Sunday, October 28, 2012

$1.6M set aside-but is it God's gift or our sin

What comes to mind when you read a twitter post by a well known progressive Presbyterian author asking if any Presbytery has funds available for starting new church developments and you see a progressive pastor, in your presbytery, who advocated for LGBT ordination, answering her with, “Sacramento approved grant process last week. Applications ready in 2-3 months. $1.6M set aside.” She tells him she knows a few people who would be interested. He tells her and others where to look for applications, and you know where most of that money came from.

The money mostly came from two vibrant evangelical churches, Fair Oaks Presbyterian and First Presbyterian Church ofRoseville [1]that were punished with unreasonable charges in order to leave the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with their property. When I argued many months ago in presbytery that at least half the money, which was nearly 2 million, should be returned to the churches, the main argument against that was the need to help members who didn't want to leave. 

But in a Presbytery Report Attachment C - Report of the Congregational Care Committee it is stated that “The Committee determined there was not the climate or the interest among those who remained part of the PC (USA) or who were presently unaffiliated to create the core needed for a traditional new church development process to be pursued in these particular geographic areas.” So now the money will be used for the new 1001 worshiping communities for the PC (USA.)

My thought here is that some may not want to be a part of a new community that is funded by money forced from those who themselves have flourishing ministries that both feed the poor and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. How can that which was forced from brothers and sisters in Christ be of any use to God? It isn't stealing from Peter to pay Paul; it is stealing from Christ to feed our own arrogance. And the use of this money in this way is harmful, not to the two churches who are now Evangelical Presbyterian Churches, but to the PC (U.S.A.) churches who use the money.

God does give gifts. As James puts it:
Do not be deceived my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shifting shadow.” (1:16-17)
Douglas J. Moo in his commentary on James points out that the two verses quoted above refer to God’s creative power and the difference between his unchanging nature and the changing nature of his creation. God’s gifts come from his unchanging nature; they are not founded in our troubled and sinful brokenness. They are not pulled from troubled situations. God will build his church in truth, unity, love and purity. But none of those attributes entails the use of monies that are not ours to take. Instead we should be waiting on the gifts that are given by God alone.


Anonymous said...

And you know that if the money gets into the progressives' hands for new church development what kind of "church" they will develop. Money extracted from vibrant evangelical churches will be used to fund progressive experiments with groups that want to further gay liberation or other progressive causes.

A weak and failed progressive movement cannot pay its own way, but it has latched onto a creative new way to fill its treasuries: so alienate the thriving evangelical churches that they are driven out, and, like the pirates off the shore of Vietnam when the refugees fled, fleece the refugee congregations of all that can be stolen in the process.

That is really a low, underhanded way to operate. That progressives are passing notes about the pirates' bounty is disturbing: "Come and feast on our pickings!"

Jim Berkley
Roslyn, WA

Anonymous said...

PCUSA: the religious wing of the Mafia.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Viola Larson said...

Jim one of the reasons I posted this was because I believe that even some of the more liberal persons reading about that large amount of money did not realize where it came from. The teaching elder who twitted the amount does believe it is God's gift to Sacamento Presbytery that is why I spoke about why it is not a gift.

And yes this is very disturbing, I believe some in my Presbytery are tainting their faith with their greed and ambitions, they just do not see it.

Viola Larson said...

I would not call the whole denomination the religious wing of the Mafia. But I would suggest that some need to go back to the Scriptures to get a biblical perspective about how to care for brothers and sisters. They will not build the kingdom of God with the use of others money.