When Reforming Isn’t Good

We love what’s new – cars, homes, clothing, technology. It’s what fuels the entertainment industry and the news business. It explains the vast success of the Internet, social media, fashion and entertainment industries, and our appetite for news.

It also (partially) explains why many in the church are so vocal in their campaigns to change the church to be in tune with the times – or die.

It’s really about reform, they argue.

Ah yes: we are reformed and always being reformed, according to the Word of God. Every Presbyterian believes in that.

Trouble is, there are too many who see that dictum more as a rallying cry for the church to be an agent of social justice rather than a motivation to maintain or rediscover a purer expression of the church as the Bride of Christ.

Look no further than the two opposing documents produced by the Committee on Church Doctrine and referred by the 2017 General Assembly to the church for study and report. To those who search for a purer expression of the church, the paper which advocates a change in the definition of marriage was theologically flawed and is a step back.

Assembly asked for responses by January 31, 2018, and provided three options in the paper, “Where from Here?”

Click here to access the committee’s documents: http://presbyterian.ca/sexuality/

Click here to complete the survey: https://form.jotform.com/72747538873977

Purity is Option ‘A’ in the “Where from Here” paper. Social justice is Option ‘B’ or even ‘C.’ Respondents are also invited to propose their own solution in 500 words or less. Purity might also be found here. One proposal being advanced is to reform the Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC) into theological houses, in an effort to regain purity by association.

Sadly, I am discovering that many people in the PCC have not responded.

But there is time.

It’s vital that the Committee on Church Doctrine hears from those who believe reform is good if it helps the church come closer to purity of doctrine and practice.

This is real renewal. Anything else plays into the hands of the enemy.

Change or die? With the issue before us, changing doctrine to mesh with secular culture and law flies in the face of peer-reviewed research which finds conservative theology is a driver for growth and liberal theology leads to church decline.

There is change which results in true renewal: it’s a rediscovery of the church in a purer form, which recognizes our innate sin, our weakness in the face of temptation, Christ’s pure witness, the presentation of the sobering truth that “wide is the avenue that leads to destruction”, and the mission of the enemy to ask the same question over and over: “Did God really mean that?”

Let us speak the truth in love while we still can.