My wife is a podcast addict. That’s also the name of the app she uses to listen to podcasts. There are certainly worse things a person could be addicted to, and she does listen to some pretty great podcasts as she is going about her day – stuff that makes this Longmont Pastor proud: D.A. Carson, the Gospel Coalition, Timothy Keller…
One podcast she listens to every day is The World and Everything In It by World News.
She played a recent episode for me which was reporting on the rapid decline of the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church in the USA) as opposed to the growth of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America).
For those of you who aren’t familiar with these denominations, the PCUSA is the older of the two and the PCA split off from them in the 1970’s because of doctrinal differences – specifically that the PCUSA was moving steadily towards a much more liberal theology which no longer believed in divine inspiration of the Bible or in the unique saving work of Jesus.
These theological changes inevitably led to many changes in the PCUSA’s stance on moral issues, in which they succumbed to cultural pressure to affirm certain practices which the Bible asserts are sinful. When you no longer believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, divinely inspired by Him, but just a product of an ancient culture, then none of the biblical injunctions regarding morality or conduct are considered binding – and at that point, you no longer have a rudder to guide your ship and you will be subject to the wind and the waves of your own culture to take you where they will.
I have embedded the audio of that message below. (Those of you who subscribe by email will probably need to click on the post to view it on the web in order to listen to it.)
I think what surprised me the most, amongst all of the moves the PCUSA has made, is that in 2011 they removed the requirement of fidelity in marriage for their clergy.
Sure, the PCUSA and other historic mainline denominations have made a lot of shocking moves, which in my opinion fall under the category of what Isaiah the Prophet says in Isaiah 5:20:
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
but this one blows my mind. Essentially that means that a pastor could cheat on their spouse and continue being a pastor. Not even atheists or agnostics would say that is acceptable, but yet this “church” is trying so hard to be like the world, that they would even affirm something as destructive and hurtful as infidelity in marriage – an institution which has concrete roots in the gospel (see Ephesians 5:22-33).
For me, the decline of the PCUSA and other such denominations, along with the growth of theologically conservative Christian movements, bears witness to the fact that when you stand for nothing and you believe in nothing, then you no longer have any reason to exist.
Just like sea fish spend their entire lives in salt water without becoming salty, it is the calling and mission of Christians to be in the world, but not of the world.
We are to be salt and light – having an impact and influence upon the world for Christ, not isolating ourselves from the world. But if salt loses its saltiness, then it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot… (Matthew 5:13)
Here’s that audio clip: