Monday, October 5, 2015

We are chasing them away: Presbyterian Koreans looking for a faithful place

Capital Korean Presbyterian Church, Sacramento
We are chasing them away with our heretical ideals. (Jesus is not the only Lord, the Bible is not his word and sexual immorality is acceptable.) And there is so much control and disregard for Christian graciousness in our new “gracious” dismissal policy that they are willing to go without their property. They are too busy with the gospel to be bothered with fighting such a time consuming process, so they are leaving all behind to follow Jesus in the way they believe he is leading. They are Koreans but the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has forgotten their true mission and so they are going away.

The Presbytery of Sacramento has called a special meeting because of what will potentially be empty buildings. (At least that is my thought.) These are the two motions to be voted on:

1.              With the determination of the Presbytery Engagement Team (PET) appointed to the Capital Korean Presbyterian Church, El Dorado Hills, determining that there is a schism pursuant to the Book of Order (G-4.0207), that the presbytery take immediate action and appoint an administrative commission with original jurisdiction of the Capital Korean church, and continue the relationship with the PC(USA) in all means of its ministries.

The explanation is: “The Presbytery Engagement Team of Capital Korean Presbyterian Church has become aware of members, pastor and session who are departing the church, and others who request maintaining their membership with the PC(USA).

The other:

2.             Whereas Zion Presbyterian Church announces its departure from the PCUSA, the Committee on Ministry requests that presbytery take immediate action and appoint an administrative commission with original jurisdiction of the church, including, but not limited to determining and completing the next steps of the church. 

The explanation for this is: “Leadership and members of Zion Presbyterian Church, Sacramento, have declared their departure from the PC(USA) and from the property on 9501 Folsom Blvd.”

There is one more motion that may or may not be addressed having to do with filling empty positions before the November presbytery meeting.

Some of this loss is of course the General Assembly’s and the denomination’s fault. Unfaithfulness always leads to confusion and demands a reaction by those who wish to stand as faithful as possible. And the unfaithfulness simply continues in all kinds of ways including the recent appointment of a gay ruling elder, Luis Antonio (Tony) De La Rosas (who has a partner) as interim executive director over the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

It is also the fault of the Presbytery of Sacramento’s recently rewritten Gracious Policy for Reconciliation or Dismissal of Congregations . It is totalitarian in many of its decrees. I can imagine how hard this must be for those whose first and main language is not English. The first part of the policy is gracious in language but the second and larger part seems to be written by a lawyer who cares little for the language of grace. It is bureaucratic, complicated and self-serving in tone.

Presbyterians, especially those who are progressive, love to quote Micah 6:8. “He has told you O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

Well, I and many others, who are not progressive love it too. It is after all God’s words as is all of the Scriptures. And all of us, myself in particular, have a long ways to go as far as walking humbly with our God. But God does call for kindness, humbleness and justice. What a move of the Holy Spirit it would be to see these two congregations move to the denomination they desire and at the same time still possess the buildings they have used for faithful ministry.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Burney & God's work in his church

I heard, through the grapevine, that at the last Sacramento Presbytery meeting, the AC for Burney church patted themselves on the back for preserving the property for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Too bad no one goes there now. Perhaps later.

Alex Munro, former lay pastor for Burney, wrote, “The one big thing we saw was that they finally saw the light less than a week before we were actually leaving the building and PCUSA,  and that there really were no PCUSA members who wanted to come back.  The worship building is empty.  Our leadership team is still meeting with the AC on their request to research if it is a possibility that we would return and two of our people are working with them to help the AC through the next month's transition.  

We had first worship service yesterday outside the PCUSA with about 30 of us and are looking forward to continued service to God.  One miracle is that we stayed together to move on with God.”

This continued failure of Sacramento Presbytery and the COM and AC is not unlike what is happening in other mainline churches which have pushed aside the authority of Scripture. They are left with empty churches, some of them large. Greed has overtaken too many. It is a reminder of a fellow elder at a Presbytery meeting several years ago who informed all that the several million being required of two churches was God’s gift to us thus implicating God in our greed, But that is hardly the more important problem.

