May 18, 2011
What does it mean for a church “to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life”?
Those are words actually used by the Presbyterian Church USA last week in deciding to allow openly practicing, unrepenting homosexuals, lesbians, and adulterers to be ordained as deacons, elders, and ministers of the Gospel. So, if Bill Clinton ever gets tired of politics, or Elton John loses his voice, or Paris Hilton gets bored with doing nothing in particular, they can all apply to be pastors of PCUSA churches.
Imagine: you’re in church, listening to your pastor preach on what is good, true, right, and moral, and how you ought to live your life… and it’s Hugh Hefner.
Might we suggest that the PCUSA does not truly “desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life”? How they couple such words with such a decision is staggering. If there were an Academy Award for hypocrisy, this church would win it, hands down.
Aha! But, you say—if you’re an idiot—Jesus never specifically said that you can’t be an active and notorious sodomite, or an adulterer, and be a minister in His Church. If He were here now, you say, He wouldn’t mind a bit if some of His elders and deacons were well-known for sleeping around.
But He is here, and He does mind, and someday when it’s too damn late, the PCUSA will know it.
What will be the next moral standard to be chucked out the stained-glass window?
Mind you, the denomination says it has no intention of forcing any session or presbytery to ordain the town rake as its pastor. But what if some member of the Hellfire Club doesn’t like being rejected for ordination, and decides to sue the presbytery? Will that presbytery have a leg to stand on? It won’t be able to look to the denomination for support. After all, the PCUSA has just done away with any standards limiting the sexual behavior of church officers and ministers. “Your honor, the PCUSA rulebook clearly states that being the proprietor of Big Minnie’s Brothel does not disqualify my client from serving as the pastor of this church…”
“Governing bodies,” says the PCUSA rulebook, “shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.” But what standards? Here is what they’ve just deleted from the rulebook: “Persons refusing to repent of any self-acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons, elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.” The PCUSA has no standards anymore, when it comes to sexual activity.
If any moral standards do remain within the PCUSA, it can only be because the church has overlooked them. But wacking those away gives the presbyteries something to shoot for next year.
One class of sins you can be sure they won’t wack away is what we might call “political sins.” A pastor can cruise the gay bars to his heart’s content, as of last week; but watch what happens if he gets caught criticizing Obamacare—or Obama himself, for that matter. If he dares to speak out against amnesty for illegal aliens, abortion, the welfare state, or the “science” behind the dogma of man-made Global Warming, he’ll be out on his butt before you can spell h-e-r-e-t-i-c.
What does it all mean? Only that the institutional church is dying.
Where is it written in the Bible that God ever intended His holy, catholic Church to be caged up in buildings and denominations? Having received from God His own Word, the Bible, translated into our own language, do we need to hear anything at all from postmodern, God-rejecting, truth-denying, earth-worshipping, progressive prigs in the seminary or the pulpit?
To despise God’s law is to despise God. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” is one of the Ten Commandments. God did not focus-group those Commandments before he carved them in the stone. The Bible refers to fornication and fornicators 46 times (in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance), not once favorably. Fornication, of course, includes sodomy and lesbianism. “[T]hey which commit such things are worthy of death,” proclaims the Holy Scripture (Romans 1:32)—not worthy, please note, of promotion to high office in the church.
As for the PCUSA, Jesus has left the building and tens of thousands of His people have left with Him. By this time next year there will be many thousands more who have fled this incredible shrinking church.
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God’s Spirit will not be penned up and God’s people will be everywhere, a world-wide brotherhood of faith knit together by the Bible.
Someday the PCUSA will get around to repealing belief in God as an ordination standard, if they haven’t done it already. Who will be left in the pews by then? A handful of aging, ailing, irrelevant Michael Moore wannabes.
Everybody else will be outside in God’s own sunshine, and in the real Church that the mainline Protestant churches have long ago forgotten how to be.
© 2011 Lee Duigon - All Rights Reserved
Lee Duigon, a contributing editor with the Chalcedon Foundation, is a former newspaper reporter and editor, small businessman, teacher, and horror novelist. He has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 34 years. See his new fantasy/adventure novels, Bell Mountain and The Cellar Beneath the Cellar, available on www.amazon.com