Saturday, June 21, 2014

US Presbyterian Church Will Marry Gays

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is a mainline Protestant body that has been very much dricven the Cultural Left for a long time. It was one of the earliest Christian ecclesial bodies in the US to contribute funding to Planned Parenthood, and it came close to ordaining  women in the 1990's.

They have now proclaimed to the world that they no longer have any interest in remaining in the pale of Christianity:

"The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s official embrace of same-sex marriage at its General Assembly meeting in Detroit, Michigan, Thursday has sparked a wide array of responses. From utter shock and dismay to jubilant rejoicing, observers are divided on the denomination’s decision to bless gay unions.

Consider the response from Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative Think Tank. Tooley believes the matrimonial amendment, while being touted by some as a progressive step in the right direction, will eventually lead to the denomination’s demise."

[The following quote is far and away the clearest and most accurate assessment of the state of any failing church  that I have ever read.  No religious body lives past the point when it surrenders core teachings to the demands of the secular world, which couldn't care less what churches actually do. This will not help the church to grow but will only hasten its collapse.  Believers will leave for churches that stand for basic Christian beliefs, and the secular-minded  will simply continue to stay away from any church]

“By overturning natural marriage the PCUSA is only accelerating its already fast-paced demise. It will become even smaller, whiter and older,” he said, according to Charisma News. ”Only declining denominations reject historic Christian standards and in nearly every case that rejection reinforces the decline.”

The Presbyterian Church was founded upon a Calvinist outlook. It's name come from the Greek word Presbuteros, which means elder. It is the same word from which the Catholic Church derived the word for Priest in English. The intention of the name choice was to reflect the move away from a bishop-centered church to one that saw church ministers not as Orthodox and Catholics viewed priests but as simply teachers of the Gospel and ministers that preside over individual churches. 

To illustrate how far the US Presbyterian Church has strayed from its origins, here is a description of the founder of the Church John Knox:

"......John Knox was indeed a man of many paradoxes, a Hebrew Jeremiah set down on Scottish soil. In a relentless campaign of fiery oratory, he sought to destroy what he felt was idolatry and to purify Scotland's religion...........

Dramatic events were unfolding in Scotland during Knox's youth. Many were angry with the Catholic church, which owned more than half the real estate and gathered an annual income of nearly 18 times that of the crown. Bishops and priests were often mere political appointments, and many never hid their immoral lives: the archbishop of St. Andrews, Cardinal Beaton, openly consorted with concubines and sired 10 children.................

In the early 1540s, Knox came under the influence of converted reformers, and under the preaching of Thomas Guilliame, he joined them. Knox then became a bodyguard for the fiery Protestant preacher George Wishart, who was speaking throughout Scotland.................

During a Protestant service one Sunday, preacher John Rough spoke on the election of ministers, and publicly asked Knox to undertake the office of preacher. When the congregation confirmed the call, Knox was shaken and reduced to tears. He declined at first, but eventually submitted to what he felt was a divine call.

It was a short-lived ministry. In 1547, after St. Andrews Castle had again been put under siege, it finally capitulated. Some of the occupants were imprisoned. Others, like Knox, were sent to the galleys as slaves.

Nineteen months passed before he and others were released. Knox spent the next five years in England, and his reputation for preaching quickly blossomed. But when Catholic Mary Tudor took the throne, Knox was forced to flee to France.

He made his way to Geneva, where he met John Calvin. The French reformer described Knox as a "brother … laboring energetically for the faith." Knox for his part, was so impressed with Calvin's Geneva, he called it, "the most perfect school of Christ that was ever on earth since the days of the apostles."

Away from his homeland again, he published some of his most controversial tracts: In hisAdmonition to England he virulently attacked the leaders who allowed Catholicism back in England. In The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women he argued that a female ruler (like English Queen Mary Tudor) was "most odious in the presence of God" and that she was "a traitoress and rebel against God." In hisAppellations to the Nobility and Commonality of Scotland, he extended to ordinary people the right—indeed the duty—to rebel against unjust rulers. As he told Queen Mary of Scotland later, "The sword of justice is God's, and if princes and rulers fail to use it, others may."

Knox returned to Scotland in 1559, and he again deployed his formidable preaching skills to increase Protestant militancy. Within days of his arrival, he preached a violent sermon at Perth against Catholic "idolatry," causing a riot. captionars were demolished, images smashed, and religious houses destroyed.
In June, Knox was elected the minister of the Edinburgh church, where he continued to exhort and inspire. In his sermons, Knox typically spent half an hour calmly exegeting a biblical passage. Then as he applied the text to the Scottish situation, he became "active and vigorous" and would violently pound the pulpit. Said one note taker, "he made me so to grew [quake] and tremble, that I could not hold pen to write."

Though he remains a paradox to many*, Knox was clearly a man of great courage: one man standing before Knox's open grave said, "Here lies a man who neither flattered nor feared any flesh." Knox's legacy is large: his spiritual progeny includes some 750,000 Presbyterians in Scotland, 3 million in the United States, and many millions more worldwide.

* (One example) After the death of his wife, Knox, then age 50. married a 17 year-old girl with whom he had three children.

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