A Modest Overture to the 224th General Assembly (2c)

Presbytery-of Gaia

On Bringing Our Ordination Questions into the Post-Christian PC(USA) Era, from the Presbytery of Gaia

Rationale (continued)

Question c.

c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed [Progressive] faith [tradition] as expressed in the confessions of our church [New York Times, Das Kapital, Rules for Radicals, Silent Spring, etc.] as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture [Progressivism] leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions [Progressive traditions] as you lead the people [comrades] of God [, or nothing]?

It is long past time that we ejected this ridiculous, ancient dogma called “Reformed Theology” (see the accompanying Overture, “On Bringing our Book of Confessions into the Post-Christian PC(USA) Era — from the Presbytery of Gaia”).  By our continued pretense to be under this theology we severely handicap our ability to advance towards Socialist utopia.  Thus we are constantly forced to distort our positions into a form that “Reformed Theology” “supports.”  For example, our support for the Black Panthers’ revolutionary violence should be loud and proud rather than hidden behind a thin veneer of faux Reformed Christian platitudes!

If anyone doubts that the PC(USA) is led by people who are first and foremost Progressive political activists, we recommend reading of the Rev. Shannon Kershner’s sermon after the 2016 Presidential Election.  In it she made clear that anyone who supported the election of anyone other than the sainted Hillary Clinton is a degenerate.  For example she said this.

It is about the impact, the impact that very loud hate is being expressed in some extremely vivid ways since Tuesday night.
In particular, that hate is being expressed primarily by people who look like me or who love like me or who believe like me, expressed against those who do not fit those categories. Allow me to tell you a few stories of which I have firsthand knowledge.
She goes on to list (unverified, not first but rather second or third-hand) cruel statements and actions all by (unverified) people who supposedly supported Mr. Trump for President.  Can there be any doubt that this pastor who leads the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago is a highly partisan, aggressive Progressive advocate?  There is no understanding, no forgiveness, no mercy for the deplorables who don’t want to be dominated by the elite Progressive class.  So, let’s stop the pretense and go all in with the Rev. Shannon Kershner for Progressivism as our ideology and theology!

Question d.

d. Will you fulfill your office in obedience to [your feelings about] Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture [your true self], and be continually guided by our confessions [Progressive traditions]?

Our recent Rationales generated by PC(USA) Presbyteries make it absolutely clear that these changes are both accurate and supported.  For example, whereas the actual Biblical texts about Jesus’ dealings with those at the margins of society was focused on delivering them from the death of sin to the new life of salvation, the Presbytery author’s “feelings” converted this into unconditional acceptance and affirmation of their sin.

Even mote clear was the Presbytery of Long Island, whose author’s “feelings” about Jesus made it unimaginable that he would not support same gender marriage.

It seemed to us unimaginable to think that Jesus would deny two people who seek to live their lives in union, with him and with each other, the ability to do so.

Since it is “unimaginable” to this Presbytery that someone who said this about marriage:

He answered, “Have you not read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:4-6)

would ever deny a same gender marriage, it is absolutely demonstrated that their “feelings” have far greater authoritative weight than anything that this dead and dust guy might have said 2,000 years ago!

Question e.

e. Will you be governed by our church’s polity [central committee], and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry [political activism], working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word [Progressive ideology]?

When the plebes in the pews repeatedly failed to obey the PC(USA)’s “central committee” (General Assembly) demand to affirm gay ordination they eventually achieved their goal by use of an “authoritative interpretation.”  In particular, the General Assembly chose the path of democratic nullification in 2008.  This article lays out what occurred. The “authoritative interpretation” did not requite Presbytery approval to go into effect.  Thus, “consent of the governed” had been in effect nullified. 

Why should the PC(USA) maintain the pretense of democratic governance given that the General Assembly is acting in effect as a central committee?  So many deplorables have been driven out by our denomination that there is virtually zero chance for any Progressive policy to be defeated.  Let’s therefore accept the efficiency of dictatorship by the General Assembly so that all of our energy can be focused on the “fundamental transformation” of the United States into a Socialist paradise!

Question f.

f. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ [your authentic self], love your neighbors [unless they are orthodox Christians or otherwise deplorable], and work for the reconciliation [dictatorship] of the world [proletariat and/or favored identity groups]?

It is by our “authentic selves” that our “feelings” become authoritative.  For example:

… it was only fitting that a select group of racial ethnic clergywomen in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) – nominated by their presbytery and synod executives – gathered here in the heart of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to be inspired …

Hunter told the gathering. “Your gift to the church may be that at a certain point you figure out authentically who you are and you share your authentic self. My hope for all of you is that you get to a place where it’s your leadership and not the leadership that you think someone else wants from you.”

Note the emphasis on ethnic, gender and racial identity.  We are well along the path to total embrace of identity politics and intersectionality ideology by which human beings are valued according to their race, gender, ethnicity and orientation.  Drive forward faster and drive out the lowly evil people of the wrong race, gender, ethnicity and orientation!

Question g.

g. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church [Progressivism]?

See all of the above.

Question h.

h. Will you seek to serve the people [proletariat and/or favored identity groups] with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love [while driving out orthodox Christians or the otherwise deplorable]?

Our recent PC(USA) Co-Moderators (both Blazingly Woke Prophets) have made it abundantly clear that we hate orthodox Christians (in a public blog post and official PC(USA) Overture, respectively). The Rev. Shannon Kershner (in a sermon from the pulpit of Fourth Presbyterian) has made it abundantly clear that we hate the deplorables who oppose our Progressive hegemony (see text on Question c.).

We have by self-definition affirmed the driving out of any otrhodox or otherwise deplorable members.  Here’s an excerpt from “When We Gather at the Table: A PC(USA) Snapshot” that describes our attitudes towards more conservative PCUSA members.

