The Real Battle Is Local

This blog represents the thoughts of the author. While they may reflect the theological position of The Renewal Fellowship, they should not be seen as an official statement.

“The world has a mission – to capture and assimilate the church,” said apologist R.C. Sproul. “If the church becomes an echo of the world, the mission of the world is accomplished.”

In the minds of many who adhere to orthodoxy in The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC), the battle is lost on a denominational level. The fact that proposals to approve non-traditional marriage are well on their way to approval is proof that the church has been captured. Adoption of Remits “B” and “C” is seen by many as inevitable.

Three responses are emerging: leave, divide the PCC into separate wings, or simply “stay and pray”. Leadership will emerge and alliances will be chosen in the months ahead. Not every pastor, elder, and believer is called to enlist in a national movement. Alliances are not for everyone.

While the battle may be lost nationally, that’s not necessarily the case locally. We need to remember that the church is built from the ground up. It started with the Son of God who called a few fishermen. One person at a time, the movement grew. After the ascension, the church was founded by the apostles and other believers, one home at a time. This was the church in its purest form. And it remains so today. The congregation – some would say the small group – is the real church.

Of course, this is not to dismiss the usefulness of organization, for we can accomplish more together than we can apart. The point is to say that denominations don’t regenerate on their own; rather, they are to equip their local congregations to do that work.

On a collective, national level, the enemy has managed to infiltrate enough hearts and minds to ignore Scripture and use politics to change practices and beliefs. But the real church will thrive on the Holy Spirit power of those who adhere to Biblical authenticity on the streets, in our homes and workplaces, and in the local electronic media. That Holy Spirit power is working on the local level, through congregations.

Of course, the same secular forces which are successfully changing denominational doctrine – as if you can change the mind of God! – are also at work in the congregation. But there are many elders and believers whose hearts and minds have not been captured.

It’s a mixed bag. Rare is the congregation which is entirely of one mind in orthodoxy (orthodoxy being defined as beliefs and practices which are in line with those of the original apostles, who adhered to Christ’s commands to deny oneself, to carry one’s cross and follow Him, even unto death, rather than give in to the egregious lie, spun compellingly by Satan, that God didn’t really say that). There are congregations which are mostly of one mind. There are places which are divided to varying degrees. There are churches where the pastor identifies as traditional but whose congregation and elders largely are not.

We didn’t get into this situation overnight. The battle between orthodoxy and apostasy has been going on since the beginning of time. And it’s not leaving us until Christ returns and His kingdom is restored.

Until that time, we fight on the ground. For pastors who adhere to orthodoxy, it means boldly preaching the Word of God – and its sometimes-inconvenient truths – to anyone who has ears to hear, and to do so with love. Be the shepherd who mentors the ruling elders, who equips the flock with the tools to plant the seeds of faith. Be the believer who loves every single person and is bold enough to do good things for those who don’t share the same theology – and to do so in humility and submission to the Holy Spirit of Christ.

We are not alone. Renewal Fellowship and our many friends in orthodoxy – including PSALT, the Han-Ca presbyteries, many non-Anglo congregations and those who aren’t aligned formally with any group – are taking steps to work together in the months and years ahead of us. There are separate initiatives being developed to encourage and equip local church leaders to be better disciples. And there are many local things going on in congregations across the country.

In the same way a tree emerges from the group and is only as good as its roots, the church is only as strong as its congregations.

I’m not going to allow any change in doctrine to get me down, as grievous as it is. The enemy can change a few words, but he cannot change my heart.

10 thoughts on “The Real Battle Is Local

  1. Thank you, Andy, and thank you for Renewal Fellowship and the prayer warriors who believe that the Holy Spirit can breathe new life into the PCC.

  2. Thanks, Andy, I am so thankful for the Renewal Fellowship and for the strong emphasis on the authority of Scripture. I am puzzled that Living Faith was accepted as doctrine as recently as 1984 and affirmed by ordinands at every ordination since. Yet has been denied by those supporting remits “b” and “c”. I am really concerned about our Korean and Chinese friends who feel they no longer can stay in the PCC if these remits pass.

