Yet Another Split, In The Presbyterian Church of Pakistan. By Bishop T. Nasir
23 Apr 2006
In 1993 The United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan affiliated with The Presbyterian Church U. S. A, commonly known as Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mission GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â and the Lahore Church Council, another Presbyterian Church, commonly known as L. C. C. formed a new church body by the name of Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Presbyterian Church of PakistanÃ¢â‚¬Â. This Ã¢â‚¬Å“CoalitionÃ¢â‚¬Â came into existence under the immense pressure of Presbyterian Church U.S.A. When I met Dr. Victor Macary at Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stony PointÃ¢â‚¬Â New York in January 1993 who was on his way to Pakistan to force the new alliance, I asked Dr. Macary a very serious question. Ã¢â‚¬Å“What if the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (Mission Group) refuses to form this new proposed church, his answer was very simple and clear. We shall stop funding the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (Mission Group). Earlier the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (Then the Punjab Synod of the United Presbyterian Church of North America) was always divided between the Ã¢â‚¬Å“National LeadershipÃ¢â‚¬Â and the Ã¢â‚¬Å“LaityÃ¢â‚¬Â, the head of Presbyterian Institutions strongly and financially supported by the Missionaries. Against all odds the Punjab Synod of United Presbyterian Church of North America became an autonomous church in year 1961. The New title of the church was, The United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, still dominated by Missionaries and the present Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Meanwhile a terrible thing happened when Presbyterian Church U.S.A tried to force the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Revised Standard VersionÃ¢â‚¬Â of the Holy Bible and the last nail in coffin was the Ã¢â‚¬Å“1967 Confession of FaithÃ¢â‚¬Â by the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The National Leadership unanimously rejected this new Confession of Faith and requested Presbyterian Church U.S.A. to withdraw the 1967 Confession of Faith. On this the Presbyterian Church U.S.A, through its Missionaries and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lay and Privileged Supporters of Missionaries started victimizing the National Leadership and on 24th April the United Presbyterian Church cut off its relations with Presbyterian Church U.S.A and the World Council of Churches and joined the International Council Christian Churches. Eighty percent Pastors and congregations also left Presbyterian Church U.S.A and WCC. This was not the only Ã¢â‚¬Å“splitÃ¢â‚¬Â in United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Mission GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â had another Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â and further divided the Mission Group in to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hayat GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â and Iqbal Nisar GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â. After the death of Elder H. L. Hayat in November 1988 and the death of Rev. Iqbal Nisar in January 1990, the Missionaries managed reconciliation between Ã¢â‚¬Å“Hayat Group and Nisar GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â. In 1993 the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan was formed and an uneducated defrocked pastor was elected or selected the first Moderator of newly formed Presbyterian Church of Pakistan that was not liked by the members of this newly formed church body. Later in 1996 the newly formed church had another Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â and the Ã¢â‚¬Å“CoalitionÃ¢â‚¬Â was once again divided between Ã¢â‚¬Å“Arthur James GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ajmal khan GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â. Both groups went to the Court against each other and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ajmal Khan GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â managed to get the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Filling CertificateÃ¢â‚¬Â from the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Joint Stock CompanyÃ¢â‚¬Â a government department that registers any Church Body, NGO etc. In October 2004 another reconciliation was arranged between Ã¢â‚¬Å“Arthur James GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â and Ã¢â‚¬Å“Ajmal Khan GroupÃ¢â‚¬Â. Yet in November 2004 Elder Ajmal Khan told me that a bigger Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â is expected soon. The rift between former United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan (Mission Group) and the former Lahore Church Council had developed on the issue of properties of Lahore Church Council that included the prestigious Forman Christian College, the Kanaird College and School, the United Christian Hospital and so many other properties of the Lahore Church Council that went in control and ownership of Presbyterian Church U.S.A. The resentment of members and leaders of former Lahore Church Council finally resulted in the latest Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â in Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and reportedly the Lahore Church Council has left the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and according to my information both churches are once again in Ã¢â‚¬Å“CourtÃ¢â‚¬Â. Where as the real United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan is still existing without any internal rift with One Bishop, Seventy Ã¢â‚¬Å“Theologically Trained Pastors, Two Hundred and Fifteen Elders with a total of Two Hundred and Eighty Four Congregations, One Hundred, Fifty Seven Thousand, Nine Hundred and Six members One Theological Seminary and Eight Elementary Schools as on 31st March 2006. (These statistics do not include Twelve Pastors, Twenty Elders and Thirty Two Congregations with over Twenty Seven Thousand Members who joined us on 4th April 2006 at the time of our Annual Meetings from 3rd April 2006 to 6th April 2006)
We are afraid that the recent Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â in Presbyterian Church of Pakistan will start another series of Court Cases that might go on for many more years and as the time passes on there would be more and more Ã¢â‚¬Å“SplitÃ¢â‚¬Â in former united Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and former Lahore Church Council, and this very unfortunate segment of Pakistani Presbyterians will be Ã¢â‚¬Å“eatenÃ¢â‚¬Â by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Charismatic & Apostate MinistriesÃ¢â‚¬Â working in Pakistan. It would not be out of place to mention that a number of Pastors and Congregations of Presbyterian Church of Pakistan has requested the membership of the Historical United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, yet abiding by the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Memorandum of Understanding and none interference of 1997Ã¢â‚¬Â between the Historical United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan, we have as yet not taken any Pastor or Congregation of Presbyterian Church of Pakistan though PCP has been trying to Ã¢â‚¬Å“Fish AroundÃ¢â‚¬Â the United Presbyterian Church of Pakistan with negligible success.
May the Lord give wisdom and foresightedness to the leadership of the Presbyterian Church of Pakistan and the Presbyterian Church U.S.A.