PCUSA Stated Clerk Rev. Dr. J Herbert Nelson II

As Losses Mount, Presbyterian Official Declares: “We are not dying. We are Reforming”

on May 24, 2017

Updated statistics made available today by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of the General Assembly (OGA) show a denomination continuing a steep, uninterrupted decline in 2016. The U.S.-based denomination shed 89,893 members in 2016, a decline of 5.7% percent, dropping below 1.5 million members for the first time. A net 191 congregations closed or were dismissed to other denominations, bringing the denominational total to 9,451 congregations.

“We are not dying. We are Reforming,” PCUSA Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II declared in a statement made available on Wednesday. “We are moving towards a new future as a denomination.”

Of those who will not be moving towards that new future, 43,902 departed via certificate, while 75,064 are listed as “other”.  Deaths accounted for a decline of 26,193 members in 2016.

In 2015, the PCUSA declined by 95,107 active members. Since 2005 the denomination has reported losing more than a third of its active membership, declining from 2,313,662 active members in 2005 to 1,482,767 in 2016 (-36%).

“Despite cries proclaiming the death of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we remain a viable interfaith and ecumenical partner in many local communities while proclaiming a prophetic witness throughout the world,” Nelson stated.

Other global Presbyterian denominations have continued to distance themselves from the PCUSA in response to the actions of its General Assembly to permit the ordination of practicing homosexuals in 2011.

“We are well-respected for our priestly and prophetic voice within Christendom,” Nelson asserted. “Our challenge is to see the powerful opportunities that are before us while declaring with Holy Spirit boldness that God is doing amazing work within us right now.”

In early 2016, a meeting of the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) predicted membership losses of approximately 100,000 for both 2015 and 2016 and 75,000 each year thereafter through 2020.

The decline contrasts with several years of steady growth among some other reformed denominations in the United States. The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) – which spit from one of the PCUSA’s predecessor bodies – has reported growth for each of the past five years, rebounding from a short period of decline that began in 2008. Separately, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) and Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians (ECO) have reported significant growth each year, partly due to receiving congregations which sought dismissal from the PCUSA.

The PCUSA reached peak membership in 1965 at 4.25 million. During the past several years, more than 500 congregations have opted to leave the denomination. Finances have also declined. While the church’s investment income has increased, the PCUSA saw declines in contributions, capital and building funds and bequests in 2016. Expenditures also dropped.

The rate of decline has accelerated since the denomination’s General Assembly voted to change the definition of marriage from “one man and one woman” to “two people, traditionally a man and a woman” in 2014. The change allows clergy to perform same-sex marriages.

PCUSA controversies are not limited to human sexual expression. At the church’s most recent General Assembly in Portland, Oregon in 2016, an Islamic leader offered a prayer during the service in which he referred to Mohammed as a prophet alongside Jesus and decried “bigots” and “Islamophobes.” The prayer stirred up controversy and eventually precipitated an apology from PCUSA officials.

Political issues have also polarized the denomination in recent years. After a decade of heated debate, backtracking, and suspenseful votes, the PCUSA voted for divestment from three companies that do business with Israel. At 2016 General Assembly, the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement successfully prompted Presbyterian commissioners to passed a resolution stating that the PCUSA should: “Prayerfully study the call from Palestinian civil society for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against the state of Israel…”

Over the last forty years, the makeup of the United States has changed considerably, yet the PCUSA remains overwhelmingly homogeneous: according to 2016 statistics about the racial composition of congregations, the denomination is 90.93% white.

“As we are challenged to become a more racially diverse denomination in order to grow into the future, it is imperative that we invite new immigrants into our congregations as members,” Nelson advised.

UPDATE [6/22/2017]: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) has announced the addition of 16 new congregations in the 2016-2017 reporting period. Of these 16, 14 are former PCUSA congregations.

