By Lillian Kwon
February 27, 2010
A Presbyterian megachurch will begin a series of town hall meetings this weekend as the congregation moves toward severing ties with their denominational family.
Community Presbyterian Church in Danville, California, already initiated the process to be dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It will use the next six months for discussions and prayer as it discerns its future path.
The megachurch began evaluating the future theological direction of the PC(USA) 16 months ago, recognizing that current trends in the denomination did not align with their core beliefs.
On Feb. 2, the 2,000-member church unanimously voted to begin the process of “gracious dismissal” from the denomination and seek affiliation with the smaller and more conservative Evangelical Presbyterian Church.
The Danville congregation says they’re seeing a “creeping tolerance of theological pluralism” in the PC(USA) as more denominational leaders take positions that are “inconsistent with the historical tenets of our faith.”
The latest “Religious and Demographic Profile of Presbyterians” report, released by the PC(USA), found that only two in five (39 percent) members agree or strongly agree that “only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved.” And even fewer pastors (35 percent) agree or strongly agree.
Dozens of churches have left the PC(USA), citing the denomination’s liberal direction on scriptural authority and homosexuality. Most recently, the 2008 General Assembly, the denomination’s highest governing body, approved a proposal to delete from its constitution a requirement that clergy live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between and a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The measure, however, failed to receive the required majority approval from the 173 presbyteries.
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