By Angela Wills
One of Texas’s largest and most renowned churches is making headlines as a large percentage of its members have voted to separate their association with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This decision comes after the congregations expressed displeasure with the social, theological and political adaptations of the denomination.
The First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, TX will become a part of ECO, A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. The former Presbyterian Church, which has more than 2,000 members, will now link up with ECO, a denomination that has experienced tremendous growth due to the fellowship of former Presbyterian churches.
The church pinned a letter on October 15th that offered an explanation to why the majority of the members voted to leave the Presbyterian denomination. The reason is reportedly associated with the Presbyterian denomination drifting into a theological ideology.
Many former Presbyterian members believe that the beliefs and practices of the denomination has changed and doesn’t focus on God but instead, mainstream politics. There are several other churches who have members with similar issues as FPC, and they are trying to work through or determine what to do in response to the unwelcomed changes.
Leaders of the Presbyterian Church state that they are concerned with the number of churches that are leaving the denomination, and are working to identify the true problem and gain back the respect of their members. According to Presbyterian officials, there are a variety of possible issues that include the fact that the denomination has strayed from its traditional Scripture and values and Confessions of faith. They have adopted a less orthodox approach to theology with political ideology playing a role in their new practices.
Mission Presbytery is questioning whether or not protocol was followed when the vote was held for FBC to separate themselves from the Presbyterian denomination. They are saying that the vote was not held in compliance with the guidelines of the constitution of the denomination.
Mission Presbytery Interim Stated Clerk William C. Poe argues that the church did not inform the church’s officers of the difficulties of the constitution. According to him, the church held the meeting without any attempts to inform the proper personnel.
There have been other issues of dissatisfaction brought forth by other Presbyterian congregations such as gay marriages. The denomination voted recently to alter the definition of marriage to allow same-sex marriages and this has been an issue for the conservative congregations.