  3. Good Afternoon! I stand firmly in the orthodox understanding of Scripture.I agree,it is the calling of every believer to reach out to the unbelievers and share our faith,in love with all. Now is the time to stand firm and not yield.The Holy Spirit will guide and inspire us.We must bring our prayers to the Almighty every day and let His will be done here on earth.

  4. Following a wonderful, uplifting, biblical, Spirit-blessed and hope-filled worship service led by Re-Animate featuring the authentic biblical witness provided by Dr. Charles Fensham, reading this blog illustrates how far from the way of Jesus the Renewal Fellowship has strayed. Does the blog writer have no awareness of the controversies among the disciples, apostles and early church leaders that led to a variety of ‘orthodoxies’ that left global Christianity as a mosaic of beliefs?

    I am reminded of the confrontation between Jesus and Peter following Peter’s declaration of faith about Jesus’ identity as Messiah in Mark 8. Peter felt compelled to make sure Jesus was ‘orthodox’ after he told the disciples he was heading to Jerusalem and the cross. Jesus’ words to Peter were harsh and clear: “Get behind me Satan!” I can imagine Jesus saying that to Andy. Sadly, the Enemy has already ‘changed his heart.’ But, thank God, there is still an opportunity for repentance.

  5. Amen, Andy!! ….. I so appreciate the above messaging and “call” to uphold
    the Lord’s perfect design for( heterosexual) marriage and that the “Church” is
    only the “Church” when it (“she”) echoes as Jesus’ voice of counter-culture ….
    else apostasy enculturates/transforms the church into just another secular
    institution -as you have already shared ….. What strange good news that
    2020 GA is cancelled!! -giving many prayer-warriors and servants of Christ
    -whose Church is so under attack- to prayerfully wrestle with all these matters.
    Thanks again…….

  6. I appreciate what is written here Andy Cornell. And I wonder what God s view is of His church as we travel through these very different Corona virus days. If I were God looking at what is called the church and it’s deviation from HIS BIBLICAL HOLY SPIRIT 🔥 INSPIRED WORD I say ‘scrap it and start over.’ But He is not scraping He bride . He is fixing her. Removing spot and wrinkles and ALL that needs to GO so she ll be ready for the wedding of the LAMB.
    HEAR , LISTEN, HEED !!! WHAT THE SPIRIT IS SAYING TO THE CHURCH. LIKE …REPENT AND RETURN and RESTORE ……oh man this heartbreaking. Is COVID19 teaching us nothing? Do we really want to go back to slavery in Egypt?
    Holy Spirit , drag us all kicking and screaming , as need be, into the Kingdom of God and away from the enemy s lies and sick politics. GOD STILL MASSIVELY LOVES 💜 the WORLD 🌏🌎🌍HE CREATED ….SO MUCH!!!! THAT HE GAVE…..JOHN 3:16. Please precious people believe what He SAYS. IT IS WRITTEN PLAINLY IN SCRIPTURE. (sorry. I am venting ’cause I love His Bride and dearly want her to humble herself, pray, turn from her wicked ways, seek the Lord Jesus Christ.

  7. Well said, Andy. All so disheartening… for us, we are back where we were with the United Church and their pro-choice stance, inclusive language, situational ethics, and gay ordination and marriage. These social justice ideas are omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient – all former descriptions of God. Talk about leading people astray…the greatest error and heartbreak of all for a church. Thanks for being there…God help and guide us all.

  8. You are clear in your descriptions and full of hope Andy. Thank you. Again! Christianity is a transformational faith. Getting to church is only the start. Church is only first base, it’s not home plate. Jesus has changed my life and I can tell he has changed yours. It happened on second and third base! (You a Blue Jays fan??) Only adherence to all of Scripture – orthodoxy – has the power to change us to be like Christ. We need to recover transformational ministry in the PCC: ‘lives changed for Christ’.

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