The UCC Now, Who Next?

John ArmstrongThe Church

On Sunday, July 3, to the surprise of no one who watches these things closely, the United Church of Christ became the largest Christian denomination in the United States to fully and openly endorse same-sex marriage. The action came about through the recommendation of about 80% of the General Synod voting favorably for the decision. On Sunday a panel of about 50 UCC representatives then approved the resolution of the General Synod.

This decision has been coming for years. The UCC long ago departed from any meaningful expression of orthodoxy. Those who believe the gospel within her borders have been faithfully protesting these directions for years. These evangelicals will now face even more difficult challenges as they decide what is required of them in the face of this denominational apostasy. Because the UCC is congregational in government individual congregations will not be required to endorse this decision or to follow the counsel of the General Synod. Many will continue to withhold support for the UCC while they battle from inside the structure of their fallen church. Others will finally decide to leave after forty years of faithful protest.

The UCC came about in 1957 as a union of several historic churches, including the old Congregational churches of early American history and the German Reformed churches. In principle the UCC had a great future in the 1950s but the impact of liberalism has now virtually assured that it will never recover orthodoxy, at least not in anyone’s present lifetime. My friends in the UCC have often referred to it, humorously, as Unitarians Considering Christ (UCC). Sadly, this is all but true now.

Who will be next? The Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), a much larger and more influential church body, is on a similar path, while the United Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) is not too far behind. Significant opposition exists in both churches but the ELCA is seriously wavering. It may be that the Protestant mainline will finally become the Protestant sideline if these trends continue. Some think this is already the case and more time will likely prove it to be so.