The Rev. Reyes Chow and A New New Testament
The blog post to which Reyes-Chow refers in his question (see Part 5a) to Taussig provides important insights. The blog post itself is relatively short, with two key sections excerpted below.
Last year I was privileged to be part of a group of folks brought together to think about sacred Christian texts, past AND future. Yes, I said future because like many others, I have always felt that the texts that have informed my faith and life in Christ were never meant to be static, rather, were meant to expand and grow. So when Hal Taussig asked me to part of a Church Council who would determine the texts to be included in the new book, A New New Testament (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013) I did not need much convincing.
After all, to many, this will undoubtedly be seen as messing with The Word of God and will be labeled as blasphemous and heretical. Not the first time that those labels have been directed my way, …
However, it’s the dialogue between Reyes-Chow and his critics that is of the greatest value, for two related reasons. Firstly, because they allow insights into the post-modern Christian worldview. Secondly, because they provide information on how post-modern Christians use language to confuse and repel their opponents. In the following comment excerpts these are the issues upon which I will primarily focus.
There are no lines of distinction in human thought and I’m a better Christian than are you
The commenter asks a direct question “What line will you not cross?” Reyes-Chow responds by claiming that the question is incomprehensible because it “could be pointed at anyone by anyone at anytime.” Apparently he believes that everyone at all times can be legitimately accused of “crossing a line.” Thus, we apparently are all crossing lines all the time, thus invalidating the concept.
This is indeed pure evasion. Reyes-Chow is a Teaching Elder and past Moderator of the General Assembly. He has therefore committed himself to the maintenance of clearly defined lines through his ordination vows, in particular:
b. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the church universal, and God’s word to you?
c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
d. Will you fulfill your office in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?
The fact that Reyes-Chow pretends to be confused about the existence lines that can be crossed doesn’t free him from the fact that these lines do indeed exist, and that he both acknowledged their existence and promised to abide within them when he took his ordination vows. As is stated in the Book of Confessions:
But to ensure that those who lead the church do so in faithfulness to its doctrine and form of government, the church does require ordained ministers, elders, and deacons to declare their adherence to the confessions of the church.
Yes, Rev. Reyes-Chow, there are lines, you once acknowledged them and you have clearly crossed them.
Having attempted to throw dust in Eric R.’s eyes, Reyes-Chow next retreats into pretended superiority as a Christian. He does this by citing a single verse of Scripture, types words that adhere to it, and then implies that, even as a heretic, he is still a better Christian than is his accuser!
This attempt at self-justification can only work on someone who has been utterly deceived by the “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” distortion. As I have pointed out here and here (see Rationale section), Jesus was not “meek and mild” towards false teachers, or even always towards His own desciples. Nor were the Apostles Paul, Peter or John. Reyes-Chow hopes to deceive us by falsely claiming himself as a “true” Christian while implying that anyone who forcefully objects to his conduct is a mean person, and thus not Christ-like. This is, again, pure deception.
Character assassination and using children as shields
Consider first the brazen dishonesty with which Reyes-Chow attempts to smear “JDM.” There is absolutely nothing in JDM’s statement that so much as hints of profanity. And yet, Reyes-Chow responds as if this were the case. Can any other word besides dishonorable be applied to the Reyes-Chow response? No, and now there is another thing about which Reyes-Chow should be ashamed.
Then, Reyes-Chow brings his children into the debate. Here is a man who has been aggressively assaulting the foundations of Christianity attempting to shield himself from criticism by hiding behind his children! Does Reyes-Chow care about the children whose spirits will be vandalized by his heretical views? Does he care about the spiritual health of the Christian communities to whom parents entrust their children?
Reyes-Chow’s responses strike me as equal parts entitlement and deception. He feels entitled to attack Christianity but is unwilling to honestly debate his beliefs with critics.