The important problem is the care for the riches of this world rather than the salvation of souls and the good works that follow such transformation.

Eventually the works called good in the P.C (U.S.A.) will only be based on a society transformed by culture therefore it will only be cultural goodness. And that cultural goodness will undoubtedly involve far more evil then good.

We already bless the death of unborn babies as well as a sexual coupling rite that is truly sin. (That is same gender marriage.) We will undoubtedly bless euthanasia for humanity.

Recently a friend placed an article about the right to be identified as a vampire on Facebook, and at first it seemed funny until I found it was connected to some college professors connected to a prostitution ring that practiced BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism.) The vampirism had a connection. Even this may come to be blessed without the authority of God’s word,

God calls us to holiness. But when we no longer listen to the Lord of the church we will care little if different definitions of absolutes arise or the. sinful lifestyles of others. Nor will we care for the harvest of needy souls that God has put before us.

Finally then brethren we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (Just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification, that is. that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor not in the lustful passion like the Gentiles who do not know God and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives his Holy Spirit to us. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)


Friday, September 18, 2015

Burney still faithful at a new address...

Much earlier a small Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) had an Administrative Commission placed over them in Burney California. The Burney church was counted in schism by the AC. I wrote about this at  Schism, heresy and control.  The main body of this small church with the exception of only a few, about four, decided that they would forgo the process of trying to leave in what used to be an orderly way. For them it was no longer possible. The main body of the church wrote this letter to the Sacramento Presbytery:’


Date: July 28, 2015

(Letter To AC on 9/9/15 informing them of our decision to leave the PCUSA and Building)

Thank you for your time and the information you shared with us over the phone, face to face and by email over the last few days. 

We as a leadership team of eight members plus around 28 other attenders have decided to move on and constitute ourselves as a new congregation affiliated with EPC. Last Sunday was our last worship service in the Burney Presbyterian sanctuary and we are now preparing to meet for our first worship service on Sunday at a rented location in Burney with the name “New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church”.  Our last congregational act, besides thanking God for the 67 years of faithful servants and service was to pray that God’s name and glory within the sanctuary would still be kept whoever is the owner or user.

We appreciate and understand your clear offer for us to remain while we work out the road to our future.  We all had no idea of your recent offer even though we had informed you weeks ago of our possible departure on September 8, 2015.    The offer came a few weeks too late for most of the congregation who had made tentative plans to leave as soon as they saw the COM recommendation to Presbytery to impose original jurisdiction over the Burney church.

 It was also a stunning to hear from you that the “loyal” group was not returning, especially after they had worked so hard to achieve the goal of having us move out of the church premises.  We who are leaving were never disloyal – we tried to follow the PCUSA protocol.  Nevertheless, we wish and pray that sometime in the future we may be able to lease or purchase the property. 

One request that we have to the AC is that you would give us permission to use the sanctuary for any memorial or funeral services related to people who have been active members and attenders of the PCUSA and whose families may wish to honor their loved ones in this way. 

Knowing that the loyal group is not coming back at present we do not want to leave you without some local contacts through this transition.  If needed, the present church secretary, Lorinda Wike (530 355 9902), and Claudia Graves (530 262 4496), the treasurer, are willing to stay on employed for an interval to be determined by you and by them in order to perform those duties needed for the day to day operation.

In cooperation with you – sincerely in Christ,

New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Leadership Team

 The Presbytery's letter answer is anything but gracious. It is a tale of what many in the denomination want. Here is the letter:

TO:   “Session Elders”: Rick Dougherty, Wendy Dougherty, Ralph Boggs, Linda Isbell,       Moderator of the Deacons‐Jean Boggs, and Treasurer‐ Claudia Graves plus other     PC (U.S.A.) members and attendees who wish for dismissal to the EPC.
FROM:   Administrative Commission members Louis Nevins, Robert Johnson, and Julie Home
CC:   Revs. Tom Tripp and Nancy Clegg