  1. Comment by Bob Wynn on May 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

    They can’t see the forest for the trees. Like the captain of a ship saying we’re not sinking as the water gathers around his feet

  2. Comment by Lewis Thompson on July 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

    The PC (USA) has been hijacked by a radical collection of “Social Justice Warrior” Clergy who are more interested in advancing their own extreme Leftwing, social agendas than in adhering to the founding and historical traditions and values of the Presbyterian Faith.
    Many remaining attendees are decidedly aged and are likely unaware of many of the General Assembly’s dysfunctional edicts and behaviors, such as having a Radical Jihadist Muslim Imam issuing an insulting Anti-Christian Diatribe at the 2016 General Convention and the 2014 introduction of homosexual marriage as a church sacrament.
    The only reason why more congregations have not departed is economic. In most states, the Presbytery owns the church property.
    Nelson’s own delusional comments reflect how disconnected the national leadership is from so many of the congregants.
    The PC (USA) is in “Denial” about the Death Spiral in which it exists.

  3. Comment by Terino on March 19, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Your statement “…the 2014 introduction of homosexual marriage as a church sacrament” is factually incorrect. Marriage, heterosexual or homosexual, has never been considered a sacrament in the Reformed tradition. There are only 2 sacraments, Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

  4. Comment by Joshua Lane on April 21, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Exactly right. I have just left a Presbyterian USA church in El Paso, TX due to it’s constant mixing of extreme left wing politics into their sermons. When I talked to the minister about perhaps leaving politics out of church, or at least being a little more balanced about it, he became belligerent and defiant. Who needs that?

  5. Comment by Clark Neal on May 24, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Sad when church leaders put themselves before Christ.

  6. Comment by Joni on July 8, 2018 at 7:40 pm

    Which is exactly what the Pausanias, has done. Their decline started in 1903, when Cumberland Presbyterian. Did union with them, making it possible for armenians to be ministers, deacons, andelders. That was the star, of them walking away from “being reformed”, which is scriptural.

  7. Comment by David Mullin on May 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    General Assembly and Church Bureaucracy made decisions that told many of the churches that denominational leaders didn’t give a hoot what the churches thought, what these decisions did to the Church’s world mission, what these decisions meant to giving to stateside mission, what the Bible said, or what the Church had taught for 2000 years. All the leaders cared about was that they were in step with the latest moral absolutes discovered pronounced by their ideological heros, none of whom care what the PCUSA leaders think anyway. I would estimate that more than half the members who remain are trapped in churches that can’t leave without forfeiture of their property under state law. Many other churches had to pay huge exit fees.

  8. Comment by MikeS on May 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    I have respect for the church leader who says “our version of religion is decreasingly appealing, but we will stay with it anyway because we think it’s the right thing to do”. I have no respect for the leader of a shrinking church who says “We are not dying, we are reforming”. Good grief it’s like Baghdad Bob. Is it part of the job description of church leadership that the person cannot be honest and transparent?

  9. Comment by Anneke9 on May 25, 2017 at 1:57 am

    Not dying, reforming.. themselves into irrelevance and obscurity.

  10. Comment by Loren Golden on May 25, 2017 at 5:46 am

    The poor man; he just doesn’t get it.  When a church or denomination is unable or unwilling to articulate a compelling reason as to why non-Christians should be Christians, it withers and dies.  And the PC(USA) is not reforming; it is radically conformed to the “thought forms” of this world and not being transformed by the renewal of the mind, and therefore quite unable to “discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom. 12.2)

  11. Comment by Ryan on May 25, 2017 at 10:20 am

    The Baghdad Bob of the PC(USA).

  12. Comment by Ryan on May 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Honestly officer, I’m not drunk, I’m reforming!

  13. Comment by Mark Crary on June 1, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    That’s just too funny . . . but dead spot on.

  14. Comment by Patrick98 on May 25, 2017 at 10:53 am

    In 1998 at a clergy retreat for the Presbytery of Yellowstone, Houston Hodges prophesied that the PCUSA would be down to 1 million members by 2020. It appears he may be right. He also said that the PCA would have more members by that time than the PCUSA. That remains to be seen.

