Many of you may be aware that PCUSA has ratified Amendment 10A on ordination standards that will take effect July 10, 2011. This opens the door for homosexual and lesbian ordination in local PCUSA congregations. As far as I know, this is the third major American denomination in recent years to do this; the others being ELCA (Lutherans) and Episcopalians (Anglicans).
I think this is wrong. But I also think many of my fellow conservative Presbyterians argue for their position in a wrong way. Dr. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, gave this presentation on church unity in light of the recent amendment which articulates his conservative position in a lucid and clear way; a position which I fully agree with. The danger is that many of the more conservative local congregations and individuals may find it best to simply leave a denomination that has already experienced a loss of half its membership in less than a generation. In fact, some argue that this is the only reason why the amendment which kept being introduced for vote every year by liberal members of the denomination was finally ratified. A large part of the conservative base which had voted it down previously had gradually left over the years.
Some of the mainline American denominations have been experiencing severe losses in membership this century. But I do not believe this is a sign that the American church in general is in trouble. On the contrary, I see many flourishing churches in America with a deeply evangelical commitment to the gospel and the historic faith. I believe many of the younger, vibrant churches popping up everywhere are tackling issues of social justice, environmental care, concern for the poor, racial integration, postmodern worldviews, and missions orientation from a deeply committed Christian perspective that is very attractive to a great many Christians sitting in the pews of mainline denominational churches that are dwindling for lack of faith? or attractiveness? or doctrinal consistency? or adherence to the gospel? or all of that?
What happens to the PCUSA now? As an Evangelical Christian, how do you respond? I’d like to hear from members of the denomination.