Friday, June 27, 2008

If you can't beat'em, join'em

Well...it looks like it's time to join the Covenant Network. I think conservative Presbyterians should rush in droves to join the Covenant Network. Here's the link to the Covenant Network that discouraged PCUSA Presbyterians need to join.

25 comments:

Toby Brown said...

Looks like it.

Where's my old Witherspoon Society card....

Drew said...

Already there with ya ;-)

Drew said...

Oops wrong network methinks. I think I may have confused it with Covenant Presbyterians.

Chris said...

Drew,

You did follow the link...right?

Chris said...

Drew,

These are Presbyterians who are VERY serious about the covenant.

Or did you have it mistaken with those posers putting the Coven in Covenant Network?

I Was Just Thinking.... said...

Laughing out loud at previous comment....

need to laugh today...

Drew said...

Amusing. Nope. This org here. Rather serious about the notion of covenant as well.

Identity Mixed said...

You posted on my blog. Obviously, you have not read my beliefs.

Chris said...

No...I've read'em. I just saw you exulting in the GA's decision.

Is this the point where I put an "obviously you haven't read the Bible" snark?

Reformed Catholic said...

Chris,

I think a few people were put off by the rainbow over the world on the main page.

Looks interesting, trouble is will they accept conservative women ministers ??

Drew said...

"Is this the point where I put an "obviously you haven't read the Bible" snark?"

Snark would be right. And that kind of reaction is unhelpful at best. Ad hominems should be excused from any discussion right off.

And I can actually probably vouch for her that she has read it cover to cover at least twice with sufficient schooling and a consistent dedication of PCUSA experience and service both domestic and abroad.

Juvenile and ad hominem reactions are unhelpful and rather un-Christian so for the sake of the body of Christ let's act according to what Paul instructed the church in Corinth NOT to do in his first epistle to them.

Chris said...

Drew,

I agree whole heartedly. Let's get right back to obeying Paul's advice on unity in 1 Corinthians. Let me suggest two chapters that can help us out: chapter 5 about expelling unrepentant sexually immoral persons (and please note the folks who were rejoicing in such wickedness!); chapter 6 says not to take people to settle disputes in the courts, but rather be willing to lose than to slander the gospel in public. (Ch. 6 also concludes with another rejoinder to flee sexual immorality.)

Please note: there would probably be no disputes headed to court if ch. 5 had been consistently followed...

Drew said...

Let's start with all the divorcees since that is clearly more of an issue that ought to be addressed in Scripture. And therefore let's also expel all of the bastard children.

I must have missed my excommunication lesson in church polity too, so let's re-write the Book of Order. Premarital sex? Gone too. Since we are on Chapter 5 - gamble on your fantasy football team? Gone. Happen to save that Swimsuit Issue or hide it from your wife? Gone. Been greedy lately? Kept too much money for yourself and boasted about it? Gone. Alcoholics? Right out. AA should not be allowed in church basements either since all they talk about is a "higher power". Bunch of pagans. That's idolatry after all. And we know how we should treat idolaters too according to Paul in chapter 5. I want to be as literal as possible with it too so we don't screw it up again.

Let's get rid of them all Chris. Then we can turn our bible pages a little further and see how Paul backtracked on 1 Cor. in the apologetic tone of 2 Cor.:

5If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. 6The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. 7Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. 9The reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 10If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, 11in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

But yeah, let's expel all of the unrepentant people first.

Hey, here is an idea. Let's do it with little forgiveness cards people can purchase with 10% of their yearly income. That would deal with the greed issue too! Good thinking brother. You are on to something.

Identity Mixed said...

No, I've read the bible. Undergrad was in Religion. My masters was in counseling. And I just believe we are to love others.

Thanks for the snarky comment though.

Chris said...

Identity: What does that mean? Everybody talks about love love love. I love my wife. I love my kids. I love pizza. I love blogging. Obviously, "love" has lots of meaning. So please, tell me what "I just believe we are to love others" means - especially in the religious context in which we are disputing.

Chris said...

Drew,

I don't give a whoop about the PCUSA's Book of (dis)Order anymore. Heck...the denomination quit caring about it years ago. What I care about are Biblical Standards for office in the Church and for the godly upbuilding (including discipline) of her members.

Please read 1 & 2 Corinthians again and see that Paul responds to both their laxity and their harshness. The initial symptom is that their laxity was making them a laughing stock to their pagan neighbors. Their second symptom is that their discipline process doesn't recognize repentance. In both cases, the root problem is an inability to deal with the fact of forgiveness. They feel they can't forgive, so they have to excuse. Once Paul calls them out on that, they feel they can't forgive so they have to condemn. This happens when you don't believe that Jesus died for your sins and was raised for your justification. Do you know any PCUSA churches out there headed by leaders who mock the resurrection? I do!