SUBJECT:  Your letter of July 28, 2015
DATE;   August 3, 2015

With Julie's return to the United States we have now had an opportunity to meet and discuss your  letter.
We have reviewed Rev. Tripp's reply to you of the same date and agree with his sentiment.
We are constrained to act on behalf of the Presbytery as directed by the motion passed at the Special  Meeting of July 9,  that is "take original jurisdiction of the Burney church, and continue the relationship  with the PC(USA) in all means of its ministries."  As Lou and Bob explained in their "get acquainted"   session with you, our AC has become, until dissolved, the Session of your Church, and the Board of  Directors of the related corporation.
It is not our desire to interfere with your various ministries, however we are constrained by the Book of  Order, particularly G‐4.0203 (the trust clause) and G‐4.0207 (Schism).

Accordingly, until we have more information, we must take particular care with respect to the real and personal property of the Church1 ,  all of which is held in trust for the benefit of the PC (U.S.A.).  For this reason, we cannot, under the  circumstances as outlined in your July 28 letter, release the Certificates of Deposit held by the Synod,  although we may be willing to consider rolling these funds into another depository with an interest rate  better than that available at the Synod in an account to which some combination of Lou, Bob and Julie  are signatories until final decisions have been made on other pending questions.

As Lou and Bob indicated in response to a question at their get acquainted session with you it was their expectation that you would be asked to continue your ministries pending further notice.   The third  member of the AC, Julie Horne agrees, so that is our decision.
In the meantime, we are sure you can appreciate that we need some additional information to do our  job, which we hope we can obtain with your cooperation.
First, as we are sure you can appreciate, those who provide services to your congregation should not  suffer.  Accordingly, we need to obtain as much information as possible on the status of your present  bank accounts, what bills are due or likely to be due on a monthly basis, and other ongoing or pending  obligations.
                                                              1 Here, and hereafter, both the Church and its companion corporation.
Page 2 of 2 
Second, we need to obtain a complete roster of the names, addresses, telephone numbers and other  contact information of all members of your congregation  and any members of the congregation who  have left or transferred their membership since January 1, 2013.
As stated in the motion establishing our AC, our mandate to "continue the relationship [of the Burney  Church] with the PC(USA)" requires us to keep the door open to discussions about remaining in our  Denomination.  In our view, nothing you said on at our meeting on  July 18 about what we perceive to  be your beliefs disqualifies you from continued affiliation with the PC (U.S.A.).  To be sure, there are  those in our denomination and our own congregations with whom we disagree strongly, but that is the  price we all pay for belonging to an "open" as opposed to a "closed" church.  We pray that, on  reflection, you come to see that reconciliation with the PC (U.S.A.) does not require surrender of your  personal beliefs.  We are called to be "a community of love, where sin is forgiven, reconciliation is  accomplished, and the dividing walls of hostility are torn down."  F‐1.0301

It is our goal to move expeditiously, now that we have a full complement of members on board.     However, until we have obtained and evaluated the membership and financial information mentioned  above, it is premature to speculate as to what the future holds.  Accordingly, the quicker we can get the  information we requested, the easier it will be to make the meaningful progress we all desire.
Yours in Christ,
Lou, Bob & Julie

There is more material and action to be had although there is no consideration that these people who have already left really do not feel they should stay. Evidently there are only four people who want to stay and they are usually not there for worship. It should also be stated that Zion a Korean Church has walked away from their property. The Holy Spirit is doing his own work in this Presbyterian area.

Is the AC really listening to the Holy Spirit?

I will write more in days to come. Please keep praying for my computer.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Jesus in the midst of broken days

 This posting is laid out a little strange because of a new computer. Just Scroll down.

I've   had a few broken days which have included a broken sit down, which included surgery, two weeks of flu and a broken computer (okay, I accidently poured milk on it, the computer that is. My pain pills put me totally out of commission. I couldn’t drive and while usually seeing the sentence ahead of the one I am reading I kept seeing the one behind that I had already read. I couldn’t understand why the authors kept repeating themselves. So this is my apology and excuse for not writing more.

