Recruiting the Future Leadership of the Church

A professor friend at Union-PSCE some time ago sent me a tape recording of one of his classes. The visitor for the day was a Methodist bishop whose assignment was director of worldwide evangelism for the United Methodist Church. He described in detail his experience in his first parish in a small church in a poor neighborhood in Sydney, Australia:

Post-Denominational Presbyterians?

There are some questions which need to be asked:

* Are denominations any longer viable? Or are they archaic? Or are they "The moral failure of Christianity?" (Richard Niebuhr)

The Death of Denominations?

Actions by recent General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are beginning to force many of our members to consider a choice between God and our denomination. We are not alone. Other denominations are doing the same. If denominations continue to force their members to choose between their deeply committed personal religious beliefs and their denominational affiliation, the denominations will lose.

For Less Regulatory Governance

There is an increasingly urgent voice in the church, calling for our governance to be more enabling and less regulatory. Chapter 14 of the Form of Government, which deals with ordination, certification and commissioning, is the most severe focal point for this frustration, and is a major source of the disconnect between congregations and the denomination.

The PC(USA) and the China Christian Council

Today there are a number of conflicting accounts as to the status of Christianity in China. One persistent version begins with the assumption that an atheistic Communist government will not tolerate the presence of a true Christian church. Consequently, Christianity in China must be sharply divided between an "apostate church" -- represented by the China Christian Council which is supported by the atheistic government -- and the "true underground church," which is subject to continuous persecution and harassment.

Unreached, Unchurched or Unconcerned

Mission is not something done "to" or "for" others, but "with" others. We participate in God's mission in loving communion with: (1) the Triune God who empowers, sends and directs us; (2) one another in the local- global church; and (3) those to whom we are sent and those whom we receive.

Watch Out!

In baptism every parent promises to bring up a child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  The Greek term for nurture is paideia, which was really a dynamite word for the Hellenes, especially those who were kept in the Attic.  One needs only to mention the magisterial three volumes of Werner Jaeger's study of that topic.  Paideia was the unlocking key to the glory that was Greece.  It means the intentional transmission of values and may be translated as civilization, culture, education, nurture and tradition.

A Czech Visitor Looks at the PC(USA)

Editors' note: Andrew Stehlik of the Czech Republic recently served a year as a mission-partner-in-residence with the PC(USA) Worldwide Ministries Division in Louisville. He wrote about his impressions of the PC(USA) in the Czech Working Group newsletter for July 2000. The working group, created by the General Assembly Council in 1995, works closely with the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren to improve and expand the relationships between the two churches.

The Gospel – Fixed or Dynamic?

Two years ago I spent a semester teaching Christian ethics at Gujranwala Theological Seminary in Pakistan. Participating in the life of the Christian community in a Muslim country -- faculty discussion with Pakistani professors and others sent by the Church of Scotland, the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand or the United States, or one of the Korean churches; getting to know students, many of them women -- was a rich experience.

The Call to Nineveh

In many ways the response to the General Assembly's call for Unity in the Midst of Diversity conferences is like Jonah's response to God's call to go to Nineveh. He did not want to go, neither do many of us. From what little evidence is available, it seems safe to say only a small portion of our presbyteries are planning Unity in the Midst of Diversity conferences.