Saturday, November 03, 2007

New Wineskins Reflections

First, I want to thank the good Presbyterians of Cuero, TX. Your benevolence towards me will not be forgotten. It was such a time of refreshing and reconnecting with my call to the ministry of the Word that I can hardly express my gratitude. It was also good to meet your pastor and so many other blogging friends. I was able to pray with them, break bread with them, and smoke with them!

Second, I want to thank Gerrit Dawson for submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit in departing from his assigned text to focus on John 18. I believe God spoke encouragement directly to my presbytery situation through that text (see around time sig 48:00). It was also exactly my experience in seminary (and here).

Third, John Shuck has started blogging about New Wineskins. Great. He says that when representative bodies decide on taking an action, then we should accept that action and obey its mandates* even if we disagree (and choose to work for change). I think it's the height of irony that a man who endorses those in willful direct violation of our constitutional standards should turn around and tell the Reformed Evangelicals of our denomination to tow the line or lose your property. Ironic...but far from surprising.
* "I think it is great that you advocate for change. I do, too. We have the best process available to enact change. Whether or not people agree or disagree with the Theological Task Force report or whatever, it was passed by a representative body. It is very different to work for change and go with the process even when your vote is not in the majority from not getting your way and then trashing the place on your way out."

Friday, November 02, 2007

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence meet the Congregation of Unending Tolerance

Because what happens in one part of the body effects the rest, I offer a link to some excellent commentary on the unfolding tragedy in the Roman Catholic and Episcopal Churches. This has also been an issue I've discussed with other Candidates under care of the PCUSA. Unfortunately, it was largely an exercise in missing the point.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Making a Run for the Border

This is not a post about illegal aliens crossing a sovereign nation's borders.

Rather, this is about muddle-headed officers of the PCUSA who don't seem to understand what the Bible teaches about God and the "limits" of what we can say about him.

A God without boundaries is a "god" who can be both for the oppression of people and against the oppression of people.

To say that God is without boundaries is to make God a piece of putty with which we can do whatsoever we desire. The true and living God says that WE are the clay...not Him.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Scripture or Schism?

A recent pastoral letter was sent from the Holy See...er....OGA that assured presbyteries that they should act punitivel...er...pastorally to those who find themselves under the teaching of "schismatics" like those right-wing woman-hatin' NWACs. As always, there's so much to learn about the faithfulness of our demonimation (just don't lay the white-wash on too thick or the fragile exterior might crumble).

The Office of Theology and Worship (whom I deeply respect and, in fact, interned for) was asked to write a response to the charge of apostasy. It reiterated Calvin's concern over the major heads of doctrine being agreed upon ("God is one; Christ is God and the Son of God; our salvation rests in God’s mercy; and the like"). While it didn't expand on those, it is sufficient to note that Presbyterian ministers can routinely deny even the doctrines mentioned and still maintain their credentials / posts as teaching elders. More helpful is how they flesh out a basis for deductive reasoning which leads one to say, "you should leave this particular church / institution" on pages 6ƒ.

On pages 890-891 of his A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, Robert Reymond gives a specific line of reasoning to deduce a singular reason for separation: "separation from one's church or denomination is appropriate if it will not discipline heretics." This conclusion is reached by the following line of reasoning:
  1. Elders are charged to guard the church by guarding the truth
  2. Apostates and heretics ought to leave the church
  3. Unrepentent heretics who do not leave the church should be disciplined
  4. Churches that will not discipline heretics become apostate
And the 4th point is painfully problematic in the PCUSA.