PCUSA: Going, Going, Gone

‘From mainline to sideline’ is a commonly used description of American mainline Protestant denominations which have made themselves utterly irrelevant, ironically, by seeking to be relevant. These older denominations are dying because they thought they could jettison the core teachings of the gospel, and instead run with every trendy lefty cause that is out there.

So instead of preaching Jesus Christ and him crucified, such theologically liberal denominations spend all their time blasting America, the West and capitalism while pushing abortion rights, sodomy rights and every other leftist agenda item. As a result of all this, the membership of such denominations is plummeting, and they offer real spiritual seekers absolutely nothing.

church pewsWe have seen all this played out again in America with the PCUSA. This Presbyterian denomination has decided to embrace just about every anti-biblical position there is, thus marginalising itself even further. At the church’s biennial general assembly meeting last week it decided to promote homosexual marriage, abortion rights, and engage in mindless anti-Israel foolishness.

In the light of all this, Mark Tooley was quite right to say, “Presbyterians Become the Silly Church”. Of course all this did not happen overnight. It has been going on for a century now, and especially came to the fore in the 60s. He writes:

Sexual liberalism captured the denomination in 2010, when the PCUSA voted to abandon its expectation of monogamy in marriage and celibacy in singleness for its clergy. Since then, hundreds of congregations have quit, organized conservative resistance largely stopped, and the 2012 General Assembly was expected to authorize same sex unions but fell short. In just the last two years, the PCUSA lost nearly 200,000 members, a rate, which if continued, would mean no more PCUSA in less than 20 years.
In fact, the exodus from the PCUSA after the marriage vote may increase for congregations and individuals. Many exiting PCUSA churches have joined the Evangelical Presbyterian Church, while others helped create a new denomination called the Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. Despite the impact on denominational finances, PCUSA elites, committed more to the Left than to the church’s health, seem mostly indifferent.

He concludes with these words:

Although church liberals love to insist their policies appeal to the rising generation, all of the available evidence indicates just the opposite. Liberalizing churches don’t attract young people, who, even if themselves liberal, tend to flock to churches they respect for not pandering to them. The same is true for racial minorities, who largely avoid liberal Mainline Protestantism in favor of ethnic or Evangelical churches.
Essentially, the PCUSA, by its votes this week, resolved to become even smaller, older, and whiter, creating a future that depends more and more on endowments instead of live people. Despite the gyrating, balloons, and often-vacuous debates, followed by wrongheaded votes, the PCUSA deserves some sympathy. It represents the faded vestige of a once distinguished religious body that indelibly shaped America. Rest in peace, PCUSA, and thanks for the memories.

Indeed, all this is sheer madness on the part of PCUSA. It seems as they keep trashing key biblical teaching and morality, they also undergo major mental meltdowns. They just can no longer think straight it seems. And it is not just their apostasy when it comes to allowing church leaders to perform homosexual marriages.

As to their abortion decision, Steven Ertelt puts it this way: “The Presbyterian Church USA has voted to endorse Kermit Gosnell. Delegates meeting in Detroit at the 221st General Assembly of the 1.8 million–member Presbyterian Church (USA) voted down a measure that would have the church endorse care for babies born alive after abortions.”

Consider also their decision to divest holdings in three companies – Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola Solutions – that supply equipment to Israeli armed forces. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to label this decision “disgraceful”. He said in part:

You come to Israel, and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians. I would suggest to the Presbyterian organizations — fly to the Middle East. Come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour. Go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq — and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice — make sure it is an armor-plated bus and, second, don’t say that you’re Christians…. Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation.

