Thursday, March 1, 2012

Will the PCA Survive?

How Long Can the PCA Go on Like This?

I never believed I would live long enough to hear this exchange in a Presbytery exam. Committee chairman: “What is your view of the use of alcohol and tobacco?” Candidate for transfer: “I’m for them.”

Not a word of qualification, clarification, or explanation. Not a single follow-up question. A few snickers.  Not a single vote against reception.

Now, this could never have happened 40 years ago. Back then, you might be cut a little slack on the days of creation or the ordo salutis or baptism. You might use a little tobacco with chewing more tolerated than smoking, but smoking tolerated only if you limited the company among whom you lit up. But alcohol? If you imbibed, you did not say you did, and if you did among others, you entered a bond of secrecy. If it should come out in an examination, the result might be the reopening of the Christian experience and call to the ministry parts of the examination.

I know of three men slipping  into a bar many years ago in the John Wesley Hotel  to use the “wooden nickels” for a free one issued to us when they checked in. (I shall not reveal their identities, though for sufficient money paid to me or to exercise coercive power over them, I might.) But, now I hear that at General Assembly there are sometimes announcements made of smokers being held in bars.

I can also see a possible development in the intinction debate growing out of this. If use of alcohol and tobacco are to be allowed, must they be used separately? Or, may the tobacco be infused with spirits and then taken?

What is happening to the PCA? Are we becoming the OPC?


The Christian Curmudgeon said...

Since one of my intelligent friends (is this an oxymoron?) took this post seriously let me be clear: While the historical events (the Presbytery exam and the John Wesley Hotel incident) happened in real space and time and are told in literal, not pictorial or metaphorical or figurative, language, the piece itself is firmly and totally tongue in cheek.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you said it was tongue in cheek. I was getting all worked up! Sooooo.......are you for or against them?

Mike said...

In a Navy town like Virginia Beach an "announcements made of smokers being held in bars" could have been confused with the old Navy tradition of smokers, a supervised boxing match to settle a dispute between two Sailors. Had smokers (in the old Navy style) been held at last years GA it probably would have made the news.

The Christian Curmudgeon said...

Smokers are social gatherings for males (as teas are for females).

MikeM_inMD said...

As an OPC deacon, I couldn't help but laugh explosively with the last paragraph. :-D

Anonymous said...

Question to John Murray: "Do you believe it is proper for a Christian gentleman to partake of alcoholic beverages?" Murray (insert accent here): "only if it is the very finest scotch.?

The Christian Curmudgeon said...

Don't know which, if any, of the Murray stories is correct, but the way I heard it was that he was asked in a presbytery exam, if he would drink a glass of whiskey if it were set before him right then, and he replied, "If it were good stuff!"