Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sexual orientation therapy for minors outlawed in California: it does not matter! Update

UPdate see below-
It does not matter that California Governor Brown has signed into law a bill banning all “therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors.” As the SFGate states:

California has become the first state in the country to ban controversial therapy practices that attempt to change the sexual orientation of minors after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to outlaw them Saturday.

The bill, SB 1172 by Sen. Ted Lieu, D—Torrance (Los Angeles County), bars mental health practitioners from performing so-called reparative therapy, which professional psychological organizations have said may cause harm. Gay rights groups have labeled them dangerous and abusive.

It does not matter because Jesus Christ, the Lord of the church, will continue to be Lord. God loves those who are trapped in the homosexual lifestyle and will not cease to move on their behalf. He is open to the cry of those who repent of their sins no matter the sin. He will either change the LGBT person by transforming their orientation or by giving them the power to live a celibate life. This does not mean that people won’t fall and need to be picked up again—we are all sinners after all.
We must simply acknowledge that God is greater than any Governor, Legislator or law. Our churches are and must be a place of recovery for all sinners—all of us—but we must provide the love and care that is now outlawed in California.

“’Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and our redemption.’ (1 Cor. 1:30)

As Jesus Christ is God’s assurance of the forgiveness of all our sins, so in the same way and with the same seriousness is he also God’s mighty claim upon our whole life. Through him befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.

We reject the false doctrine, as though there were areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ, but to other lords—areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.” (The Theological Declaration of Barmen 8.13-8.15)

Update-Lawsuit filed over California gay teen therapy law

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Presbyterian the little ones

Two Presbyterian entities have articles with confrontational references to Jesus. The Presbyterian News Service has an article highlighting one of our mission partners who is a part of the team representing the Presbyterian International Peacemaker Program. The article, Knowing Jesus, is about Andrey Beskorovainiy, a Roma Pastor. When asked “What is the primary message you want to communicate to U.S. Presbyterians?” Beskorovainiy answers, “Do you know Jesus?” That is a wonderful question, and just the right one for this time in our denomination.

Sadly the other Presbyterian entity, The Presbyterian, is attempting to answer the question with those theologians and teachers that will lead followers of Jesus away from a true biblical knowledge of Jesus. They are now highlighting two sets of a series of videos and study books one entitled, Living the Questions, the other entitled, Saving Jesus. The latter is a revision of the first. The summery of “Saving Jesus,” is:
Ever feel like Jesus has been kidnapped by the Christian Right and discarded by the Secular Left? Jesus Redux is total revision of Living the Question’s popular 12-session DVD-based small group exploration of credible Jesus for the third millennium. New contributors including Brian McLaren, Diana Butler Bass, and Robin Meyers join Marcus Borg, Walter Brueggemann, John Dominic Crossan, Matthew Fox, Amy-Jill Levine and a host of others for a conversation around the relevance of Jesus for today.
Some of the other presenters listed are John Cobb, Rita Nakashima Brock and John Shelby Spong. Many of these authors, theologians and teachers do not believe in the most bedrock belief of the Christian faith, the deity of Christ.

Matthew Fox and Spong are two infamous examples but there are others. Marcus Borg has stated that he sees Jesus from a panentheistic view. That is the view that humanity is a part of God although God is more than humanity. Using this view he sees Jesus as a person who is so empty that he could be filled with the Spirit. “Thus I see Jesus as the embodiment and incarnation of the God who is everywhere present. But he is not a visitor from else where, sent to the world by a god ‘out there.’”[2] Borg does not accept any of the statements Jesus makes about himself such as “I am the Light of the world” as being authentic.

