“Since the PCUSA General Assembly, the number of congregations voting to disaffiliate from the denomination has increased dramatically, accelerating the already major losses in membership numbers that the national church body has suffered over the past 10 to 15 years.”
The Rev. Dr. Paul Detterman is the national director of The Fellowship Community, formerly called Presbyterians for Renewal. He is among those who have chosen to stay with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) despite its increasing liberal theological stances.
The Fellowship Community is a biblically orthodox group within PCUSA. Detterman told The Christian Post in a recent interview that he and his organization are staying with the PCUSA because “it is a matter of call and of mission.”
“We are uniquely equipped to reach out to others in and through the PC(USA) because we know the territory well,” said Detterman.
“To leave would be to give up on an entire group of people. Some have been called to move on; we have not.”
Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and the executive editor of its online publication, told CP that there were two reasons why she remained.
“I continue to hope that God would choose to pour out His Spirit and draw the denomination into a true revival. That would be an incredible witness to the world,” said LaBerge.
“The second reason I stay is a sense of calling to bear witness to the Truth revealed in the Bible, to stand firm when others bend to the cultural winds.”
LaBerge added that she had “a sense of calling to the people within the PCUSA,” who are “like sheep without a shepherd.” She said “will not abandon them to the wolves.”
Formed in the 1980s, the PCUSA remains the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States. As with other mainline churches, the denomination has garnered much attention for its growing acceptance of homosexuality.
At PCUSA’s 219th General Assembly in 2010, a majority of presbyteries, or regional bodies, approved Amendment 10a to the denomination’s Book of Order.
Amendment 10a opened the door for presbyteries to allow for the ordination of homosexuals who were in same-sex relationships; in the past, only celibate homosexuals were allowed to hold church positions.
The passage of the amendment was seen as the final straw for many conservative congregations who had seen the PCUSA drift away from traditional theology.
Since the PCUSA General Assembly, the number of congregations voting to disaffiliate from the denomination has increased dramatically, accelerating the already major losses in membership numbers that the national church body has suffered over the past 10 to 15 years.
Detterman outlined his concerns regarding the PCUSA, including the neglecting of accountability and mission within the church.
“People have been allowed to exist in the church with less and less exposure to the clear teaching of the faith or clear expectation of what biblically faithful living looks like,” he lamented.
“We are forgetting the reason we exist: to give God all glory, sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in words and deeds, and to enjoy God, marveling at His creation and nurturing disciples of Jesus Christ.”
LaBerge listed her “primary concern” as being her belief that the PCUSA was “intentionally” moving away from biblical orthodoxy rather than it going “aimlessly away from the clear Way and Truth and Life of Jesus.”