Sunday, May 2, 2010

First Presbyterian Church of Roseville, Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church and the comfort of our Lord

I wanted to rant and rave. A friend wanted to curse them, something a Christian may not, cannot do. Here is the truth, forgiveness will bring healing to them or it will eat away at their soul. They, like the creatures, in C.S. Lewis’ essay, “The Weight of Glory” will progress toward a thing that if you saw it in reality would be a horror and a corruption that might be found in nightmares.

Yes, the sad thing is that just now, in the face of this, we will meet for worship and then a Presbytery meeting in the church whose former leader, I will not call him pastor, caused all of us, to not allow them to leave with their own gifts and works, their church buildings.

God is better than that. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord …” a heavenly voice has said. Why? Because they not only “rest from their labors” but they carry their deeds, their works, with them. Those deeds truly belong to God, he prepared them ahead of time, but he allows the saints to carry them to heaven. (Eph 2:10; Rev 14:13)

Not so the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
First Presbyterian Church of Roseville California will pay half the court cost and “they will pay $810,000 (about 10% of their church's appraised value) over a 20-year period at no interest. (This would be a monthly payment of $3375.)” And Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church; they also are settling with the PC(USA). But will there be trust anymore?

In the beautiful passage of Isaiah which Jesus quotes, as he reads from the Prophets in the synagogue at Nazareth, his very being is expressed.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord” (61: 1-2a).

But the latter part of the sentence containing 'favorable year of the Lord' is not spoken by Jesus, that is, he does not say that he is sent to proclaim “the day of vengeance of our God.” But notice, within the text such vengeance is connected to God’s promise “to comfort all who mourn” granting to them an exchange of garlands for ashes and “the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantles of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” And Jesus as the eternal Son of the Father and Lord of the Church pulls all of the promises and warnings of Scripture into himself.

It is all tied up together. The comfort is now, it belongs to God. In the same chapter in God’s written word is this, “Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.” While this undoubtedly has application to physical Israel in the midst of her history it also applies to spiritual Israel, the church.

As Dietrich Bonhoeffer has written about the church struggle of his time, “Trust will always be one of the greatest, rarest, and happiest blessings of our life in community, though it can emerge only on the dark background of a necessary mistrust. We have learnt never to trust a scoundrel an inch, but to give ourselves to the trustworthy without reserve.” (Letters & Papers from Prison)

The Lord Jesus Christ calls his church to obedience, patience, suffering and joy. And to wait for his sovereign will in all things.


Pastor Bob said...

If I remember correctly this came out of a remedial case against the presbytery. Did the Synod make the decision or require the presbytery to revisit the issue?

Viola Larson said...

I don't know if it was a remedial case but if you click on the link I have you will find some history. But not all. We had allowed the two churches to go with much less money required when David Thompson who was then a pastor filed a complaint-the synod insisted that we abide by that and the Presbytery council agreed too. They didn't have to; none of this had to happen. Because the churches had filed a case in court for the property they went back and re-filed. Our Presbytery was going broke so we sent it to the synod. Just recently the third district court sent the case back to the original court, which had ruled favorably for the Churches. The Evangelicals in the Presbytery wanted to redo our voting now that David Thompson is out of the picture. He is no longer a Presbyterian. But our council vice moderator would not let the subject come up in council. He is the member of a Covenant Network Church. I am not sure who the "theys" are in the PCUSA who settled with Roseville but they are the PCUSA.

Viola Larson said...

I put one part of that badly. The vice Moderator of the Presbytery is the moderator of our Council and is the person who would not allow the subject of the two Churches and us revoting come up in the Council meeting.

Pastor Bob said...

It still has to be voted on at a presbytery meeting unless the presbytery has given the power to the council to make a decision.

Viola Larson said...

Bob, I don't think it does but I wish it did. I have some very strong things to say-carefully I hope.

Craig said...

Let's not forget the loving lawsuit filed by Heartland Presbytery against Gashland Pres. The wondrous loving members of Heartland felt it necessary to file suit against GPC, why you may ask, so they can sell the property for a profit.

So far the lawsuit is not going particularly well for Heartland (their original petition was rejected as being flawed, and they were given a chance to re-file).