Out of our appreciation for the issues that have been raised by 45 pastors who signed a Letter released on Feb. 4th, 2011 regarding the health of the PC(USA), the session of Faith Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas offers this response:
Recognizing that Christ’s Church is always a provisional demonstration of the gospel, we question the tendency to measure faithfulness in terms of the institutional success of particular churches or denominations. It is clear to us that the PC(USA), like most mainline Protestant denominations today, is facing many challenges in presenting the gospel to a culture that is in love with power, nationalism, and wealth. It is not clear to us how “creeping universalism” or the theological “broadening” of the church necessarily undermines the gospel of Jesus or the church’s mission in the world today. Our own appreciation for the unity of the Presbyterian tradition rests not only on our system of representative church government but on the principle of our freedom of conscience that resists conformity in matters of faith and that values the election of the people of God for service as well as for salvation.
We do not believe that an “association of congregations”, apparently based on theological homogeneity and a minimalist church governmental structure, will strengthen our Christian witness in the world or enhance church growth. While we cannot endorse the proposals offered in the Letter and attached white paper, we wholeheartedly affirm the truly inclusive processes of the commissions and task forces established by the 219th General Assembly to seek the transformation we need for effective ministry in the 21st century.