Back in 2008 Joseph Bottum wrote The Death of Protestant America: A Political Theory of the Protestant Mainline. At the end of his review of this volume Al Mohler said this:

The health of the church is a far greater concern than the health of the nation. The primary injury caused by mainline Protestant decline is not social but spiritual. These denominations once fueled the great missionary movement that carried the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Now, liberal Protestantism sees conversionist missions as an embarrassment. Committed to a radical doctrinal relativism, these denominations have served as poster children for virtually every theological fad and liberal proposal imaginable. Now, many of these denominations are involved in court fights to keep churches from leaving. The stream has indeed run dry.
The “Death of Protestant America” Joseph Bottum describes must serve as a warning to Evangelicals. There can be no doubt where theological revisionism and accommodationism will lead. Why, then, would some argue that Evangelicalism should follow essentially the same path? Can they not see that the liberal Protestant river has run dry?

So what should you do if you still happen to be in the PCUSA? The advice of Michael Brown sounds about right to me:

If you are a Jesus-loving, Bible-based member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), unless God has called you to stand as a prophetic voice of rebuke to the denomination, or unless your ministry commitments to individuals make it impossible for you to leave, now is the time to make your exit. The PCUSA has made its rejection of the Word of God official.


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22 Replies to “PCUSA: Going, Going, Gone”

  1. The death started when the liberals gravitated to the positions of influence while the majority of evangelicals laboured in the front line. When the liberals gained the 51%, they kicked out the remaining evangelicals from the positions of influence. It is the way of denominationalism. That is why Jesus spoke only of a church of a city. A congregation of a city may drift off into error, but it will not drag down every church in the nation.

    It is time to cast off denominational separation, and recognise the one church of Jesus Christ in each city (i.e. everyone in the city that truly believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God) and accept multiple Synagogues of Christ of Christ making up the one church.

  2. As a Presbyterian, I must say that the sooner the PCUS keels over and dies the better. It has been apostate for decades, and there is no excuse for staying in it.

  3. Sad news Bill but hardly surprising as this Presbyterian denomination has been going off the rails for many years. Initially I was truly alarmed because, momentarily, I confused PCUSA with the Presbyterian Church in America. But then I came to my senses, having remembered my Presbyterian church history. Although PCUSA is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the USA, its membership has been declining every year for at least the past 30 years, so that in 2013 it was a little more than half of what it was in 1984. Good riddance I say.

  4. I’m very sure the next agenda we will see from liberal denominations will be to announce that sex prior to marriage is now acceptable. It will run something like this … “If a couple are committed to marriage or engaged then we see no reason why a sexual relationship should be biblically condemned prior to marriage.” And they’ll go on to explain away scriptures saying that fornication refers to people regularly sleeping around or who have sex in a non-loving relationship and it doesn’t refer to people in a ‘loving relationship.’ I hope I’m wrong … but I see that as the next step.

  5. Before Noah and despite Gods instructions God found that the minds of all his creation abounded in and accepted all things evil. God did not embrace those things as being normal and brought on the flood killing all his creation whilst saving just Noah and his family and the animals that could not survive. No where is it mentioned that he saved all the animals and fish that lived in the sea for those would survive anyway.From Noah there came a people who were at one time neither Jew, Muslim or Gentile. These people were given 7 commandments known as the Noahide covenant, (predominately the basics of the ten Commandments). All these were of one language. Nevertheless as time passed segregation occurred then the languages were changed in Babylon. Yet despite this, evil again became prevalent and although God had promised never again to destroy by global flood he annihilated Sodom and Gomorrah for their perversions. Even when lot offered them his daughters they demanded the Holy men.
    Ultimately God sent his Son to show us the Way The Truth and the life. Now two millennium later we see the same evil rearing its head once more as those that should be the rock of righteousness fall by the wayside.
    Now almost totally unleashed the climax of this acceptance of all things contrary to Gods order is coming rapidly to a climax.
    The obvious question is who will try to reign once the righteousness of the saints has been stilled? Yes his time may be short but nevertheless it will arrive and torment even those that try to accommodate his iniquitous ways.
    Do these accommodaters really want to live under the bonds of The evil one? Because that is what they are trying for. Will the world be a better place once the full evil is unloosed whilst the teachings of Jesus are forgotten. Is 2000 years the limit of our obligation to Christ?
    Did Jesus Die for Nothing

  6. G’day Bill,

    To make it crystal clear – the Presbyterian Church of Australia has no connections whatsoever with the PCUS. No fellowship ties, no ministerial acceptance, nothing. Well, we have a common history, but it is the PCUS that have moved from that while the PCA, since 1977, praise God, has moved back to our historical theological roots.

