Presbyterians Urged to Reconsider Ties With PC(USA)

A group of conservative Presbyterians has put out advertisements in major news publications asking congregations to reconsider their relationship with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The ad by the Presbyterian Lay Committee directs readers to a petition where they can declare their stance against the PC(USA)'s liberal direction.

"I grieve over the apparent departure of the Presbyterian Church (USA) from these Scriptural truths, and I am estranged from its policies and programs that do not affirm Christ alone, Scripture alone and the holy institution of marriage alone as the divinely ordained context for human sexual activity," part of the petition reads.

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The ads have run in The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and the Houston Chronicle.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune, however, rejected the ad.

According to The Layman, which is run by the Presbyterian Lay Committee, the Star Tribune required the removal of two lines from the ad in order to run in the paper.

The two lines state: "Why does the PC(USA) no longer require its ordained leaders to limit their sexual activity to Christian marriage?" and "Why has the PC(USA) abandoned Scripture and 2,000 years of Christian faith and moral teaching?"

Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee, called out the newspaper for its hypocrisy.

"Ironically, this is a paper that prides itself in its 'tolerance.' The Star Tribune vaunts the First Amendment as its guiding light and tolerance as its north star," she wrote in The Layman.

Yet the paper had a recent editorial expressing opposition to a marriage amendment in Minnesota that affirms traditional marriage.

"So, tolerance has now become unashamedly intolerant," LaBerge stated.

"Increasingly, the only viewpoint welcome in the public square is that of self-declared inclusivists. Those who hold other viewpoints are castigated as bigoted exclusivists. And further, anyone who doesn’t welcome every idea is now excluded from participation in the public debate by blatant censorship.

"All this in the name of tolerance: the very people who claim to be the most tolerant are thus actually exposed as the most intolerant of all."

This isn't the first time that the Presbyterian Lay Committee has run ads. Several decades ago when the PC(USA) was considering a new confession that some felt reduced the Bible to everyday literature, the lay committee decided to make their concerns public by sponsoring full-page advertisements in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major publications.

Despite their efforts, the confession was approved in 1967. That prompted a mass loss of members.

This year, another development in the PC(USA) is threatening to cause another mass exodus. A majority of the denomination's district governing bodies gave final approval to an amendment that would allow partnered gays and lesbians to be ordained.

With that, the lay committee's new ad and petition asks Presbyterians around the country to make a decision about whom they will serve:

"A denomination whose leaders equivocate on Jesus Christ as the Way," whose leaders "deny the authority of Scripture," and that has removed biblical standards for its leaders' sexual behavior? Or the Lord.

Those who sign the petition agree to bring the concerns to their local congregations to study PC(USA) policies and the congregations' relationship with the denomination.

Already, a number of congregations have voted to cut ties with the PC(USA) this year. Though the PC(USA) is the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, membership has been on the decline for decades. The denomination has around 2.7 million members, which is half the size it was a generation ago.

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