The theological and numerical decline of the PC(USA) is likely irreversible, according to Tooley. “Although church liberals love to insist their policies appeal to the rising generation, all of the available evidence indicates just the opposite,” Tooley says. “Essentially, the PC(USA) . . . resolved to become even smaller, older, and whiter, creating a future that depends more and more on endowments instead of live people.” And when the endowments run out, can the PC(USA) be far behind?
Over the last two decades, more than three-fourths of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country, driven out by a combination of Muslim fanaticism and economic and social collapse. Iraq, however, isn’t the only place to experience a mass Christian exodus in recent years.
Look at the Presbyterian Church (USA), the 10th largest denomination in this country. But you’d better look fast. The PC(USA), which is the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination (at least for now), is driving out members through its own brand of leftist fanaticism.
From a high of more than 4 million members back in 1965, the Louisville-based PC(USA) has seen more than half of its members disappear through the back door, reaching the current level of 1.7 million people. This includes a nasty hemorrhage of 103,000 members between 2011 and 2012. All this despite a merger in 1983 that gave the denomination a temporary shot in the arm—but before current controversies that threaten to drive the PC(USA) into ecclesiastical extinction.
The death spiral appears to have everything to do with continuing church efforts that shun the denomination’s theological roots in favor of political and social “relevance.”
At last month’s 221st General Assembly, held in Detroit, PC(USA) delegates voted in favor of three controversial measures that fit quite nicely into current leftist politics.
- –“The PC(USA) voted to divest from three companies—Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard, and Motorola Solutions—that provide equipment Israel uses to raze houses, operate checkpoints and communicate in the occupied West Bank,” Christianity Today says. “The decision makes the denomination one of the few in the U.S. advocating financial divestment as a peace strategy.”
Paul deJong, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Fort Myers, said that his congregation will send a formal protest. “The actions of the denomination are at best misguided, at worst represent outright racism, and certainly give every appearance of intentionally promoting anti-Semitism,” deJong said. “One must question the motives of anyone who vilifies Israel with greater fervor than any other nation, especially when we consider the numerous places in which violence is being reported continuously.” Such as Iraq.
- –Delegates voted down a resolution that would have condemned the murder of babies after botched abortions, such as happened in Kermit Gosnell’s grisly chamber of horrors.
- –The General Assembly voted to change the definition of marriage from “a civil contract between a woman and a man” to “a unique commitment between two people.” Additionally, according to Christianity Today, “The new ‘authoritative interpretation’ of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s Book of Order gives individual pastors discretion to perform same-sex ceremonies where the practice is legal.”