Monday, November 15, 2010

the Church

Yesterday the church we are visiting took in new members. I was amazed by the contrast between the PCA membership vows and this church's way. Not that I am saying this church is necessarily wrong or unbiblical, but there was a huge contrast!

When you join a PCA church, here are the vows you take before the congregation:

1. Do you acknowledge yourselves to be sinners in the sight of God, justly deserving His displeasure, and without hope save in [i.e., except for] His sovereign mercy?

2. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and Savior of sinners, and do you receive and rest upon Him alone for salvation as He is offered in the gospel?

3. Do you now resolve and promise, in humble reliance upon the grace of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?

4. Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?

5. Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?

I personally think those vows are beautiful. I love how the first step is just simply to acknowledge your position, that we are sinners with no other hope. Then we acknowledge where our hope solely comes from. One of my favorite things is how this vow is based on the universal Church, and not the specific church. Obviously, you are then involved and a part of, and even under the leadership of, that specific church. But it is more about becoming a part of the universal Church.

There are so many things about the church we are going to now that we really like. But we have decided not to join this church. We have a few reasons. The first is that we are really struggling with giving up our PCA membership. We are actually still members of Christ Presbyterian in Oxford. We loved (and still love) that church. We didn't join a church in Malawi, and then we didn't join First Presbyterian (we would have, but then I got into UVM and decided not to). Part of it is sentimentality, and there is also a personal reason.

The second reason is that there is talk of a PCA church plant in Burlington starting next year. If that happens, we really want to be a part of that. I know it will be small, but I love church plants. We would still want to be involved some with the young adults at the church we are visiting now, but we really do love the PCA and want to be a part of its ministries.

Anyway, I know this is all probably pretty boring to most readers. But church involvement and ministry is something Bech and I constantly are talking and thinking about. So I thought I would share a little of our thought process. Plus, I enjoyed getting to read over our membership questions!

1 comment:

Kayla Calcote said...

Your blog was definitely not boring!! I learning about PCA questions.. except what does PCA stand for? Presbyterian..C..A..?

Daniel and I are church "shopping" too now that we've moved back to Brookhaven.

I love keeping up with your blog and your moves over the past couple of years!