Posted by: gmscan | June 20, 2011

Slow Motion Suicide

The Presbyterian Church (USA) is committing slow motion suicide, but it doesn’t really matter.

Oh, it matters to me and to many others who cherish the long and storied history and traditions of the Presbyterian Church. The Scottish side of my family has been a part of this history for many generations. They and their brethren built great institutions – churches, universities, hospitals. They developed an intellectual and theological foundation that is still solid. Presbyterianism is still something to honor.

It is the PCUSA itself that doesn’t matter. It has been seized by a liberal cabal that cares much more about advancing progressive politics in the secular world than in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact the “PC” in PCUSA might as well stand for “politically correct” as for the Presbyterian Church.

The latest victory for the cabal has been the approval of a “new form of governance” that will concentrate power in the hands of centralized authorities rather than in local congregations. This power grab stands Presbyterianism on its head.

The very concept of modern republican democracy was invented by Presbyterian Scots, especially by two of the founders of the Presbyterian Church, John Knox and George Buchanan. They believed that political power was ordained by God but vested in the people, not in monarchs.

Historian Arthur Herman writes that in his book, “The Law of Governance Among the Scots,” published in 1579 (two centuries before the American Declaration of Independence,)

“… Buchanan asserted that all political authority ultimately belonged to the people, who came together to elect someone, whether a king or a body of magistrates, to manage their affairs. The people were always more powerful than the rulers they created; they were free to remove them at will. “ (Herman, “How the Scots Invented the Modern World,” 2001)

This idea was also the foundation of Presbyterian governance, as reflected in the election of elders by the congregation, and the establishment by the elders of regional Presbyteries, and so on up to a national General Assembly. But it is alien to all those who value centralized authority, whether Marxists or the current crowd running the PCUSA.

Similarly with the recent decision to allow the ordination to church office of practicing and unrepentant homosexuals – or, for that matter, of promiscuous people of any sexual orientation. Fidelity in marriage and chastity in singleness are no longer standards in the PCUSA. This has nothing to do with any Biblical or historical understanding of the Presbyterian Church. It is purely to advance the same secular political agenda that the Left is pushing in all areas of American life.

It is an almost comical contrast to the PCUSA’s other big initiative, which is to help Palestinian Muslims push Israeli Jews back into the sea. In fact the alliance between gay  rights progressives and Muslims is one of the most bizarre developments in political history.

Whatever else might be said about Muslims, they have absolutely zero tolerance for gay rights, women’s rights, abortion rights, or any of the other left wing icons. Indeed Leftists generally oppose capital punishment for even the most heinous of crimes, but Muslims embrace it for these social offenses. Of course, the Left also opposes any religious influence in Western democracies, but embrace the totalitarian theocracies of Muslim countries.  Strange bedfellows, indeed.

Fortunately, the PCUSA is pathetically inconsequential in these areas. No one cares what the PCUSA thinks about these or any other political issue.

At the last General Assembly of the PCUSA there was a big push to get everyone to divest of any stock in Caterpillar Tractor, because it does business with Israel. Since that time, the value of Caterpillar shares has soared.

Which raises another comical contradiction in the PCUSA’s political agenda. While it excoriates the company, Caterpillar is one of the few unionized American manufacturers that successfully sells goods overseas. The PCUSA is a big supporter of Labor and everything the unions stand for. But one of Labor’s priorities is to encourage and grow American manufacturing and the export of American made products. Boy, it is hard to be PC these days.

Except in Wisconsin, where the PCUSA went on the attack against Governor Scott Walker, and the people who freely elected him, for trying to balance the state budget.  They sided with the near-violent union thugs who illegally occupied the State Capitol for weeks this spring. But, once again, it doesn’t matter a bit because who cares what the PCUSA thinks?

Similarly, it is boycotting Arizona because that state is trying to do something about its problems with illegal immigrants and the crimes they commit. It threatened to do the same with Indiana when that state’s legislature was considering similar legislation.

But it nearly shot itself in the foot when it threatened to do the same in Kentucky. The PCUSA central office is located in Louisville, and it would have had to relocate all of its offices and staff to another state to enforce the action. Kentucky would have barely noticed the departure, but such a move would have devastated the Church’s finances.

Indeed, the PCUSA’s political agenda has gotten so obsessive that it no longer has much time for Jesus Christ or the Word of God. One has to wonder how it maintains its tax exemption.  PCUSA leaders no longer seem to think the Bible is very important. One recently said that Scripture is nothing more than a point of reference. Another accused people who take the Bible seriously of being “Biblio-idolators,” i.e., making a false idol of a mere book.

But as I said at the beginning of this post, it really doesn’t matter. The PCUSA has turned itself into a laughing stock – an object of ridicule.

What does matter is God as manifest in Jesus Christ. Jesus doesn’t shift with the winds. He has called us to his kingdom and He will always win. If the PCUSA has decided to celebrate Babylon instead of Jesus, that’s okay with me. I know which side I am on.

Next time: The PCUSA and abortion



  1. Wow Greg. I had no idea the Presbyterian church was so far off the reservation. It is pretty sad.

  2. Greg, either you are one of the clearest thinking and most articulate people I (would like to) know, or you totally agree with me! Actually, I think it’s both! Well written and well reasoned. I belong to a much more conservative denomination (Seventh-day Adventist) than you do, but the same winds blow upon us and we have a small but vocal element who would, if they could, take our denomination down the same road. Often these are our most educated (often at church expense and in church schools) and most professionally successful members. The forces of academic liberalism shape many of our leaders. I wouldn’t advocate a boycott on higher education, but it would be nice if our university educated professional class would think for themselves instead of parroting the dictums of liberal academia. I have a doctoral degree and I am a college professor, but I also hold a world view that is shaped by scripture more than by contemporary Western culture and leftist university thinking and teaching. Many don’t seem to know that there is a conflict in world views here (witness the crazy alliance between Islam and liberalism you referenced!). The enemy is clever. And political correctness – aka, “undifferentiated globbiness” (as Dr. Edwin Friedman labeled it) – is powerful and intoxicating. Only God can deliver human beings from this heady mix.

  3. Amen!

  4. Great post. Nice to read some clear, critical thinking on the sick issues the PC(USA) is obsessed with. I marvel at how a denomination can be so consistently wrong about virtually every issue! I also marvel at the many so-called attempts to “revive” or “restore” the PC(USA). Talk about flogging a dead horse. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time to stay and fight, but then there is a time pack up and leave; even Jesus acknowledged this.

    You are quite right about the irrelevance of the PC(USA). They have been a kind of sad joke for years; in seminary back home (Canada), they were used as an example of how NOT to run a church! And that was back in the late 1980’s!

    Keep up the great work.

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