Monday, July 11, 2011

A warning of things to come, but a promise

In May of this year, 2011, I wrote a posting entitled, “Sacramento Presbytery, Synod of the Pacific and trust-Update.” It was about an attempt by the Evangelicals in Sacramento Presbytery, via a motion, to give Roseville Presbyterian Church and Fair Oaks Presbyterian Church back the money the Synod of the Pacific had extracted from them for their property. In that posting I included a letter sent to the Presbytery by the Synod in an attempt to influence the Presbytery’s vote.

They did influence it. The letter, as I pointed out, had several errors in it, and yes some of it was a lie. During the debate about whether it could be read or not, (There was to be no debate after it was read),one of my friends stated that it was in error and a lie.

I learned Sunday morning that a complaint had been filed against him with the statement that he was not furthering the peace, unity and purity of the Church. The investigative committee has acquitted him, but the fact that an honest statement cannot be made on the floor of the Presbytery without such a complaint being filed is troubling. If one reads the posting I originally wrote it is certain that the letter was not truthful. And to allow untruth to be used against honest debate about a matter as important as Christian reconciliation between brothers and sisters is appalling.

This is all deeply troubling because when one mixes antinomian teaching (some sins are okay) with bureaucratic mismanagement (for instance the Synod’s letter) the mix is lethal. What I mean by that is that now, since it is supposedly okay to ordain those involved in unrepentant same gender sex, unrepentant sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage and unrepentant adultery, a different slant on morality may engulf much of our leadership.

Given that many in leadership are involved in the push to lower ordination standards their moral sensibilities on sexuality will spill over into other areas of ethics. If morality is based on what is now called new light, or the new thing the Spirit is doing, rather than what the Church universal has upheld for almost two thousand years, it will certainly affect the whole of ethics. The idea of ‘new light’ means not just new interpretation, but rather an understanding that the Holy Spirit is re-interpreting; so even spirituality gets into the mix of new ethical thinking.

But it is a spirit that is totally immanent; wedded to human experience, in fact, guided by human experience. Looking at a new liturgy offered by More Light Presbyterians celebrating the elimination of the fidelity and chastity clause in the Presbyterian Book of Order one sees the problem. One line in “Liturgy for 10-A Celebrations on July 10, 2011” is “We support each person’s journey of integrating spirituality and sexuality which leads to wholeness.”[1] The mix is deadly.

So several shifts are occurring: Not only can we look back to the pagan proclivity in parts of our denomination to do away with unwanted children but now the general push toward accepting sexual deviancy is affecting all else causing further sins of greed, manipulation and lies.

Deviant sexuality and the sacrifice of children for the good of society are pagan values and just as they brought God’s judgment on ancient Israel, so they will bring God’s judgment on a denomination. (Rev 2:20-23).

The answer for the orthodox, whether leaving or staying, is to guard our own hearts while submitting to the Lord of the Church. We may move from the denomination but we cannot remove ourselves from the culture which is both shaping and killing the denomination. Jesus told the orthodox of Thyatira to “hold fast” until he comes. And that admonition is for all the faithful through all time. As Leon Morris notes holding fast means, “take a firm grip on” … “the sum total of Christian doctrine, and hope and privilege.” That privilege is the promise of the gift of the bright morning star. Jesus is that star.

1. The same line is in a confession of sin at The institute for Welcoming Resources. In that particular resource is the line, “We insist that our way and view are the only ones. At our best, we remember: There are many paths to the sacred. The spiritual paths of GLBT persons are among them.”


Debbie said...

I remember reading several years ago something from one of the leaders of the Covenant Network (and this isn't an exact citation, so I'm afraid it's just hearsay at this point) in which the person referred to "'sins' such as deceit." The person actually put "sins" in quotes in what he wrote, implying that to him, deceit was not a sin. So this sort of morality has been a long time coming.

Debbie Berkley
Bellevue, WA

Viola Larson said...

I think we are going to see the bent toward immorality grow as people attempt to gain what they see as equal rights for everyone. This happened in mainline churches in the early twentieth century with eugenics. They preached it and pushed it and it was considered a very moral thing to do, except by the evangelicals and Catholics. My second cousin who was much older than me and loved children was sterilized with the consent of two of my aunts-because of a child in the family with learning problems. When people began to discover how much freedom was being lost they begin to change. I don't see that happening with this issue. We are to far down the road as far as morality goes.

Anonymous said...

Speaking in a different context, commentator Dennis Prager frequently notes that the liberal or leftist impulse is, ultimately, a totalitarian impulse.
Miss Viola, it would seem that your friend, who spoke the truth on the floor of presbytery, ran up against that same ugly, controlling impulse as it most certainly and sadly is at work in the church just as it is in the realms of politics, social policy, and economics.

Anonymous said...

Of course it would be foolish to forget that the conservative, or right wing impulse, is also totalitarian. As is any system based on doctrine instead of free will and free thought.

Viola Larson said...

Both Anonymouses you cannot comment here if you do not leave your name, city and state. If you have a need not to say you can e-mail me-?