“We tried out the Presbyterian Church down the street, but we were the youngest people there and we are in our 40’s! We don’t want our kids to be the only one’s in confirmation, so we are going to go to the mega church. We don’t really agree with their theology, but our kids love the events and we want them to want to go to church.”
“We tried out the Presbyterian Church down the street, but they were too conservative. I can’t be part of a church that all they ever talk about is who is excluded. It’s too tense. Church should be a place where everyone is welcome. I don’t feel welcome there. I can have a nice morning devotional and be with my friends in my book group and get the community I need without the tension of the church. I’m so sick of all the infighting.”
“We tried out the Presbyterian Church down the street, but they were too liberal. They are denying the authority of scripture and selling themselves out to secular society. They don’t even know what they stand for. They have lost all integrity. Some pastors don’t even believe that Jesus alone saves. I can’t be part of a church that believes other religions can find their way to heaven. Jesus is the way the truth and the life, that’s it. Final answer.”
“We tried out the Presbyterian Church down the street, and they played the organ and these hymns and it was so traditional and boring. It was like the church my grandma went to. That kind of worship service does nothing for me.”
“We tried out the Presbyterian Church down the street and they had this awful contemporary music. I just hate those screens and that drum set….right in front of the cross! Where is the tradition? That kind of worship does nothing for me. We will lose who we are if we do worship in a different way.”
We will lose who we are…
That’s what this is about. It’s about identity. Another huge church in the Presbyterian Church left the denomination last week and according to what I’ve read, they seem almost giddy with joy to be leaving. “See you next week!” The popular pastor wrote.
It’s insulting and painful to see any congregation no matter their size, pick up their toys and leave. People have written in on blogs saying, “Duh, of course this happening, how can you be so blind? The Presbyterian Church has lost its way.”
I have decided to remain faithful to my denomination and its tenets. Here’s why:
I believe in the sovereignty of God. That means God knows more than I do, about everything.
I believe that we are saved by grace through faith. We don’t earn it our salvation or even have to prove it. There is not a standardized test for the admittance into heaven.
I believe in total depravity and the atonement of the cross. I am sinner. I need to repent both communally and independently. I need to be reminded that I am forgiven. The cross frees us from sin and death uniting us to new life in Jesus Christ.
I am a child of God, baptized by the Holy Spirit, claimed, known, and received by the grace of God.
I believe in the proclamation of the Word. Scriptures are to be read, studied, interpreted, respected and valued.
I believe we are called to be connected. We are called to be in it together. God wants us to be in relationship with one another, to pray for each other, to encircle one another. We are called to be the body of Christ in the world.
It is for these central beliefs that I will remain Presbyterian. While the secular world questions the church’s value we are killing ourselves from the inside out with infighting and name calling and it is painful!
But here’s the thing. Death brings life. If the denomination eventually becomes so small that we have to close our doors, and we become a relic, and I really pray from the depths of my soul that it doesn’t, something else will take its place. The Church is bigger than any one denomination or one church within the denomination. The church is not about us. It’s not about what makes us feel good or even what we get out of it. It’s not about being right and it’s not about being wrong. It’s never about the building. It’s about people and their desire to know their Creator, their Savior and their Redeemer. It’s about bringing people closer to the Holy both within themselves and with each other. It’s about recognizing that in spite of our sinfulness, Jesus can still do something with us. It’s about the fact that while we will all someday become dust, we will become part of the Communion of Saints, and for all eternity we will all have to sit at same Table, and like each other.
“All people are grass,” scripture tells us, “the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of The Lord will stand forever.”