Joint Sunday School Presentation, 8/25/13

Why do our leaders feel we should
seek dismissal from the PCUSA?
FPC Douglasville….
 Upholds the authority of Scripture.
 Upholds the exclusivity of Jesus Christ as our Savior
and Lord.
 Seeks to own our own property.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you
may prove what the will of God is, that which is good
and acceptable and perfect. –Romans 12:2
1910 General Assembly: Five Points:
The inerrancy of the Bible
The virgin birth of Christ
Christ’s substitutionary atonement
Jesus’s bodily resurrection
The authenticity of miracles
1983: UPCUSA + PCUS =
1993: Reimagining God
Conference… praying
to the “goddess
Social Action:
Support of Palestine/Opposition to Israel
Various boycotts against corporations
Pro-choice position on abortion
Support for a single-payer universal healthcare
 Advocacy for gun control
 Prohibition on holding meetings in Arizona
For you formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am
fearfully and wonderfully made.
- Psalm 129:13-14a
“Fidelity and Chastity”
…Do you not know that friendship with
the world is hostility toward God?
Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend
of the world makes himself an enemy of
- James 4:4
PCUSA Web Site Snapshots
What’s the First Thing You See
When You Visit
NOVEMBER 22, 2009
JANUARY 24, 2010
FEBRUARY 28, 2010
JULY 5, 2010 (4TH DAY OF GA)
JULY 5, 2010
Further down the page…
Jesus (4 times)
God (9 times)
Bible (once)
NFoG= New Form of Government:
 Degrading the Authority of Scripture
 Degrading Salvation and the Nature and Work of
 Jesus Christ leads persons to repentance and
acceptance of Him as Savior and Lord.
NFoG= Full
participation to all
“the singular, saving lordship of Jesus
…It was defeated.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and
the truth, and the life; no one comes
to the Father but through Me.”
-John 14:6
Exclusivity of Jesus Christ
 Less than half (45%) of
Elders believe that only
followers of Jesus Christ can
be saved.
 Only 41% of Pastors believe
that only followers of Jesus
Christ can be saved.
Authority of Scripture
 Only 15% of Elders believe
the Bible to be the literal
Word of God.
 Only 6% of Pastors believe
the Bible to be the literal
Word of God.
Relief of Conscience….
Non-geographic presbyteries
Why not leave the
Session Discernment
“…let the wise listen and add to their
and let the discerning get guidance…”
Proverbs 1:5
In the past two decades…
For years members of FPC have prayed for our
denomination and have considered how best to be
faithful. It was not until the General Assembly
developed a “gracious separation” process that our
Session began a discernment process.
1. Remain with PC (USA) as a faithful witness.
2. Leave the PC (USA) through the gracious separation
process and join ECO.
Fall 2012
Listening forums were offered to the congregation.
Though only a small percentage attended,
information was gathered and feedback was
reported to Session. The church website gave
members a place to find out more information and
to have questions answered. Additionally, the
Denominational Affairs team gave updates during
worship and via newsletters.
January 2013
James Harper began a 12 week
sermon series based on the essential
tenets that the session voted on.
These tenets officially clarified our
theological identity.
Mid-February-late April, 2013
Session engaged in a discipline of prayer,
devotional Bible study, and fasting in an effort to
hear what God had to say to them.
*Bear in mind, at NO time did James, Andrew or
any other staff share their personal opinion as to
what option we should choose.
April 26-27, 2013
Session Retreat
1. Two options were presented in an
unbiased way.
2. Round table discussions about
pros/cons of each option allowed time
to brainstorm thoughts.
3. Meditation and discernment exercises.
4. Large group discussion regarding
concerns for each option.
May 20, 2013
Session meeting:
 A motion was made to vote on which option
FPC would follow.
 Every session member was allowed an
opportunity to freely share their
opinion/concerns regarding the two options.
 A vote took place and 100% supported the
decision for gracious separation.
Separation Process:
 Listening Sessions
 Surveys
 Town Hall
 Negotiating the gift
 Vote
Evangelical Covenant
Order of Presbyterians
100 % of Session + 50 years of FPC
A step in the right direction!
ECO’s background
 Eco was formed in Jan. 2012 after
congregations and pastors across the country
felt an overwhelming desire to leave PC
 Denominational disputes over theology and
bureaucracy took the focus from the pastoral
calling of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ
and equipping a new generation to lead.
The mission of ECO is to
build flourishing churches
that make disciples of Jesus
The Name:
Covenant = connect leaders in accountable
relationships and encourage collaboration
Order = commit to a shared way of life as
we unite around a shared theological core
Evangelical = advance the gospel of Christ
and plant new mission-focused
Presbyterian = stand within our reformed
and confessional heritage
“Baptize more than we bury.”
1. Lift up the centrality of the gospel.
2. Grow with an emerging generation of
3. Prioritize a wave of church innovation.
4. Create an atmosphere of relational
Essential Tenets:
The great purpose toward which each human
life is drawn is to glorify God and enjoy Him
God’s word IS the authority for our
We believe in the Trinity and incarnation.
We believe in God’s grace through Christ’s
Essential Tenets (cont’d)
Jesus Christ is the ONLY way by which sinners
become children of God.
We are elected for salvation and service.
We will hold one another accountable to live
in obedience to the word of God.
Who is going with us?
 More than 50 congregations across the
country (totaling more than 20,000 members)
have joined ECO since its formation.
 Approximately 50 other congregations have
applied for membership in ECO. They are
either awaiting acceptance or working toward
dismissal from the Presbyterian Church (USA).
Another 100 congregations have requested
Top 3 reasons to join ECO:
ECO is unapologetic about its theological identity
and attention to Biblical authority. With defined
essential tenets similar to those our Session
adopted for FPC, we will be able to stand by those
2. ECO is a fast-growing, exciting, evangelical,
mission-centered, Reformed body. The Holy Spirit is
active here!
3. Becoming a part of ECO means we can faithfully
stay intact as a church family and own our church
property outright.
In conclusion…
As Keith Hill states, “ECO is high covenant and low
regulation.” This is opposite of where we have been.
At our town hall meeting, Sandy Fox eloquently said,
“ECO is a vibrant, exciting Presbyterian denomination.
It is made up of congregations like us, evangelical
congregations. To be evangelical means you can say,
without being embarrassed, that Jesus Christ is your
Lord and Savior.”

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