  15. Comment by Donald on June 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Hooray! We beat the Episcopalians to get down past 1.5M members!
    Hey! How come nobody’s cheering?

  16. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on June 5, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Most people who are familiar with the Protestant Mainline would probably peg Episcopal losses as the highest, but they’d be wrong. While the Episcopal Church did shed quite a few people last decade (and continues to shrink each year) they usually keep losses below 3%. Partly, this is because they have a couple sources of new members: liberal ex-Catholics who long for the forms of their tradition without the pesky moral architecture, and the occasional post-Evangelical like Rachel Held Evans who discovers the value of liturgical rhythms and a corporate sense of worship, but again, doesn’t want that pesky holiness teaching. The PCUSA doesn’t benefit from a similar influx from these sources. 2016 figures show that only 30 clergy transferred into the PCUSA from other churches. Meanwhile, the denomination loses about 300 clergy a year. The PCUSA needs to articulate something unique about its tradition that the country needs — it hasn’t yet done so in a way that has been convincing to any people group which I can identify.

  17. Comment by Tony on July 16, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Apparently the PCUSA has no tradition. They just bend to the will of Satan like a blade of grass bends in the wind. Just another sign that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ is coming soon. By the law of the land in America, there shouldn’t be a single mosque standing on American soil. The law that was written into the Immagration Act in 1952 states that any person or group of people who do not agree with our laws and way of life and would like to have their own laws (Sharian ) put into effect and who would like to overthrow our government shall not be allowed to set foot on American soil. That says to me that there shouldn’t be a single mosque standing on American soil ! Any good Islamist should want to see all Christians tortured and murdered. They would consider Americans to be less than animals and should lie,cheat and attack us at every opportunity. If they don’t believe this then they are bad Islamist ! So when someone calls them radical islamist they are really talking about regular islamist ! As far as being a homophobe , I consider myself to be a Hellaphobe. It states clearly in the Bible that it’s an abomination before God for a man to couple with a man and marriage is a bond between a man and a woman.

  18. Comment by Belinda on March 26, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    Your interpretation of this 1952 immigration bill is to me
    a sad, bad, and racist interpretation. Are you a kkk member?
    Our country allows for religious freedom. The few Muslims
    I know are kind , caring people, not terrorists. As far as Trump goes, he appears to me to be a racist, immoral, narsisistic person who cares only for himself. Over 70% of the terrorist acts in this country have been committed by white Americans. I urge you to have a more compassionate, forgiving spirit toward your fellow man.

  19. Comment by Dexter Van Zile on May 25, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    “Despite cries proclaiming the death of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we remain a viable interfaith and ecumenical partner in many local communities while proclaiming a prophetic witness throughout the world,” Nelson stated.

    This is profoundly delusional. The PCUSA official talks about how the denomination is regarded as an ecumenical force and as source of prophetic witness. But the numbers indicate that people simply do not trust the denomination to provide them with a Christian framework for their lives, they do not trust the denomination’s local churches to serve as places to be properly shepherded.

    It’s terrible. The church official places more stock in the opinions and relationships with people in other denominations (hence the phrase “viable interfaith and ecumenical partner”). But the children who attended PCUSA Sunday schools either join other denominations or leave the faith altogether. This is appalling.

  20. Comment by Tony on July 16, 2017 at 4:00 pm

    Why not just call yourselves Existentialist ? ? ?

  21. Comment by the episcopalian on May 25, 2017 at 3:33 pm

    Stick a fork in it, it’s done. Here is a new business model. Sell the churches, close the seminaries and sell the property to fund the pensions; and, if money is left over, use it to set up a left wing foundation to fund progressive causes. The exception: Princeton will survive as a non denominational liberal seminary.

  22. Comment by Jim on May 25, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    You are on life support and just as a do not resuscitate order unplugs the respirator, the Lord Jesus Christ has removed the lamp-stand.

