Yesterday on CHURCHandWORLD.com, Presbyweb it was announced that Jin S Kim was the second person to enter their name in the race for Moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Hans Cornelder, General Editor of CHURCHandWORLD, linked to the Outlook which carried the announcement. He also linked to Kim’s bio on his Church page, Church of All Nations. Always happy to read other people’s blogs I went exploring Kim’s blog, New Church Rising.
I was stunned to say the least. And yes it was the violence that stunned me. To be clearer, it was Kim’s statement that I was violent that stunned me. Oh, he didn’t use my name. But he did say, after defaming the left, that “On the hard Right, they intimidate the church with the threat of withholding money, use character assassination among their own ranks for anyone not “in line”, and endlessly threaten schism if they don’t get there (sic)way. Some may call this politics as usual. I call this violence.”
Well, no I haven’t used character assassination against anybody involved in the renewal groups. But then I don’t know anyone else who has either. They may disagree with each other every so often, or even point out what they think is wrong, but character assassination? No.
And then the withholding money part, I guess he is writing about per-capita. Well that isn’t a poll tax. My church withholds per-capita. And I agree with their decision. That must make me violent, not that I carry around a gun or anything like that. I just disagree with some of the recent actions taken by several General Assemblies.
And it seems to me that the right to withhold per-capita is one of the good things about the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I have in the past worked with members of abusive churches. Such churches, called sociological cults, tell their members what to do in all areas of their private life. And they practice all kinds of manipulative tactics. One of the biggest problems in such churches is the attempt at making members feel guilty about their actions when they criticize leadership. Presbyterians are allowed such freedom. I praise God for such freedom.
And then that thought that the ‘hard right’ or the renewal groups or orthodox/ evangelical churches, ‘endlessly threaten schism if they don’t get their way’? Really, who is Kim writing about? Some churches have left because they believe they must in order to be faithful. Many are staying because they believe God has called them to faithfulness in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). And here is something else that socially cultic churches do; it’s called the double bind. That is, they tell their members that they most do something but when they do it criticize them in someway for doing it.
Well isn’t it a double bind to insist that churches must stay in the denomination and then criticize them when they stay and as faithful member’s of Christ’s body speak their mind on issues relating to the Church?
Kim attempts to use Jesus’ statement that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life to criticize both the left and the right. He says that the left believes that the truth lies in a grace so great it allows the ordination of practicing homosexuals. And that the right believes “that the truth lies in the Bible and its seemingly plain teaching that homosexual practice is beyond scriptural bounds.” He goes on to say that both are welling to crush each other in order to gain their truth.
I can’t speak for the left. In fact I can’t speak for the right; I can only speak as one who wants to be faithful to Jesus Christ. This is something I believe is true for all of my brothers and sisters who consider themselves orthodox. It’s about faithfulness to Jesus Christ not crushing anyone. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). In Jesus we know truth because we know him. In Jesus we have life because we have him. In Jesus we have access to the Father because he is the way to the Father. If faithfulness to our Lord means others, even those who are our sisters and brothers call us violent; still, with his help we will be faithful.