Saturday, February 18, 2012

I am not Inspired by the General Assembly Mission Council's Meeting

I have not commented much on denominational issues except for a few posts on the Fellowship of Presbyterians (which now includes the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians). But this article in the Presbyterian Outlook summarizes what I find frustrating about the way this denomination is being led. Fussing about a congressional hearing based on the complaints of one side does not represent good stewardship of time. In fairness, though, I can see some point of examining possible pay disparities in our denominational offices since we are so willing to wag our fingers at other entities about such issues. But again, is this worth the amount of time and effort, when the biggest challenge facing the national office is employing anyone at all!

In other articles, reference was made to GAMC supporting a recommendation to divest from some companies that sell equipment that supports the Israeli military, including sensory equipment used at checkpoints. These checkpoints are important for Israel's protection from suicide bombers. Oh well, never mind.

(I do want to thank one lonely member of the Committee for speaking against this proposal: “I think what’s proposed is ineffective and counterproductive,” and actually goes against the interest of peacemaking, said council member Kears Pollock of Pennsylvania, a retired corporate executive. Some of the products made by the three companies may actually have saved lives, Pollock said.")

The GAMC also is boosting the per capita level because, even as membership continues to steeply decline, they are proposing increasing the per capita budget, which has, in my opinion, many unnecessary line items like disproportionate support for the National Council and World Council of Churches, both of which say pretty much the same thing as our denomination on political issues anyway.

And there is some tinkering with special offerings. Again I really don't know what the point is:

Special Offerings Advisory Task Force. On Feb. 16, the council approved the recommendations of the Special Offerings Advisory Task Force. The task force has set a goal for the PC(USA) to raise $20 million from the offerings by 2020. It also is recommending that the General Assembly eliminate the Peacemaking Offering (funding peacemaking endeavors instead through the One Great Hour of Sharing offering) and that it create a new offering to support world mission.

To me, the GAMC seems to be riding the same old hobby horses of declining, mainline Protestantism ... feminist resentments, Israel-bashing, and supporting ecumenical efforts by propping up creaking old bureacracies, as well as the proverbial rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

Is there any concern on the part of the GAMC on reaching the lost with the Gospel of salvation? Any concern for persecuted Christians around the world (many of them in majority Islamic countries, btw ...)?

This all has so little to do with my congregation (except for possibly causing us embarassment) that I find the GAMC's activities to be essentially irrelevant. In the meantime, our small but vibrant congregation will continue striving to honor God and serve our fellow men and women in our community by confessing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and honoring the Bible as God's Word.