Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Defense of the Denomination - Interlude

Someone asked me, not without justice, why exactly I'm promulgating this series. What perception do I have that the denomination is under attack?

I am not going to name names or point too firmly, but I'm getting rumbles of a few things that are bothering me. Firstly, and the reason I'm not naming names here is because you can find them on the internets pretty easily, my church is bleeding congregations. Local sessions and pastors are jumping ship, for largely one reason. Frankly, as it concerns that, God bless 'em. They are adhering to their consciences, and to their perception of God's call. I wish they had more interest in the unity of the body of Christ, but so be it - they have made their calls.

The second, and more disturbing rumor I'm hearing is that churches are withholding their per capita (for you non-presbys, it's like your Presbyterian dues. Goes to fund all sorts of neat things like having a national denomination and local oversight), not only from GA (a time-honored method of sticking it to those folks from Louisville), but also from their presbyteries.

I take very seriously the vows I swore when I was ordained as an elder in the church. I signed up for this. I agreed to uphold the Books of Order and Confessions, and if I felt that the church had lost its way from those documents, I would be the first in line to leave. Me. Myself. Leaving the church. What I wouldn't do is drag my congregation with me, or try and starve my governing body of cash (God bless all libertarians as well), while still trying to hold on to some illusion of authority in the church. The church granted you your authority when you were ordained, and the abuse of that authority distresses me deeply. If you can't speak with us, as one church, please don't speak at all. I beg you - go and find your calling in God's Kingdom. Don't ruin mine.

That's my cause for denominational concern - why I feel obliged to apologize for my commitment to my denomination. Soon, I hope to explain my second reason why having a denomination is a good idea.

No comments: