Thursday, November 08, 2007

Why Not the Persecuted Church

It seems that we PC(USA) Presbyterians can set apart a Sunday to focus on just about anything but the persecuted church. (Please remember Nov. 11 as International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church.) I wonder if it could be because they are ashamed at the persecution of churches that they are bringing about right now?

This Sunday, they've chosen Stewardship Committment as the focus. I'm hearing a lot about stewardship these days from our denominational officials. We're asked to give, and told to leave something for them in our wills. All of that is fine and dandy (yes...I have a Christian organization in my meager will). But let's make sure we understand what they mean by stewardship...particularly as it relates to the property trust clause and congregations that wish to cease affiliation with the PCUSA. Let's not kid ourselves...they are so concerned with enforcing the property trust clause that they file amicus briefs on behalf of other denominations (and other religions, in the case of "Christian Scientists") when their property trust is challenged. It's all about precedent.

May God bless those who struggle for the persecuted church. May he bless those presbyteries that reject the power-politics of the "Louisville Papers."

(My spoof on the trust clause is hosted initially at the Pres-Outlook. I reproduce it here for "posterity":)

Per Capita (with apologies to Isaac Watts)
(ELLACOMBE CMD "I Sing the Mighty Power of God," PH# 288)

I sing the property trust clause
That keeps our folks in line!
Per capita and scoff'd at laws,
Yet we say "That's just fine!"
While Gospel preaching dies away,
We endorse ab'rrant views,
Headquarters gets dressed in feng shui
And empties out our pews!

The Scriptures are ignored by most,
and twisted by the rest.
The unconverted serve as hosts
and we act undistressed.
While many choose to stand and fight,
some throw their towel in.
We've chosen this unenvied plight
for lack of discipline.

Tune: Gesangbuch der H. W. k. Hofkapelle, Wurtemberg, Germany, 1784

Hat tip to JP over at Reformedville.

4 comments:

regressivepresby said...

One does wish we'd get on board with the many others in the world wide church... but, to be fair- PC(USA) does do a something of the sort in January, I believe the Sunday in the liturgical calendar dedicated to the slaughter of the innocents. But, we're still highlighting the persecuted church this Sunday.
dm

Chris said...

Dave,

Slaughter of the Innocents...is that when we dedicate our money to the Washington Office for the PCUSA abortion-on-demand lobby?

will said...

A friend who was heavily involved in denominational issues traveled with a group to China, came back, and informed us THERE WAS NO PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN CHINA. She felt very qualified to say this, as she had been there. Yet she only visited certain officially tolerated "churches".

When this point was raised with her, she remained silent ... she didn't believe she was incorrect - but she had no answer because she had spoken to no person involved with the officially non-tolerated groups. She had been led to believe these were very small, cult-like groups, comprising a tiny portion of China's Christians.

There was a subtext in tone - though only partly stated: the type of church who was being persecuted was, in her mind, more closely related to a brand of Christianity she didn't like - e.g. that which she associated with conservatives.

will said...

regressive - you might be interested to see the mission yearbook entry for the day you mention.

http://www.pcusa.org/missionyearbook/Jan/07.htm

(It was 01/07 in 2007).