For example, I believe that:
- Religion is a human construct
- The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution
- Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend
- God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force
- The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being
- Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife
John has been involved in the work of the Westar Institute (the Jesus Seminar). Westar promotes the advancement of religious literacy. John is proud that Southminster engages spirituality and critical thinking. John is a signatory of the Clergy Letter Project that advocates scientific literacy including teaching Evolutionary Theory. John’s favorite Sunday is Evolution Sunday on the Sunday closest to Charles Darwin’s birthday.
I can’t shake the sense that the PCUSA leadership (particularly now that so many pastors/members/churches have given up and exited) see “following Christ” from a similar perspective. Yes, I understand that these denominational leaders talk all the time about “following Christ.” Yet, when they had the opportunity to make the supposedly compelling case for same-gender marriage, Christ as testified to in the Bible was completely excluded. That failure destroyed the last shred of their credibility on my part.
My concern has been best put into words by Dr. Van Til in an essay on the Confession of 1967 (emphasis added).
Though we concede that the new creed and its new theology speak highly of both Christ and the Bible, we nevertheless contend that new meanings have been attached to old, familiar words. The whole question, accordingly, is one of reinterpretation. One may take a milk bottle and fill it with a poisonous white liquid and call it milk, but this does not guarantee that the poisonous liquid is milk. It may well be some thing that is highly dangerous to man. …
Though the twentieth-century church has been informed by the new theology that it can have no objective or conceptual knowledge of God and of Christ, this same theology still continues to speak about God and Christ in eloquent terms. But, as we have already noted, these terms have new definitions. The God and the Christ of this contemporary theology have very little in common with the God and the Christ of historic Christianity. There is good reason to believe that the new theology has virtually manufactured a new Christ, a person who is essentially different from the Savior of the Scriptures.
I’m not attempting here to reopen debate on the Confession of 1967, but the theology described above is what I too often see in our denominational and presbytery leadership today.
Although there is a clear aspect of “silly” in what Pastors Shuck and Reyes-Chow are doing, there is another side far less humorous. I see people such as them as the avant-garde who demonstrate that there are no theological bounds left within the PCUSA. Yes, few do or even want to follow them. But for those who are determined to obliterate Christ as testified to in the Bible and replace Him with an avatar carrying their own beliefs, they show that the denomination cannot rouse itself even to oppose in-your-face heresy.