Why is the Confessing Church Movement called a movement?
Because it is a continually growing, unstructured, grassroots, collection of independently gathered churches and individuals within the Presbyterian Church (USA) that have agreed to assert the reaffirmation of three basic confessional statements. It has no organization, constitution or by-laws.
What are the three confessional statements?
The fast-growing nationwide Confessing Church Movement has committed to the following three affirmations. The first is essentially an affirmation of the Reformation watchword, Solus Christus; that Jesus Christ alone is Lord and Savior of humankind and none come to the Living God except through him. The second affirms Sola Scriptura; that Holy Scripture alone is the rule, guide and standard for theology and polity of the Church of which Christ is the head. The third affirms Sola Gratia, that we live by grace alone and are called to live a holy life in our conduct because our God is holy. Such holiness embraces sexual relations, which are proper only within the context of marriage between a man and a woman.
Why just those three confessing statements?
Churches and individuals who have become a part of the Confessing Church Movement can, and have affirmed the three statements in their own words and added others when they were led to do so by the Holy Spirit. There is no organizational template because there is no organization. It is important to recognize that the three confessional statements comprise the bedrock essence of the Church.
Why is that necessary? Aren't such standards already required in the denomination?
Yes, such standards are required in the denomination. They are in our con-fessional documents and current Book of Order as standards and are supported by Scripture. Yet, these standards increasingly have come under attack by leaders within the denomination and, lamentably, are being ignored with impunity by many churches and presbyteries. The standards are under attack and could be changed this coming year. [It is a disaster for Christ's Church waiting to happen.]
What caused the Confessing Church Movement to happen?
The leadership of the PCUSA seems to be in sympathy with this drift away from Biblical standards and also seems to be encouraging it. There have been a complex of events within the Presbyterian Church (USA) that are exactly opposite to Scripture and the PCUSA's Book of Confessions. This includes the PCUSA's unstinting support by money and personnel, including staff, for the Re-Imagining Conference in which the autonomous self was exalted, the transcendence of God was denied, and the atoning work of Jesus Christ was rejected; the refusal of leadership to deal with the heresy [embraced] last year at a denominational Peace Conference; and the most recent General Assembly's (213th) failure to clearly acknowledge Jesus Christ as universal Lord and Savior for all humankind; affirmation of homosexuality as a gift of God and homosexual behavior as a legitimate expression of human love; and, singularly, not adhering to the Bible which has been considered irrelevant in the context of modern culture and nature.
Is the Confessing Church Movement going to split the PCUSA?
Where the Holy Spirit leads is not ours to question. Emphatically, however, it is neither the design nor purpose of the Confessing Church Movement to cause schism. It is the design and purpose to bring about reconciliation of the whole PCUSA with God Almighty, Christ Jesus, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, its Confessions of Faith, and one another.
Would the Confessing Church Movement exclude particular persons from worship?
The Church is a hospital for persons with wounded souls, of whatever nature, who wish to repent of their sins. All God's human creatures who wish to repent of their sinful nature are welcome to come and worship. After all, we are all sinners in the sight of God.
Where is the movement headed?
Wherever the Holy Spirit takes it. Amen.
Reformed Quarterly, Volume 22, Number 1-2