Sunday, June 18, 2006

Worship at South Highland Presbyterian Church

Chrissie and I joined with the others of our Tulsa "gang" to worship together at South Highland Presbyterian Church. Ed Hurley is pastor there and the guest preacher was Dr. Iain Torrance, the new President of Princeton Seminary. We also had greetings from a former pastor of that church, a pastor from South Africa, and the Stated Clerk of the PCUSA, Clifton Kirkpatrick. Cliff was baptized at that very church!

Ed Hurley

Dr. Iain Torrance

The service was formal and lively. A couple of hundred visitors from GA joined the regular congregation, so they had to set out extra chairs for everyone. The pastors, acolyte, beadle (Bible bearer), and choir all processed behind a bagpipe player (I don't think they do that every Sunday). Note: the choir is in front.... We enjoyed worship together and the fellowship following in the church's patio area.

South Highland's Sanctuary

The Tulsa group

I attended the Presbyterian Coalition dinner later this evening. Dr. James Edwards, a familiar friend to many of us in the Kirk (especially the Hardys) spoke. He carefully demonstrated how the pro-gay ordination movement is critically different from the civil rights movement, and different as well from the issue of women's ordination. The progressive groups have been making these two associations for years.

Jim talked about how the Bible has two "minds" on women's leadership. There are the Pauline proscriptions and, yet, Paul's own admiration for Junia, whom he calls an apostle. The Bible never equates race with evil or sin. But sexual immorality--of any kind--is singularly and steadfastly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments.

Jim also reminded us that "the Holy Spirit does not speak against its own revelation (Scripture)." That means than any new "revelation" must harmonize with what we already have in the Bible. One statement he made was particularly cogent in this context. You may remember from an earlier post the commissioner on the committee examining the PUP report who said that "we cannot judge others." We hear this from progressives with numbing frequency whenever we call something sin. Jim gave the example of Jesus' judging of the Pharisees. "Jesus was hard on the Pharisees NOT because they judged, but because they failed to hold themselves accountable to the same standard of judgment."

This principle is important for all of us to remember. The progressives have brought this issue on gay marriage and ordination repeatedly before us, and that has forced us to utter Biblical judgement. Yet we need to remember that sin of any kind falls under the same judgement. Humility is the order of the day.

Keep the faith,


Philip L. Copeland said...


Glad to find your blog on PC(USA) and the happenings in the General Assembly. I'm the music director at SHPC and was glad that you worshipped with us today.

I appreciate your insights into the "discernment period." Very interesting--in a shocking sort of way.

Please continue your blogging; this is an excellent way to communicate your insights to those on the outside looking in.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that the Quakers who are definitely in the faith from an emotional standpoint group have 3 criteria for leading by the Holy Spirit.
1. Is it confirmed by others of the group.

2. Is it in agreement with the entirety of scripture.

3. Does it follow common sense.

Something to think about

Rick Walton said...

Tom, In treatment every day I work to help my patients understand that what we feel is not always what is real. Folks with anxiety disorders experience "irrational fears". Folks with depressive disorders engage in "cognitive distortions" that support their feelings. It is difficult for many to come to grips with the fact that our feelings can lie to us, but to be healthy we must deal with what is real, not what we feel.

BugAhaBuc said...

I'm very proud to be among your congregants. Thank you for standing up for righteousness.