Stephen Patterson, professor at Eden Theological Seminary, and another contributor for the videos, in his book, The God of Jesus: the historical Jesus and the Search for Meaning, misrepresents the biblical view of the Incarnation, suggesting that it was easy for ancient peoples to believe that a god mated with a human.[3] And he goes on to write that the meaning the early disciples found was simply in the words and actions of Christ, not in his miracles, death or resurrection. Patterson writes:
But many still believe that Jesus was essentially divine, accepting this as an article of faith, even though the mythic framework within which such belief might have made sense has longed passed away from our cultural consciousness. It remains as the text of a placard, a rallying cry. But it is a claim without meaningful content in the modern world. It is perhaps the centerpiece of a modern Christianity that has been drained of most of its content and meaning.[4]
Another contributor, Brock, under the subtitle, “Beyond Jesus as the Christ,” in her book, Journeys by Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power, concerned with what she calls erotic power posits Christ not in the person Jesus but in a community. She writes:
In that sense, Christ is what I am calling Christa/Community. Jesus participates centrally in this Christa/Community, but he neither brings erotic power into being nor controls it. … Hence Christa/Community is described in the images of events in which erotic power is made manifest. The reality of erotic power within connectedness means it cannot be located in a single individual. Hence what is truly Christological, that is, truly revealing of divine incarnation and salvific power in human life, must reside in connectedness and not in single individuals.[5]
Very few of those on the contributors list accept the biblical view of atonement. Brock along with author Rebecca Ann Parker, a Methodist minister in fellowship with the Unitarian Universalist Association, and another contributor, wrote the book Proverbs of Ashes which considers the biblical view of atonement to be child abuse and the cause of abuse against women. Their book Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire is a convoluted text attempting to prove that the idea of the cross as important to Christianity is an extremely late innovation.

The text is also occultic in its worldview. Chapter seven begins, “Throughout their lives, Christians were instructed to be the earthly manifestations of God. Like their forerunner and model, they were to become fully human and fully divine.” (6)

One could keep probing and quoting the relentless destruction of such basic Christian beliefs, including the bodily resurrection of Jesus—but this is enough to insist that the entity ‘Presbyterian Leadership’ is failing to uphold and defend the faith. It is an official Presbyterian organization promoting material that will lead astray and hurt those who belong to Jesus Christ. The scripture gives very clear warnings about such teaching. Jesus is very clear:

I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:9-10)

And Paul, faithful to his Lord, thinking of his people and undoubtedly looking prophetically down the long corridors of history states:

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise speaking perverse things to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30)

This is perverse and the evil one who has ever opposed Jesus Christ and his redemptive, life, death and resurrection, surely intends it as one of his means of stealing, killing and destroying.

David Maxwell, who is “the executive editor for Geneva Press, WJK Press, The Thoughtful Christian, and The Presbyterian Leader,” needs to address the apostate teaching that is being offered through the Saving Jesus curriculum. Hopefully no official organization or leader in the PC (U.S.A.) will allow themselves to become complicit in harming the little ones of Christ’s kingdom.

[1]This is from the web site of Presbyterian Leadership, “The Mission of The Presbyterian The Presbyterian is a comprehensive selection of inspiring resources that provides the information necessary to support new and existing congregational leaders as they prepare meaningful worship experiences, learn about practical and spiritual aspects of leadership in the church, and forge a deeper understanding of basic Presbyterian beliefs and doctrines.
The Presbyterian is maintained by the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, the publishing house of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."

[2]Marcus J. Borg & N.T. Wright, The Meaning of Jesus, paperback edition, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco 2000) 147-48.

[3]Please note that both Borg and Patterson present a caricature of real biblical Christology.

[4]Stephen J. Patterson, The God of Jesus: The Historical Jesus & the Search for Meaning, ((Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International 1998) 53.

[5]Rita Nakashima Brock, Journeys by Heart: A Christology of Erotic Power, (New York: Crossroad 2000) 52.

[6]Rebecca Ann Parker & Rita Nakashima Brock, Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire, (Boston: Beacon Press 2008) 169.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Covenant Network & Jeroboam's Baals

The Covenant Network of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), as well as several other progressive entities, have attempted in many ways to keep those who are orthodox from flourishing in the midst of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). I wrote in November of 2011 about how the CN had new guidelines in which they suggest that new candidates for teaching elder should be disqualified if they cannot for conscience sake ordain someone who participates in same gender sex.[1]

Now, with the article, “Union Presbytery?,” written by Doug Nave, who also wrote the guidelines, and is a member of the CN’s Board of Directors, the CN is attempting to help some progressives prevent the Presbytery of Santa Barbara from becoming a union presbytery with a presbytery within ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians. The progressives in the presbytery have filed a complaint with the Synod of Southern California.

Nave who will be the counsel for those who filed the complaint is suggesting in his article that ECO is not recognized as a denomination and has “no existing congregations,” which is untrue. But what I really want to address in this posting is the orthodox’s concern that there will soon be no place for them in the PC (U.S.A.) as both the guidelines and the complaint make clear. There is scripture that tells of just such a situation in ancient Judah and Israel. In fact it happened almost immediately after the tribes split apart.

