27 June 2008

BACK FROM EPC GENERAL ASSEMBLY (Part 2)

This has been a busy week. Jumper (my beloved young horsewoman) has been helping at a riding camp and Camper, my eldest son and faithful camping partner, had back surgery yesterday. Bionicle Boy has spent a lot of time with his Bionicle buddy from church. Number two son, "Moleson" (an F-15 pilot, it's his call sign) just reported to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, as an Air Force exchange student in the Army Command and General Staff College. SWMBO is keeping the lid on this tempestuous teapot.

Leaving me some time to reflect on last week's GA..........

Having observed some of the antics of the committees and the GA of the PC(USA), I marvel at the joy we had at the EPC GA. The major difference: In the EPC, it is all about Jesus while in the PC(USA), it is all about polity and power. In the PC(USA), parliamentary procedure is a full contact sport.

The EPC GA could be much shorter because we did not have to argue about the sovereignty of God, the authority of Scripture, whether God's Word is unchanging or merely subject to our approval, ordination standards or lack thereof, or strong-arming congregations into staying in our midst. There was no debate about whether sin is really sin or "just what is marriage, anyway?" 45 new congregations joined the EPC last year. That other bunch lost nearly 60,000 more members.

At one point in the debate on setting a goal that the EPC be a missional church, there was a brief parliamentary foofarah. They settled it amicably in about 5 minutes, leading one former PC(USA) pastor to comment, with tongue planted firmly in cheek, "These people are a bunch of pikers. We could have tied this in knots for hours!!!"

By my count, the business of the GA was concluded in about 9 hours, including approving a number of new denominational missionaries. In that regard, if the PC(USA) ever sent out a proportionate share of missionaries, it would have over 1600 in the field, rather than the current 250 or so. And they go out for real mission--not to hire lawyers to sue brothers and sisters who, faithful to God's call, seek to move from one part of God's pasture to another.

Worship took up another 8 to 9 hours (usually an hour each morning and 2 and 1/2 hours each night), and it was wonderful--Scripturally faithful and edifying.

Compared to that bank and trust corporation that is meeting in California this week, it was a drink of cool water after a long trek in the desert.

2 comments:

Rev. Steven S. Bryant said...

Mac,
It was such a blessing to meet you at GA. We came home refreshed, renewed, and ready for ministry.

By my count, we had 9 hours of business, 9 hours of worship, and 9 hours of very stimulating workshops. Our ruling elders said they were definitely going to GA in Michigan next summer even if they are not voting delegates. They said it was like going on a spiritual retreat.

Thanks for you blog. Hope to see you again soon.

Deutero Q said...

Mac,

I watched with interest the proceedings of the three Presbyterian General Assemblies.

What a striking contrast: the PCA and EPC focused on the gospel and being missional, while the PC (USA) was focused on everything but Christ and the gospel!

As I bluntly stated on another blog site, the crap coming out of the PC (USA) colon stinks to high heaven.