If you are new to this blog....

Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

gracious witness resolution, pt. 1

This was my 3 min. presentation on the gracious witness resolution (04-28) to the church polity committee.

To give you a brief overview – this resolution urges presbyteries to communicate and implement a gracious and pastoral process in use with churches seeking dismissal from the denomination. This resolution also explicitly urges a move away from litigation to address this situation.

What I want to share with you in these moments, though is why this resolution... Feelings towards churches seeking dismissal from the PCUSA range from sadness to anger. I have experienced those feelings and more. Nonetheless, whatever our feelings may be, the pastoral commission from Christ remains: do you love me?... shepherd my sheep.

One analogy for our situation might be that we are experiencing a kind of divorce between some congregations and the PCUSA. In a local congregation, when a divorce is in process, a sharp attorney might advise each spouse to get all they can while the getting is good. But, as pastors and elders, we have a different perspective, particularly if both parties are Christian. We must be concerned that in these church dismissals, we function first as pastors and elders in Christ rather than as legal counsel for one party.

I didn’t write this resolution to wrangle about property trust issues. I didn’t write this to validate or invalidate the EPC, New Wineskins, or anyone seeking dismissal. I wrote this resolution because the Holy Spirit has convicted me that our witness to each other, to the larger body of Christ, and especially to those outside the church is paramount. We are to be salt and light in the world and the witness of how we treat each other is absolutely essential to our sharing in God’s mission.

Finally, this resolution is bigger than getting a letter written or getting something into the minutes of the Assembly. In what, I hope, is humility, and with the validation of you and the Assembly, I believe this resolution to be the gentle moving of the Holy Spirit through a complex mix of emotions, legislation, leadership, history, conflict, mistrust, and circumstance.

Here's the dream: If I could envision a complete movement of the Spirit; it would be for you and the Assembly to enthusiastically embrace this vision; it would be for the stated clerk to come before us and tear up the so-called “Louisville papers”; it would be for us to signal a ceasefire to Christians suing Christians over their buildings and land; it would be for each commissioner to go back to our presbyteries and communicate that THIS – tending Christ’s sheep and bearing gracious witness to Jesus – this is where the Holy Spirit led this Assembly.

If you love me… shepherd my sheep.

I urge you to heartily approve this resolution and put it before the Assembly. I have tried not to repeat here the resolution’s rationale, which fleshes out reasons for the wording and principles listed. Please take time to read it. If appropriate, I am happy to clarify anything I need to. I thank you for being open to God’s Spirit and for allowing me time here tonight.

See also the text, rationale, and presentations of the "gracious witness resolution" in committee (this post), against 03-21 (legal fund), and speaking for 04-28.

Tag Cloud

2014 2015 accountability acts advent archive art arts ash wednesday aslan assurance audio auditions bands belief bigotry blessing blob bloggers blooper reel bluegrass body of christ book book reviews boomer boundaries breadth of worship builder bus calling Calvin Symposium cd ceilidh change character of god chart christmas church church partnerships civility commandments commentary communication community con ed confession confirmation contemporized hymns crisis culture D.Min. dance darkness death definitions denomination depth of worship discernment discipleship discourse dismissal dissertation drama early church easter ecclesiology ecpc emergent church error evangelism excellence exile exodus experimentation facebook failure faith family of God father fear fellowship fellowshippres following forgiveness friendship frost fruit frustration funerals GA ga219 ga220 GAhelp generations genX gift gifts girl scouts good news Google gospel grace gracious witness gspc youth hands health highlights holy spirit holy week hope hospitality humility humor hymn image of God imago dei improvisation incarnation inclusion index information insider language institutions interns invitation iTunes james jazz Jeremy Begbie john piper jonah joy judgment Keith and Kristyn Getty kids kindness language law lay renewal leadership legalism lent license life light lighthouse linked articles links listening liturgy loneliness love lyrics maddie shuler meme mentoring mercy metanarrative mgb commission millenials ministry networks miscellaneous mission missional missional identity missions moderator montreat mumford music narnia neighborhood neighbors new wineskins new year news newsletter NEXT NEXTchurch nicaragua noticing obedience obstacles organizations outreach palm sunday parenting participation pastor pastoral ministry pcaus pcusa peace performance peter pgf pictures plagues planning podcasting poetry politics ponderings pornography post-modernism prayer preaching presbymergent presbyterian global fellowship presbytery publishing questions racism reader reconciliation recordings recycled goodness redemption reflection refugees relationship relationships retreat righteousness risk roadblocks rss rules sabbatical safety salt samaritan satan satire scotland searchlight searchlight 2.0 sectarianism self-righteousness seminaries sermon snippets sermon-song sermons shalom sheep shepherding sin small church social media song songwriters songwriting spheres of influence spirit spiritual lessons spiritual power stewardship stories story sub-culture summary sunrise talent challenge tears technology teenagers Ten Commandments terrorism testimony theater theft theological education top posts tragedy transformation translation travel trees trinitarian worship trinity trust truth twitter union with christ valentines VBS video virtual reality vision waiting website wednesdays out wee kirk welcome witness word cloud wordle words workshop worship writing year-end YL you tube youth