  23. Comment by Darrin Rodgers on May 26, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    See charts showing the precipitous decline in adherents of the PCUSA and other liberal mainline denominations here: https://ifphc.wordpress.com/2017/05/10/church-stats-1975-2015-charts-show-decline-of-mainline-protestants-and-growth-of-pentecostals/

  24. Comment by Chris Worrill on May 28, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Unfortunately, I went through this back in 2003-2004 when I was an Episcopalian. I loved the Episcopal Church and it literally broke my heart when they went down this path. I mourned for at least six months and actually lost sleep. Eventually, I concluded that I could not remain in an apostate Church. I became Catholic and could not be happier. The Catholic Church adheres to scripture and 2000 years of Christian tradition, and will never change. Most of what Protestants think they know about the Catholic Church is wrong. It was difficult to switch from Prostestantism to Catholicism at age 36, but was absolutely worth it.

  25. Comment by Leigh on May 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

    My family and I left PCUSA for so many reasons, some of which are clear in this article. We too landed (much to our surprise!) in the Catholic Church. I thank God for my journey to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. It’s a wild ride, but worth it.

  26. Comment by Tony on July 16, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    You should consider going to an Independent Baptist Church. All we need to have is our King James Bible and our congregation. We don’t pray to the mother Mary, confess our sins to a priest who probably drinks, uses drugs and likes little boys . We don’t bow down to statues. We don’t even have a cross in our sanctuary. We study the gospel and bow to the true God. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We believe that our Lord is a loving God, not a vengeful one. We don’t have to pray to him through the Virgin Mary. I’m not judging you either. Just want you to worship Jesus the right way. Pray to him. He loves you. Judge not lest ye be judged. For as much as you judge, you shall be judged in the same measure.

  27. Comment by David on June 2, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I came fm a catholic family. For you to write what you wrote is worse than what is being discussed. We are saved by faith in Christ Alone. Praying to Saints and teaching Mary remained a virgin, is just not taught in the Bible. You were never a Protestant.

  28. Comment by Janness Abraham on June 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    I was baptized Presbyterian and grew up in the First Congregational Church which later became the UCC. In 2005 when they became anti Israel, pro gay marriage, taught sex Ed anything goes to the youth, I knew they lost their way. I started a two year search for another church and researched all of them. They were all headed down the path of evil and demise. After searching for the truth I ended up converting to Catholicism and could not be happier! My daughter converted along with me in 2010, and has just gotten her phd in art history-Italian Renaissance. Will be teaching it in a Catholic Studies curriculum at a Catholic college which covers all subjects, art, science, medicine and the Catholic Church’s influence on all of them & aspects of life.

    How sad that they cannot SEE their demise and worse not realize why. They’ve gotten so far away from the teachings of Jesus Christ & church fathers, no one believes them anymore. Also sad is that many are quitting & not searching for the true church. It’s not easy believe me. But worth it.

  29. Comment by Credenda on February 14, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    The Roman Catholic Church is headed down the same path as the mainline libs at warp speed. There is no significant difference between modern Rome and the liberal Protestants.

  30. Comment by Woodman on May 29, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. Ps 118:8 PCUSA has it backwards. God will not be mocked.

  31. Comment by Lewis Thompson on July 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Nelson and the other Delusional Radicals who have hijacked the PCUSA are mocking BOTH God and the rank and file members.

  32. Comment by Bob Strachan on November 12, 2018 at 12:04 pm

    The handwriting was on the wall back in the 1980’s. The PCUSA substituted Political Correctness for God decades ago. Its’ death as a part of the living body of Christ on Earth is needed and long overdue. Amputate, before it’s worldly poison migrates further!