You said: "But yeah, let's expel all of the unrepentant people first."

And the problem with that is....? Here's an idea for starters: Let's try not ordaining the unrepentant, first. Leaders are set to a higher standard, so they should expect to be broken over their sin. God knows I get that way - and I get broken over how callous I can be towards my own sins, too. I'm not a saint (except in the Ephesians sort of way)...but I do my best to be honest about being a sinner. And that starts with agreeing that when the Bible calls it sin, it is sin.

Drew said...

If you don't give a whoop about the Book of Order go away. Seriously. It's the constitution of the denomination. Not giving a whoop about it is clearly not in order. It seems that you have found irreconcilable differences for yourself. Shame really.

Doug Hagler said...

How about "If you can't beat 'em, stop treating it like a fight and start treating them like brothers and sisters in Christ."

Or "If you can't beat 'em, stop imagining you are infallible."

Or "If you can't beat 'em, trust that God will beat 'em, if that is what God actually desires - that they be beaten."

Or "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em in something you can agree on and in the meantime, march onward conservative soldier."

Drew:

Keep trying, man. Keep trying.

Chris:

Actually, I'd be interested to see something about you on your blog that isn't self-congratulatory. You're always harping about how selfless you are in having a family, and the perfection of your orthodoxy (of course you would call it 'the only orthodoxy', another symptom), and the rampant sin of other people, and your overflowing conservative generosity, and all of the failings of the rest of us to live up to your standards.

So I'd be interested to see anything that hinted at a smidgen of vulnerability in you, even the slightest inkling that you might be wrong about anything. That would be a sight to make me smile - the thought that I'm not the only flawed person! What a relief!

Quote: You said: "But yeah, let's expel all of the unrepentant people first."

And the problem with that is....?

The problem, Chris, is that I would insist that you be kicked out, right after I insist that I am kicked out. We'd all want everyone to be kicked out, and then the churches would be empty. Maybe *that* wouldn't be a problem (it might get us over our obsession with property, and walls, and doors we can lock to keep people out and keep God in) but I for one actually want *people* in church with me, which means I'll have to put up with some sinners. Woe is me - or perhaps joyful am I?

Chris said...

Drew,

The first part of the Constitution is the Book of Confessions. Is that taken seriously by the PCUSA anymore? Can you freely disagree with clear essentials in there (like, say, the RESURRECTION of Jesus) and still be ordained? The answer is "yes." So ignoring standards in the Form of Government is just a natural outworking of a pattern that begins with depriving God of His sovereignty, elevating human autonomy, denying revelation, and thus scorning the Confessional unity of the church.

And just so you know - I was meticulous (one could say scrupleless) in following the BoO when I was under the doctrine and discipline of the PCUSA as a member, deacon, inquirer, and candidate. When I found out that playing by the rules was a sure-fire way to stay out of ministry, I figured it was time to go.

But you're missing the point: if we really believe in sola scriptura and solus Christus, then the constitution (whether in its doctrine/confessions or discipline/FoG) has no right to burden people with conditions beyond those given in Scripture. Scripture is the highest authority, followed by the Confessions, THEN followed by the Book of Order. (The fudging on Heidelberg is an excellent example of people not getting the order right.)

PCUSA keeps fighting over the Book of Order because they've jettisoned confidence in the first two. Now that the constitution is easily disregarded (by people on both sides, mind you), the Board of Pensions is the last line of connectionality left in the organization. It's a sad legacy to an institution born out of such strong Biblical witness.

Chris said...

Doug,

You'll have to turn Tesla's "Signs" off so I can hear myself think....

What part of Biblical discipline do you not understand? You make it seem as if the first step in disagreeing with people is to toss'em out. If I ever advocate for such nonsense, I pray someone will be biblically grounded enough to challenge me about it on the spot!

Biblical discipline (both in its negative and positive forms) is meant to tie the community closer together in their witness and to anchor each soul in Christ. I'm guessing you've probably never been involved in a case of real, scriptural discipline. Maybe you'd like me to blog about my experience of being disciplined for fornication? (I generally don't talk about it because it drags my wife and my eldest into it, something I don't have their explicit permission to do.)

As for being wrong...well... I'm pathological about being right. If I've misstated a fact or made an unorthodox statement (not my orthodoxy or your orthodoxy, but Christian orthodoxy), then feel free to call me on it. I'll repent. I promise.

Drew said...

We also believe in once reformed always reforming. That also includes the way we understand scripture. Which is why I probably don't have a slave making be breakfast this morning, and why my wife has a job with a decent wage and a college degree that has viable currency in the marketplace.

"But you're missing the point: if we really believe in sola scriptura and solus Christus, then the constitution (whether in its doctrine/confessions or discipline/FoG) has no right to burden people with conditions beyond those given in Scripture."

