Denomination's Leaders Receive 'Special Delivery' on Historic Anniversary

Nov 05, 2002 03:00 AM EST

Conservatives in the Presbyterian Church (USA) have placed a "call to confession and repentance" on the door of the denomination's headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky.

In honor of Martin Luther's nailing of his 95 theses to the door of a German cathedral back in 1517, five Presbyterian ministers have posted a document declaring "the Presbyterian Church (USA) is decaying and dying in the belly of the beast and is irretrievably apostate under current management."

Among the five was Pastor Paul Roberts of Pennsylvania, who says the denomination needs to be redeemed.

"Understanding that we gather together only in Jesus' name, and that He truly is the only way to salvation, and that the Bible really is the Word of God and authoritative over our lives -- it's going to take God's leading and His hand upon our churches to truly change the hearts and minds of our leaders and the people in the pews," he says.

The group says their denomination is "desperate for rebirth through confession and repentance," and Roberts notes there has been a continual failure on the part of the denomination's headquarters to enforce its constitutional standards.

"We want to tell our denomination that there are [sic] certainly, we believe, a large group of us who do believe in some basic tenets of the faith that Jesus teaches us -- and we're standing up for that," he says. "We're trying to say that we believe that we are at the heart of what the church is supposed to be all about."

Roberts and other conservative Presbyterians are demanding the denomination punish congregations that wish to ordain and marry homosexuals, which is prohibited by the denomination's constitution. He says the complaint was posted during Reformation Week in honor of Martin Luther's historic challenge to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

By Jim Brown