So many horrible events are occurring now I feel I should be writing all of the time. I should say that in the midst of this I have been turning a guest room into my study. While going through my books I found an old journal with a few pages written on, the words are garbled and they were I believe written just as Voices of Orthodox women were disbanding because they felt God was finished with their efforts .I will try to copy what I believe is relevant and hopefully helpful.


Where am I heading…I am not even sure if this is where I want to head. I really have no idea where to begin. No organization in my head and organization to which I belong… I am feeling so much aloneness—and yet God has given me so much and so many. The future seems empty but I believe I have too much to do to do nothing, but I have too much to do and too much uncertainty and aloneness to go with it. Just when I want to gather my family and friends around me I don’t have the time and just when I do have the time, I am afraid to reach out because I might not have the time.

Fear of loss is becoming a big part of my make up and yet we are called to not be afraid of loss of self so that we might gain life.

What do I want—joy—giggling among little great granddaughters. [soon there will be 10- maybe one boy!] Hot summer days with ice tea on the porch, and family here and there.

It is hard to acknowledge that I am hated by others and yet many other Christians have and are experiencing this from time to time and in a much, much worse manner,

On one of our trips to England I found myself very homesick and realized that I must learn to love Jesus far, far more because someday this will all be over and He is that great and precious gift. He is after all how I am able to make time for family and friends. He is the one who through my devotion causes the end to hate and to the sense of loneliness. He gives hope. He is redemption.





Monday, July 27, 2015

Moving the sheep to barren pastures: John Shuck's "new" bible

While recovering from my heart surgery I found a relatively easy and fun read, Lord of the World by Robert Hugh Benson, a Catholic priest. The book is fiction, eschatological and written in 1907. The Lord of the world is the anti-Christ who gathers around him all those who believe that humanity is evolving toward a greater future and are the consciousness for the whole universe. A new evolutionary religion is blooming but evil is at its core. I was reminded of the book while reading a sermon on John Shuck’s sermon blog, Sermon and Jive.

Shuck, a Presbyterian teaching elder, is promoting the need for a new “bible.” One that will better fit with contemporary humanity.  He, like the anti-Christ in the book, sees all religious narratives as part of the evolutionary unfolding of creation. As Shuck puts it:

“The Bible gave us a cosmology and a history.  For it I am grateful.  It provided inspiration for the search.   Now we have to create a new Bible.   It won’t be one book as such, but we are in the process of creating a unifying story of origins, identity, and future hope.   We need our artists, musicians, and storytellers, to help in this great work.    This new Bible, so to speak, will contain all of the other Bibles, all mythology, all religion, all philosophy, and psychology, in short, all human cultural evolution.”  

There are errors in Shuck’s sermon, the first trivial perhaps. Contrary to Shuck’s words the Hindu and the Buddhist do have sacred texts, the Hindu Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita, (which Shuck has used before) and the sutras which belong to Buddhism as well as the Pali Tripitaka.

And Karl Barth, he did not, as Shuck states, retreat when he embraced theology. He in fact returned much of modern theology back to the Trinity since so many of Europe’s enlightenment theologians were Arians, denying the deity of Jesus. In fact it is Barth in his small book Dogmatics in Outline who pointed out that when someone hears a complaint against the Christology of the Nicene Creed they should think of a wolf’s snarl. He wrote:

“There have been many complaints and murmurings over this formula and probably, sooner or later in your studies, you will come up against men of letters and even teachers, who also do the same thing and think it dreadful that this matter should be reduced to this formula. I should be happy to think that, when you meet such complainers, this hour at college may come back to your memory and release a tiny check in you. This inveighing against so-called ‘orthodoxy’ is just a ‘wolf’s snarl’, which an educated man should have nothing to do with.”

And to suggest that the person of Jesus as well as Old Testament characters are “more likely to be composite characters in fictionalized accounts of old myths and legends reframed and retold,” is utter nonsense. Few scholars today deny the historical reality of Jesus.

