The Kumbaya Christians (1)

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One of the many distressing revelations during this COVID-19 crisis is the exposure of what I’ll call the “Kumbaya Christians.”  My use of this term is not intended to denigrate the song Kumbaya My Lord, which is a sweet, lovely expression of Christian faith.  But it is an expression of only one dimension of the faith.  If we examine God’s Word with an open mind and seeking soul we will find many other dimensions to the expression of our faith, including righteous anger and forceful action.

My first clue of something amiss occurred when Christian leaders in states where religious services were deemed to be “nonessential” accepted this secular governmental pronouncement with utter passivity.  One can understand how, under what then looked like the threat of mass death a church would accept temporary limitations on its operations.  But when the lockdowns extended from a “couple of weeks” to open ended months one might expect some sort of pushback.  For some denominations this has indeed occurred, (e.g., the Catholics and Lutherans).  But for others the craven, passive acceptance of their status has been on full public display, (e.g., the Presbytery of Chicago).

The pathetic nature of this passivity is magnified by observation of those institutions which the state has deemed to be “essential.”  In my state of Illinois churches were deemed to be “nonessential” until May 1 when Governor Pritzker, under legal pressure, changed that designation to “essential.”  But the change was completely cosmetic.

But any religious gathering must be limited to a maximum of 10 people

So, what organizations have been operating as “essential” in Illinois?  Here are some of them.

I regularly go to grocery and other stores where there are dozens of customers milling about without enforced social distancing restrictions.  But for our churches the limit is still 10 people, which prevents even small religious gatherings.  One would also think that a Christian church would burn with anger at the thought that their operations had been deemed to be “nonessential” while those of abortion clinics and pot dispensaries are “essential.”

This pitiful position is papered over by the claim that to meet in person for virtually any Christian purpose could cause “even one person” to catch COVID-19.  Apparently there are no real countervailing goods provided by Christian worship and fellowship that balance this risk.  Apparently there are no practical precautions that could address this risk while also allowing in person Christian worship and fellowship.  There certainly apparently are countervailing goods for sustenance of our bodies, upkeep of our homes, killing of our unborn (or unwanted born) children and getting high on pot.  But sustenance of our souls through proclamation of the Gospel, sharing of the Sacraments and Christian fellowship, well no.

And so we have retreated into Facebook church services and Zoom fellowship, with no end in sight.  Some Churches will passively submit to the arbitrary and capricious orders of our Governors for any length of time that these secular rulers deem fit.  Even when other Churches rise up in opposition or when the Department of Justice begins to oppose religious discrimination in lockdown orders some will remain defiantly submissive.

Welcome to the world of Kumbaya Christianity.

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.

Next Stage Progressive Christianity

Union-Christless

You simply can’t make up “Christian” theological satire that stays ahead of reality.

Statements by Union Theological Seminary (New York, NY)

Union-Plants“Today in chapel, we confessed to plants,” the nation’s oldest independent seminary declared Tuesday on Twitter. “Together, we held our grief, joy, regret, hope, guilt and sorrow in prayer; offering them to the beings who sustain us but whose gift we too often fail to honor. What do you confess to the plants in your life?”  …

“We’ve had many questions about yesterday’s chapel” … “In worship, our community confessed the harm we’ve done to plants, speaking directly in repentance. This is a beautiful ritual.”  …

“We are in the throes of a climate emergency, a crisis created by humanity’s arrogance, our disregard for Creation” … “Far too often, we see the natural world only as resources to be extracted for our use, not divinely created in their own right—worthy of honor, thanks and care. We need to unlearn habits of sin and death. And part of that work must be building new bridges to the natural world. And that means creating new spiritual and intellectual frameworks by which we understand and relate to the plants and animals with whom we share the planet.”  …

“No one would have blinked if our chapel featured students apologizing to each other” … “What’s different (and the source of so much derision) is that we’re treating plants as fully created beings, divine Creation in its own right—not just something to be consumed. Because plants aren’t capable of verbal response, does that mean we shouldn’t engage with them? So, if you’re poking fun, we’d ask only that you also spend a couple moments asking: Do I treat plants and animals as divinely created beings?” …

“Union Theological Seminary is grounded in the Christian tradition, and at the same time deeply committed to inter-religious engagement. Union’s daily chapel is, by design, a place where people from all the wondrous faith traditions at Union can express their beliefs. And, given the incredible diversity of our community, that means worship looks different every day!”

