Courting the Wrath of God

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is racing to take the lead over other post-Christian liberal Protestant denominations in enthusiastically courting the wrath of God. Great_Day_of_His_Wrath Despite all the biblical and statistical evidence concerning the misguided course its leaders have charted over the last 50 years, the denomination continues to thumb its nose at both God’s revelation and its own credal formulations. One might think that this shrinking, politically leftist group would be satisfied with having embraced the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the casting aside of Scripture and creeds in order to affirm same-sex marriage as God’s latest blessing for human beings. But the genius of fallen human nature seems to be the capacity to invent ever more creative ways to oppose God.

The latest comes in an overture (no. 50) to the 2016 General Assembly proposed by the Presbytery of New York City. Entitled “On the Admission of, and Apology for, Harms Done to the LGBTQ/Q Members of the PC(USA), Family and Friends,” this overture, if passed by the GA, would require the denomination to “admit harms done and apologize to those it has wronged” from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, questioning communities. To be clear, this is not talking primarily about harms and wrongs through unloving attitudes toward this particular group of sinners (such attitudes should be repented of). What this presbytery wants is for the denomination to admit it has been wrong over the years to assert the biblical truth that the sexual relationship is divinely intended exclusively for those linked in the covenant of heterosexual marriage. By approving this overture, the PCUSA would declare that it has erred in following clear, biblical truth, and that its proclamation of biblical sexuality (embraced by the church universal over all centuries until these recent aberrations) has in fact caused harm to those engaged in such sinful practices. Concomitantly, such a declaration would cement in place the recent moral transgressions of the denomination in approving “gay ordination” and same-sex marriage. Far from being merely decisions to keep in step with a secular society, these actions would be seen as helping to “right the wrongs” committed by heterosexist leaders of past generations.

What impact would this have on the PCUSA and others? I foresee four probabilities:

  • This once fruitful and faithful denomination will continue to shrivel, but at an even faster pace if possible. Remaining evangelicals who have stayed to try to reform their wayward denomination will not be able to stomach apologizing to certain groups of sinners for calling sin what it is. To do so would be to side with human wisdom over against divine revelation. Consequently, financial support for the denomination would continue to crumble (as it has over the last decade or more) since evangelicals make up the most generous contributing sector (by percentage) within the mainline church. The PCUSA would continue its trajectory as a champion of “sexual justice”, reinterpreting the gospel to mean the advancement of the rights of the disenfranchised in an unjust world rather than the gift of eternal life to sinners in need of salvation.
  • Since the PCUSA defines the LGBTQ/Q causes to be a matter of “justice love,” this admission of guilt and harm by the denomination would inevitably lead to calls for “reparations” to those harmed. An insufficiently large settlement offer would likely then lead to lawsuits against the denomination, which had already admitted its guilt. What would such claims do to the already truncated resources of the PCUSA? Perhaps the accelerated closings and sales of defunct or departing local congregations would facilitate such “justice love.”
  • The Muslim world (and perhaps other religious communities as well) would take this as confirmation that “Christian America” is indeed morally corrupt. For a world view which cannot separate state and religion, the fact that the American entertainment industry spews out the sewage of violence, sexual license and confusion, materialistic excess, ethnic triumphalism, arrogant individualism and the like to all corners of the world leads them to the conclusion that these are the fruits of Christianity. To learn that a “Christian” denomination now not only condones sexual sin but apologizes for having opposed such behaviors in the past would only confirm in the minds of Muslims that Christianity cannot be from God. The damage to world missions by such a move of the GA would be incalculable.
  • The wrath of God would fall even more heavily and quickly on the PCUSA. Its lampstand, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, would be removed by the Lord (if it hasn’t already; see Rev. 2:5). 1 Peter 4:17 reminds us that God’s judgment “begins with the household of God.” And the apostle Paul warns Christians, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal 6:7-8).WrathGod_01

Fortunately, the PCUSA is not yet at this point. For the overture to become part of PCUSA policy, it will first need to gain the concurrence of another presbytery (I have little doubt that will happen). Then it will need to be voted on by the General Assembly this coming June and approved (my guess is that will happen). Since this overture does not seek to amend the denominational constitution, but rather to direct the PCUSA to “affirm, confess and apologize” for how it has harmed the LGBTQ/Q community and extended family and friends, if the GA vote is positive, Overture 50 will have full directive force and the “mea culpas” will begin to flow. Should this occur, the PCUSA would cross a new Rubicon with disastrous effects for its own future as well as for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom throughout the world. What a tragedy this would be for a once mission-focused, Christ-honoring, theologically astute movement to find itself discarded on the rubbish heaps of history!

