Menlo Park Presbyterian Church leaves the PC(USA)...

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The cost John Ortberg and Menlo Park Presbyterian Church have agreed to pay in order to be dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) is around $11,000,000.

Back in 1991 when our church in Wisconsin left the PC(USA), our presbytery simply confiscated everything. They recognized our congregational vote for transfer into the PCA as legitimate, they dismissed Rosedale Presbyterian Church as a church, and then they confiscated the church building, the baptismal font made by our elder's grandfather, the cemetery, the manse, the banners our children had made for Easter... They changed the locks on the doors immediately.

We made no protest.

My final sermon was on September 15, 1991. Our  text was Hebrews 10:32-34 and the sermon title was "You ...Joyfully Accepted the Confiscation of Your Property." During the sermon...

I quoted Kiekegaard:

But one thing I adjure thee, for the sake of God in heaven and all that is holy, shun the priests, shun them, those abominable men whose livelihood it is to prevent thee from so much as becoming aware of what Christianity is, and who thereby would transform thee, befuddled by galimatias [Webster “a confused and often pretentious mixture of words; Gobbledygook] and optical illusion, into what they understand by a true Christian, a paid member of the State Church, or the National Church, or whatever they prefer to call it. Shun them. But take heed to pay them willingly and promptly what money they should have. With those whom one despises, one on no account should have money differences, lest it might perhaps be said that it was to get out of paying them one avoided them. No, pay them double, in order that thy disagreement with them may be thoroughly clear: that what concerns them does not concern thee at all, namely, money; and on the contrary, that what does not concern them concerns thee infinitely, namely, Christianity.

(From “My Task,” Sept. 1, 1955 in Kierkegaard’s Attack Upon Christendom, 1854-1855, Beacon Press, Boston, p. 288.)

Losing our property was the best part of our separation from the PC(USA). Those whose love was our perfect New England white clapboard church-house listed on the National Register of Historic Places with its copper steeple and working bell in the belfry stayed with the building while those who loved Christ and His Bride departed.

If we claim to agree with Jesus that we can't serve both God and mammon, but then refuse to see that choice in any particular decision of our lives, we don't really agree with Jesus, do we?

 

 

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!