In 2 Chronicles 11, Jeroboam in a measure meant to secure his position as king of Israel instituted a false religious system. He made golden calves and satyrs for worship which would have constituted worship combined with sexual perversion. He also made sure that none of the Levites were allowed to lead worship, and instead choose his own priests rather than the ones chosen by the Lord. But the Levites stayed faithful:

For the Levites left their pasture lands and their property and came to Judah and Jerusalem for Jeroboam had excluded them from serving as priests to the Lord. (2 Chronicles 11:14)

And amazingly the faithful among the people followed them:

Those from all the tribes of Israel who set their hearts on seeking the Lord God of Israel followed them to Jerusalem, to sacrifice to the Lord God of their fathers.

Judah would also waver back and forth between the true God and idols, but because of the people and priests who fled Israel for Judah the scripture states that Judah was strengthened for three years. And strengthened in a righteous way. This is just a small incident in the history of the tribes of Israel but it is a very clear picture. When those who are disobedient to scripture make it impossible to remain, when they push out the ones who hold to the authority of scripture, the Lord has good pastures elsewhere. And those who are faithful will always strengthen each other in the Lord.

But there is something more: The Levites who went to Jerusalem to perform faithful worship, and the people who followed demonstrate true unity and that kind of faithful unity continues on in the New Testament. As Martin J. Selman in the Tyndale Commentary points out, “…the phrase set their hearts at seeking the Lord (v. 16) underlines the inward aspect of biblical religion. ‘The true kingdom is a gathered community (Ackroyd) of those whose way of life is to seek God, that is they continually seek his will for their lives (cf. e.g. 1 Ch. 13: 3; 28:9; 2 Ch. 7:14; 15:4, 15). Such an attitude derives from a heart set towards God.”

The gathered community of the New Testament is not restricted to a place and the “sacrificial gift is altered.” Selman points to the kind of sacrifice the Christian lifts to the Lord in his references to Phil. 4:18; and Heb. 13:15-16. He adds “acceptable Christian worship continues to include a physical as well as a spiritual dimension (cf. Rom. 12:1)” I would add Romans 12:2. This is true unity both as it is expressed in the O.T and the New.

The Covenant Network may push and pull trying try to disallow any kind of help to those who wish to live faithfully in obedience to scripture and the Lord, but God is utterly faithful to his people. A union presbytery would strengthen ministry and mission. It would be the cause of joyous worship. But God’s will be done and may many be faithful to their Lord.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Ward & a Wyrm-biblical themes nestled in a northern tale

A Review of:

The Ward of Heaven and The Wyrm in the Sea by Colin J. Cutler

Eden Books 2012 79 pages

Have you ever wondered what the biblical stories of beginnings and endings would sound like if they came covered or nestled into the imagery and words of Norse sagas? A new writer who loves, as J.R.R. Tolkien did, the ancient northern myths and legends has written a small book which does just that—The Ward of Heaven and the Wyrm in the Sea , written by Colin J. Cutler, begins with a sea storm, a mystified and scared young sailor and an ancient man of wisdom who speaks the tales. The tales begin with the Father of All who speaks into existence a hall, Mortaigh, with a hearth and a board for feasting.

From this place comes a great fall of one of the spirits created from the flame in the hearth. And a battle ensues within the hall with finally the spirit, Vrigthar, and his fellow rebels defeated. Vrigthar becomes at the touch of the Father of All’s hand “a foul wyrm writhing on the floor-boards, spewing filth out of his toothed jaws.” Next a terrestrial ball and universe are created within and from a goblet, waters and the skins of the slain and Vrigthar is chained to a great tree in the new land. Urventhil, Son of the Father of All will continue the battle began in the great hall.