Shuck’s greatest error is his ideology, because he uses evolution as transcendent truth, he elevates humanity to an untenable place:

“Human beings are not insignificant worms in this story.  We are the self-consciousness of this universe.   It is possible that there is intelligent life somewhere else.   But whether there is or not, we human beings are the self-consciousness of Earth and the Solar System for sure.   We are here and able to tell this incredible story.    Before human beings there were no stories of the universe.  There were no stories of gods, stories of love, stories of sacrifice, stories of sadness.   Self-consciousness emerged from evolution and all of our aspirations and hopes have emerged from our interactions, from our storytelling, from our small Bibles to a larger ever-emerging Bible that is our ongoing life story.”    

It is important to notice here that Shuck’s words, despite his disbelief in a personal God, hold to a certain kind of faith—one that is centered in materialism—but nonetheless a faith. I say this because there is no empirical evidence, no scientific explanation, for how self-consciousness could emerge from evolution. Shuck simply believes that evolution produced self-consciousness.

Shuck also believes that good, without an absolute good creator God, emerges from evolution.  The good is centered in humanity and is named by humanity. This is a path towards disaster. Without the absolutes that belong to the personal creator God of the Bible, which include mercy, compassion, redemption and judgement, humanity either falls into anarchy or develops totalitarianisms. It is like the iron mixed with clay in the biblical book of Daniel. The crumbles are constant, but still the iron overpowers.

Shuck often writes of being a “good” ancestor, but tell that to a dying person. In the book, Lord of the World, the heroine, who along with her husband believes in the same sort of evolutionary ideas Shuck believes, experiences a group of people dying because of a volor [Air-machine] crash. Her conversation with her husband is telling:

“Oliver, what do you say to people when they are dying?”

“Say! Why nothing! What can I say? But I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone die.”

“Nor have I till to-day.” Said the girl, and shivered a little. “The euthanasia people were soon at work.”

Oliver took her hand gently.

“My darling, it must have been frightful. Why, you’re trembling still.”

“No; but listen… You know, if I had anything to say I could have said it too. They were all just in front of me: I wondered, then I knew I hadn’t. I couldn’t possibly have talked about Humanity.”

Who will proclaim to Shuck’s congregation the good news of God’s great mercy in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All they will be able to speak of will be the self-consciousness of humanity. The whole focus in this sermon is on gathering the world’s ideas for a new, so called bible. That they are not hearing the good news is Shuck’s great sin, but it is also the sin of his presbytery and synod. The sin belongs to all of us when we have not proclaimed winsomely, without fear, the good news of Jesus, when we have not proclaimed the authority of Scripture, when we have not held out to broken people the gracious promises of God.


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Planned Parenthood selling aborted baby parts, may God have mercy ...

How does one set eating food and drinking wine while explaining how you sell aborted baby parts? Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services of Planned Parenthood Federation, talks calmly, over her food about how aborted baby parts are harvested and sold by Planned Parenthood affiliates. What lies ahead is unfathomable horror.

We have reached the level of Nazism which was and is paganism. God’s judgement on this nation will surely be great if we do not repent and turn from our horrific sin. If we belong to Jesus Christ we must stand against this.

“The Church confesses that she has witnessed the lawless application of brutal force, the physical and spiritual suffering of countless innocent people, oppression, hatred and murder, and that she has not raised her voice on behalf of the victims and has not found ways to hasten to their aid. She is guilty of the deaths of the weakest and most defenseless brothers [and sisters] of Christ. (Dietrich Bonhoeffer Ethics)

Yes, many in the church are standing strong against killing unborn babies, but in my denomination, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), such killing is encouraged. This knowledge of the selling of body parts simply adds to the feelings of guilt, shame and sorrow many of us experience. May our Lord have mercy.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Schism, heresy and control

So what is schism? How does it fit with heresy? Part of my thoughts are at the moment centered on a little church in Northern California, Burney Presbyterian Church. The Sacramento Presbytery held a special meeting to vote on a motion to place an administrative commission over the Burney church. This is the motion:

With the determination of the Administrative Commission appointed to the Burney Presbyterian Church on February 28, 2015, determining that there is a schism pursuant to the Book of Order (G-4.0207), that the presbytery take immediate action and take original jurisdiction of the Burney church, and continue the relationship with the PC(USA) in all means of its ministries.

