Free to be free:
|picture by Stephen Larson|
The letter was written by the administrative commission that was assigned to Journey on Saturday, January the 30th. Besides the rudeness of sending this letter out to those who are now members of Hope Presbyterian Church (EPC) there are several other glaring problems.
While expressing their affirmation of those who believe they must leave the PC (U.S.A.) the authors of the letter have offered nothing. Their intent, which succeeded, was to send a people away without property or money because they chose biblical authority over human desires and experience. I am thinking now of James 2:17.
The letter writers state that, "Pastor Huusko, the session and some members of the congregation are leaving Journey Church effective, February 1, 2016. They are forming Hope Presbyterian Church under the Evangelical Presbyterian Church denomination."(Italics mine.) The negotiating team and now the AC have been and are reluctant to admit that there are a majority of the past members of Journey who opted to leave.
On Sunday morning, the 31st, over 160 members registered as charter members of our new church. Many others, who are not yet members of Journey asked to sign. They will be members when they go through a class and are received into Hope. God has truly blessed us with wonderful enthusiastic people.
Toward the end of the letter the authors write:
"There may be some of you who are not yet sure what you want to do or how the Holy Spirit is leading. We would encourage you to take all the time need. Please do not feel pressured into making a decision on anyone else's timetable but yours and God's. You may even decide to attend both services for awhile until you sense where the Spirit is calling you. Our hope is that in the end we can see two effective churches emerge out of this situation, who can serve God in the Folsom community and reach out to all who need to hear the good news."
Can you imagine sending this letter to those who are now already members of the new church? This is truly unacceptable. Except for a few truly gracious persons, the discernment team, the negotiating team and now the AC have harassed members of session and even the congregation. At the very first meeting of the session with the discernment team the chair suggested that we should just turn our keys over to her. She reminded us of this before the congregation at a meeting when she also chaired the negotiating team.
I wrote earlier of the freedom of coming away from the control of an apostate denomination, and it is freedom no matter the harassment. That freedom belongs to those united with Christ in his life death and resurrection. St. Paul wrote of Christ's exultation in heaven and then places us with him by adoption:
"But God being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in ages to come we might show the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:4-5)
This is a freedom that places us beyond the manipulations of the Enemy of God. God will continue on with the good work he has begun. We are free to be free in Christ. No one can touch that.