Monday, December 18, 2006


This was a very big week for my wife, Cheryl and me personally. Our home church voted to sever ties with its denomination, and that’s never an easy thing.

You may have seen the news reports on the seven (more correctly, eight) churches that discontinued their affiliation with the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States (PECUSA). Yes, you may be surprised; Cheryl and I have attended an Episcopal Church for the last eight years. That may come as a shock to some, but let me tell you the story:

As you probably know, I have been in itinerant preaching ministry for 25 years. On average, I preach in a different church somewhere in the country about every other week. That means I don’t see my own church very much. And, I can’t really get very involved in my own church’s activities because of the all-consuming demands of my own evangelistic ministry on Capitol Hill and elsewhere in the US and around the world. (It’s funny; I remember being told years ago that Billy Graham didn’t attend a church on Sundays when he was home because he could never get settled into one. His wife Ruth has been a life-long Presbyterian, and decided to stay so even though Dr. Graham is a life-long Baptist. She just wasn’t going to let his crazy life affect her routine. Now I understand those things.)

Anyway, eight years ago Cheryl and I came to the same conclusion as the Grahams. I maintain my membership in two fellowships: The Evangelical Church Alliance (America’s oldest association of Evangelical clergy) and the old line Gospel-preaching, Bible-teaching, holiness Methodist Episcopal Church USA. (Not affiliated in any way with the liberal United Methodist or Episcopal churches.) Because I am gone so much and can’t be involved in a local home church, Cheryl and I prayerfully decided that because she can and is always deeply involved in our home church, she would make the pick. She found Christ the Redeemer, a biblically faithful, soul-saving, Gospel-centered Episcopal congregation meeting right in the very school where Cheryl practices as an occupational therapist for disabled children.

“CTR,” as the church is affectionately known, is a mission congregation of the historic Truro Church in nearby Fairfax, Virginia, a leader among Evangelical Anglican congregations. Truro is famous for two things: Its Gospel-centered life and ministry—and one of its past vestrymen (or board members): none other than our first president, George Washington! Truro and its pastor, newly consecrated Anglican Bishop Martyn Minns, has led the way in severing ties with the apostate and ultra-liberal Episcopal Church. The process was accelerated after the so-called consecration of an actively homosexual Episcopal bishop a few years ago. Truro voted to break ties with the Episcopal Church this week. With them went Falls Church, another great Bible-preaching and teaching congregation pastored by the well-known Evangelical preacher John Yates. (Together, these two churches represent about 4000 attendees.) A number of smaller churches, like my own, rounded out the eight who decided to stand with the historic Gospel and reject the New Age heresy adopted by the PECUSA.

Yesterday I released a statement commending the eight churches that severed their ties with PECUSA. (You can read it at Scroll to Sunday, 12-17 releases.) In it, I pointed out that both the ordained and lay leaders of these churches have exhibited extraordinary spiritual courage and integrity, largely because they put at serious risk their properties (worth millions of dollars) and, even more so, their reputations. This is Christ-like leadership. Remember, Jesus emptied himself of everything to obey God’s will.

Most of these eight churches will now align themselves with the biblically faithful Anglican Church of Nigeria, through its American missionary presence called the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA). Yes, I said “missionary presence.” It’s ironic that America, once the greatest force for missions on the planet, now needs missionaries from Africa! (I remember years ago when the Koreans began sending missionaries here. I thought then, ‘this is a picture of our future if we continue to abandon our rich Christian history!’)

The liberal Episcopal bishop of Virginia, Peter Lee, has vowed to wage war against these dissenting churches. He has threatened to take their properties and other assets to punish them. Lee says that what has happened amounts to “Nigerian churches occupying Episcopal buildings.” How ironic—the liberal US church that for decades touted itself as a champion of people of color and of poor developing countries is preparing to now evict them from what the American liberals view as belonging to their rich, white denomination! (I’ve always appreciated how God makes the machinations of those who resist Him look so foolish!)

O to God that we would have more faithful churches like these eight that would put aside concerns about denominational ties and building titles in favor of remaining true to God’s Word! The days ahead won’t be easy for any of these churches or pastors; the assault will be tremendous. But when it’s all over—that is, when they stand before God in heaven—they will know they did the right thing.

Check out our website this week—there’s lots of new things going on here. If nothing else, please read my article on the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. I think you’ll agree with me that Christians ought to be celebrating this feast as much as Jews.

Back with you later . . .

1 comment:

Jeff Wismer said...

So many comments dressed up as empty space on here since I last posted've got quite a internet savy flock of sheep (Baahhhh)

Anyway...what happened to your boy Swinging Sammy Brownbutt??? Is he going soft???

Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas, who blocked the confirmation of a woman to the federal bench because she attended a same-sex commitment ceremony for the daughter of her long-time neighbors, says he will now allow a vote on the nomination.

Mr. Brownback, a possible contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, said in a recent interview that when the Senate returned in January, he would allow a vote on Janet Neff, a 61-year-old Michigan state judge, who was nominated to a Federal District Court seat.

Mr. Brownback, who has been criticized for blocking the nomination, said he would also no longer press a proposed solution he offered on Dec. 8 that garnered even more criticism: that he would remove his block if Judge Neff agreed to recuse herself from all cases involving same-sex unions.

In an interview last week, Mr. Brownback said that he still believed Judge Neff's behavior raised serious questions about her impartiality and that he was likely to vote against her. But he said he did not realize his proposal -- asking a nominee to agree in advance to remove herself from deciding a whole category of cases -- was so unusual as to be possibly unprecedented. Legal scholars said it raised constitutional questions of separation of powers for a senator to demand that a judge commit to behavior on the bench in exchange for a vote.

p.s. So sorry to see another Christian denomination/sect being pulled apart over social hoo fricketty hoo...LOL