The “star” of the Gnosticism celebrating Presbyterian News Service article is the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow. Here’s his bio from the “A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts” web site.
Bruce Reyes-Chow is a Presbyterian minister, blogger, and social media consultant based in San Francisco, California. Bruce was the founding pastor of the young adult faith community Mission Bay Community Church; he was elected as the youngest-ever Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) in 2008 and recently published the e-book The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church.
Note that in 2008 commissioners to the General Assembly elected the Rev. Reyes-Chow to be their Moderator. A mere five years later this elite PCUSA leader enthusiastically participated in a group bent on creating a Gnostic “New New Testament,” that had significant overlap with members of the Jesus Seminar. I won’t insult your intelligence by seriously considering the possibility of a sudden, unexpected switch from orthodoxy to heterodoxy in that time period. No, by the longstanding standards of our PCUSA elite I’m certain that the Rev. Reyes-Chow’s heterodoxy was a well known strong net positive. That his spiritual path eventually led to outright heresy did not in the slightest harm his reputation in the denomination. Rather, it led to the previously referenced fawning article in the Presbyterian News Service.
In the previous post I connected the Jesus Seminar to the A New New Testament from a theological / philosophical point of view. Here I’m first going to show the deep personal tie between the Rev. Reyes-Chow and Hal Taussig, who is a central figure in both the Jesus Seminar and A New New Testament.
Next, I’m going to illuminate how the Rev. Reyes-Chow deals with criticism for his participation in and support of A New New Testament.
The Rev. Reyes-Chow and Hal Taussig
The following commentary is based on the transcript of the Rev. Reyes-Chow’s interview of Hal Taussig. The interview is actually a dialogue between two kindred spirits. Even though they are discussing radical, controversial ideas, there is no sense of challenge in Reyes-Chow’s questions. Rather, it’s one softball after another, as he gives Taussig the best possible opportunity to explain his views in a positive light. The following excerpts support this conclusion.
Q: “No doubt people who don’t know you are going to paint a one dimensional picture of you. So who is Hal Taussig and what’s one thing that we might not guess about you?”
Q: “I blogged about this project a few months back, and while there were some positive comments, a majority of the comments accused you and The Council of being a group of arrogant religious celebrities who have finally gone too far. How do you respond to these accusations?”
Q: “The Council was diverse in many ways. How did you decide who would be invited to be a part of the The Council?”
Q: “Think five or 10 years down the line, what do you hope will be the overall impact of A New New Testament on culture, Christianity and/or the church?”
Q: “What part of the entire process brought you the most joy?”
Aside from the question about negative comments (see next two posts) to his blog post, a reader could be forgiven for not noticing that this is a discussion between two men bent on the destruction of orthodox Christianity. Rather, it comes across as two eminent scholars discussing their challenging but reasonable views on Christianity and its sacred texts. But make no mistake, these two men are sworn enemies of orthodox Christianity. Read again the previous post on the Jesus Seminar. Then consider that the Rev. Reyes-Chow freely chose to join with Taussig to generate the Gnostic A New New Testament. Finally, recall from the previous post on Gnosticism that it directly contradicts orthodox Christian doctrine.