The first AC appointed to the church simply determined that they were in schism but were not allowed to act on their assumption. At the meeting, to the Presbytery’s credit, members of the church were allowed to speak. But commissioners were not offered the first AC’s report and so the only reason given to commissioners for stating the church was in schism was that several people, including two session members, did not wish to leave the PC (U.S.A) while the other four session members did. Most Burney church members want to leave and spoke out at the meeting.

The above means that in the Sacramento Presbytery if a church wants to leave the PC (U.S.A.) but a few members do not, the church could easily have an administrative commission placed over them.

During the debate about an amendment to the motion, I noticed that the parliamentarian kept pointing to a paper and stating that it was already there. It turns out this was to be the instructions for the new AC, but none of us had seen it. After a bit of protest the moderator read the instructions. I had trouble hearing her and later voted with those who wanted the instructions added to the motion. After reading them at home today I am sorry I voted yes, but the amendment failed anyway. Here are the instructions:

The Administrative Commission shall:

1.       Confer with the members of the Burney Presbyterian Church to explain fully the process of resolving the discord within the congregation. Special attention is to be given to those members who have stopped attending yet wish to be faithful to the PCUSA.

2.      Dissolve the Session of Burney Presbyterian Church.

3.      Become the governing body of the Burney Presbyterian Church.

4.      Assure the conduct of worship and the preaching of the Word on a weekly basis and assure that pastoral ministry and meeting financial obligations continue.

5.      Identify accurately the members of the congregation who wish to be part of the PCUSA and those who do not want to be a part of the PCUSA.

6.      Identify members of the congregation who are willing to accept necessary leadership roles and responsibilities for the ministry of the church; and, furthermore, give direction and supervision to these leaders.

7.      Assess the viability of the Burney Presbyterian Church as a continuing congregation made up of those members desiring to remain in the PCUSA.

8.     Explore ways of providing assistance, financial or otherwise, to facilitate the viability of the congregation should that be the course of action taken. Such exploration can include, but not be limited to, financial aid from the Presbytery, developing a mission strategy, exploring a “yoked” relationship with another PCUSA church, exploring a federated church arrangement with a church in correspondence with the PCUSA.  

9.      Facilitate the individual transfer of members who do not wish to be part of the PCUSA to a congregation of their choice and with whom the PCUSA has a corresponding relationship allowing transfer of members.

10.  Carry out any other necessary actions to bring this matter to a final resolution.


And yes the motion to place an AC over the church passed.

So what does Calvin have to say about schism and heresy? Well for one, they are not the same. And for another, unity only exists within a body that holds to the essentials of the faith or “sound doctrine” as Calvin puts it. The PC (U.S.A.) has cast aside the authority of Scripture; even half of the denomination’s constitution is now in conflict with both scripture and our confessions. I have quoted Calvin on this just recently. I will do so again:

“The name of heretics and schismatics is applied to those who by dissenting from the Church destroy its communion. This communion is held together by two chains—viz. consent in sound doctrine and brotherly charity. Hence the distinction which Augustine makes between heretics and schismatics is, that the former corrupt the purity of the faith by false dogmas, whereas the latter sometimes, even while holding the same faith, break the bond of union (August, Lib. Quaest. In Evang. Matth.). But the thing to be observed is that this union of charity so depends on unity of faith, as to have in it its beginning, its end, in fine, its only rule.”

It is the PC (U.S.A.) that is causing schism because every church, elder and official that denies or twists scripture, denies the faith and breaks unity with the church universal. A great many, not all, in the denomination, have moved on and are now celebrating the vile sensuality of our fallen culture. Even the stated clerk. Schism has come slithering into the door of our churches by way of deceit, worldly pride and political correctness.

Peter speaks of those who speak arrogant words of vanity. He says they entice by “fleshly desires, by sensuality”—they live in error. Jude speaks of those who have, “crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” John speaks of those who fail to bring their sin to the Savior and his shed blood. (1John 1:5-9)
Yes, the denomination is experiencing schism but not by those departing to other reformed denominations but by those who have so torn apart the truths of scripture that they have left the faithful without a true home.