Friday, August 24, 2012

Jack Haberer, "Crest of the Hill" and some thoughts

Jack Haberer, editor of the Presbyterian Outlook, has written an article, “Crest of the Hill,” in which, I believe, he made two significant points. One is that many children and grandchildren of the leaders of the Fellowship of Presbyterians (FOP) and A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians (ECO) disagree with their parents and grandparents “disapproval of same-gender relationships.” The other point builds on that, that these same children and grandchildren may be the cause of a reunion of the now dividing church. Therefore we should in our reactions and actions toward the split happening among us be building toward peaceful relationships.

Several commenters, including myself, disagreed with his first point. Haberer was gracious enough, after printing my comment, to send me a friendly e-mail pointing to further data he would have liked to print but did not have enough room in his posting. After further exchange he suggested I blog on his essay and my thoughts. The two missing points he had to leave out of his piece were:
1. The pastors I was referencing all were speaking glowingly about the faith of their grown kids, in many cases being lived out in church ministry callings as evangelically minded pastors, missionaries, educators, etc.

2. Behind this anecdotal comment is the fact that a major survey taken this past spring revealed that among self-described evangelical Christians across the USA, of those under age 35 only 44 percent oppose same-sex marriage. Fully 39 percent support it and 17 percent are undecided. [1]
Because in my comment I had mentioned being a part of the Jesus movement, “My final thoughts on this, having been involved in the Jesus movement of the seventies, is that when we begin, if please God we do, preaching the pure word of God and in all things seek to honor Jesus Christ as the only way of redemption, then the needy young people of this generation will return to our doors,” Haberer replied in kind:
That’s not to say that those folks won’t change their opinion in time (many of our generation’s hippies became Jesus freaks, and ultimately, Republican yuppies), and it certainly doesn’t mean that the youngins are right. It is simply to say that the playing field is changing quickly, and none of us knows what it’s going to look like in 17 or so years from now …hence, let’s minimize the damage while going through the divorce.
And that really is the important part of Haberer’s article, “let’s minimize the damage while going through the divorce.” And to that I heartily concur, not necessarily because I agree that there will be a reunion, but because the denomination doesn’t look much like the Church at the moment.

But I will simply end with some of my answer to Haberer’s e-mail, adding some thoughts afterwards to my own words.
I wonder how much of the evangelical emergents are spilling over into those statistics. [see above] I'm one of those who believe that most of the emergent movement (even the evangelical part) will either move so far left that they will become heretical or they will move right and become extremely conservative but without any of the modern structures of denominations.
Interestingly I have watched some of my friends from the Jesus movement wander all over the place in their faith. Several have become very reformed-including an African American who still is a great drummer. One is a pastor of a Calvary Chapel church (of course not reformed) who reads my blog all the time [at least he says he does] to see what the Presbyterians are doing: ) But what I am actually saying is, I guess only God knows the future. But it is rather fun, when it should be serious, and sometimes scary to speculate. And when I get beyond the fun I do a lot of praying.
Only one more thought—I have a nemesis in the PCUSA who at the moment is going through extreme grief because of a great loss, how could I do anything but pray and grieve for this man. And this is how we must view each other—to be very truthful, in some cases we are archenemies and in other cases we are friends who are headed down different paths. Even those of us who are orthodox and evangelical and yet are staying in the PCUSA are still heading away from our friends in this denomination. We are all in grief—yet we must not move out from under the cross; we must forgive, love and lift each other up to the one who suffered in our place.

1. See: Christianity Today, How Evangelicals Have Shifted in Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage: And what President Obama's announcement could mean politically and legally. One thing to notice in this article is that these statistics are for the question about rights; if the question is asked in terms of same gender marriage the percentage goes up. However the authors did not show a breakdown by age on the same gender marriage question so we can’t be sure.


Dave Moody said...

I think its easier to be friends and love people, when you're not living with them, especially when your core values are wildly different. Good friends becoming roommates in College, tends to ruin good friendships (or can) when one's definition of clean, quiet, etc... are different. my 2c...


Kevin T. Smith said...

It doesn't matter what we think, what our kids will think, or what our grandkids will think. All these opinions are and will be irrelevant.

What matters is what God thinks.

May we all seek the mind of Jesus Christ, and lead more to him.

Mechanicsville,, VA

Viola Larson said...

Dave I agree- but sometimes you have to stay with the room mate or at least smile at them as you go out the door. And they need to smile back. Of course if you are married with six kids while going to college you have to work harder: )

Viola Larson said...

Kevin, Amen!

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...


Tried to post something not for public consumption, but it looked like it was not going into moderation.

Can you drop me an e mail at and I'll send you some thoughts that way.