The eminent theologian, Ken Bailey, has reflected here on the recent decision of the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) to adjust its ordination vows to allow practising homosexuals to hold leadership positions in the church.
He helps us to see how the relationship between the Western churches and other Christians in the world is affected negatively by decisions taken by PCUSA and, we might add, the trajectory currently being followed by the Church of Scotland. By trying to reflect the spirit of the age rather than basing their decisions on God’s will revealed in Scripture, these denominations cut themselves off from other Christians and seriously inhibit the cause of world mission. I’ve included the full text of Professor Bailey’s remarks.
Once a small mouse was playing around the feet of a family of elephants. The mouse suddenly decided to run down the hill away from the elephants. The elephants did not follow the mouse.
The Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2011 is just over one half of one percent of the population of America and America is approximately 5% of the population of the world. We are a very small blip on the radar screen of world Christianity. Sixty percent of the world’s Christians are now in the Global South which is comprised of South America, Africa, and Asia. Paul wrote to the churches of his day and affirmed, “You (plural) are the body of Christ.” He also said, “You (plural) are the holy temple.” In our day the interconnectedness of each part of the larger body of Christ is more profoundly a reality than at any time since the earliest beginnings of the Church in the middle of the first century. What can be said about Presbyterian world mission and 10-A?
From 1955 to 1995 it was my privilege to serve as a missionary academic, teaching New Testament in Egypt, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Cyprus. For the last sixteen years I have continued in full-time ministry teaching New Testament in this country, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. I lecture primarily for Presbyterians, Lutherans, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, the Armenian Protestants, and the Armenian Orthodox. For the last 13 years I have been honored to serve (as a Presbyterian) as the Canon theologian of the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh. The air I breathe is that of the larger body of Christ which is the world Church. It is out of this background that I offer these brief remarks. Continue reading “The Elephants and the Mouse”