Sounds like you don't really care much for interpretation or the idea that the bible is in fact a quite fallible document - even if it is the best source we have to understand Jesus and the early church. The only way around this issue would be to have biblical literalism with nor palpable organization of people and no real discussion of what this actually means when we try to live it in our context as much as those who wrote these scriptures struggled to live them in their context. It is a burden because you disagree with it. It would be liberating if it met your picture of how it should run. But people still have to organize themselves and this means overlaying any idea or belief structure with these so-called "burdens". And that did not just start with how Scripture is lived, it began with the very apostles who followed Jesus and before that, the Israelites who murmured in the desert.

So to be consistent, if the GA made decisions that you believed were right, then it would not be a burden, but a liberation. The same is true for those whom you consider apostate. This is about assumed social boundaries, and not even about sola scriptura which is really a fallacy as it is if we are all honest about it. Unless of course you can read it without interpreting it or assuming assertions that you cannot prove beyond doubt - then I stand corrected.

Chris said...

Drew,

You are a much better PCUSA-byterian than I ever was. You're an officer in your congregation, aren't you?

Ladies and Gentleman, I present to you exhibit A: "the bible is in fact a quite fallible document"

I'm sure Drew can tell us the parts that aren't fallible, though. I'll bet they're only the parts he agrees with. I'm sure glad he infallibly knows which parts are fallible. How's that loose-leaf Bible coming along, Drew?

This is why the PCorpseUSA has fallen into desuetude: unconverted ministers are preaching to the unconvinced about stuff in which they are uneducated and uninterested, except for inUNdating them with unbelief.

Luke Mullins said...

Drew,

On the one hand, I agree with you. I have been involved in debates with church of Christ hyperconservatives who make the Pharisees look like grace-filled wonders. In those discussions I have tried to help them understand the Gospel of Grace - how we CAN'T keep all the rules because we are unable (Romans 3:10), so we have to depend on God's grace, not our works.

However, while that doctrine is Biblical, so is the constant call of the Bible writers for followers of Jesus to seek holiness (Lev 11:44). For us to seek to be pure (Psalm 119:9).

This is the issue I have with this surrender to cultural norms that we had happen at the GA. We are supposed to be salt and light, and the only way to be salt and light is by being different than the culture.

Loosening biblical standards for sexuality is becoming the culture, and have you seen the western culture recently? It's a mess!

And I don't say all this as a person who has it all together sexually, btw. If you could see a secret video of my life, you would possibly be a bit shocked. But of course, I am not seeking ordination, either.

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble. I hope this has made sense.

Luke

Doug Hagler said...

Chris:

Don't worry, I understand that no force on earth can make you question your beliefs. So you're safe from me I suppose. I also know I can never demonstrate that you said something un-Orthodox, because you're Orthodoxy is circular. I've found that quoting Reformers or church fathers or the Bible doesn't work, so I've long since given up there.

I count it as a blessing that I've never been involved in "spiritual discipline" that you seem to be describing - some self-righteous guy pointing the finger at me and being judgemental, as far as I can tell. And possibly bludgeoning me with a Bible. In public, ideally, so its the most humiliating situation possible. The important thing is that I know how unworthy I am compared to the Orthodox.

I guess I can only hope that your "Biblical" discipline functions the way you want. I think that we can both probably take mutual comfort in the fact that we will do the opposite thing in most situations (as far as I can tell at least). I'll pray you do minimal damage if you'll do the same.

Chris said...

Doug,

I, too, am sorry that you've never seen biblical discipline exercised in your KIRK. Either you go to a KIRK with no sinners, or you might not be in a KIRK at all.

My discipline came before a session of elders (male and female) - and there was no finger-wagging, just broken hearts over my sin and the example I set before the young people of the church. There was a brief announcement on Sunday morning that I was losing the position of leadership I had while I went through a period of repentance and restoration. After a year, we had a celebration of how God had sanctified my wife and I through the process. During that year, we were still able to commune and we were never treated as outsiders. Nobody threw our sin in our face. Rather, older couples took us under their wings and invited us to their homes to disciple us into the marriage covenant we'd entered. It wasn't easy - but it was effective and edifying.

Now, when you talk about my beliefs, please use the small "o." GRKNDEACON doesn't mean I'm an Eastern / Greek / Antiochene Orthodox. It just means that I hold the catholic faith - something the Protestant Reformers were seeking before post-Enlightenment individualists made it a refermata.

I'm sure we're both relatively impregnable in our beliefs. You can no more imagine yourself being convinced that women's ordination is against the Scriptures and against God's will for the Church today than I can of being convinced of the antithesis for LGBTQ. Let's at least be honest in our insularity - your tolerance / openness to amendment canard simply doesn't hold water.