The Rev. Shannon Kershner Interview (1)
In the previous post I presented information on actions or lack thereof by our elite leadership that allows the drawing of credible inferences regarding their beliefs. For example, when the Presbytery of the Cascades ordained an open atheist to PCUSA ministry and the denomination rewarded them with the honor of hosting the 222nd General Assembly, we can confidently infer that all Biblical and Confessional standards for Christianity have been erased from our elite leadership’s minds.
Although evidence based inference is a valid and necessary tool, it’s best to find instances in which our elite leadership explicitly states their beliefs. The previous post included the explicit example of our leadership publishing an article affirming the heresy of Gnosticism.
The most recent opportunity (of which I’m aware) for explicit information on our elite leadership’s thinking is the March 7, 2018 Sun Times interview of “The Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner, pastor of historic Fourth Presbyterian Church on Chicago’s Mag Mile,” headlined: Prominent Presbyterian pastor: ‘God’s not a Christian . . . We are’. Although the headline statement is by far the most shocking and disturbing, there are numerous other statements that provide important insight.
The Sun Times article includes audio of an almost 44 minute “Face to Faith” interview with the Rev. Kershner. Therefore I have carefully listened to the interview in order to gain understanding of the scope and context for her remarks.
It is difficult to overstate the place of Fourth Presbyterian and thus its senior pastor in the PCUSA elite. Fourth Presbyterian is the second largest church (~5,500 members) in the denomination and has been an acknowledged leader of the PCUSA’s (dominant) progressive theological wing. Thus, when this church’s senior pastor speaks we are provided with a unique opportunity to observe what our elite is thinking and how they communicate those beliefs.
The Rev. Kershner is an articulate, welcoming, humorous, modest, talented and highly motivated individual. Many of her comments are within what most PCUSA members would find to be reasonable. She resisted making political statements on hot-button issues like abortion and gun control. I’m convinced that she is a thoughtful, nice and kindly person with whom I could have an invigorating conversation.
However, the issues sundering the PCUSA are not about “niceness.” In fact, so completely have we succumbed to superficial sentiments that we have ignored central Christian theological issues rather than risk appearing to be disagreeable. And, when our elites stride well beyond the bounds of anything approaching Christian orthodoxy while yet claiming the moral authority of Christian leaders we must risk seeming to be disagreeable by clearly and openly disagreeing. To do otherwise is to admit that we value others thinking that we are “nice” over the truth about what our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, has done for us.