They are less tolerant of conservative theologies within the denomination. Some remain hopeful that conservatives who are upset with the 221st General Assembly (2014) decisions on marriage will see that there are different ways to interpret scripture, and will choose to stay and accept the changes, over time. Others would simply be happy if the conservatives left the PC(USA), and a few offered suggestions for helping dissenting congregations to leave the denomination with grace and dignity.

There are two options described in the thinking of these “Purposeful Progressives,” (1) conform and stay and (2) get out!  So let’s finish the job Progressive Christians!



Can anyone doubt we have conclusively shown that:

  1. recent events and statements by PC(USA) governing bodies and elite leaders have demonstrated how utterly obsolete our current ordination questions have become and,
  2. they no longer accurately convey the spiritual, ideological or theological characteristics required for effective leadership in the PC(USA)?

Therefore, the Presbytery of Gaia calls on the PC(USA) to undo the confusion caused by the current ordination questions and replace them with questions that enable focused, aggressive attainment of our true beliefs and purpose!

A Modest Overture to the 224th General Assembly (2b)

Presbytery-of Gaia

On Bringing Our Ordination Questions into the Post-Christian PC(USA) Era, from the Presbytery of Gaia

Rationale to the Overture

The Presbyterian Church (USA), having driven out most of its orthodox Reformed or otherwise deplorable members, is now entering a new and exciting phase of spiritual transformation!  One potential impediment to achieving our deepest self-spiritual goals is the continued existence of our current Ordination Questions for Officers.

Recent events and statements by PC(USA) governing bodies and elite leaders have demonstrated how utterly obsolete these questions have become.  In particular, they no longer accurately convey the spiritual, ideological or theological characteristics required for effective leadership in the PC(USA).

The issue is that, although the current Ordination Questions are generally unthinkingly recited and then utterly ignored by the majority of our Officers (particularly so now that so many orthodox or otherwise deplorable members have been driven out, praise be to our true selves!), a few remain who foolishly think that they have the purpose and meaning associated with the words that comprise them.

These unenlightened few are thus empowered to claim that our Officers who follow their feelings into true spiritual enlightenment are acting in opposition to their stated vows.  Although these few will have no real impact on the PC(USA)’s direction, they can cause unnecessary negative feelings (so unnecessary, recall our Most Woke Prophet’s definition of sin: “Being out of alignment with my values.”) in our Officers as they conform to the universe’s spiritual meta-force and history’s march to utopia.

The following sections will provide justification for the changes proposed to each individual Ordination Questing based on recent events and statements by PC(USA) governing bodies and elite leaders.

Question a.

a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him [them] Lord [your imaginary best friend] of all and Head of the Church [“amen” shouter to your feelings], and through him believe in one [some] God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit [or no God]?

Although the PC(USA) mustn’t totally abandon references to “Jesus Christ,” (after all, we want the credulous to think we’re still “Christian”) it’s absolutely clear from the set of same-gender marriage Rationales generated by our Presbyteries that this is just a perfunctory gesture.  What else can we conclude given that in over 24,000 words of Overture Rationale argumentation in support of same-gender marriage the PC(USA) Presbytery proponents did not once quote Jesus Christ?  The answer is obviously that he is not our “lord and savior” but rather an ancient guy who started a really cool movement.  But now we’re in charge, so we can use this dead and dust man to justify any and all of our Progressive ideas.

With regard to removal of the obsolete Trinitarian God idea, we are justified by that Very Woke Prophet from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago, the Rev. Shannon Kershner.  We quote from the March 7, 2018 Sun Times interview titled Prominent Presbyterian pastor: ‘God’s not a Christian . . . We are’.

Interviewer: Is Christianity the only way to get to heaven, if heaven exists?

Rev. Kershner: No!  God’s not a Christian, I mean we are.

So if “God’s not a Christian” then Jesus Christ can’t be the Second Person of the Christian Trinitarian God.  And if Jesus Christ is removed then the Trinity is dissolved and in its place can be any god that anyone wants to imagine!

With regard to the “or no God” phrase, the fact that the the Presbytery of the Cascades ordained an open atheist as a minister and the PC(USA) rewarded them with the honor of hosting the 222nd General Assembly, we can confidently infer that all need for a “god” in the PC(USA) has been erased!  Praise be to our true selves!

Question b.

b. Do you accept the [selected] Scriptures [and Gnostic Gospels] of the Old and New [New] Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit [ancient human myth-making], the unique [optional] and authoritative [occasionally useful] witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal [my inner self], and God’s [or nothing’s] Word [Gnosis] to you?

When the PC(USA) endorsed the “New New Testament” on their official denominational web site the clear signal was sent that the “Bible” is fair game to be ripped apart and reconstituted.  The “New New Testament” is a project by The Jesus Seminar to add ten Gnostic texts to the current New Testament!

The “star” of the Gnosticism-celebrating Presbyterian News Service article is the Exceedingly Woke Prophet 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 PC(USA) General Assembly elected the Rev. Reyes-Chow to be their Moderator.  A mere five years later this elite  PC(USA) leader enthusiastically participated in a group bent on creating a Gnostic “New New Testament,” that had significant overlap with members of the Jesus Seminar.  The Rev. Reyes-Chow remains as an honored Officer in the PC(USA), so we are completely justified in proposing expansion of the New Testament to include ten Gnostic books.

With regard to ejecting the Old Testament, isn’t the justification obvious?