  33. Comment by Joe on May 30, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    This is all so sad – the church of my fathers and forefathers is just not the same! My grandfather and great-grandfather were ‘life-Elders’ in the Presbyterian church. They would be appalled by what it’s become. I was also an Elder and in my Presbytery hierarchy for many years. And after 48 years of my life I’ve moved on to the Eastern Orthodox Church (ROCOR). It’s been a very difficult transition as the customs are very different, but much of what I was taught about the Orthodox church was incomplete. Now I’m getting settled in and learning what I’ve missed all these years. It’s refreshing to be part of a small but absolutely devoted group who can trace their beginnings and customs to the Apostles themselves. The Church of Jesus Christ lives through the ages and into today and tomorrow.

  34. Comment by Charlotte Edwards on June 1, 2017 at 7:50 am

    What a shame to see PCUSA going the way of the culture!! Holy Scripture is clear on Church Doctrine. PCUSA is no longer Christ Church preaching God’s Truth!!
    We left several years ago and sadly have no Presbyterian Church to attend…. How I pray that will change!!

  35. Comment by Richard Belzer on June 3, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Charlotte, go to the church locator at EPC.org. We’re not everywhere, but we’re in a lot of new places.

  36. Comment by Lewis Thompson on July 3, 2017 at 10:06 am

    I tried an EPC Church. It was very rigid and judgmental. I felt as though I were in a Southern Baptist Church. I never went back. If there were an ECO Congregation near me I would try that.

  37. Comment by Tony on July 16, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    Judgmental ? More like telling it like it is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. We try not to judge lest we be judged in the same measure. We are baptised by submersion just as Jesus was by John. We are a Bible based church of the living gospel of Jesus and yes we do study from the Old Testiment from time to time.

  38. Comment by Mark Landsbaum on June 2, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    It’s why we left 17 years ago.

  39. Comment by David Lawhon on February 7, 2018 at 7:02 pm

    I got booted out of Union Seminary a few years ago. They were very nasty to me. I was only three courses away from graduating. They called me a nutcase. Dr. Sara Little told me “we do not like your kind around here”. Dr. William V. Arnold mocked me and actually walked up in the cafeteria in Lingle Hall and stuck his crotch up close to me. I got a degree from a Baptist Seminary but the nastiness people showed me was such that I never sought church employment. I went into prison education. I have recently retired from the Commonwealth of Virginia with 35 years of credit. I would like to do church work but I do not know how to proceed.

  40. Comment by will spotts on June 2, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    The progress of this is sad to watch, but I honestly cannot say any of it has been surprising.

    This is entirely a product of the organization’s institutional leadership – who, as a group, have been more committed to progressive political fads than to historic Christianity. Obviously this does not describe every individual, but it does accurately depict the general mindset of leadership. In the services of that progressive commitment, officials have, in many instances, lied and misled the members time and time again.

    Members and friends of the church have watched this unfold; and most felt powerless to stop it. Yet, it could have been stopped ten or a dozen years ago. It’s just that most faithful Presbyterians didn’t have the stomach for it – because it required accurately seeing and naming the problem. No one was willing to do this.

    So now … officially … they are “reforming”. To me, this sounds a little too much like saying, “This isn’t a bankruptcy … it’s a reorganization.”

  41. Comment by Donald on June 2, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I guess the sound of crickets in those empty pews and church buildings is the sound of Reformation?! Pardon me but this rates at least an 8 on the 10-Point Guffaw Scale!

  42. Comment by Randy Madsen on June 2, 2017 at 6:57 pm

    For many worshipping communities within PCUSA who are or will soon be considering their options as to “will we stay or will we go?”, that decision may answer itself within the precious few years that likely remain for the denomination.

  43. Comment by GordonQ on June 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    The churches that have been leaving the PC(USA) were ones that proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As per the Stated Clerk, the PC(USA) is now about “proclaiming a prophetic witness throughout the world.” That is church-speak for a Social Justice Gospel. You can see this if you look beyond the total membership numbers. In just three years the total “Gains” of people joining the church is down 24%. For the last five years, the decline in people joining is over 36%. Our church doctrine today is the wrong gospel, no wonder it is ineffective! The Reformation was about getting back to biblical basics and away from church doctrine. That is the “reforming” we need now, not the type which the denominational leaders preach.

