We have previously written of the case of a faithful priest forced out over gay marriage In the Episcopal diocese of Kentucky. I have also since heard privately from a friend about a Presbyterian minister in Montana who may be about to resign in a struggle with some liberal members of his congregation.
I know of a large moderate-to-conservative church in an eastern seaboard city, which hired a progressive pastor a few years ago; the results have been nearly disastrous. Once teeming with youth and boasting a Sunday attendance well over 1200, this number has since plunged nearly in half as the more conservative members have fled. The church is now struggling financially.
To those of you who happen to be in a successful traditionalist church: Do not be complacent! Your situation is only a fortunate accident waiting to be undone. If you are not on your vestry, or session, or board of elders, you should find the time to become more engaged. Sure, you are busy and don’t have time for this sort of thing; you have all consuming careers, and your plate is full raising your children. Left leaning activists are somewhat more likely to be childless, young, single, lightly employed–just the sort to have the time and energy to sit on and dominate committees.
Realize that progressive activists are seeking control anywhere they can get it. If you don’t have a seat on the search committee for your next pastor you may be disheartened by the results. You may come to realize too late the major betrayal that has occurred, as you start cringing at the “new thing the spirit is doing” at your church–at the heresy that is emanating from the pulpit and from your kids’ new Sunday school curriculum. You will find yourself gagging over the “breath of fresh air” touted by those who have been duped by the Evil One, and can’t recognize the stench of death.
We can no longer assume that the problem will be limited, or that things will get sorted out in the end. The head of the deacons at the aforementioned large church said, “sure he’s not a good pastor but we can wait him out.” The winners in these struggles will be the handful of LGBT activists who gained all the seats of power, and a few old people who just plan to be loyal to the end so they can be buried in the church yard. Everyone else will be worshipping in school gyms, joining different faith communities, or giving up on church altogether. Eventually the remnant congregation will be forced to sell the building, or it will decay to the point of being unsafe. Where your church used to be located you will someday drive past a church-shaped shell that has been transformed into a condominium complex, nightclub, or mosque.
We can no longer “play nice” or “just go along to get along”. The foe is ferocious, determined, and willing to stop at nothing to get their way. They’ll win or destroy a church trying. (Stepping aside and letting them win is no act of noble peacekeeping–destruction is also virtually assured if they win). To the left, victory must be total–there’s no room for compromise. Once they’ve won, there will not be any chance for a “do over” after the giving drops, and the majority of faithful Christians have left.
Ultimately, the victory is God’s, and those who tinkered with theology and wrecked the great churches will be called to account. We can and must pray for the churches that we love, and for the faithful who serve them. We should, of course, continue to hold in mind that the church is its people, not its wood and bricks. Our citizenship is a heavenly country where the buildings are everlasting. We know that if called to do so, then we may have to abandon these temporary structures to the enemy. But let’s not give up without a fight.