Texas megachurch FPC withdraws from Presbyterian Church over its affirmation of same-sex marriage, other issues

Paul Kempf and Robb Gwaltney (center, left and right, respectively) exchange vows at the Presbyterian Center Chapel in Louisville, Kentucky, on Sept. 3, 2015. The church's affirmation of gay marriage has upset many of its members.(Presbyterian Church/Gregg Brekke)

A Texas megachurch has decided to cut ties with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. purportedly because of the latter's "shifting priorities," including its affirmation of same-sex marriage, among other issues.

The First Presbyterian Church (FPC) San Antonio issued a statement saying they have unfortunately come to the conclusion that the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. values political ideology now more than they do Scriptural truth, Charisma News reported.

"We believe our denomination is not what it once was, and it has wandered from its biblical and confessional moorings," Session leader N.A. Stuart said. "We are not alone in this belief. Hundreds of churches have left the PC(USA) in recent years and many others, like FPC, currently are in the process of determining how to respond to denominational changes."

Stuart also revealed that the Moderator of the PC(USA), Heath Rada, has already acknowledged the fact that conservative churches are thinking of leaving the denomination because of "the theological drift of the past 10 years; concerns over how the PC(USA) will find pastoral candidates who support the orthodox interpretation of Scripture; the denomination's expenditure of funds; and the decline of membership."

For now, the FPC plans to be a part of ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, said to be a fast-growing Reformed Presbyterian denomination.

One of the reasons why many churches are leaving the Presbyterian Church USA is reportedly because of the denomination's affirmation of same-sex marriage. Because of this, around 34,000 black churches have left the denomination.

Back in 2012, the Presbyterian Church USA boasted of having 1,849,496 members. But the membership declined to 1,760,200 in 2013, then to 1,667,767 at the end of 2014.

"We confess that we have not done what we should have done in ministering to our own members and families on this issue," Stuart said. "Our humble understanding of God's intention for sexual intimacy, as expressed through Scripture, however, is that sexual intimacy is to be expressed in a permanent covenant relationship between a husband and wife. While churches differ on this issue and people within our congregational family differ on this issue, we ask that persons who have different views remain in community, honour each other with respect and love, and stay centred on Jesus."