Please pray that God in His mercy will turn the PCUSA back to gospel faithfulness and a passion to speak the truth in love for the glory of His Son!

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10 Responses to Courting the Wrath of God

  1. Ron Scarborough says:

    You seem to have a low opinion of the love, mercy and Justice of the Creator of the Universe. Glad HE/SHE does not listen to you for HIS/HER ethics.


    • mateenelass says:

      Ron, it seems to me that the love, mercy and justice of God are defined by God Himself, not by you or by me. If one believes the Bible to be the Word of God, as I do, revealing His heart and His will to the human race, then it behooves us to think His thoughts after Him, and to strive to live according to His will. None of us does this perfectly, but the love and mercy of God are available to those willing to repent of their waywardness and return to His plan and purpose for humanity. It is certainly not a matter of God listening to me for His ethics, but of me (and all humans, including those in the PCUSA) listening to Him. He is clear (in the Scriptural passages I cited, as well as many, many more) that divine justice demands judgment for those unwilling to follow the Truth which He has revealed to us: “The wages of sin is death….”

      I hope in the future you will not be so quick to judge my opinion of the love, mercy and justice of God, but to engage me in dialogue first.


  2. Richard Carter says:

    Mateen, I haven’t seen the overture, but from your description this sounds like a request for the GA to make a declaration, not a change to the constitution. In that case, there would only be a majority vote by the assembly and no subsequent votes by the presbyteries.


  3. Jim Berkley says:

    Mateen, is the overture in the form of a resolution or an amendment to the constitution? If it is just a resolution, it won’t require presbytery approval, but will be final upon the vote of the General Assembly.


    • mateenelass says:

      Jim, it is a resolution seeking to have the PCUSA “affirm, confess and apologize.” You are absolutely right. Thanks for correcting me on this. I’ll get it changed in the blog.


  4. Donna says:

    Where in Gods word does he set up a governing body that includes such things as resolutions and amendments to a constitution of religion? There are no denominations in Heaven…the Presbyterian, indeed all religions, have doomed themselves by their very nature of defining themselves as the way to God. There is only one way, through Jesus, who is the Word. anything else is exactly what was warned about in revelation…do not add to or take away…every denomination has done just that. I do agree that accepting and bending to homosexual sin has removed your lamp stand…


  5. Jodie Gallo says:

    I wonder if the Presbyterian Church in any of its many different forms and denominations has ever issued an apology for its misogyny of the past, for slavery and the way it treated Africans and African Americans, for the way it treated Asians and Japanese Americans, or for its participation of in the Native American Genocide and land-grab, or its Anti-Semitic part in setting up the context for the Jewish Holocaust of World War 2, or its part in supporting Right Wing Totalitarianism in Third World countries, so on and so forth?

    I am not against apologies, but it’s going to be a pretty long detour if we go down that path.

    Repentance is more about changing the direction where are headed than it is about arguing about how we got here or how we are going to look if we do or don’t.

    Where we are right now is equally devastating to conservatives and liberals alike. We have cut the Tree of Faith off at the base. The conservatives have run off with the roots, and the liberals have run off with the leaves and branches. They don’t want to talk about Scripture for fear of sounding like conservatives, and the conservatives don’t want to talk about social justice for fear of sounding like liberals. But the Tree of Life is both. It has roots, and it fruits grow at the ends of its branches, where the birds make their nests among the leaves.

    Unless we put the roots back together with the leaves and branches, all of it, roots, branches, leaves, fruits, all of it will be good for nothing but the fireplace, Muslims or no Muslims.

    Jodie Gallo
    Los Angeles, CA


  6. Pingback: Courting the wrath of God - The Layman Online

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