PCUSA Congregations "Struggle to Stay" In?

Really? That’s what one presbyter claimed at Synod as she argued in favor of allocating $2M to litigate against congregations seeking to leave the PCUSA for the EPC.

So, there are congregations that want to stay in the PCUSA but they’re being dragged kicking and screaming out and they must take the EPC to court to protect themselves? 

Seems to me that if you’re being molested the first thing one does is to call a cop, not a lawyer. 

If she’s willing to spend $2M now, I wonder if the PCUSA would like to cough up a few bucks for those little OPCs who lost their buildings to the PCUSA (even though the OPs actually still believed what the church confessed) and were forced to meet in dreadful circumstances (lodge buildings, basements, mortuaries) in the 1930s and ’40s? What about reparations to all those families who for generations had supported their local mainline Presbyterian congregation until the liberals took it from them and drove them out? What about apologies to the OPC for being forced to give up the name Presbyterian Church of America (the OPCs were the original PCA) because of a 1939 lawsuit?

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  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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  1. “The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.”

    (Yeah, yeah, making light of something depressing.)

  2. Regarding meeting in “dreadful circumstances,” here is Peter Lampe’s description of the conditions of the “pre-Pauline” church in Rome: (This is just lifted from a previous post describing an area of Rome, “Trastevere,” where some of the first Roman Christians congregated:

    Pre-Pauline Christians are attested for Rome and Puteoli. …The Christian presence in Puteoli and Rome correlates with a twofold background. …Christianity spread along the trade routes that Judaeism had already followed: the synagogues were the setting for the first Christian mission…The Jewish as well as the Christian “axis” Puteoli-Rome has a particular economic-historical background. The stretch Puteoli-Rome was the main trade route between the East and the city of Rome in the first half of the first century. The road of Judaism and Christianity from the east to Rome followed in the footsteps of trade. Were there tradespersons among the first Christians in Italy? Was the tentmaker Aquila (Acts 18, 1 Cor, Romans 16) from Pontus (see below) representative of the first urban Roman Christians?

    A fragment of the Severian marble city plan shows a piece of the Via Campana-Portuensis; it is bordered by large warehouses. Trastevere was a harbor quarter, a workers quarter. It accommodated harbor workers, who unladed the ships’ cargoes, porters of the many warehouses, sailors, and also workers from the brickyards on the Vatican slopes. Many brick-stamps that lie before our feet in the catacombs were pressed in the Vatican brickworks.

    Shopkeepers and small craftsmen were drawn by the harbor and its imported goods – ivory carvers, cabinet makers, and potters. Millers from Trastevere ground the imported grains unloaded in the harbor. The mills were along the Tiber and on the east slope of the Gianicolo above the trans-Tiber plain, where they were driven by the water of the Aqua Traiana.

    Knacker and tanner operations spread a penetrating odor: The “dog’s skin that hangs in Trastevere” stank pervasively (Martial 6.93). The Corariara Septiminiana, a leather factory of the XIVth Region, is thought to have been uncovered beneath S. Caecelia. In the floor of a large room were found seven cylindrically formed, brick-walled basins that seem to have been used for tanning leather. Where the corarii (tanners) practiced their industry was the worst living quarter one can imagine. The tanners worked with urine from the public conveniences; the stench hung over the quarter. Martial was disgusted by the Roman tanner who kissed him all over to welcome him back from a trip (12.59)

    Trade, industry, transport – the common people of Trastevere lived from them, whether free or slave. … Trastevere was extremely densely populated. In an official inscription of Hadrian from the year 136, there are twenty-two vici listed for Trastavere (Region XIV), while, for other regions (I, X, XII, XIIII), only 9, 6, 12, or 17 vici, respectively, are noted. …

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