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Missouri Church Leaves Presbyterian Church in America Over LGBT Issues

Memorial Presbyterian Church (PCA) in St. Louis, Missouri, voted to leave the denomination on November 18. Ninety-two percent of the congregation supported the elder board’s recommendation to withdraw.

Memorial Presbyterian Church / By Zhiwen Tang / Google Earth

The church’s pastor, Greg Johnson, also left the denomination. Johnson has been the center of a controversy over his self-professed struggles with same-sex attraction.

Memorial Presbyterian also hosted the controversial Revoice conference in 2018.

According to its website, “Revoice exists to support and encourage Christians who are sexual minorities so they can flourish in historic Christian traditions.”

An article in WORLD magazine about the most recent Revoice conference describes the growing insistence among its leaders that homosexuality is an identity, not just a behavior. Rosaria Butterfield, a former lesbian activist and now a pastor’s wife and mother, said of Revoice, “Sin is progressive, and what we’re seeing with Revoice is the progression of that sin.”

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Memorial Presbyterian Church has been a part of the conservative Presbyterian Church in America for over 40 years, but this fall, its leadership recommended leaving the denomination. In a letter to the congregation it explained the departure was because “[c]ontinued attacks from within our denomination have and continue to hinder and distract from that mission.”

Johnson said of the departure, “There is no angry shaking of the dust off our feet. We will continue to support [Reformed University Fellowship] in every way, continue to support our [Mission to the World] missionaries and send our students to Covenant College.”

In the PCA, pastors are members of the local group of churches called the presbytery, not of the congregation they serve. Therefore, the pastors of Memorial Presbyterian Church petitioned the Missouri Presbytery to have their names removed from its rolls.

The presbytery granted the request. In a letter on December 6, the presbytery expressed its sadness at Memorial’s departure from the denomination and wished the congregation well.

After much discussion, “each party concluded that a mutually agreed separation was the only course forward since the deep differences between Memorial and the Missouri Presbytery on the matters in question could not ultimately be reconciled.”

According to the letter, Memorial has not yet decided what its new denominational affiliation will be.

“[W]e pray that many of the tensions that have disturbed the peace of our denomination over the past several years might now begin to dissipate and lead to a season of renewal, during which we can focus on our positive mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ in obedience to our Lord’s Great Commission,” the letter read

Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a freelance writer who holds a Juris Doctorate from Baylor University. She has home schooled her three children and is happily married to her husband of 25 years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, and coaching high school extemporaneous speaking and debate.