My Two Minutes To Speak Before the Vote

Trinity United Presbyterian Church voted to be dismissed from the Presbyterian Church (USA) to ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians today.  Just under half of the membership participated in the vote.   The vote count was 597 to 134.

Members were each given two minutes to speak before the vote.  This is what I said.

My name is Eric Christiansen.

I’ve known our denomination my entire life, both as a member and ordained minister, and I’m staying PC(USA) precisely because our denomination includes a range of conservative and progressive voices.

This is a great strength.

Not every one of these voices is like-minded but they are centered on the gospel and rooted in the hallmarks of our Reformed Tradition:

  • the sovereignty of God
  • the authority of the scripture
  • justification by grace through faith
  • and the priesthood of all believers

I admit there’s a shadow side to this strength but there are shadow sides to being like-minded we haven’t explored.

Richard Mouw, a well respected evangelical and former president of Fuller Seminary, says,

“I worry much about what would happen to Presbyterian evangelicals ourselves if we were to leave the PC(USA).

When we evangelical types don’t have more liberal people to argue with, we tend to start arguing with each other.

I would much rather see us continue to focus on the major issues of Reformed thought – in an admittedly pluralistic denomination – than to deal with the tensions that often arise among ourselves when evangelicals get into the debates that seem inevitably to arise when we have established our own ‘pure’ denominations.”

A denomination of like-minded believers would be a more comfortable fit for Trinity, but that’s probably more of an issue for us, than it is for Jesus, who never seemed to make comfort a priority for his church.

Trinity can remain true to its core beliefs and stay in the PC(USA).  In fact two of the three primary writers of ECO’s essential tenets are staying PC(USA).

Please vote to stay PC(USA) with me.

The PC(USA) is better with Trinity, and Trinity is better as part of the PC(USA).