I was wondering how to write down what I have been considering about the Fellowship of Presbyterians project. A letter written to the Layman, published today, encapsulates my thoughts quite well. I am grateful to J.T. Tate of Asheville, NC for laying it our so clearly.
Presbyterian ‘Split-P soup’ does not need any new ingredients
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Ok, so now they're talking about forming a "New Reformed Body." Why?
1) If you want to have female preachers, the EPC has gone out of its way to welcome you, as I'm sure the CRC and RCA would. Will the NRB mandate female ordination and ban complementarianism, like the PCUSA has for so long?
2) If you want to keep the full Book of Confessions, keep in mind the N(e)O-Orthodoxy of the Confession of 67 is hostile to a Biblical view of Scripture, and has promoted the prevalent mainline view of the Bible as a nice "record of man's religious experiences" but full of myths and certainly not the written Word of God. Per this view, if we don't like what's in there, we can say "that part isn't God's word" and we get to make God in our image!
The Presbyterian "Split-P soup" does not need any new ingredients. Want to stay liberal in theology? I'm sure the PCUSA will allow minimal conservative scruples. Think the PCUSA is Babylon? The EPC, PCA, RCA, CRC, OPC, ARP, and numerous other denominations will be happy to have you join their ministry.
Although the Fellowship has some good proposals on the table regarding polity (no property trust clause) and theology (the importance of the incarnate AND the written Word of God), in some ways it looks like the PC(USA) with all confessions included. That makes little sense to me. It also makes little sense that the Fellowship leadership invited Joe Small, who does not even endorse the Fellowship, to help craft the statement of theological essentials. Rev. Small has written some great things during his time leading the PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship, but he is committed to the PC(USA) as "the Church." Why a group that wants to facilitate a new denomination would turn to someone who opposes that makes no sense to me. I think it leads to incoherence and a dilution of the Fellowship's focus.