCUSA.

  7. Tom Richards says:

    The Book of Order says (or used to say) that church leaders had a responsibility to cast out the erroneous and to uphold Biblical standards within the church. I think leaders failed in this regard several decades ago and now we see the fruit. The issue has been Christianity vs. Liberalism for a long time. “Godtalk” without the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and without a genuine belief in the basic tenets of the faith is lifeless. We see that working itself out today in the denomination. The church belongs to God, and God will work in the church to see that it honors him. How the PC(USA) fares in all of this will be instructive.

  8. E. Jensen says:

    And we can also say that the leadership of the PCUSA simply does not get it! They think that since there is a decline in all denominations that is simply the case with them. However, they are seemly blind to the fact that there are around 5 churches per week that are now affiliating with other Presbyterian denominations. Will they ever watch up? probably not until their own financial problems jump up and bite them and then what will they do? Simply to combine with those denominations that are in the similar situation as they are that have left the anchor of the faith, the Bible. In that they will seek unity with the Episcopal, and Evangelical Lutheran churches and other denominations that abhor the teachings of the Bible.

  9. Bob Westrich says:

    Ian, I too found your comments surprising. As I was reading your comments I was fully expecting you to categorize yourself as a conservative, or from the right. But when I read your description of the church as “The body as a whole is moving to the right, in many ways, to keep those on the far right from leaving, and as far as those on the left are concerned, we’re apparently expected to just accept it and shut up” is SO not happening. As a person on the right, I am struggling to stay with the Presbyterian church because of the non-biblical, abortion endorsing, questioning the deity of Christ, allowing/celebrating same-sex unions type church doctrines. Maybe that is the fate of the Presbyterian church, both sides leave and the denomination goes away. OR, in my view if the church took a stand and taught the Bible (leave it at that), and the entire Bible, not just the easy verses but the entire Bible, YES people would leave, but those that remained would know what their church stood for, they would know their church called what was right..right, and what was wrong..wrong, it would be a stronger church. A church not in the image of man, but in the image of God.

  10. ian campbell says:

    I feel I am in the process of leaving the Presbyterian Church. Not because I particularly want to, but because I have no choice.
    I grew up in the church, I’ve been an elder, a deacon, a clerk of session. I went to a Presbyterian boarding school as a child. I married in the church, raised two children in the church.
    I’m not an ECO, or a whatever the other group is: I’m an old fashioned moderate-liberal Presbyterian apparently no longer welcome in the church of my history. The body as a whole is moving to the right, in many ways, to keep those on the far right from leaving, and as far as those on the left are concerned, we’re apparently expected to just accept it and shut up.
    I can’t, I won’t. As you go further to the right, you draw the church closer to the positions of the southern baptists, the evangelicals, the conservative lutherans. Fine, but that position already exists, you’re about to compete in the same trenches for the same declining few. Good luck with that, the result will be the same, demise of the denomination in the end. But apparently we’re more concerned with numbers now than traditional equality of belief, and we’re holding the line.
    Christianity is based on, for the times, heretical ideas; Protestantism on rebellion against the Catholic way of doing, Presbyterianism on a far more one on one communion than the Protestant alternatives. New testament thoughts, rather than old. Otherwise, we may as well be Jewish.
    Or Assembly of God.

    • Doug Smoot says:

      That was humerous. If only the liberals would have left and the PCUSA would have continued to be a denomination standing for Christ, and the reformed faith. Instead, it is just the opposite, run by people who seem either to not understand the gospel or to hate the gospel. Revival can happen, God can do the unexpected, and frequently does. However, it seems in this case, the true Christians are leaving for denominations or churches that actually stand for Christ. Thanks again for the fun read.

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