Snapshot of the PC(USA)

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“Over the past four years, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has become more liberal.

Presbyterians are committed to their local congregations, and they take pride in the PC(USA)’s history, form of government and the idea of being a connectional church. But they don’t agree on where authority in the denomination should lie – and many hold strong negative views about the denomination’s national leadership.” 

These are the first words in a Presbyterian Outlook article reporting on the “When We Gather at the Table” report. 103 people from NJ are included in the results of this report. Here are a few graphics that show the information folks have going into GA.

As always, the TTF would like to know your thoughts, particularly in regards to how any of this data strikes you as a Ruling Elder or Teaching Elder in NJ. Do you find this data to ring true for you in your context? Why or why not?

value about pcusachurch fits my idealchurch needs to change

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. peter gregory says:

    As an economics major in the last ice age, you learn basic algorithms that one needs to apply to surviews, questions, data gathering exercises to factor in age, income, demographic, other factors to yield usable data that one can rely upon or take actions off of. I do not know if this PCUSA exercise had these or pertained, so I do not know if the data could be used to reach any definitive conclusions.

    Is the PCUSA any more “liberal” than any other point in its history, who knows? I think terms like liberal/conservative are in essence empty politicized terms one can use to their own ends. But I think that post LGBT ordination/marriage battles the denomination is more homogenous and less diverse theologically and ideologically, as those who felt otherwise, either depart en mass or drips and drabs. Much like other factors in life, people tend to self-select where they live, whom they associate with, worship with, who they talk too, whom they relate too, especially in social media.

    One take away is that if the data is to be believed, that even in a center-left denomination, there is very little overt appetite by and and large to engage in the the hot button social and cultural war issues that Louisville/OGA seeme to want to embrace or champion. I know full well that as soon as issue or cause X is baptized as a “social-justice” issue all related debate seems to end and the next great crusade is embraced. The problem is that from all things Israel-Palestine, or transgender issues for example, all oxygen is sucked out of the room and people and organizations fixate on that. The PCUSA will loose another 400K in the next 4 years and will likely be under a million in six years. At that point you become like the Quakers or Unitarians in a national sense, a rather small and insular sect consumed by its own internal issues and processes.

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  2. Former Presbyterian says:

    As a former Presbyterian Elder, grandson of a previous Elder and great grandson of a lifetime Elder my heart is broken due to the direction of the PCUSA. Peter is correct that the denomination has and is getting more homogenous and less diverse as theological and social conservatives are silenced and marginalized. Back in the ‘70’s we had a place for pro-LGBT and had discussions/learnings on the topic. Can you imagine a discussion today with an opposing viewpoint that is against LGBT on the floor of the Presbytery? I have, as many others do, the feeling that we are simply not wanted in the PCUSA.

    I was content over the last couple decades being the voice in the wilderness speaking out against the sin of abortion to a church all to ready to turn it’s gaze upon the various bogus ‘social justice’ issues of the day. I believe to avoid this great sin. But now instead of avoiding sin it’s embracing it.

    My guess is that this is an attempt to stay ‘relevant’ in today’s world and to stay socially acceptable? Well my hope is that this church will learn from history about what happens when the church becomes accepted by society rather than speaking out as the minority.

    While mainline churches are dying we cannot lose hope. The Lord is still working, just else ware. As for me and my family we have moved on to another church. But my heart still weeps for the church of my forefathers.

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    1. bethscib says:

      Thanks for responding this post. My concern about the report was that we weren’t asking the right questions. I feel your pain though, that the church of your childhood is no longer the church in which you feel at home. I also lament the lack of diversity that was once our “big tent” denomination. Blessings to you and your family!

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