Back to Basics

Everything changed on Sept. 11, including world mission. Our staff in Worldwide Ministries in Louisville did a good job of immediately contacting all of our mission workers around the world.

Some workers in Pakistan, and other countries where they were thought to be in danger, were brought home at once. The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance office quickly sent funds to New York City Presbytery, as well as to areas where refugees began to seek protection from the conflict they expect to follow the attacks.

So now what? Do we slow down on mission? I hope not. We need to speed up. There has never been a time when taking Christianity out into the world was more important than now.

Our relationship with countries that have a Christian presence and ones that have not is noticeably different. It doesn’t address all of the problems, but demonstrating Christian love around the world is powerful.

This is not to imply that we are in a religious war. We are not. But we do need to do an even better job of taking the gospel into all the world.

We spend so much time in our church worrying and fretting over things that are almost as ridiculous as the old argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. This is a time when Presbyterians need to unite in our efforts to make the world a better place. We need to vote down Amendment A and not split the church; to scrap the confessing church movement and quit calling each other names.

Let’s get back to the basics. Jesus Christ is the head of our church. Jesus Christ is the way to salvation. At the same time, God is God and is in charge of everything. We are not.

Everybody knows I am not a theologian. I’m just a Presbyterian elder who loves mission, loves our denomination and loves the Lord.

One thing I am sure of is that we need to love each other, even when we differ. And we need to work harder than we ever have before. And we need to pray.

Marj Carpenter, an elder from Big Spring, Texas, was moderator of the 207th General Assembly (1995).