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New Wineskins Association passes the baton | Denominational Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen

New Wineskins Association passes the baton

Our congregation has enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the New Wineskins Association of Churches, even though we have followed different paths in our relationship with the PC(USA). Today the NWAC announced that they believe that their ministry is complete, and we are posting their letter for you to read.

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Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Greetings in the singular name above all names, our Lord Jesus Christ! We hope that this message finds you well and blessed as you faithfully follow the Savior into this New Year! Grace and Peace to you!

 

Almost 11 years ago, a group of evangelical leaders in the PC(USA) met after the tragic 213thGeneral Assembly in Louisville, to pray and work together towards a more faithful preferred future. This meeting came after multiple rounds of ordination standards voting by the General Assembly and presbyteries in the late 1990′s; and at the conclusion of a moratorium on such votes (enacted by the 211th GA in Fort Worth in 1999). The historic Louisville GA in 2001 concluded by not only restarting another round of ordination standard battles, but most notably by defeating a Commissioners Resolution calling on the mainline Presbyterian denomination to clearly state that “Jesus is the singular saving Lord!” Instead, the most inclusive and representative governing body in the PC(USA) adopted a statement saying that “Jesus was unique…” -for many of us, this singular act, was a watershed moment!

 

What began as a group of concerned evangelical pastors and elders grew to become something called The New Wineskins Initiative. The NWI started as a PC(USA) renewal initiative under the umbrella of the Presbyterian Coalition. Over the next number of years we developed into a shadow “church within a church” called The New Wineskins Association of Churches. The NWAC held its first convocation in 2005 in Edina, Minnesota, where we unveiled years and years worth of collaborative work in our Essential Tenets, Ethical Imperatives and Constitution. Within a year, the infamous “Louisville Papers” were discovered and a historic “shot over the bow” was fired against Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in Tulsa -the site of our 2nd Convocation in 2006. This Convocation followed the 217th PC(USA) General Assembly in Birmingham, AL that approved three destructive measures: (1) Send yet another vote to the presbyteries to remove the “Fidelity and Chastity” ordination standards; (2) Adoption of the “Trinity Report” (which substituted the use of metaphors in place of the names of our triune God); and (3) The approval of the P.U.P Report (Peace, Unity and Purity). As a response to these unprecedented actions, the NWAC called for another Convocation in January of 2007 which provided a strategy report detailing “two faithful options” for evangelicals within the PC(USA).   From 2006/07 until the present day, many of the 200+ NWAC endorsing congregations have joined the New Wineskins Transitional Presbytery in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and are now full members in the EPC.

 

After 11 years, 7 convocations, dozens of regional gatherings and hundreds of meetings with thousands of pastors and elders over the last decade, the leadership of the New Wineskins Association of Churches has discerned that we have reached the conclusion of this season of our life together. As of December 28, 2011 – the New Wineskins Association of Churches exists only in the history books. We always said that “when the new wineskin becomes an old wineskin we would go out of business.” We believe that has happened. With the majority of NWAC Churches now in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the creation of the Fellowship of Presbyterians (with the potential New Reformed Body they envision), as well as other new movements like the National Covenant Association of Churches, we believe that is time for the NWAC to conclude its ministry. There is a season for everything under heaven, and the season for the New Wineskins Association of Churches is now over. We believe that the NWAC has done what God created it to do…and now a new season is before us!

 

As the leaders of the New Wineskins Association of Churches we would like to thank you for your prayers and participation over the years. We believe that the Lord has used you and your congregation to advance the reformation of His Church in our life time. We have been humbled by your faith, honored by your trust and delighted to serve together with you, our singular saving Lord! May the Lord continue to bless and keep you! May the Lord make His face to shine upon you; and may He give you peace! Our prayer for you is that you will not get ahead of the Lord, or lag behind Him, but that you will continue to walk every step with Him as He leads you!

 

Maranatha Lord Jesus!

 

On Behalf of the NWAC Leadership Team,

-Dean Weaver, Moderator

 

 

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