    Andrew Campbel

  7. The Protestant Reformers throughout history would be completely, utterly horrified. Not to mention the many martyrs who died for religious freedom and purity.

  8. Hi Andrew,

    That is all very lovely and good, but how are we non-Presbyterians suppose to work out which of you guys are real Christians and which ones are part of the apostatised group?

    What are we suppose to look for?

    Thanks in advance for your help in this current situation.

    Neil Waldron

  9. And so a bunch of pagan church leaders hijacked the work of dedicated Presbyterians over centuries.

    A better fix would be to oust these conspirators completely by popular vote. (This presumes the average member of the PCUSA actually believes the Bible – which might be presumptuous these days).

    No doubt there have always sly leaders bent on destroying the church, but only more recently have they got the green light due to the decadence and ignorance of their church folk.

  10. The Anglican Church in North America, namely The Episcopal Church in the United States, and the Anglican Church in Canada are both in serious decline because of the abandonment of core teachings of the Christian Faith as delivered from the Saints. The advocacy of homosexuality, same sex marriage and other politically correct ideas and strategies means that these two churches, like the PCUSA are doomed to extinction. The increasingly empty pews in both of these churches confirms this.

  11. The Presbyterian Church of Australia is the only church in this country who, in order to keep the doctrinal purity of the church, charged one of its ministers with heresy. The matter was resolved when the minister returned to Scotland.

  12. Peter Cameron was convicted of heresy by the Presbyterian Church of Australia in March 1993. At that stage he was the Principal of St Andrew’s College at the University of Sydney. The charge arose out of a sermon the previous year in which Cameron had supported the ordination of women, criticised the church’s hard line on homosexuality and questioned its fundamentalism.

  13. @ Greg James:

    Regarding your comment, “I’m very sure the next agenda we will see from liberal denominations will be to announce that sex prior to marriage is now acceptable….” I have seen this to be true in the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

    This is not the denominational stance of the CRCNA but it did seem to find a lot of agreement with a surprising number of the ‘sheeple of the steeple’ who read an opinion piece written by a psychology prof from King’s University College (a Christian university in Edmonton, Alberta).

    His thesis was that in Solomon’s writings we read that we should enjoy the ‘loved one of your youth (as newer translations such as the NLT would put it) then it logically follows that we should enjoy sex in our youth, married or not. Nevermind the fact that in Solomon’s time people were married much earlier in life than we are now and that a true translation would render the passage ‘wife of your youth’.

    A little familiarity with the Jewish culture of the day would go a long way, as would having everyone actually read the Bible instead of listening to some wolf’s opinion.

    It seems many people are interested in having their sinful lifestyle validated at church than in learning the truth.

  14. G’day Bill, responding to Neil …

    I am ashamed that the PCUSA carry the same name as my church, the Presbyterian Church of Australia. Can I suggest, Neil, that you run an experiment. Go to the nearest PCA wherever you live, and experience for yourself whether God’s Word is faithfully proclaimed. We have our faults, God knows, but we’re moving in a very different direction to the PCUSA.

    Andrew Campbell

  15. A Church without Christ is dead. no wonder so many people are leaving the churches that don’t have Christ as their focus.

  16. I think it’s time to stop calling PCUSA “Mainline,” nor “sideline” but “flatline” because it’s pretty much spiritually dead

  17. Thanks for the link to Netanyahu’s opinion. He’s dead right. Christians are safer in Israel than in Moslem countries where they can’t even print a Bible. Yet there are Christians who would undermine his great nation.

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