The Good:

Affiliated with neighboring Columbia University in Upper Manhattan, Union became the nation’s first independent seminary in 1893 when it sundered from the Presbyterian Church …

Whew! Not Presbyterian!

The Bad:

Union Theological Seminary is very influential in Progressive Christianity, the theology that dominates the PCUSA’s leadership.

The Ugly:

Progressive theology ends up with a “Christless” Christianity regardless of if it is at an independent seminary of at the top leadership level of the PCUSA.

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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Taking Stock at the 500th Post

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General Comments

So here I am writing the 500th post on this blog!  The first post is dated November 25, 2014 and titled “Opening Thoughts.”  My first paragraph is:

This blog will focus on my sense of sojourning through a foreign land as an orthodox, Reformed Christian.  This sense has been a longstanding one with regard to the popular culture here in the United States. I am by no means isolated from this country’s entertainment, political and business cultures.  In fact, I am an active participant in them all.  Though many aspects of these cultures are troubling, I am accustomed to dealing with the challenges and benefits that they provide.

Looking back 499 posts later I’m reasonably comfortable with my adherence to this framework.  That being the responses of an orthodox Reformed Christian to a wide variety of issues within the United States.

I am shocked by the speed that this “foreign land” has expanded over these mere four and a half years.  At the start my sense of alienation was clear but not central. Now I find myself fundamentally alienated from my Christian denomination, the culture and the political environment.  Therefore this blog has transformed from one  centered on exploration to one focused on identifying and exposing the myriad of insane ideas that are driving our civilization towards destruction.

Thus what began as an exploration focused on the PCUSA has expanded into areas such as environmentalism, philosophy, economic systems, politics, heresy, literature, abortion and anti-Semitism, among many others.  I have published three eBooks, all focused on topical issues addressed through Biblical exposition and meditation.  Most recently I have added satire as a means of communicating my concerns.

I have identified the prime driver of civilizational destruction to be Progressive ideology as practiced by both secular and religious institutions.  Therefore I have focused strongly on a critique of this ideology’s foundations, strategies and results.  Some of the major themes of this critique are:

I’ve also attempted to understand and then explain the philosophical underpinnings of the Progressive project (e.g., postmodernism, nihilism, Marxism, multiculturalism, intersectionality, pacifism, Gnosticism, identity, etc.).  My goal is to enhance our ability to counter their positions and to unmask the shocking evil that hides beneath that wafer-thin veneer of moral and intellectual posturing (many people who parrot the Progressive ideology have no idea what they are actually supporting).

Although I have expanded my scope far beyond the PCUSA, I still maintain a regular focus on this my denomination. The only way that I can maintain my Christian conscience is by a posture of opposition and rejection.  Yes, there remain many faithful pastors, elders, deacons and members in the denomination.  However, the theology and behavior of the dominant Progressive leadership has been so outrageously apostate and dishonorable that to remain silent is tantamount to support.  My voice is small, yet I will not choose silence.  So, as long as I’m in this denomination I will speak out as necessary.

I’m currently working on a new eBook provisionally titled A Denomination’s Debacle.  The book pulls together much of the PCUSA information and associated commentary from this blog with the addition of new material to fill-out the story.  It’s currently over 300 pages long, which is almost twice the length of my previous longest eBook.  It troubles me that through exclusive use of publicly available information such a substantial case for the PCUSA elite’s apostasy and corruption can be made.

the-truth-about-truth-a-nietzsche-feature-darwin-festival-version-3-638The “God is Dead” Christian Elite

Throughout this blog’s existence I have occasionally paused to discuss why our elite Christian leadership believes and behaves as it does.  Along these lines I have explored postmodern Christianity, the Social Gospel, Gnosticism and raw power politics, among others.  However, identification of a single unifying principle for this phenomena has to this point eluded me.

