Thursday, September 11, 2008

Speaking of Renewal

One of the more frustrating things for individuals within a mainline who desire renewal is the perceived lack of action. Any action that shows personal courage is profoundly empowering to those individuals.

For those who follow PC(USA) happenings, this one interested me.

There is a proposal coming before the Presbytery of Beaver Butler, "An Open Theological Declaration to the PC (USA) Explicating Major Errors of the 218th General Assembly as a Church Council and the means of Their Redress." The declaration's authors address the actions of the 218
th GA that concern them:

the formation of an extra commitment opportunity to raise a legal defense [/attack - given the context of paying for lawsuits against individual trustees of local congregations - w.s.] fund,

tactical errors concerning the removal of the 1978 AI,

judicial errors in using an AI to overturn the plain meaning of the constitution,

confessional errors in approving a changed translation of the Heidelberg Catechism.

biblical errors in encouraging Presbyterians to seek worship opportunities with Jews and Muslims

and the approval of a study guide for the previously received Trinity paper.

They go on to say, "
We cannot abide the ruling of any council which breaches Status Confessiones."

They also make the following commitments:

-We do not now and will no longer recognize ordinations that are constitutionally or biblically unsustainable.

-We will not seek common worship opportunities with Jews and/or Muslims. To do so would be to ask all parties involved to commit blasphemy since Muslims and Jews do not recognize the Divinity of Christ or the Holy Spirit and we cannot deny either.

-We refuse to act in accordance with the Authoritative Interpretations adopted by the 218
th General Assembly. They have no further force or effect in our Presbytery because they are constitutionally, biblically, judicially and tactically unsustainable.

-We further affirm that no Authoritative Interpretation, Advisory Opinion, alteration to the Constitution, or re-translation of our confessions can change the plain meaning of the Bible’s teaching concerning sexual norms, now accurately reflected in our Constitution.

-We do not and will not agree with Advisory Opinion #22 from the Stated Clerk’s office nor will we support it in our governing body. This ruling denies the plain meaning of our Constitution and wrongly rules that local option is now our reality in the PC USA.

-We will actively discourage our congregations from giving to the new legal defense fund Extra Commitment Opportunity created by this assembly as it encourages both our congregations and our upper governing bodies to be actively disobedient to 1 Corinthians 6:1-8.

-We will not work to promote same gender civil unions within our commonwealth nor encourage anyone else to do so in their states.

-We will encourage other Presbyteries and/or congregations to join us in this declaration.

-We will continue to publish the Gospel once and for all handed down to the saints, grow our members in the One Lord Jesus Christ, and continue to participate in the transforming work of God according to His Word within our denomination and Presbytery.

Whatever one thinks of the terms they employ or the conclusions they have arrived at, to make such a statement is done only at personal risk. It is clear - does not try to have things both ways. It is faithful to traditional understandings of Reformed and Presbyterian theology.

"Merely Confessional Presbyterians" is a website about the Open Theological Declaration.

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