  44. Comment by Cody on June 2, 2017 at 11:43 pm

    Yes it is very sad. Years ago I heard the sign of faithfulness was losing members by being prophetic. It was said as a badge of honor. That can be. For martyrs it is true. But when divorced from Scripture it is hard to discern prophetic from syncretistic.

  45. Comment by Paul Zesewitz on June 4, 2017 at 3:37 am

    The PCUSA isn’t the only denomination currently on the decline. The First Baptist Church of Herkimer NY (just up the road from me, and an American Baptist Churches congregation) closed last year and is currently attempting to sell the building. St Matthew’s Chapel (ELCA) in Leesville NY just put its building up for sale as well. When you get ministers in there that aren’t preaching the Gospel, stuff happens………….

  46. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on June 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    Churches are in a significant period of struggle now in upstate NY. Unlike the city — which has seen Christianity thrive in the past 20+ years — Christians seem to be vanishing from upstate. Part of this is tied to overall population loss and economic depression, but a lack of faithfulness also weighs heavily. I’m told that the Albany metropolitan area is now understood to be the “least churched” region in the entire nation.

  47. Comment by Bob Johnson on June 4, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    Hi Jeff,
    As always another great and yet predictable article of statistical sadness. I am starting to believe these denominational leaders are so racked with their own guilt that they are happily collapsing their own churches from within. The UCC has released their own statistics with a loss 3.77%(34,488). Membership now stands at 880,383 as of year end 2016. The apathy within my own church to move beyond the the UCC is just maddening.

  48. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on June 5, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    Thanks, Bob. These new UCC figures for 2016 are consistent with the projections released in 2014 by the UCC Center for Analytics, Research and Data (CARD). That projection showed the UCC will be down to about 200,000 members by 2045. I’m not convinced that the denomination as we know it will last that long. At some point there will likely be a merger with either the Disciples of Christ (who already have a couple joint agencies with the UCC) or possibly the Unitarian Universalist Association. The UCC HQ in Cleveland has been devastated by staff cuts since 2000, and the best regions have only a handful of churches that are not in decline.

  49. Comment by J Bernard Taylor on July 1, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    As a black Presbyterian minister, now retired, I strongly disagreed when we accepted same sex marriage. However I agree with the church on most progressive ideas. I agree we must be concerned with “the least of these” as Jesus taught. I am afraid that most of these more conservative churches are lacking in social and racial justice issues. I am not active in any church now at 93 years old, but I think that many of our black Presbyterian churches have blended christian orthodoxy with sense of justice and equality for all.

  50. Comment by J. D. Stinson on August 30, 2017 at 9:10 am

    For me, a former PCUSA ordained minister who left the denomination long ago, it’s a simple matter. Paul proclaimed that we should “preach Christ and Him crucified.” The PCUSA does not, and has not for a long time, committed itself to such proclamation. It is now “dead, twice dead, and plucked up by the roots.” It can only be a fool’s dream to presume it will continue for very much longer.

  51. Comment by Bob Holzlohner on September 13, 2017 at 12:26 am

    So as a 66 year old lapsed former Presbyterian with a liberal bent, where am I to go? Seems like all the mainline Protestant churches are going down under. Episcopal? They are having their own membership problems. Baptist? Too conservative and/or evangelical for me. Catholic; as is my wife? Aside from gaining latino members, the RCC’s membership is decreasing also. Too conservative there also. Help!

  52. Comment by Jonathan Reveris on December 25, 2017 at 11:29 am

    Become a liberal Muslim.

  53. Comment by Christopher Hanley on June 25, 2018 at 7:52 am

    At 62 years old, when I find I have a bent, I turn to Christ to get it straightened out. This is not about me and you. Maybe God is directing you to leave your comfort zone.

