Stop Calling Me “Apostate”
I am tired of the name calling by “Evangelicals.” Many “conservatives” within the Presbyterian Church (USA) claim that we as a denomination are “apostate.”
Reluctantly, and with deep sorrow, we conclude that current renewal efforts within the Presbyterian Church (USA) are not capable of reversing the denomination’s plunge into apostasy.
— Board of Directors, The Presbyterian Lay Committee July 4, 2006
Apostasy refers to an abandonment of the essentials of Christian faith. Basically, they are saying that we in the PC(USA) are no longer Christian. They are saying that I am no longer Christian. They claim that the Bible is no longer authoritative for us (me) and that Jesus is no longer our (my) Lord and Savior. They claim that we (I) have abandoned these essentials of our (my) faith.
Interestingly, these claims of “apostasy” always have come in the form of proclamation, publication, blog, or speech in front of an assembly. Never once has a Presbyterian “Evangelical” said those things to me personally. I have sat at dinner, at coffee, and even on long road trips with those who make these claims about our denomination, but they have never said it to ME. Clearly I am a member of the “mainline” in the PCUSA. I am not “Evangelical” as they use the word. (I have been putting “Evangelical” in quotes because it is simply not fair that Christian “Conservatives” — whatever that means — have claimed a word that literally means “Gospel.” I am “evangelical” in that I am saved, transformed, guided, and inspired by the Gospel. But they don’t mean it that way… Still, I’m not willing to give them the word, so it is in quotes to designate a particular use of the word as a self-ascribed title for conservative Christians.) “Evangelicals” won’t tell ME that I am no longer Christian, but they will say that “the PC(USA)” has plunged into apostasy.
The boogie man doesn’t exist, dear “Evangelical” friends. I AM a Christian. Jesus IS my Lord and Savior. I believe that the Bible IS the Word of God. And you know that.
So stop calling us names. Stop writing about “the Presbyterian Church (USA)” as apostate. Stop making assertions about what we in the mainline of the PC(USA) believe when your claims are false. It hurts not only us as individuals, it hurts the body of Christ.
There are lots of other Christians who do not believe exactly as you believe. Jack Van Impe, Rod Parsley, Paul & Jan Crouch, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, and most likely the Baptist Preacher down the road. And yet I have not seen your vitriol directed at them or their beliefs. You don’t assert that they are “plunging into apostasy” or claim that they have wrong beliefs. Sure, they’re not part of the “Presbyterian family,” but they ARE part of Christ’s family.
And yet you somehow claim that I am NOT part of Christ’s family. Or at least that because I believe that in God’s sovereignty God can call whomever God chooses to call into ministry (even if it’s not someone YOU would call) you assert that I am apostate (which is only a breath away from saying I am not a Christian). Or that I am “plunging into apostasy” because I believe that Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient for ALL of God’s children and that it is up to God to choose who to welcome into God’s kingdom (even someone that does not profess faith in Jesus if God chooses to do that).
I can believe differently than you and still be part of the body of Christ. I can believe differently from you and we can still be part of the same Presbyterian family.
Please, as my brother or sister in Christ, please stop calling me names. Please stop this abusive plunge into the kind of division of the body that Paul spoke against over and over again… together we are the body of Christ. As the body we need one another and simply must learn how to behave well with one another. I don’t agree with your interpretaiton of Scripture, nor you with mine. But as Christ’s own, we must clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humilty, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another… (Col. 3:12f).