To propose getting rid of the Old Testament as Christian Scripture seems extreme. But when I attended the Berlin conference, I came to see that Slenczka’s perspective is not as far-fetched or eccentric as I had imagined. In fairness, his proposal was raised, by his own admission, in a spirit of provocation. In that he succeeded. In the process, he exposed an unsettling reality. Some of the basic assumptions of modern biblical scholarship dovetail only too snugly with the basic assumption of modern systematic theology. Together, they make Slenczka’s rejection of the Old Testament as Christian Scripture frighteningly plausible. We’re culpably irresponsible if we don’t confront those assumptions.

We post-Christian PC(USA) leaders happily “confront these assumptions” and reject the Old Testament God as the Demiurge.

Our Rationale will be continued in the next post.

A Modest Overture to the 224th General Assembly (2a)

Presbytery-of Gaia

On Bringing Our Ordination Questions into the Post-Christian PC(USA) Era, from the Presbytery of Gaia

Overture

The Presbytery of Gaia respectfully overtures the 224th General Assembly (2020) to make the following changes to the Ordination Questions:

a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him [them] Lord [your imaginary best friend] of all and Head of the Church [“amen” shouter to your feelings], and through him believe in one [some] God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit [or no God]?

b. Do you accept the [selected] Scriptures [and Gnostic Gospels] of the Old and New [New] Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit [ancient human myth-making], the unique [optional] and authoritative [occasionally useful] witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal [my inner self], and God’s [or nothing’s] Word [Gnosis] to you?

c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed [Progressive] faith [tradition] as expressed in the confessions of our church [New York Times, Das Kapital, Rules for Radicals, Silent Spring, etc.] as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture [Progressivism] leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions [Progressive traditions] as you lead the people [comrades] of God [, or nothing]?

d. Will you fulfill your office in obedience to [your feelings about] Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture [your true self], and be continually guided by our confessions [Progressive traditions]?

e. Will you be governed by our church’s polity [central committee], and will you abide by its discipline? Will you be a friend among your colleagues in ministry [political activism], working with them, subject to the ordering of God’s Word [Progressive ideology]?

f. Will you in your own life seek to follow the Lord Jesus Christ [your authentic self], love your neighbors [unless they are orthodox Christians or otherwise deplorable], and work for the reconciliation [dictatorship] of the world [proletariat and/or favored identity groups]?

g. Do you promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church [Progressivism]?

h. Will you seek to serve the people [proletariat and/or favored identity groups] with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love [while driving out orthodox Christians or the otherwise deplorable]?

A new Book of Order that includes these updated Ordination Questions will be generated and distributed.  All current Officers will be required to renounce the previous Ordination Questions and affirm these updated questions.  Refusal to do so will be addressed first by use of a struggle session to correct the false thinking of the subject.  If the Officer continues refusal after the struggle session they will be declared to be an “orthodox Christian or otherwise deplorable” and driven out of the church.  All future Officers will be required to affirm these updated Ordination Questions.

In our following Rationale we will explain how recent events and statements by PC(USA) governing bodies and elite leaders have demonstrated how utterly obsolete these current questions have become.  In particular, we will show that they no longer accurately convey the spiritual, ideological or theological characteristics required for effective leadership in the PC(USA).

 

Clarity about What Divides Us: Biblical Authority

sola-scriptura

The Authority of Scripture

Every once in a while I come across a book or article that provides substantial clarification regarding those things that divide us.  One of these is an article published in Theology Matters by Robert P. Mills titled “The Priority of Authority: Holy Scripture and Human Sexuality.”  Rev. Mills openes his article by paraphrasing a common claim made by Progressive Christians that:

“We all agree on the authority of Scripture. We just disagree about interpretation.”

Rev. Mills’ contention is that this claim is false.  My own paraphrase of his position is that “Because we fundamentally disagree on the authority of Scripture we therefore also fundamentally disagree on its interpretation.”

Rev. Mills develops his argument in three areas, those being:

Part 1, Authority and Humanity, will discuss the nature of authority, contexts in which authority is exercised, the human need for authority both individually and collectively, and the decline of authority in Western culture.

Part 2, Authority and Scripture, will start with the doctrine of revelation then look at what the Bible says about authority. It will then consider the nature of Scripture’s authority, giving special attention to the loss of authority that has come with liberalism’s denial of God as the Author of Scripture, and to the loss of Christian community that has resulted from this denial.

Part 3, Authority and Interpretation, will explain why and how evangelical Christians can and must uphold the historic Christian understanding of the nature and function of authority in general and the authority of Scripture in particular. It will conclude with a constructive proposal for reuniting the authority of Scripture with the interpretation of Scripture, with specific reference to current conversations in mainline Protestant denominations concerning human sexuality.

It should go without saying that “you should read the whole thing.”  However, if this isn’t possible here are the key clarifying passages.

With regard to “Part 1: Authority and Humanity,” this quote well summarizes our contemporary situation.

The prevailing understanding of many in the mainline seems to be that the individual is the ultimate authority in any and all matters of faith and practice, whether the issue is the interpretation of Scripture or the ordination of church leaders. This is the flight Jeffrey Stout describes as being from authority to autonomy.

Yes, this is precisely the claim of ultimate personal autonomy that underlies Progressive Christian arguments.

With regard to “Part 2: Authority and Scripture,”  the following excerpt is of critical importance.

Anyone who has been even tangentially involved in discussions of Scripture with liberals recognizes that there are those in our congregations and denominations who refuse to recognize the authority of Scripture precisely because they refuse to recognize God as its author. There are those in positions of leadership in our congregations, governing bodies, denominations, and seminaries who quite casually declare that the Bible is entirely of human origin; that the Bible is a record of human efforts to reach out and touch “the divine” and that the Bible may not, indeed must not, be considered God’s revelation of himself to his human creation.

