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What then does it mean to be a Presbyterian?

  ‘What then does it mean to be a Presbyterian?’ Posted Monday, November 7, 2011  in the Presbyterian Layman What does it now mean to be a Presbyterian?  Every country club, civic association or condominium, for that matter, has rules of organization, statements of principle and codes of conduct to which members must adhere. Every religion has tenets of faith by which members define themselves and their beliefs in contrast to the values of other religions, cultures, governments and groups. Reading through the new Form of Government (FOG), I have to ask, what makes anything about the new PCUSA distinctly Presbyterian? When I was in seminary, aside from a basic adherence to the great confessions of the church, a partiality to Calvinism was part of the distinctiveness of Presbyterianism, in contrast to the doctrines of the Methodists, Catholics and Lutherans. But I think the new FOG is foggy to say the least.  Take this section for example: In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) … Read more

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1950’s Church Models vs. Today’s Culture

Jeff Harris, a friend of mine and a former PC(USA) pastor who has started a new church in Butler, PA  called Crossroad Community, did a very good summary of the problems with post-World War II churches trying to do outreach with 1950's methods in today's culture.  There has been such a dramatic cultural shift in the United States that the culture no longer assumes or respects a Christian worldview. And also, the things that the current generation values are significantly different than the values produced by a corporate business model  that was characteristic of the 1950's and 60's.   This table below is a summary of the different values and shows the need to adjust our methodology of outreach and evangelism in order to reach the current generation. Those churches that rely upon the old models will be frustrated if not left behind. The methodology that worked in the 1940's and 50's will never work today.  Old Church Model Core Values 1950-1960 Era New Church Model Core Values 2010-2020 Era Faith   Fellowship   Family Biblical Instruction (Faith) Prayer (Faith) Relational (Fellowship/Family) Caring Ministry (Family) Transformation (evangelism, spiritual formation) Old Cultural Setting New Cultural Setting External Culture External culture (society) … Read more

An Appeal to My Fellow Presbyterians

Come Out of Her – Leave the Dead to Bury Their Own Dead! In a debate, if we do not agree on what is truth or how to discover truth and how to determine what truth is, how can we ever decide who is right  and who is wrong?  If I say, “Truth derives from God’s revealed Word,” but you say, “All truths are relative and depend upon the individual… whatever a person believes is true for them,” then how can we ever agree on anything? Will we not be talking past one another? “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” Amos 3:3, NKJV. “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities,” Revelation 18:4, 5, NRSV.   There are many Presbyterian pastors, churches, and laity who are now wondering what they should do. The confessing church, made up of the conservative and biblically faithful believers, has been filled with grief, disbelief, and dismay. They finally lost the majority vote … Read more

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