This blog represents the thoughts of the author. While they may reflect the theological position of The Renewal Fellowship, they should not be seen as an official statement.
“The world has a mission – to capture and assimilate the church,” said apologist R.C. Sproul. “If the church becomes an echo of the world, the mission of the world is accomplished.”
In the minds of many who adhere to orthodoxy in The Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC), the battle is lost on a denominational level. The fact that proposals to approve non-traditional marriage are well on their way to approval is proof that the church has been captured. Adoption of Remits “B” and “C” is seen by many as inevitable.
Three responses are emerging: leave, divide the PCC into separate wings, or simply “stay and pray”. Leadership will emerge and alliances will be chosen in the months ahead. Not every pastor, elder, and believer is called to enlist in a national movement. Alliances are not for everyone.
While the battle may be lost nationally, that’s not necessarily the case locally. We need to remember that the church is built from the ground up. It started with the Son of God who called a few fishermen. One person at a time, the movement grew. After the ascension, the church was founded by the apostles and other believers, one home at a time. This was the church in its purest form. And it remains so today. The congregation – some would say the small group – is the real church.
Of course, this is not to dismiss the usefulness of organization, for we can accomplish more together than we can apart. The point is to say that denominations don’t regenerate on their own; rather, they are to equip their local congregations to do that work.
On a collective, national level, the enemy has managed to infiltrate enough hearts and minds to ignore Scripture and use politics to change practices and beliefs. But the real church will thrive on the Holy Spirit power of those who adhere to Biblical authenticity on the streets, in our homes and workplaces, and in the local electronic media. That Holy Spirit power is working on the local level, through congregations.
Of course, the same secular forces which are successfully changing denominational doctrine – as if you can change the mind of God! – are also at work in the congregation. But there are many elders and believers whose hearts and minds have not been captured.
It’s a mixed bag. Rare is the congregation which is entirely of one mind in orthodoxy (orthodoxy being defined as beliefs and practices which are in line with those of the original apostles, who adhered to Christ’s commands to deny oneself, to carry one’s cross and follow Him, even unto death, rather than give in to the egregious lie, spun compellingly by Satan, that God didn’t really say that). There are congregations which are mostly of one mind. There are places which are divided to varying degrees. There are churches where the pastor identifies as traditional but whose congregation and elders largely are not.
We didn’t get into this situation overnight. The battle between orthodoxy and apostasy has been going on since the beginning of time. And it’s not leaving us until Christ returns and His kingdom is restored.
Until that time, we fight on the ground. For pastors who adhere to orthodoxy, it means boldly preaching the Word of God – and its sometimes-inconvenient truths – to anyone who has ears to hear, and to do so with love. Be the shepherd who mentors the ruling elders, who equips the flock with the tools to plant the seeds of faith. Be the believer who loves every single person and is bold enough to do good things for those who don’t share the same theology – and to do so in humility and submission to the Holy Spirit of Christ.
We are not alone. Renewal Fellowship and our many friends in orthodoxy – including PSALT, the Han-Ca presbyteries, many non-Anglo congregations and those who aren’t aligned formally with any group – are taking steps to work together in the months and years ahead of us. There are separate initiatives being developed to encourage and equip local church leaders to be better disciples. And there are many local things going on in congregations across the country.
In the same way a tree emerges from the group and is only as good as its roots, the church is only as strong as its congregations.
I’m not going to allow any change in doctrine to get me down, as grievous as it is. The enemy can change a few words, but he cannot change my heart.