Calvin reminds us that Scripture is our authority for Christian faith and life because God is the ultimate author of Scripture. Scripture derives its authority from its author—God.

This is to where the Confession of 1967 pointed.  And we have arrived at the intended destination where each individual human is the authoritative interpreter of Scripture:

Deconstructionists dogmatically declare that any written work—whether a student essay, the U.S. Constitution, or the Bible—means only what the reader, never what the writer, thinks it means. As a result, any written work may have as many meanings as it has readers, even if the meanings are contradictory. Similarly, a single reader may assign a different meaning to a text every time he reads it.

With regard to “Part 3: Authority and Interpretation,” the Rev. Mills connects the crisis of Scriptural interpretation to the Progressive demand for ultimate personal autonomy.

By rigidly separating interpretation from revelation, liberalism attempts to relocate authority from God as the author of Scripture to each individual who reads Scripture. Uncritically accepting the deconstructionist dogma that there is no such thing as “authorial intent,” that it is impossible to convey an intended meaning to a reader, liberalism insists that there is no authority higher than the individual, which is, of course, the definition of autonomy.

Near the article’s end the Rev. Mills states the ultimate point of conflict that divides the Progressive (liberal) and orthodox camps.

Liberals cannot accept the authority of Scripture because it would supersede their authority to impose their views … To put it bluntly, if God is the ultimate authority, liberals are not. And for liberals openly to acknowledge that reality would be to acknowledge that the beliefs and practices they propose constitute a counterfeit Christianity.

The authority of Scripture and the interpretation of those passages of Scripture that deal with human sexuality cannot be separated. That is because the rejection of the authority of Scripture and the embrace of sexual behaviors that Scripture calls sin share the same root causes: the desire of individuals for ultimate autonomy; the consequent rejection of God’s authority as a constructive good; the willful yielding to the serpent’s temptation, “You will be like God.”

Can there be any greater proof of interpretation of Scripture from the position of ultimate human autonomy than the recent PCUSA debate on the definition of Christian Marriage?  In the 24,000+ words written in Rationales supporting same-gender marriage I find only three direct references to Scripture (i.e., text with chapter and verse) and Jesus Christ is not quoted even once. If actual Scripture is so utterly ignored then what is the nature of Rationale text in which Scripture is discussed? It is the authors telling us what they believe Scripture teaches, often in the most general and/or selective terms, without the slightest attempt at demonstration.  So completely have they internalized the idea of interpretation from human autonomy that they don’t even pretend that Scripture has authority over their opinions or beliefs.

The issue that now confronts us is fundamental to our identity as Christians saved and beloved by a sovereign Triune God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  To reject this God as Scripture’s Author and thus to remove Scripture’s authority from this God will lead only to despair and destruction.  If we fail to stand on this ground there will be no end to the apostasy we will be demanded to embrace, and to which we will eventually succumb.

The U.S. Christian Church in Crisis

us-flag-bible

religious-USThe United States will remain a Christian majority nation for the foreseeable future.  However the Pew Research Center predicts that over the forty years between 2010 and 2050 the proportion of Christians will fall from over three-fourths (78.3%) to barely two-thirds (66.4%).  Of this predicted 12 percentage point drop over 9 points will be due to the growth of “Unaffiliated” to more than a quarter of the nation’s population (from 16.4% to 26.6%).

However, it’s possible that the change in Christianity’s nature will dwarf its change in numbers.  Anyone who has been reading this blog can’t miss my documentation of the PCUSA’s transformation from a denomination that was recognizably Christian to one that is at best led by post-Christian if not pagans.  Of course many solid Christians and churches remain in the PCUSA, but they represent a shrinking minority.

Other Protestant denominations are also being challenged by the dominant secular culture. For example, the United Methodist Church is currently being riven by the same issues associated with gay ordination and marriage that split the PCUSA.

Another visible instance is the  Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran church in San Francisco CA. This church is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), a Mainline denomination that is in “full communion” with the PCUSA. This means that these denominations can share clergy and officially claim a “common calling.”   The following excerpt (misspelling not corrected) is one of many radical statements that have been pulled from the herchurch website. The photograph that accompanied this text is included, though the caption is by this author.

Goddess-Girl

This photograph from the herchurch web site shows a young lady (face hidden for privacy) holding a version of the neopagan Spiral Goddess among other non-Christian statues.

Embodying the Goddess

The liturgy, community and ministry of the congregation reflects diverse thealogical works and voices hoping to be a part of the prophetic voice of the divine feminine that will deconstruct Christianity and other patriarchal religions so that both a new paradigm and worldview may emerge that truly creates an egalitarian, just, society and eco-sensitivies that tend to mending the web of life.

Many Christians, even those who are a part of the progressive movement, often question the congregation’s Goddess focus. But more important are the voices of persons who had felt alienated and isolated by the church prior to learning about the work of herchurch. Pastor Stacy and the congregation who are embodying the Goddess are convinced that the nature of the sacred and divine presented in feminist-inclusive understandings can and will help facilitate a caring culture.

Perhaps the most radical denomination at this point is the Episcopal Church.  For example, “The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church”  preached a stunning sermon on Acts 16:16-2.  In it the Most Reverend Jefferts Schori commented thusly on the Apostle Paul’s exorcism of a demon possessed girl:

But Paul is annoyed, perhaps for being put in his place, and he responds by depriving her of her gift of spiritual awareness.  Paul can’t abide something he won’t see as beautiful or holy, so he tries to destroy it.  It gets him thrown in prison.  That’s pretty much where he’s put himself by his own refusal to recognize that she, too, shares in God’s nature, just as much as he does – maybe more so!

There you have it!  The concept of Christian inclusion means that a demon possessed girl’s spirituality is likely of a higher quality than that of the Apostle Paul’s!

