Friday, January 20, 2012

ECO is a sign of Christ's love for the PC (U.S.A.)

I think what happened in Orlando this week, the new Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, is part of what God is doing for and to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). But more importantly it is what God is doing in the midst of his universal Church. It may be a large part or a small part; history must be lived, before we know. I do not think it is a reason for anger, sniping or general rudeness, such as I have read here and there.

I still contend that the progressives in the denomination simply do not understand the pain of the orthodox. It wasn’t just a case of winning or losing a debate by a vote; it was some throwing the holy into the garbage dump. It was declaring that the word of God written does not have authority over the experiences of humanity. It was insisting the redemptive quality of Christ’s work on the cross was insufficient; we should just go it alone, so to speak, “what we can’t change by ourselves must be unchangeable.” Pelagianism is running amok—in church history it has often led to antinomianism, since one tends to cover up what seemingly can’t be changed by calling sin a gift and good.

If we do not believe in the redeeming life, death and resurrection of Christ, if the power of his resurrection is not transformative, our chosen paths will close in upon our souls; we will die in our sins.

God’s mercy is very wide. He will not leave his own to flounder in their rebelliousness. He warns most of the seven churches of Asia Minor urging them to repent. For instance, to the church of Sardis, “Wake up and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent”

Or to the church of Pergamum, “Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them [the Nicolaitans, who taught the church “to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality] with the sword of my mouth.” Jesus leans over his church like a mother leans over the crib of a sick child. He offers good to those who see their need, and hope to those who follow in faith.

He likens the Church to a wife and himself the husband who causes her, by his own life-giving sacrifice, to be transformed into her most perfect self. “That he might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but she should be holy and blameless.” (Eph 5:27) The PCUSA is a part of that church that Christ is transforming. If another body, such as the ECO must grow out of her or another denomination stands beside her such as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church receiving hurting members it can only be because God yet longs to work within the PCUSA. He longs for us to turn back to the written word and Jesus Christ, the living word who is after all the Lord of the Church universal.


Presbyman said...

I really appreciate the Fellowship Covenant that they published. It makes me feel more positive about affirming their work. I am especially grateful for the mention of the sanctity of life.

Bless you, Viola,

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL

Viola Larson said...

Bless you too John, I have a lot more reading to do-a busy weekend- but I am grateful for the mention of the sanctity of life also. That is the biggest need of all aside from essential tenets about Christology, the Trinity, etc.