Faith: August 2006 Archives

Flying stools on 61st?

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This morning at our church, I heard that the Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery of the PCUSA was sending in a supply preacher to oversee worship this morning at Kirk of the Hills, the congregation that left the PCUSA earlier this month.

As I understand it, this is the theory behind the move: The pastors of the Kirk resigned from Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery, but the congregation did not leave the presbytery, because they did not go through proper channels. Therefore, the presbytery will supply interim leadership, whether the congregation wants it or not.

When I heard this I said, "Where's Jenny Geddes when you need her?"

In 1637, King Charles I of England and Scotland was attempting to create uniformity of religion in all his realms, and commissioned an Anglican-style Book of Common Prayer to be used in Scotland, replacing the simpler form of worship that had been in place for the previous seven decades. The new prayer book was first used on July 23, 1637, at St. Giles High Kirk in Edinburgh. According to legend, Jenny Geddes, a market woman, was highly offended by the intrusion of alien forms of worship, and flung her stool right at the head of the dean who was leading the service. She is said to have yelled, "Devil give you the colic, false thief! Dare you say Mass in my ear!"

I'm sure the good people of Kirk of the Hills are too genteel to fling so much as a hymnbook at an uninvited supply preacher, but I had to smile at the idea of history repeating itself.

Reading Kirk pastor Tom Gray's blog this evening, I learned that the presbytery had planned to send a supply pastor to preach at the Kirk this morning, but that they had backed off after communication with the Kirk's attorneys, and that the Kirk was filled this morning with enthusiastic worshippers showing support for the Kirk's departure from the PCUSA. In another entry, Gray explains the rationale for the method of the Kirk's departure from the PCUSA. He also links to a report of a 2005 attempt by PCUSA leadership and a minority faction to take over the worship service of a Korean Presbyterian congregation in Torrance, California.

In making their escape from the PCUSA, the Kirk's congregants and pastors have taken the risk of forfeiting their property and pensions, and the potential for confrontation and disruption of their services, but they are taking these risks for the sake of the truth. Keep the Kirk in your prayers.

Kirk out

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From the blog of Tom Gray, pastor of Tulsa's Kirk of the Hills:

Yesterday the elders and the trustees of Kirk of the Hills voted to disaffiliate from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) denomination in response to decisions made by the PCUSA at the national level which depart from the authority of the Bible and the denomination’s historical beliefs.

Rev. Tom Gray and Rev. Wayne Hardy have resigned from the PCUSA, and have been hired by the Kirk of the Hills Corporation as co-pastors of the church. Rev. Gray said, “I ask that Christians in Tulsa and around America pray not only for Kirk of the Hills, but also for the Presbyterian denomination as a whole. We will continue to love and pray for our brothers and sisters in that denomination, and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ to use these recent events for His will, and to accomplish His work.”

With this disaffiliation from PCUSA, the Kirk of the Hills will affiliate with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC).

Read back through Gray's archives to learn more about what led up to this decision. Gray warns that the liberals running the denomination have already prepared plans for wresting control of church property from congregations who want to leave for a more conservative Presbyterian denomination.

This is a courageous and difficult step, one that could have been justified 20 years ago, but one that the Kirk deferred for the sake of unity. But at some point, if you're committed to truth, you have to say with Martin Luther, "Here I stand. I can do no other. May God help me."

May God help and bless Kirk of the Hills.

You scored as Reformed Evangelical. You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God's Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die.

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(Via Manasclerk, whose blog is fascinating reading that will challenge your mind and heart.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Faith category from August 2006.

Faith: June 2006 is the previous archive.

Faith: September 2006 is the next archive.

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