Monday, July 31, 2006

Envisioning the Presbyterian Church (USA)

Envisioning the Presbyterian Church (USA):
Presbyterian Outlook (free registration required)
Where there is no vision, the people perish, (Proverbs 29:18a KJV)

“On life-support,” opined a minister when asked about the state of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). “In need of hospice care,” said another. These opinions envision the Church on its deathbed awaiting palliative drugs and last rites. I would argue that such a vision is neither faithful to God’s promises nor consistent with the PC(USA)’s present realities.

This article is my alternative to prophecies of the PC(USA)’s imminent death. Following a summary of my perspective, it identifies God-given resources available to the PC(USA). It then focuses on major challenges confronting the PC(USA) and concludes with my personal vision statement.
John Williams, the Synod Executive for the Synod of Mid America writes in the Presbyterian Outlook about the challenges facing the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the hope he has that we can meet those challenges.

What he has to say on cultural disestablishment is interesting. Even though the Constitution prohibited Congress from establishing religion or preventing the free excercise wherof, the Church enjoyed a long period of cultural establishment that seems now to have come to an end. How we choose to live within this reality is going to affect our future as a denomination.

From my perspective, this "cultural disestablishment" is not a bad thing. We are not called to be indistinguishable from the surrounding culture. On the contrary, we are called to follow the Lord and to be a transformed and tranforming example to the world. Can we do that effectively if we are molded by the various worldviews around us?

Williams' scriptural quote that leads off his article summarizes succinctly what we need -- Where there is no vision, the people perish -- and that vision is clearly laid out for us in Scripture.

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