The 223rd General Assembly (2018)
The General Assembly (GA) is being held on June 15-19 in St. Louis, MO. Thus, another view into what dominates our elite leader’s thinking can be found in the associated Schedule of Events. A review of this information results in the following primary topics of interest:
- Radical environmentalism
- Identity politics based on race, gender, etc. (this is clearly the dominant area of interest this GA)
- Middle East conflict resolution
- Progressive political issues
- Peace (Korea emphasis)
- Hunger and Homelessness
- Radical Feminism (Voices of Sophia)
- Church development
- Open Borders Immigration
- International Missions
While a couple of these areas of interest have a church organizational connection, the majority (both in terms of number and intensity) are indistinguishable from what would be found at radically progressive Colleges and Universities. This result is of a piece with the almost perfect overlap of secular progressive politics and Mainline denominational “social justice” work.
It’s also apparent that “Jesus Christ” is a peripheral person at best. Searching through the Schedule of Events I found that by far the most prominent occurrence of our Savior’s name occurred as part of proper nouns for churches. Other than a few claims that some political position was because of “Christ’s” this or that, He is essentially absent from the discussion.
One might have thought that the continuing membership collapse of the denomination might have warranted major focus. However, even were it a focus the absolute determination of our ruling elite to continue down their destructive path would render the process moot. Here are comments by the General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II. on the situation.
But while the turmoil of the previous five years seemed to abate in 2017, the PC(USA) is still showing an annual drop in membership, a reality that distresses General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II. “It is clear that Presbyterians are doing poorly at evangelism,” he says. “Churches leaving was a temporary roadblock. Our inability to share the faith, to demonstrate the power and justice of Jesus Christ and his church to change a world where inequality, injustice, violence and war seem to gain strength daily is a critical factor in our failure to grow.
“The church is not dying, it is reforming,” Nelson insists, “and that reformation must be built on a vision of God’s kindom that is compelling to people who find us lacking. We have that vision – it is part and parcel of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We simply must find new ways to proclaim it and, more importantly, live it out in our congregations.”
There are two groups relevant to membership that find the PCUSA “lacking,” The first is Bible-trusting members and their churches who have left the denomination or are considering doing so. Our Stated Clerk couldn’t care less about these Christian’s opinion.
The second is secular progressives. It’s clear the this is the group upon which our leadership hopes to build the new PCUSA. Therefore they will continue to slavishly serve that group. But secular progressives aren’t interested in becoming part of a Christian organization. No, they are totally focused on the acquisition of worldly power at any and all cost. If the PCUSA elites can be useful by making up reasons that any and all of their policies and actions are actually “Christian,” then fine. However, that support is viewed as a temporary necessity on their way to a glorious earthly utopian future.
I will present a sampling of the 2017 membership data in the next post.