Renewal Day 2021

Our guest speaker was Rev. Dr. Greg Brawn, a voice for orthodoxy within The United Church of Canada and pastor of a vibrant Christ-centred congregation. Greg brought words of hope and encouragement to those who are discerning their place in The Presbyterian Church in Canada. His presentation can be viewed on our website, renewal-fellowship.ca, and at our YouTube channel.

Here are some notable quotes.

“I’ve been invited to talk to you about what it’s like to be an evangelical in a liberal denomination. … Twenty years ago I thought there was no hope, no future for our denomination; in fact, I thought it wouldn’t exist, or it would break up. That hasn’t happened.

“I’m not going to give you a solution. I can’t do that. … It’s a complex situation.

“There is a godly future for you and the PCC.”

“The United Church turned liberal in the 1950s and continued until about 10 years ago. That was the climax. The pendulum had come to swing back to Christology and Trinitarianism and to some extent, biblical authority. … Keep the faith. The Lord will bring you through this.”

“Avoid the temptation to ‘burn it all down’, wash your hands, walk away, and shake the dust off.”

“A strategy here is not to focus on the denomination. … We don’t use the United Church hymn book, we don’t buy the UCC Sunday School resources or Bible study curriculum.” At the same time, “do participate in your courts, but not as a disrupter. Pay presbytery assessments and do the paper work. … Be the local church of Jesus Christ.”

“Even within our congregation there are people who take the Bible literally and there are people who are quite liberal. … When we invite new members, we give them space.”

“Your calling — our calling — is to proclaim the Gospel to every creature in word and in deed and show how attractive a life lived in union with Jesus Christ is.”

“My future and salvation are not dependent on the United Church of Canada and your future and your salvation are not dependent on the Presbyterian Church in Canada. Amen!”

One thought on “Renewal Day 2021

  1. I appreciated Rev. Dr. Brawn’s congenial manner, his words of encouragement and his willingness to engage with those of us in the PCC who are experiencing the tension that comes when there is significant disagreement over significant issues. And I have a couple of concerns/questions/comments with respect to his online address:

    1. Rev. Brawn says that he doesn’t preach on controversial passages in the Bible and says that sexuality is a secondary issue. I’m wondering how it can be a secondary issue when Paul says in Eph.5:32 that marriage of one man and one woman reflects Christ and the church. It seems to me that to distort the definition of human marriage has implications for how one views the ‘ultimate’ marriage described in the book of Revelation. I don’t think we want to tamper with the description of the ‘ultimate’ marriage, do we?

    2. Rev. Brawn says that he strives to promote unity between different groups in his church who hold different theological beliefs. While I don’t discount the importance of unity within the body of Christ, I wonder if there is some doctrine(s) where he “draws the line in the sand.” To put it another way, when would he take to heart the many warnings in the New Testament (parts of 10 of Paul’s letters, Hebrews, one of Peter’s letters, John’s epistles and Jude) to beware of false teachings coming into the church?

    3. When Rev. Brawn selectively avoids controversial biblical texts, doesn’t God’s word run the risk of being compromised or diluted in terms of its ‘full’ authority for our faith and practice?

    4. I would like to recommend a little book by J.Gresham Machen, ‘Liberalism and Christianity.’ While it was written almost one hundred years ago, I was amazed to find that the content is just as relevant today as it was a century ago. Thankfully, this book is available free online.

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