  54. Comment by Buddy on October 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    Meet Captain Smith of the Titanic. Unsinkable – – yeah, right!!!

  55. Comment by Richard Lewis on February 16, 2018 at 11:36 am

    -One in my congregation do not believe in same sex marriage, but we have decided as a church not to follow rules of the PCUSA and still belong to them, that if we do not introduced an overture to the board to try to change this back to one and one woman in marriage. We are guilty of sin to I believe we should be united together in changing this back to what it says in the bible been trying my best to get my church to understand this and do something about it they haven’t had any luck as of yet. And please join me that prayer for the PCUSA to see the light for what the bible clearly says. I have been asking people to read and study the bible and have opened talks about the PCUSA.

  56. Comment by Lee on March 17, 2018 at 6:16 am

    The church has helped alot. However, I am considering leaving for a PCA church. This church has nearly isolated my wife pushing us to divorce. Setupphoneroom@gmail.com

  57. Comment by Lee on March 17, 2018 at 6:16 am

    The church has helped alot. However, I am considering leaving for a PCA church. This church has nearly isolated my wife pushing us to divorce.

  58. Comment by Jonathan on March 28, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Our former Church in Katonah NY was a wonderful place. Then, a radical pastor was hired . He lead an anti Trump March the day after the election. The very next Sunday, the Church was half Empty. Now Palm Sunday has passed with a Church 90% empty.
    Thanks to the pastors radical – hate of the President.

  59. Comment by daniel on April 8, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    Jeffrey, can you clarify your membership figure of 4.5 members in 1965? Did you combine the membership of both the northern and southern churches? The southern church, the PCUS, did not merge with the PCUSA until 1983. It has been disastrous for the southern branch of the denomination. Jordan Peterson has said when we abandon the supreme God we simply replace him with an inferior “god,” and here this grotesquely self-righteous and arrogant GA and so many of our “pastors” worship like the rebellious Israelites of old the golden calf of politics. The damage is incalculable. In our own church here in Dallas a sanctimonious radical “preacher” finally left our congregation with around eight hundred less members. And whenever a member left, he was only further convinced of his own “prophetic” righteousness. We were all trying to be loving and tolerant as the political infiltration went on. And now, fellow believers – the implosion.

  60. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on April 9, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Yes, the 4.5 member figure from 1965 is a combined membership number consisting of both PCUSA predecessor churches.

  61. Comment by daniel on April 9, 2018 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you so much, and thank you for this invaluable article. I hope you never question the importance of what you and your colleagues are doing – because even as we speak the search committee of a great (or once great) historical church (established 1856) is reading your article, and we are hoping they will understand the importance of calling a Christ-centered preacher after the mass exodus caused by one man’s use of a legendary pulpit for a despicably dishonest political agenda. What this General Assembly has subjected “the people in the pews” to is almost beyond belief – pagan worship services of the “goddess Sophia,” meetings with Hezbollah, the granting of complete sexual license to clergy, married or not (so much for those “pesky” morals you mention). This has been going on for thirty years. I hope you continue with your work on behalf of all our embattled denominations and I look forward to exploring the site further and sending more readers your way. Will you guys be covering China and the eradication of Christians in the Middle East? I’ll keep searching the site. This reply can be private, by the way. Mainly writing to thank you and let you know your writing could cause some epiphanies down here in Texas.

  62. Comment by Jeffrey Walton on April 12, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Yes, we do cover international religious freedom and the persecuted church. Those stories are viewable here: https://theird.org/international-religious-freedom/

  63. Comment by Glen Hallead on April 12, 2018 at 8:36 pm

    It’s not PCA or PC(USA) or EPC or SBC or anything else. It is Christ crucified and risen. I stay as an ordained Pastor in the PC(USA) to preach that… I will not turn my back on the apostate within who elevate social justice above salvation or those who look for personal fulfillment over sacrifice. No denomination gets to heaven. No congregation gets to heaven, only individuals for whom Christ died and rose. The elect… Thanks be to God! Denominations WILL fail because they are not THE church. the redeemed in different denomination will never fail because THEY are the church.