Even the supposedly conservative Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has recently accepted “critical race theory and intersectionality” as “analytical tools” to be used in fostering racial reconciliation in the church. As discussed in this article excerpt, the resolution in question had been completely changed from one opposing these ideological tools to one in support and then rushed to a vote without due debate. This event should be a big Red Flag to orthodox Christians in the SBC.

In the original resolution, the language condemns critical race theory and intersectionality in no uncertain terms:

“critical race theory and intersectionality are founded upon unbiblical presuppositions descended from Marxist theories and categories, and therefore are inherently opposed to the Scriptures as the true center of Christian union…both critical race theory and intersectionality as ideologies have infiltrated some Southern Baptist churches and institutions—institutions funded by the Cooperative Program…critical race theory upholds postmodern relativistic understandings of truth and…divides humanity into groups of oppressors and oppressed, and is used to encourage biblical, transcendental truth claims to be considered suspect when communicated from groups labeled as oppressors.”

Clearly, all such condemnatory language was struck, and the “analytical tools” were held up and codified as “useful” by the committee so long as they were subordinate to the Bible. Put simply, Feinstein’s original resolution—condemning these philosophies—was transformed by the committee to endorse them.

Thus no Protestant Christian denomination is immune from this assault of deception, subversion and seduction.

The Catholic Church is experiencing an existential crisis in the area of sexual morality.  As state Attorney Generals have become more aggressive in pursuing sexually deviant Catholic clergy it has become undeniable that there has been a longstanding, wide and deep coverup of pederasty.  This scandal directly involves Catholic leaders at the top of the hierarchy.  Potentially even Pope Francis has been credibly implicated in the protection of criminal clergy to advance the coverup.  Unless the Catholic Church fundamentally reforms we could be heading for a crisis on the order of the Protestant Reformation.

Although most local churches operate outside direct influence of these issues, they are not immune from the same powerful cultural forces that have caused them.  Nor are these scandalous situations isolated from the rank and file.

These (and many other) examples indicate that the Western Christian Church is in a crisis.  In too many cases our leadership has become corrupt and heretical.  Too few pastors and parishioners are paying the attention necessary to understand what’s happening, let alone to create effective counter-strategies.

So, even if in 2050 two-thirds of Americans call themselves Christian, the content of that characterization may have so radically changed that it is unrecognizable to a Christian of 2019.

iBooks Publish Announcement: A Denomination’s Debacle

I have published my fourth eBook on iBooks.  If you have an iOS device then you can use this link to access.  If you do not use an iOS device, a PDF version can be found on my blog using this link.

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A Denomination’s Debacle

This book is an indictment of the leadership elite who have driven the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), or PCUSA, into an utter debacle.

The most visible aspect of this debacle is the unprecedented loss of membership and churches that occurred between 2011 and 2017. Over that time span the PCUSA experienced a net loss of 601,000 members and 1146 churches, which is almost 30% of its membership and almost 12% of its churches. But these numbers don’t capture the human cost in broken trust, lost faith and shattered relationships that has occurred behind the scenes.

What remains is a denomination dominated by a post-Christian elite who use their power to advance a social gospel that is virtually indistinguishable from the secular Progressive political project. To some readers this charge against the PCUSA leadership will seem to be not just extraordinary, but also unbelievable. This book contains the extraordinary evidence that justifies the charge.

Preface Excerpt

The reader may well ask why I feel compelled to tell this story. I do so for three reasons.

First, the elite denominational leadership has obtained this end under the cloak of purposeful deception. This deception is not found in their policy and theological positions. No, they have aggressively advanced their cause with general honesty. The deception is that they claim to have been doing so as a legitimate expression of orthodox Reformed Christianity. By so doing they have preyed with premeditation and malice upon the trust of the denomination’s parishioners. We will never recover from this spell unless the truth is exposed.

Second, there are still many faithful members and churches in the PCUSA. However, unless they fully understand the forces arrayed against them they will likely eventually succumb. Only if they understand that their presence in the denomination is as a light shining in the darkness can they be protected from the apostasy and heresy that surrounds them. That understanding is what sustained the Apostles and early Christians as they proclaimed the Gospel as isolated individuals and churches in the pagan Roman Empire. The challenge we face is far less extreme. Yet, if we prioritize the comfort and peace of our lives over our responsibilities as followers of Christ even the small courage required will elude us.

Finally, the forces that have corrupted the PCUSA act upon our general culture and thus are not unique to this denomination. Therefore, we can expect that other churches and denominations are struggling under the same theological onslaught as has laid the PCUSA low. Thus this book attempts to explain these forces and how a corrupt leadership can by deception and seduction smuggle false theology into an otherwise orthodox Christian fellowship.

Table of Contents

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PCUSA Proud of a Shameful Past (3)

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The public relations facade of a denomination led by a clique of hateful, violence approving Progressive radicals.

Commentary on the Contemporary Situation

This situation came to my attention through reception of promotional material associated with the PCUSA’s “Matthew 25” initiative.  As has become my custom, rather than stopping at the happy-face, virtue-signaling surface, I dug down into the details of the supporting documents and commentary.  It was here that I came across the PCUSA document (by The Presbyterian Mission Agency) titled Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community Antiracism Study Guides  that contains the discussion of past support for Angela Davis (see the first post in this series).  Further research uncovered the unmentioned support for the Black Panthers.

Even if we limit ourselves to Angela Davis the implications are shocking.  Here’s a summary of her beliefs and actions.

Davis’s continued presence is merely another reminder that the progressive left will tolerate the most odious characters as long as they seek “justice” for a favored cause — in this case Palestinians.

