(RNS) – Commissioners for the Presbyterian Church in America approved a motion to leave the National Evangelical Union on Wednesday (June 22nd) at the PCA General Assembly in Birmingham, Alabama.
This is the third time in the last decade that the theologically conservative Presbyterian doctrine is considering a move to leave the union, an umbrella organization of 40 evangelical Christian denominations.
The decision comes at a time when the NAE is being led by a pastor at a PCA church. Walter Kim, who took over the association in 2020, is a teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The National Evangelical Union does not comment on religious decisions, a spokesman for the Religion News Service said.
The bill in question, according to a proposal submitted by the Pee Dee Presbytery in South Carolina and approved by a majority of 1,059 to 681, is the NAE advocacy project.
The NAE “often gets involved in civil matters,” according to the queue. Notes a 2011 statement by the association aimed at sparking a debate on how climate change is affecting vulnerable populations, the agency’s previous efforts to support immigration reform and the 2015 death penalty, which had argued in the past.
The overture specifically names the Act of Justice for All drafted by the National Evangelical Union and the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. The law requires federally recognized protections for sexual orientation and gender identity alongside strong religious exceptions.
“Defending a political compromise on sexual orientation, gender identity and religious freedom” goes beyond the Westminster Confession of Faith, according to the forecast. The confession, written in 1600 for the Church of England and later adopted by the Presbyterian Church in America, states that “synods and councils should not handle or conclude anything but what is ecclesiastical. and should not be confused with civil matters concerning the commonwealth. “
The overture also states, “Many prominent conservative and evangelical thinkers and leaders have denounced this compromise as a non-guide to ‘justice’ for all those who support the biblical teaching on sexuality and marriage, but rather seek to guarantee certain religious freedom. organizations and institutions, while potentially undermining the pre-political religious freedoms of all Americans codified in the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. “
Commissioners speaking out in favor of leaving the National Evangelical Union said they were unsure of the benefits of the doctrine from joining the organization. They argued that the dogma does not need the association to speak for its members when the General Assembly is the voice of the dogma.
Roy Taylor, a former registered employee of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, told the General Assembly that he planned to protest against her decision to leave the NAE.
Taylor argued that the doctrine would remain part of the union, urging Commissioners to show the same unity as George Whitefield and John Wesley, two prominent Church ministers in England during the Great Awakening. While the two had different beliefs on certain theological issues, he said, Whitefield considered Wesley “a brother in Christ” and set out in his will that Wesley be preached at his funeral.
“I’m a George Whitefield Calvinist. “I hope you do too,” Taylor said.
Source: Religion News Service