Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keening for the Presbyterian Church?

I didn't post yesterday -- I had one written and planned, but I had no heart for it. It was indeed a good post -- perhaps I'll share it another day. But everything has changed.

I knew it was coming, and still it felt like a gut punch. We watched as strategy after strategy fell -- first the substitute motion fell, then the motion to refer, and then passage of the PUPS report. We held hands and prayed -- a weak strain of Kum Bay Yah arose from those who truly believe this action would bring peace. I was unable to lift my voice to join them. I left the room, embraced some friends, and went to register my official dissent with the decision.

Since then, I've heard from across the country and within this assembly what can only be described as Keening -- that Irish custom of mourning the dead through loud wails and cries of "Why did you have to die". It is a custom that is only practiced at the wake -- once the soul had left the body (lest it wake the Devil's hounds and they sieze upon the soul). There are those who believe that the cumulative actions of this General Assembly ammount to the Spirit having left the Presbyterian Church -- They believe we are Ichabod. And they keen for the church that they have loved.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to think. I need to get home to my family and spend time with our congregation and pray and soak in the word with the people that I love. With our elders and our congregation members and our friends, we will search the scriptures and seek the Spirit and listen to our evangelical brothers and sisters.

But this much I do know -- we who are evangelical christians must stick together. We must learn from the crises of the past -- we must learn from the divisions sown by the Fundamentalist/Modernist controversies. Brothers and sisters, please read this article by John Frame and learn from the mistakes of the past. We need to take a cue from our brothers and sisters in the more evangelical Presbyterian denominations who issued a call for tolerance in discourse with one another.

I fear that the PCUSA may be irrevocably broken -- perhaps this will be the precursor to revival, perhaps this will be the precursor to judgment. But let us evangelicals be in this together.

Soli Deo Gloria