Just as Davis wasn’t merely a communist sympathizer but a champion of the most reprehensible Soviet regimes, she’s not merely a supporter of boycott, divestment, sanction’s Jewish boycotts but a champion of men like Marwan Barghouti, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades leader who coordinated suicide bombings targeting Jewish civilians.

Yet, somehow, Davis claimed to be “stunned” when, after objections from Holocaust remembrance organizations and other Jewish groups, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute recently rescinded their award that was meant to honor her. The incident spurred the usual suspects to say the usual things. Though most of defenses were predictably vacuous, the habit of ignoring her biography is also journalistic malpractice.

There could be an entire book written detailing Davis’s loathsome views and actions (Cathy Young has a good article here.) Still, it’s quite striking to see folks like TED talker Sally Kohn taking to Twitter to let her followers know that she stands with Davis because of her fight against the “prison industrial complex.” In the real world, Davis was an enthusiast supporter of the largest and most lethal prison system the world has ever known.

Davis was also a supporter of and involved with the Black Panthers (emphasis added).

Angela Yvonne Davis (born January 26, 1944) is an American political activist, academic scholar, and author. She emerged as a prominent counterculture activist and radical in the 1960s as a leader of the Communist Party USA, and had close relations with the Black Panther Party through her involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

This is the woman who the PCUSA chose to hold up as an example of Christian public engagement.  In so doing they abuse the trust of their members to deliver a fraudulent narrative that pushes the unsuspecting into collaboration with an ideology that they would never choose given sufficient knowledge.

However, when we add in the unmentioned but real and continuing support for the murderous, raping, racist Black Panther Party the situation becomes even more horrific. Look at the signs being held by the unsuspecting children placed at the front of the above pictured march.  I challenge you to explain how the PCUSA’s support for the Black Panthers and Angela Davis can be rationalized with the messages on these signs.  It can’t.

But this is how the radicals in control of our denomination paint a thin veneer of Christian respectability over the vile evil that underlies their initiatives.  These are “Christians” who fellow-travel with, if not outright support, murderous totalitarian ideologies and those in the secular sphere who promote them.

It is far past time that the remaining members in this denomination cease trusting these

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Our national leadership’s Chrisrian Potemkin village facade

leaders.  They are little more than minor political players who do the bidding of the secular radical Progressive movement.  By giving them our allegiance we are signing onto an agenda that, were its true purposes and beliefs known, would shock our Christian consciences.

By the way, you do now know much more about these purposes and beliefs.  However, as will be demonstrated in my forthcoming book (A Denomination’s Debacle), even this is only a small fraction of the theological corruption and ideological evil that exists behind the PCUSA national leadership’s Christian Potemkin village facade.

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Over 300 pages detailing the theological corruption and ideological evil of the PCUSA leadership.

PCUSA Proud of a Shameful Past (2)

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The Black Panthers: Murderers and rapists, supported and glorified by the PCUSA elite

The PCUSA’s Presbyterian Mission Agency has recently chosen to proclaim their pride in one of the most shameful acts of political action conducted by a Presbyterian denomination.  I’m here (and in the previous post) excerpting the section of my book, A Denomination’s Debacle, that discusses this appalling episode.

Supporting the Black Panthers and Angela Davis (Part 2)

Discussion

It’s difficult to convey the depths of depravity and outright evil associated with this support, but the following discussion at least scratches the surface.

The following excerpt summarizes Angela Davis’ career.

A Communist true believer, Davis became a Soviet propaganda icon as an American “political prisoner” in 1970, when she was charged with murder for her alleged role in a deadly courthouse attack intended to free three members of the Black Panthers. … After her acquittal, she made a triumphant tour of Communist countries, received honors and prizes, and pointedly refused to speak up for Eastern-bloc political prisoners, even those who were Communist reformers. She did not leave the slavishly pro-Soviet Communist Party USA until 1991 when the USSR was about to collapse.

Although her acquittal may have at the time appeared to justify the UPUSA’s support, their support of the Black Panthers remains a vile stain on thats denomination’s leadership.

A good summary of the Black Panther’s ideology and violence can be found at the History News Network.

The American Black Panthers were probably the most violently racist of all the black groups in the United States. It was founded in 1966 and its leaders promoted their organisation as one which advocated self-help and keeping drugs out of black communities across the United States. The original philosophy behind the Panthers combined militant black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism (later Mao Zedong and Ho Chi Minh would inspire them) and advocated black empowerment and self – defense, often through confrontation. During its heyday, members of the Black Panthers murdered more than a dozen law-enforcement officers. Today, former Panthers Eddie Conway, Mumia Abu-Jamal, H. Rap Brown, Ed Poindexter and David Rice are serving life sentences.

Lest you come to the false conclusion that the Black Panthers only murdered police, the following excerpt from a review of The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution contains a partial description of other crimes.

Further, the movie makes no mention of his [Huey Newton] other murders. These include his involvement in the slaying of Panther Party secretary Betty Van Patter and of teenager Kathleen Smith. Newton also confessed to committing the Smith murder and was indicted, though he then fled to Cuba to avoid prosecution. Nonetheless, prior to running off, Newton sent henchmen to kill witness Crystal Gray. When his lieutenants failed in that plot, Newton decided to cover his tracks by arranging for Panther member Nelson Malloy to be fired upon, then buried alive. When Malloy managed to survive, he identified Newton for his role as the planner and organizer of his attempted murder.

If you have the stomach for it, here in his own words is an excerpt from Soul on Ice (published in 1968) by Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver.

‘I became a rapist. To refine my technique and modus operandi, I started out by practicing on black girls in the ghetto — in the black ghetto where dark and vicious deeds appear not as aberrations or deviations from the norm, but as part of the sufficiency of the Evil of the day — and when I considered myself smooth enough, I crossed the tracks and sought out white prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically — though looking back I see that I was in a frantic, wild and completely abandoned frame of mind.

Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the white man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women — and this point, I believe, was the most satisfying to me because I was very resentful over the historical fact of how the white man has used the black woman. I felt I was getting revenge.

Note well, this book was published two years before the UPUSA decided to contribute $25,000 to the Black Panthers.  I simply ask, how was it that members of a murderous domestic terrorist organization could be supported by a Christian denomination?  This support occurred both in 1970 by the UPUSA and in 2011 by the PCUSA.  In 1970 there was easily available information about the Panther’s evil, and in 2011 that information had been on the public record for over 40 years.  In both cases not only was their violence and cruelty overlooked, but they were actually celebrated as making positive contributions to society.

In his essay, “Black Murder Inc.” David Horowitz (who collaborated with the Black Panthers before breaking with them over the murder of Betty Van Patter) explains why Progressive organizations, most definitely including some Christian denominations behaved in this manner.

The existence of a Murder Incorporated in the heart of the American left is something the left really doesn’t want to know or think about. Such knowledge would refute its most cherished self-understandings and beliefs. It would undermine the sense of righteous indignation that is the crucial starting point of a progressive attitude. It would explode the myths on which the attitude depends.

It is this radical leadership clique within which the PCUSA that continues to operate as a small appendage to the secular, radical Progressive political movement.  Although most (but not all) of their actions don’t rise to the murderous level of supporting the Black Panthers, they are unified by a hatred of the United States and a determination to undermine its civilizational confidence.  They are also united by the unmerited sanctimony of a self-identified elite class who never need repent of or even acknowledge their moral faults, or take responsibility for the disastrous failure of their supported policies.

PCUSA Proud of a Shameful Past (1)

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The PCUSA gives thanks to God for The Black Panther Party (“self-defense” = murder)

The PCUSA’s Presbyterian Mission Agency has recently chosen to proclaim their pride in one of the most shameful acts of political action conducted by a Presbyterian denomination.  I’m here (and in the next post) excerpting the section of my book, A Denomination’s Debacle, that discusses this appalling episode.

Supporting the Black Panthers and Angela Davis (Part 1)

Background

The Presbyterian Church has been a hotbed of radical Progressive political action from well before the PCUSA was created in 1983.  Perhaps the most notorious example is the decision by the United Presbyterian Church (UPUSA) to financially and morally support the Black Panthers and Angela Davis.  A brief summary of this pre-PCUSA scandal follows (emphasis added).

In 1970 and 1971 the UPUSA gave $25,000 to defend the Black Panthers and $10,000 to the Angela Davis Defense Fund. These and other similar gifts brought a storm of protest from thousands of church members but the 1971 UPUSA General Assembly defended the gifts and refused to criticize the agency which made them.

In 2011 the PCUSA, in a Presbyterian Peacemaking Program liturgy, gave thanks to God for the Black Panthers, mentioning two of their most notorious members by name.

For Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and the youth and young adults of the Black Panther Party, who emphasized the need for self-defense, and instituted community programs to address poverty and to provide health care in communities of need; 

The UPUSA support resurfaced in a 2019 PCUSA document (by The Presbyterian Mission Agency) titled Facing Racism: A Vision of the Intercultural Community Antiracism Study Guides.  In this document the PCUSA brags about this event, claiming it as an inspirational example of Christian political activism (emphasis added).

The strength of this commitment to diversity and fairness was soon tested. In 1970 the Council on Church and Race approved a $10,000 grant to the Angela Davis Defense Fund. Angela Davis, Ph.D. was a black faculty member at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). She was also a political activist, leader of the Communist Party USA, and affiliated with the Black Panther Party, a highly controversial black activist group in the 1960s and 70s. Dr. Davis was arrested for conspiracy relating to the armed takeover of a California county courtroom by the Black Panther Party that resulted in four deaths. The Angela Davis case was a vortex of social dissent for the denomination. Many saw Angela Davis as the antithesis of traditional American values and they were enraged that the church would be sympathetic to her and supportive of her defense. They petitioned the General Assembly to reverse the Council’s decision. 

In its response the Council stated, “The General Assembly, by establishment of a Council on Church and Race, has challenged Presbyterians to a more radical posture in the struggle for social justice and world peace than many American citizens care to assume. The call to Presbyterians to support those who conscientiously practice civil disobedience under extreme injustice, the call to bear witness for peace in international relations, ‘and, in its own life, to practice the forgiveness of enemies,’ (Book of Confessions, 9.45) all break with the conventional righteousness and mark our Church as a voice crying in the wilderness of moral complacency and chauvinism, ‘Prepare ye the way of the Lord!’” (Minutes, 24 May 1972, p. 994). 

Note that while the Presbyterian Mission Agency highlights their support of Angela Davis, they fail to mention their larger financial support of the Black Panthers.  The reason behind this omission will become clear from the following discussion of the Black Panther’s history, particularly as related to the timeframe in which the UPUSA provided their moral and financial support.

The Disappearing PCUSA: 2018 Data (5)

Explaining How Existing Members and Churches were Driven Out of the PCUSA

Note: This is an unusually long post, but by necessity to explain this root cause of the PCUSA’s debacle.

It appears that a few years of surface quiet were experienced between 2002 and 2006.  However, behind the scenes the PCUSA national leadership must have been preparing for the coup that occurred at the 2006 General Assembly.  An informative report by David and Tim Bayly on this event follows.

