Hebron Church is a Presbyterian church. This means several things. First, it means that we are a connectional church; we believe that as individuals and as congregations, we are branches connected to Christ Jesus, the Vine (John 15); we are members of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). As Presbyterians, our congregation is governed by a session of elders and is part of a local presbytery, which is a body comprised of elders from multiple local congregations. That presbytery is part of a synod, and that synod is connected to the General Assembly. We are connected to other believers in this Presbyterian denomination, the Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA). This kind of connection should be a good thing, the body of Christ, gifted by Him to build us all up to “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
Secondly, being Presbyterian has traditionally meant that our faith is founded on the Scriptures and the teaching of the Scriptures as described in the Westminster Confession of Faith. If you haven’t read the Westminster Confession, we commend it to your reading and study. It is an awesome and faithful testimony to our big God and to His amazing grace. We believe in a sovereign God, sin that pollutes us and separates us from God, and in the Gospel which contains an offer to repent and believe in God’s sovereign provision for our sin problem in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. We understand these to be absolute truths, not relative truths, not just true for us, but true for all. This Gospel is God’s righteous and gracious solution for man’s alienation from Him.
We have all seen our culture move away from even the idea of absolute truth, from the existence of God, from the problem of sin and alienation from God and the need for a Savior. Our denomination has tried to respond to these cultural changes in many ways some of which have relaxed the view of the Scriptures’ infallibility, shifted attention to some social and political issues, and altered criteria for ordaining pastors. Many of these changes are an attempt to include people with more varied views of Biblical interpretation and worldview. There is great concern that these changes have compromised the truth, compromised the Gospel message and the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ. These changes have also altered the characteristics of those ordained to the teaching ministry in the PCUSA. Because of these things, Hebron has kept some distance from our presbytery for many years.
This has all contributed to our present crisis of difficulty recruiting pastoral staff. We could not find a suitable pastor within the PCUSA, and recruited Henry Knapp from outside the denomination. We could not find a suitable ordainable assistant pastor from within the PCUSA despite nearly 3 years of diligent searching. We are grateful that God has graciously provided Dan Bender as our Family Life Director, but the overall problem remains. Because of these issues, your Session is trying to look into the near future to discern what denominational situation will best help Hebron to find leadership to continue worshipping and serving a big God, a creator God, a saving God. Please pray with us and get involved in this process of discernment. Please commit yourselves to attend the sermon series on The Essentials of Our Faith and to the Sunday school meetings to focus on how these essential truths may guide us into the future.
Dave Mulock, Session member, on behalf of Session