30 January, 2008

Forty-Seven Church Splits Finally Brings Doctrinal Perfection

Centerville, Ga - The small community of Centerville has a population of just over 5000 people. But with a total of 48 Presbyterian Churches, they also hold the record for the most number of Presbyterian Churches in a small town.  The high number of churches has to do with multiple splits that have taken place over the years because of one issue or another.  Originally, in 1899, only one Presbyterian church existed, simply known as "Centerville Presbyterian Church."  With about 20 families, the church was, at that time, the largest in the Centerville area. 

By 1911 the church had grown to almost 150 members, a considerably large church at that time. But a dispute had arisen within the congregation over whether or not the offering should be taken before or after the sermon.  Thus the first split took place, with the dissenting congregation forming "Centerville Reformed Presbyterian Church."

In 1915 a dispute arose amongst the members of Centerville Reformed Presbyterian Church over the issue of the regulative principle of worship.  It seems that some members of CRPC liked the idea of having flowers in the sanctuary, while others objected.  As a result CRPC split and Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church of Centerville was organized with 25 members.

Several more splits took place over various issues between the years 1915 and 1929.  It was in 1931 that another dispute arose amongst the members of Seventh Presbyterian Reformed Covenantal Church of Centerville over an issue that no one can seem to remember, nor do any records indicate.  Suffice it to say, that approximately half the congregation split away, and 9 people formed Third Westminster Trinity Covenant Presbyterian Reformed Church of Centerville.

Again, more splits took place between 1931 and 1975 when a major split took place within the PCUS denomination over the issue of merging with the more liberal PCUSA.  At that time Eleventh Westminster Covenant Presbyterian Church of Centerville voted to remain in the PCUS with the merger.  Fifteen members broke off and formed St. John's Presbyterian Church. One week later, St. John's Presbyterian Church split over the choice of name for the church as several members objected to using the word "Saint" in the name of a Reformed Church.

Since 1975 several more splits have happened with the most recent occurring this past weekend, when a dispute arose amongst the members of Second Street First Ninth Westminster Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church over the issue of the observance of the Lord's Day.  The issue in question was whether or not it was acceptable for someone to check their email on the Sabbath.  Those who objected have now split off and have formed "The Presbyterian Totally Reformed Covenantal Westminsterian Sabbatarian Regulative Credo-Communionist A Millennial Presuppositional Church of Centerville.  

"I think we've finally got it right now" said Paul Davis, teaching Elder at PTRCWSRCCAPCC.  "We now have a church with 100% doctrinal purity."

PTRCWSRCCAPCC is hoping to grow and help reach out to the community.

"We're up to 6 people on Sundays now" said Davis.  "I know that numbers are not important, but we're hoping to grow a little more."


G N Barkman said...

We Baptists are beginning to realize that we're not the only ones who split!

Ken said...

I love the names. I saw one town that had a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th baptist church in the same town, and three of them were located on the same street corner.

Anonymous said...

We might as well just all stay home with a church of 1, with our own doctrine that we have devised. Wouldn't it be great, though, if we let the scriptures actually draw us together as we submit to it, surrendering our pre-conceived notions and gods we have invented?

Jim Pemberton said...

Darrin, good observation. I would add that submission to the scriptures and pride don't go together very well. Sadly, I've heard too often the phrase, "I'm proud to be a ______." Fill in the blank with your favorite denomination, church or theological affiliation.

Emmie, aka Vivian said...

Love your website! Carry on. The joke goes like this: When they rescued the man stranded on the desert island for years, they had a question: Why are there three huts here? Well, the first one is my house, the second one is my church. Next question: What's the third hut? Oh, that's where I USED to go to church!

Anonymous said...

One hundred and eight years of Scottish revival!!! Praise God!

pilgrim said...

I think my pastor will get a kick out of this--I'm sending it to him.

Unfortunately it's close to the truth.

New denominations and church splits can be proper when there are essentials at stake, but all too often that's not the case.