Even more troubling to us is the approval of the so-called Peace, Unity, and Purity (PUP) Report, which, for the first time in our denomination’s history, allows local congregations and regional governing bodies to ordain as ministers, elders, and deacons people who refuse to accept or obey requirements for ordination established by the denomination’s constitution, if they convince the ordaining body that they can nonetheless serve. While this refusal to comply may apply to any requirement, the issue has been primarily focused on and driven by the question of ordaining practicing and unrepentant homosexual candidates…

A number of years ago our denomination’s constitution was amended to limit ordination to those who are faithful in marriage, which is between one man and one woman, or chaste in singleness. This wording was approved by a majority of the regional bodies, and re-approved twice by larger majorities each time. At the time it was added it was not a new limitation, but made explicit an understanding that had historically been practiced within the denomination (and for that matter in nearly all Christian denominations).

What made the PUP Report unconscionable was that it amends the denominational constitution by an unconstitutional process. It by-passed the regional bodies whose approval is required by the constitution itself. It is as though the U. S. Constitution were to be amended by a simple majority vote of Congress, by-passing the states. Advocates of the ordination of ineligible people, unable to change the constitution, proposed to “interpret” it by altering the meaning of the phrase “shall not” so that it from now on it means “may.” A prohibition was changed by interpretation into permission, because the advocates of change could not muster the votes to pass an amendment.

Lest you assume that this is a biased report, here is a contemporaneous report on the same General Assembly by NBC News. 

Like other mainline Protestant groups, Presbyterians have been debating for decades how they should interpret Scripture on salvation, truth, sexuality and other issues.

But tensions erupted after a June 2006 meeting, when delegates granted new leeway in some cases for congregations and regional presbyteries to sidestep a church requirement that clergy and lay officers limit sex to man-woman marriage.

The “delegates” in this quote are those to the General Assembly.  Thus, it is the General Assembly, acting alone, that granted the “new leeway” to local congregations and Presbyteries.

The General Assembly continued down the path of democratic nullification in 2008, where numerous additional steps were taken.  This article lays out what occurred.

… the denomination then turned to the issue of standards for ordination. The language to be replaced requires that all ministers of the church must live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” That language, consistent with Scripture and Christian tradition, is to be replaced with a new standard that would require nothing at all with reference to sexual integrity.  The new wording would read:

“Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation, pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation and establishes the candidate’s sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.”

The proposed amendment to the standards now moves to the denomination’s 173 regional units (presbyteries) where it must receive sufficient support. Similar efforts have failed in the past, but many believe that this proposal will be difficult to defeat. The defection of many conservatives from the denomination (and some churches as well) may weaken the opposition.

Nevertheless, even without the change in the standard, local presbyteries may well move to ordain active homosexuals anyway. The Associated Press explains how:

“Of equal importance to advocates on both side of the debate, the assembly also voted to allow gay and lesbian candidates for ordination to conscientiously object to the existing standard. Local presbyteries and church councils that approve ordinations would consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.

That vote was an “an authoritative interpretation” of the church constitution rather than a change to it, so it goes into effect immediately. The interpretation supersedes a ruling from the church’s high court, issued in February, that said there were no exceptions to the so-called “fidelity and chastity” requirement.”

The “standards for ordination” change would require further action by the next General Assembly to be fully accepted.  The “authoritative interpretation” did not requite Presbytery approval to go into effect.  Thus, “consent of the governed” had been in effect nullified.  That is, regardless of how the Presbyteries voted, the PCUSA had enabled ordination of practicing homosexuals.

By these General Assembly actions the PCUSA was flipped from a denomination that rejected demands to align theology and policy with contemporary sexual liberation ideology to one that had lost it’s will to resist.  This result was obtained by two distinct but related mechanisms, those being:

  1. by making it absolutely clear that the demanded policies would be implemented by illegitimate means, it encouraged those members and churches who formed the core of the resistance to leave the denomination
  2. those in opposition who still remained were so demoralized that many gave up and retreated into passivity.

Thus, between 2008 and 2011 the Progressive camp was able to achieve their demanded ends in a denomination that had effectively resisted them for decades.

As explicit standards on blocking homosexual ordination [are] starting to disappear, the General Assembly finally voted to approve of the ordination of … gays and lesbians on July 8, 2010 by a vote of 373 to 323. This new amendment was ratified on May 10, 2011. Approximately 19 presbyteries that voted against the issue in 2008-2009 switched to “yes” votes, including conservative areas, like northern Alabama. Some that resisted the issue in the past felt that gay/lesbian ordination was “inevitable” in any case. 

The approval of gay/lesbian ordination upset conservative members, with some leaving to join more conservative denominations, like the Evangelical Covenant Order of Presbyterians, which formed less than year after the new amendment was ratified.

This is political nullification posing as a legitimate process.  Once this coup became successful it was virtually certain that Progressives would achieve dominance as orthodox members and churches fled what had become an overtly corrupt denomination.

Note in the following figure that it is after 2006 that the number of members and churches exiting the denomination began to significantly increase.  Were our leadership not corrupt (or utterly incompetent, a perhaps more charitable but unlikely explanation) they would have easily recognized that the denomination was nearing a debacle between 2006 and 2011.

However, they likely viewed this situation as positive since it guaranteed eventual Progressive political dominance.  What we know for certain is that they used the diminishing presence of orthodox Christians to obtain approval of gay ordination in 2010, thus driving the denomination from danger into outright debacle.

Debacle-Data-Print

Stages of the Debacle:  In the General Decline period membership loss was increasing but few if any churches were dismissed.  In the Danger Warning period membership continued to decrease but now churches were being dismissed at a much higher rate.  In the Debacle period both membership and dismissed churches went off a cliff and remained at unprecedented levels.

The current Progressive leadership doesn’t want us to know about these dirty dealings.  While they may avoid accountability they shouldn’t be allowed to avoid the shame of their conduct.