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Denominational Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen | Denomination Updates from First Presbyterian Church of Dunellen

PC(USA) Leaders Urge Hope

Today elder Cindy Bolbach, Moderator of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), released a letter cosigned by several other prominent leaders in the denomination urging congregations to have hope for the future and to remain together in the PC(USA). The entire letter is attached to this post, but what stands out is the repeated assertion that:

“We believe with all our hearts that perception is not reality, that the PC(USA) has not left its moorings, its commitment to proclaim the living Word of God – Jesus Christ – as revealed in the written word of God, holy Scripture,”  ”The PC(USA) simply has not turned its back on proclaiming Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord,” and “The PC(USA) is deeply missional.”

If this is true, then where is the fruit of this missionality? Continue Reading…

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. Continue Reading…

Does This Sound Familiar?

This is what I see happening in the Presbyterian Church (USA) today:

These are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.  They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.  Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! (Isaiah 30:9-11)

This is what I fear will be the result:

Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit,  this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.  It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern. (Isaiah 30:12-14)

God offers away out:

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15)

And makes this promise:

The Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you. (Isaiah 30:18-19)

Grace is the answer. But grace requires repentance. and at the moment, I don’t see any movement toward repentance in the PC(USA).  I hear call after call for unity, but purity, particularly sexual purity, seems to be treated as an fairly insignificant part of the equation. No wonder we are loosing hundreds and hundreds of congregations every year.

In the meantime, this is a great time for those of us who identify ourselves as evangelical Christians to examine our own hearts, our own lives, and our own congregations. Where are we continuing in idolatry? Where are we stifling God’s voice? It’s easy to point the finger outward, but before we do that, we need to look in the mirror.

 

 

 

Is it Really All About Sex?

Is our conflict with the PC(USA) really just about sex? Or, is the way that the PC(USA) has changed it’s teaching about sex simply evidence of a far greater divide regarding the nature of the Bible?

The November/December issue of “Theology Matters” tackles these questions from two directions – first an examination of “The Priority of Authority: Holy Scripture and Human Sexuality” by Robert P. Mills. Then, in the same issue, Tom Hobson explores whether there really is a consistent Biblical Ethic of human sexuality.

Below you will find a synopsis of both articles, with links to the full text of the articles themselves. Mills’ writing about Biblical authority is fairly detailed, and you may just want to read the summary. Hobson’s writing on a consistent Biblical ethic is fairly accessible, even to those with no theological training, and I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to go deeper.

Continue Reading…

Cuatro foros/Seminarios para ayudar a los miembros

La Sesión ha programado cuatro foros/Seminarios para ayudar a los miembros a entender las cuestiones teológicas que están causando división en la Iglesia Presbiteriana (USA) y la importancia de estos temas para la vida y el futuro de nuestra congregación.

Cada uno de los tres primeros foros/seminarios durará entre 30 y 45 minutos, y se estarán llevando a cabo los miércoles durante la semana.

Todos los miembros de la Iglesia son animados a participar, recordando que: “Entonces discernirás justicia y juicio, equidad y todo buen sendero; porque la sabiduría entrará en tu corazón, y el conocimiento será grato a tu alma” Proverbios 2:9-10

25 de enero/ 8:00 p.m. – El Significado y la Autoridad de la Escritura en la Vida de la Iglesia

08 de febrero/ 8:00 p.m.- El Significado y la Importancia de la Trinidad en la Vida de la Iglesia

7 de marzo/ 8:00 p.m.- El Significado y la Importancia de la Disciplina en la Iglesia

????│ - Temas de Actualidad en la Iglesia Presbiteriana (USA)

Por favor, separe estas fechas y haga planes para asistir. Estos seminarios también se ofrecerán en ingles el 22 de enero, 5 de febrero y 4 de marzo.

 

Theological Forums Scheduled

The Session has scheduled four forums to help members understand the theological issues that are causing division in the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the significance of these issues for the life and future of our congregation.

Each of the first three forums will be between 30 and 45 minutes long, immediately following the morning worship service. Continue Reading…

Essential Tenets – Mary Naegeli responds

As I’ve affirmed before, Mary Naegeli is one of the most thoughtful and practical theologians speaking to the church (and particularly to the Presbyterian Church) today. Here are some of her thoughts on the same “open letter” from Joe Small that is discussed in an earlier blog entry.

http://wordtolife.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/responding-to-joe-small-2-essential-tenets/

Openly Gay Pastor Ordained in California

The Presbytery of the Redwoods has ordained Paul Mowry to become pastor of the Sausalito Presbyterian Church. Mr. Mowry is an openly gay man, living with his partner and their daughter. He will begin leading the church on Sunday, December 18.

According to the Book of Order of the Presbyterian Church (USA), “Ordination to the ordered ministry of teaching elder (pastor) is an act of the whole church carried out by the presbytery.”

 

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