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Two congregations that currently are in the process of leaving or of reassessing their relationship with the Presbyterian Church U.S. (PCUS) illustrate the significance of the problem for this mainline denomination.

The Hudson Presbyterian Church of Hudson Ohio has voted to leave the denomination. Article here. The relevant portion of the article is: The anticipated loss of Hudson Presbyterian Church is a serious blow to Eastminster Presbytery. Having grown steadily for the past 10 years, Hudson is now the fifth-largest congregation in the presbytery, and it outstrips all others in its overall giving of $872.39 per member. By contrast, the largest congregation in the presbytery, Poland Presbyterian Church in Poland, gives $469.77 per member.

The Montreat Presbyterian Church in North Carolina will conduct a series of meetings to determin their future with the denomination. The relevant portion, from the session's* letter is: In the last year we have seen the Lord do glorious things in our church. The youth ministry has over 90 students; we have more people involved in missions than any time we are aware of; worship attendance has blossomed with two distinct services; the Morning School has grown to capacity and is serving even more effectively in reaching unchurched families; and, perhaps most notably, God has renewed our sense of fellowship and community among the body. We rejoice in our calling to make this known to all the world. Our first priority is faithfulness to our Savior who calls us to proclaim His glorious news.

"Our ability to do this in partnership with the PCUSA, however, has been overwhelmed by its ongoing crisis of Biblical authority. This was most recently evidenced by the actions of the past General Assembly, but the roots reach back much further. The cumulative result has been to move the church from under the authority of Scripture alone to the authority of tradition as defined by the PCUSA at the moment.

The problem for the mainline PCUSA that is here illustrated is that it is losing exactly those congregations that give a movement vibrancy and growth. Other mainline denominations are having similar experiences. Perhaps we should say that the fruit of liberalism leads to death, not life. For other posts on this topic see here.

*A session is the governing board of a Presbyterian congregation, elected by the membership.
I have been posting the continuing decline of the mainline denominations in the United States. Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Methodists, United Church of Christ, who were once the dominant groups of Protestants with big impact on America, have become sideline churches, dwindling each year. While several factors are involved, a turn to liberal doctrines is the common thread.

Here is an item from about a year ago that I overlooked before. It is a call from the Calvin Synod of the United Church of Christ (UCC) for congregations of that denomination to withold monies from the denomination because of resolutions adopted at the previous national meeting. Here.

Here are the resolutions:
"THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the Twenty-fifth General Synod of the United Church of Christ affirms equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender and declares that the government should not interfere with couples regardless of gender who choose to marry and share fully and equally in the rights, responsibilities and commitment of legally recognized marriage; and...

LET IT BE FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Twenty-fifth General Synod calls upon congregations, after prayerful biblical, theological, and historical study, to consider adopting Wedding Policies that do not discriminate against couples based on gender;"

Here is the call to action portion of the Calvin Synod communication and more thoughts below.

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Christ Church, Plano, Texas (near Dallas) now has left the Episcopal Church and kept its property. One of the denomination's largest parishes (weekend attendance 2200), Christ Church has been unhappy for several years over the lack of respect for Scripture manifest in the Episcopal handling of the issue of same-sex practice. The parish plans to remain within Anglicanism (the world-wide communion of which Episcopalians are a part) overseen for the time being by the Bishop of Peru. From the Dallas Morning News. Hat tip Religion Headlines.

For previous posts on Mainline decline here, and here, and here., and here.