A Letter to Evangelicals

The decision of the 145th General Assembly to adopt option “B” in the Report of the Special Committee of Former Moderators and the subsequent Remits on Human Sexuality and Marriage have caused a range of responses among members of the Renewal Fellowship and throughout our denomination. As a result of a meeting at Vaughan Community Church (near Toronto) last Wednesday, a small group of traditionally orthodox members of our denomination is distributing the following initial response. Along with PSALT and many others in orthodoxy, the Renewal Fellowship is sharing it to assist you in your own discernment reflections as part of our commitment to the renewing of The PCC. The Renewal Fellowship Board will be reflecting together in mid-July and will also share any decisions and/or directions taken.

June 26, 2019

Conservatives / Traditionalists / Evangelicals:

We are a vital part of The Presbyterian Church in Canada, and our voices need to be heard. We invite you to discern and explore with us as we journey into a rather uncertain future.

What do we stand for? We are committed to the God-given mission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and we remain focused on the Great Commission and the Great Commandments. We stand under the authority of the written Word of God. As such, we believe that the Bible presents marriage as between one man and one woman. We uphold the subordinate standards of the PCC: The Westminster Confession and Living Faith, which clearly state beliefs on marriage and sexuality. We believe in the words of the Preamble to our ordination vows, that Christ is King and Head of the Church, and that ministers and elders are to seek peace and unity in the church. We believe this holds us in faithful partnership with the views of the Apostolic Church of the majority world.

We dearly love our brothers and sisters in the PCC who hold different views on the authority and application of scripture. Nevertheless we are deeply concerned about the direction of the General Assembly Remits of 2019 regarding contrary and parallel definitions of marriage and proposed changes to ordination practices. Stated assurances of liberty of conscience and action are not enough. We are deeply concerned that it has become apparent that the ultimate goal of the prevalent agenda is to replace orthodox conservative, traditional and evangelical confessions and practices within the PCC with different understandings and practices.

If our current standards cannot be freely maintained, then organizational separation may prove to be necessary to allow for peace and unity in the denomination; the cessation of the pain, anger and hurt felt on all sides; and essential to allow Biblical preaching, profession, and practices to continue. This is not something we seek, but may be the best way forward for all.

We want to assure others who hold similar convictions that you are not alone. In the wake of General Assembly there have been numerous conversations among concerned people, who are earnestly praying for discernment and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to ensure that our God-given mission will continue. One such recent gathering included representatives of various ethnic churches and language groupings – including Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Francophone – along with other Anglophone evangelical congregations and organizations. Our commitment to the Gospel enabled us to overcome language barriers. It was a meeting marked by grace, compassion for all, and the desire to move forward in peace and with integrity. We are planning larger gatherings which will be hosted by two Presbyteries in Ontario, and another by two Presbyteries in B.C. Details to come!

We invite you to pray, to seek out similarly-minded sisters and brothers, and to share wisdom and encouragement. This is not a time for fear or anger, but a time for faithful and humble courage and compassion. Please be guided by attitudes and dispositions of the heart and spirit that would enhance the reputation of our Lord found in many places in God’s word, such as 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.”

In Christ,

Bartholomew Alexander; Joel Coppieters; Andrew Cornell; Grant Gunnink; George Habib; Peter Han; Jonathan Hong; James T. Hurd; Paul Johnston; Jinsook Khang; Martin Kreplin; Hugo Lau; Christine O’Reilly; Cheol Soon Park; Douglas Rollwage; Nagi Said; Freddie Saleh.