What If The Thing You Thought Would Crush the PCUSA Actually Leads People to Jesus?

imageWhen the General Assembly of my denomination voted (negligibly) to divest from three U.S. companies in Israel and (overwhelmingly) to approve an authoritative interpretation to officiate in same-sex marriages, there were so many people who were concerned that :

  • Global mission partnerships would be broken
  • Congregations would leave the denomination
  • Immigrant congregations would break from the denomination.

What if all of these things are true and yet . . .

  • Some new partnerships were created?
  • New congregations were planted precisely because of GA actions?
  • Immigrant congregations intentionally sought out a relationship with the PCUSA?

I’m just one person serving one corner of the church, but I’m here to say that – since the General Assembly decisions:

  • Three racial-ethnic pastors have approached me about becoming part of the PCUSA because of recent GA actions
  • Two pastors ordained in a conservative branch of the Presbyterian family have approached me about becoming PCUSA
  • My twenty-something children contacted me after the GA actions to share that their friends want to learn more about the PCUSA because of the recent votes of the General Assembly

What if what we fear actually brings growth and expansion of God’s Kingdom and glory to our Creator?.

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14 responses to “What If The Thing You Thought Would Crush the PCUSA Actually Leads People to Jesus?

  1. Reblogged this on Reflections of a Pastor Couple and commented:
    A great question.

  2. There is a world of difference between leading people to a church and leading them to Jesus. If the GA decisions are contrary to the will of God the fact that those decision lead people to a church is not really relevant, is it?

    • Presby Layperson

      leading people into active participation (membership) in our church (PCUSA) includes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ from the individual, among other things – so not really a “world” of difference?

  3. What if (shock and awe) it really was the Holy Spirit speaking through the actions and votes of the General Assembly?

  4. Bob, I had that same thought. Where is Jesus in anything but the title. And what exactly did the people say was the reason for wanting to join the PC (U.S.A.)?

  5. Steven Fitzgerald

    Being one who left moderate Baptist life and a sizable cut in salary in order to return to my PCUSA roots, I felt I was doing it because the PCUSA is trying to wrestle with how to love ALL people the way that Jesus did, and does, as well as wrestling with God as Jacob did! Younger, and some not so much younger folks, wonder how we see Christ hating certain people groups! I am sure that many will only read cursory media coverage and not get the whole story of loving people on both sides, but for some of them, they want faith that isn’t perceived as arrogant, oppressive and judgmental! If that gets them into a “community of faith” where they can worship, learn and serve, thanks be to God!

  6. What if the thing that crushes the PC(USA) is not same sex marriage but the takeover of its mission and message of the gospel of Jesus Christ by activist political groups using the church to promote their own agendas? That’s what I saw at General Assembly and what is causing the most distress in my presbytery and congregation.

    • Well said. I think that’s exactly what’s happening. PCUSA is becoming a political organization and neglecting religion and God and Jesus Christ.

      • I would encourage everyone to attend a General Assembly because you might be surprised how the Holy Spirit is a palpable presence. And – with all due respect – we do step into politics in terms to pursuing justice that – we pray – is pleasing to God. We remember that Jesus was killed for sedition. His politics got him crucified. And maybe certain politics will move people to distance themselves from a certain communities of faith but that’s okay. We are all – I hope – trying to make choices that please God.

  7. William Bates (CRE)

    I don’t see Christ hating certain people groups. I do see him loving everyone and calling them to repent of their sins. That includes all sin, not just the ones we don’t like.

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  10. It is an interesting question.

    I know dozens of people who left the PCUSA after previous actions taken by the GA. However, because they were 1) liberal, and 2) didn’t threaten to take their whole church with them, their leaving (and the loss of many others like them) was generally ignored by the various talking heads in the denomination. Didn’t fit the narrative they wanted to tell (and I suspect they honestly don’t actually care if some liberals leave the church, anyway.)

    Now some of those folks are coming back after the actions taken by this GA. And as we see from some of the comments above, those reconnections will be either generally ignored (or even downright derided) by some of the various talking heads in the denomination. Again: doesn’t fit the narrative they want to tell.

    But I’ve read some very encouraging stories of people being led back to the denomination after many years, stories of others switching denominations, and even some stories of conversion, all of which I find very encouraging.

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