Looking ahead to this year’s 224th General Assembly in June, the Presbyterian Church (USA) will continue to embrace its rationale from last year’s “Big Tent” meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, which focused on forwarding a social gospel – not the gospel based in Scripture.
Leaders within PCUSA’s unofficial LGBTQ+ caucus made this message loud and clear by retweeting an adapted quote by the late progressive author and blogger, Rachel Held Evans.
“If the gospel you’re preaching isn’t good news for those on the margins, it isn’t the Gospel,” More Light Presbyterians tweeted December 18.
This politically correct and LGBTQ-friendly doctrine is being used by PCUSA as it attempts to replace biblical morality with the term “institutional conventions” in order to justify undermining God’s standard for sexuality that condemns homosexual behavior as sin – something that should be abandoned … and never embraced.
“The theme, ‘Called to a Movement beyond Institution,’ will emphasize our hope of the Gospel and its power to challenge institutional conventions,” PCUSA announced on its website. “The goal is to come together and live in this moment – immersed in our current cultural context of racial division, gender inequality and economic disparity to be renewed, refreshed and reformed, so that we may be sent out to affect change in our own communities.”
Hold on a second …
An intern with the Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) took issue with PCUSA’s new spin on its “biblical” teaching” – laced with some scriptural truths – arguing that it ascribes more to the LGBTQ agenda than to the true gospel message.
“Yes … Jesus – during his incarnation – reached out to those on the margins, [and] these societal margins encompassed tax collectors, Samaritans and widows,” IRD intern Josiah Aden conceded in his recent blog on Juicy Ecumenism.
“Today, these margins include those with heterodox beliefs, immigrants and the poor – [and] yes, the Gospel tells us to go to those people ‘who feel unloved and … those who have nowhere to go.’ Jesus did; we must imitate Him … who loved the sinners around Him on Earth.”
Yet Aden points out a key distinction that the PCUSA left hidden in the shadows.
“He once refused to greet His natural family waiting outside the temple, claiming His disciples as family instead, [as] Jesus saw his sinful disciples – former tax collectors and working-class fishermen – as family,” Aden continued. “Critically, however, Jesus did not expand biblical doctrine – He merely fulfilled the Old Testament. Jesus did not let Zacchaeus continue in monetary extortion.”
He points out what he considers the PCUSA’s major flaw.
“[T]he liberal Church’s semantic toying creates a problem – the Big Tent movement’s diction implies a widening of the tent to meet the margins where they are … effectively, that is what mainline Protestantism does today,” Aden argues.
“Since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, the Church has moved left on theological issues, and not just social issues – the relatively theologically insular tent of decades ago has widened to include beliefs and practices that are biblically unsound.”
He emphasizes that Jesus embraced the sinner – not the sin – which must be acknowledged, addressed, and left at the door to follow Him … with at least a concerted effort to abandon such behavior and not continue in it.
“The Gospel is good news for those on the margins, but they must enter the tent,” Aden explains. “Jesus was unafraid to draw lines in the sand, hurling sinners out of His Father’s temple and publicly facing down Pharisees. The rich young man could not give up all he possessed, however well he’d kept the Ten Commandments – and he was left out.”
And this goes for today’s Church as well, Aden argues.
“The Church should not expand its tent or adapt to the margins – instead, it must encourage those outside to come in,” the Christian blogger asserts. “Christmas was very recent: many people probably visited friends’ homes. Upon entrance to someone’s home, you adapt to their rules – they don’t adapt to yours. You ask if shoes should come off or not.
"Granted, there is give-and-take: the host or hostess may ask if you’d like a drink. Primarily, however, the give comes from the guest. In order to enter the Christian tent, some things have to be checked at the door. The door doesn’t come to you – you come to the door. In Jesus’ own words, in Matthew 7:7, ‘Knock, and it will be opened to you.’”