Schism

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Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
I am curious about thoughts on when it is right to leave a church for reasons along the line of wanting better children's programs or not feeling like the worship is good, even it there is nothing problematical about it from a biblical perspective. I am NOT talking about doctrinal disagreements.

The PCA BCO has what seems to me a liberal provision in this regard. BCO 38-3(a) reads, in part: "When a member or officer in the Presbyterian Church in America shall attempt to withdraw from the communion of this branch of the visible Church by affiliating with some other branch (BCO 2-2), if at the time of the attempt to withdraw he is in good standing, the irregularity shall be recorded, his new membership acknowledged, and his name removed from the roll."

The only inquiry is if the person is in good standing (not under investigation or disciplinary proceedings).

It seems that leaving for discretionary reasons has potential problems in two areas. The first would be that it runs afoul of obligations imposed from the Bible regarding unity. Leaving a church causes division. It is akin to leaving a marriage. Paul strongly warns against division in 1 Corinthians, for example. While not directly addressing people leaving for discretionary reasons, the principles could imply that. Leaving a church obviously means division of that person or family. But it also disturbs the general unity of the church. It affects other people, especially in smaller churches where people know each other well.

The second source of potential problems could be self-imposed by membership vows. These vows are taken voluntarily. The PCA, for example, has people take these vows (among others) from BCO 57-5:


[list:44c7d2e7b2] Do you promise to support the Church in its worship and work to the best of your ability?

Do you submit yourselves to the government and discipline of the Church, and promise to study its purity and peace?[/list:u:44c7d2e7b2]

In legal terms, the first obligations would be imposed by law - i.e. whether or not someone agrees to them. The second set (the two vows immediately above) would be imposed by contract - i.e. voluntarily taken on by agreement.

Scott

[Edited on 2-23-2004 by Scott]
 

dkicklig

Puritan Board Freshman
We recently left a PCA church and moved to another PCA church that was closer to our home. I served as a deacon and we were members in good standing. When we announced our departure none of the leadership questioned our decision, nor did they reach out to us as you would expect an elder to do.
I think the problem lies with the leadership of the individual churches in upholding the standards of the PCA BCO. Unfortunatly many of the PCA churches in our area have fostered a seeker sensitive orientation that I feel is tearing away at the integrity of the PCA.
I believe FredTGreco made an interesting point in another thread, that the PCA avoids conflict and scorns anyone that seeks the resolution of an issue ie. literal day creation.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
dk:

I don't know about your particular situation, but leaving to go to a church closer than you that is the same denomination may be a good idea generally. It is easier to be involved.

I agree that your elders should have discussed the matter with you, as this is a momentous change.

I agree that today's churches tend to avoid conflict.

Scott
 
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