IT WAS A TOUGH WEEK TO BE A PRESBYTERIAN, IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE BIBLE MEANS WHAT IT SAYS
by David Sisler
The Dallas Morning News featured three articles last week about two very different Christian churches, each called Presbyterian: the 300,000 member Presbyterian Church in America and the 2.5 million member Presbyterian Church (USA). I have selected portions of the pieces, all by Susan Hogan/Albach, for this personal commentary. Ms. Hogan/Albach's words are italicized (the only changes I have made are to insert proper nouns for clarity's sake where pronouns where originally used).
The nation's largest Presbyterian denomination wrestled with what used to be a no-brainer for Christians: Is Jesus the only way to salvation? ... A majority of the more than 500 delegates, struck down a proposal that said Jesus is the lone vehicle of salvation.
"If salvation isn't singular through Jesus, that would mean it is plural," said Jeff McDonald of the regional district known as the Missouri Valley Presbytery. "If it is plural, who are the other deities we are talking about?"
After the proposal was voted down, a substitute proposal was approved. But the statement did not rule out other avenues of salvation.
"I don't have the right to say that other people can't find God in other ways," said Robert Rea Jr., a commissioner from South Carolina.
Commissioner Rea, the Apostle Jude has a word for you:
"Dear friends, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord" (Jude 3-4 – NIV; emphasis is mine).
"This is an incredibly sad day," said Joe Rightmyer, head of the conservative Presbyterians for Renewal. "What has crept into the Presbyterian Church is not just a difference of opinion, but unbelief."
No doubt it could be argued that if those who hold to "the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints" had been on their guard and more jealous in the defense of the faith, these issues would not be raised today for debate. By giving the slightest voice to the heretics, they ended up giving them a larger voice. It could also be argued that there are things worth fighting for. Indeed a historic Christian denomination may be such a thing, but when the evidence is clear that the majority no longer hold the truth of God's Word to be dear, it is time to leave.
The majority of the time that the Presbyterian Church (USA) was in convention was spent discussing and debating these issues, issues which the Lord God Almighty settled in eternity. When they meet next spring, the Presbyterian Church (USA) will once again spend the majority of their time discussing and debating these issues, issues which the Lord God Almighty settled in eternity.
Instead of planning ways to reach the unsaved with the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, they are declaring to the listening world that neither Jesus, nor his Gospel matter today. Instead of debating with those whose minds are closed to the truth of God's Word, the believers need to separate themselves, form a new denomination and start over with the goal of winning the lost.
Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6 – NIV).
If Jesus is the way, there is no other way, no matter what the commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) say.
If Jesus is the truth, there is no other truth, no matter what the commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) say.
If Jesus is the life, there is no other life, no matter what the commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) say.
If the Father can be approached only through Jesus, there is no other approach, no matter what the commissioners of the Presbyterian Church (USA) say.
That is what Jesus said. I simply quote him. I take him at his Word. I cannot walk in spiritual union with those who do not.
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