Perhaps the foundational principle is that these “Christian” elites agree with Nietzsche that belief in “God” as a reality upon which Western Civilization can base its religious/moral world view, “is dead.”  Let’s think through the consequences of this hypothesis.

Let’s say that you are a pastor or elder who has personally lost faith in the Christian God (or any god for that matter). And, you find that there are many others in the church who hold similar views.  So, you all find yourselves in an organization (i.e., the church) whose fundamental reason for existing has, in your opinion, vanished.  Yet the church has many remaining members and wields moral power in the civilization.  What then to do?

Well, you could work to dissolve the church by openly arguing that it has become obsolete and useless.  However, given that tens of millions still (foolishly in your opinion) believe in God’s existence you would likely fail and be expelled.  Therefore you would have to create a new organization to advance your philosophy.  That’s a very heavy lift with a small likelihood of success.  Far better to remain in the church but work for its transformation into an institution that does “social good.”

Of course, if “God is dead” and the Bible is thus null and void, how to find the social good to pursue?  The answer was found in the most aggressive, organized and presumptive human ideology supposedly pursuing the “social good,” that being what we now call Progressivism (which has its roots in Marxism, as contemporary Progressives are finally admitting).  Thus the elite Christian leadership of Mainline Denominations turned their churches from the Gospel of Jesus Christ to “the gospel of social change and justice” as defined by the secular Progressive political project.

chasmFor decades this stealth-coup was hidden behind multiple complex theological smoke screens that orthodox Christians had great difficulty penetrating.  However, with the advent of gay ordination and marriage the chasm between orthodoxy and heterodoxy became so vast that no amount of smoke could obscure it.  Thus we have seen the parting of ways where so many orthodox members and churches have exited.

Yet some orthodox members and churches have so far decided to remain.  If they do so with the clear understanding that they are missionaries to a now pagan, post-Christian denomination then perhaps they can successfully maintain their orthodox Christian identity.

However, if they pretend that they remain part of a “Christian” denomination then they will almost certainly be eventually converted and then absorbed.  This will occur because they grant legitimacy to the denomination’s dominant post-Christian ideology and thus will increasingly fall prey to its influence.  If that be their end then they have no excuse, for they have been warned and their consciences will testify against them at the time of accounting.

The Problem of Righteousness (5)

self-righteousness-consigns

The “it” here is self-righteousness, Christian or otherwise.

The Self-Righteousness Compulsion (1)

The destruction and despair to which self-righteousness leads is not limited to the Christian experience.  However, it is particularly tragic that Christianity as practiced in the West has been so completely consumed by this false doctrine.  Could Jesus Christ have been any more direct on this point than in the following parable.

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The Pharisee and the tax collector…the self-righteous and the Christ imputed-righteous, respectively.

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.  I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Luke 18:9-14 (NIV)

Does this Parable of Christ not embody the “rejection, isolation and condemnation” of this post’s top image?  The Pharisee “stood by himself” in splendid moral isolation; from which position he spewed condemnation on everyone else in general and the tax collector in particular.  The result was rejection by God Himself!  And yet, even Christian denominations theoretically founded on Reformed theology are dominated by self-righteous leaders and laity.  This is to say nothing of the rampant self-righteousness in our secular culture used to seek raw power over others.

Let’s stop kidding ourselves.  Self-righteousness is an unavoidable compulsion caused by our fallen state of sin.  I am guilty of it, you are guilty of it.  We all are guilty of it.  But there is something at work in our contemporary Western culture that has supercharged this compulsion to create a particularly powerful weapon of destruction.

I believe that this self-righteousness supercharger has two primary components, those being:

  1. The osmosis of postmodernism from the universities into our general political, educational, legal, media and cultural institutions;
  2. The power of social media to enable easy creation of “social justice” mobs that can in just a few days destroy the character and livelihood of their targets.

I will discuss these two components in the next post.