  64. Comment by Belinda on March 26, 2019 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you for your comments. I very much agree with you.
    There is a place for seeking social justice but certainly not to
    the exclusion of evangelism. I work with a mission group
    seeking to serve the Presbyterian Church in Congo as they seek to serve the people and preach the gospel. Their social needs, due to a repressive and murderous gov’t, are immense. We help with building durable schools, donating to the hospital (Good Shepherd in Tshikaji), donating for
    Bibles, Christian teaching material, food, vulnerable children, etc. We also advocate for them to our gov’t. I believe this all fits into God’s plan for “His Church”. Yes, there are issues within PCUSA that trouble me but I try to
    serve God, my church, and God’s children in other countries.
    May we together serve as we have been taught by scripture
    to do and as we feel led by the spirit to do.

  65. Comment by Glen Hallead on May 29, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Thanks for your response, Belinda. We worked in Kenya, Ghana and Thailand for a number of years in similar pursuits. Soli Deo Gloria!

  66. Comment by Jeffrey Burgard on November 21, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    The risen Christ Jesus has pronounced his judgement on the goings-on of PCUSA clearly in Revelation 2:20-25. The apostasy of the Jezebel leadership undertaken since the 1960’s will lead our Lord – Like the Church of Thyatire- to be
    “thrown on a bed of sickness” and with her, her members into “great tribulation”.

    PCUSA members, who hold to the authority of Scripture and the Apostle’s Doctrine, need to separate themselves from this rotting fish of a denomination
    as quickly as possible. “The fish rots from the head down”. Don’t be a healthy fin on a rotting fish.

  67. Comment by Albert Kwasi Addae (Rev.) on February 7, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Modern Technological Advancement is partly responsible for the woes of the Church Of Christ today.Faith of individuals is built at Fellowships which is being taken over by electronic methods of communicating the Word to people who listen but have human motivation agency to encourage the weaklings who are experiencing vicious challenges in life. Since they do not assemble for spiritual nourishment for growth they also don’t contribute their widow’s might for building up the material structures of the church.

  68. Comment by Celia Stone on March 10, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I align with Reformed theology/Presbyterianism. As the wife of a PCUSA minister, I find the tremendous lack of connectionalism discouraging. The denomination has little desire to connect with or hear much from people who believe like I believe. It is not non-existent, however. God is faithful. There are people within the PCUSA who are reformed and reforming ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD, but from my perspective they seem few and far between. Still, I’m glad that we have some wonderful brothers and sisters in the denomination who live to serve AND proclaim a Triune God whose love is revealed in Jesus Christ. In my opinion the PCUSA will continue to decline as the gospel is morphed into being good people due to some vague concept of love and justice without much of the Good News as described in the New Testament. Has obedience ever been fashionable? Probably not. The hard words of Jesus are hard for a reason. It’s not about me.

  69. Comment by Alden marshall on May 19, 2019 at 1:40 am

    I am a retired PCUSA minister who now attends a united reformed congregation in NYC. I encouraged evangelism and holiness as well as social justice when I pastored in Canada and in my native Tennessee. I am grieved so few ministers know the Holy Spirit from a hole in the ground, unlike Knox, Bruce, McCheyne, Duncan Campbell…or among those ministers who are converted, to use a Tennessee saying, do not have enough of the Holy Spirit to shock a chigger.

  70. Comment by Paul on September 17, 2019 at 3:08 am

    I can attest to the decline in the Episcopal church, and it’s well deserved. I have twice walked out for extended periods. Much of what I read here has a very familiar ring to it, despite denominational differences. My pastor once said “there are two types of Episcopalians…the ‘smug’ and the ‘anything goes’. The latter have taken over from the former, I’d say. Neither attitude belongs in a church. Where do I go from here? Maybe an Anglican Church. I’m too old a dog to learn too many new tricks.

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