From all of this one can see this is mythic telling and the truth is in the symbols not in their exact rendering. One could, I believe, wish for a clearer rendering of the eternality of the Son and Holy Spirit, but their characteristics are just right. Of the Holy Spirit, Cutler writes:
With the Father’s breath are my fiery feathers lit;
I spring from the whispers of the Son,
And in the Father’s ear wise counsel whisper:
Light and Life bear I, and loose from Death and Darkness.
The redemptive quality of the story is beautiful. Although there are warriors the battle is completed by Urventhil. The start in a boat, where Urventhil has his feet tied to the sail’s cross-beam, is ended in the sea and darkness leaving all to wonder at the outcome:
Urventhil’s oarsmen cowered by the steering oar, and aided him not. As the sun was setting, one of these, afraid for their lives, grasped his oar and gave a great stroke which pulled the ship stem-wards as Vrigthar was striking. Vrigthar missed Urventhil’s body, and struck instead at the cross-beam whereon Urventhil’s feet were tied. This he shattered and he slashed with his teeth the rope binding Urventhil’s feet, and bit off two of Urventhil’s toes, which fell into the boat. Urventhil fell into the water, grasping the broken sail-beam. Vrigthar also plunged beneath the waves. Darkness and rain fell upon the brothers, who sat sorrowful in the boat. (65)
Cutler does not give a scriptural reference to this section as he does for other chapters under “Quotations and Adaptations,” but  with Urventhil’s praise song after his sea battle, Cutler beautifully uses Jesus’ reference to Jonah. And remember in the sea Jonah prays using a psalm. So Urventhil’s praise, “Three days and nights was I dragged through the deep, the rotten weeds were wrapped about my head.” But it is Urventhil, the Son who “smote the serpent, the sea wyrm.” And he “harrowed” hell’s fields for a “goodly harvest.”

This is a beautifully told tale embodying the goodness of the gospel. Cutler is a poet, and a Presbyterian, who hopefully, will in the future, give readers many delightful and serious stories uplifting the redemptive themes of scripture.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The conversion of a gang member, and a Muslim

After writing about the Cross and the Switchblade, for the weekend, this is the story of a young man who was raised in a strict Muslim family but after moving to Canada became part of the gang and drug culture in Vancouver. He was converted to Christ and became a solution to the gang problem in that city. Its not long, and is full of the moving of the Holy Spirit in the life of an individual and a whole city.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

White supremacists & orthodox Christians

Several days ago I read a blog post by Carl Trueman at Reformation 21. The article, “Pleased to meet you. Hope you guessed my name,” contained a paragraph that took my breath away it was so relevant to all that I had been reading and even thinking. It was one of those thoughts you don't allow yourself to say until someone else says it.  But I began to have some reservations as I thought more deeply about Trueman’s words, so I want to write about it. First, the paragraph:

Two things came to mind: the beautiful young things of the reformed renaissance have a hard choice to make in the next decade. You really do kid only yourselves if you think you can be an orthodox Christian and be at the same time cool enough and hip enough to cut it in the wider world. Frankly, in a couple of years it will not matter how much urban ink you sport, how much fair trade coffee you drink, how many craft brews you can name, how much urban gibberish you spout, how many art house movies you can find that redeemer figure in, and how much money you divert from gospel preaching to social justice: maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being a white supremacist.
So, yes, it seems that way-‘maintaining biblical sexual ethics will be the equivalent in our culture of being white supremacists,’ but two things change this picture. (1) God’s power and grace (2) the real differences between orthodox Christians and white supremacists.

The grace of God given through Jesus Christ is the transforming factor in this picture. We have been surprised in many centuries, including this one, to find that the Creator of the universe stepped into our messes and for the sake of his Church, for the sake even of an individual believer, began to transform individuals, churches and even nations. That is the work of the Holy Spirit who comes not to bless our mistaken ethical visions of utopia but to illuminate God’s word and turn our hearts toward the Lord of the church.

I remember years ago reading David Wilkerson’s book The Cross and the Switchblade about his ministry to gang members in the sixties. In the book he tells of visiting his grandfather to talk about his new ministry and how his grandfather told him not to be surprised when the young men he was working with changed; it would be like a snake shedding his skin. First he talked about what Wilkerson would face, and then about the real renewal:
...wait until you meet more of these boys before you start having visions. They’ll be full of hate and sin, worse than you’ve ever heard of. They’re just boys, but they know what murder is, and rape and sodomy. How are you going to handle such things when you meet them?
Wilkerson’s grandfather reminded him of what the good news truly was. “The heart of the Gospel is change. It is transformation. It is being born again to new life.” And then he told a story.
Sometime ago I was taking a walk through the hills when I came across an enormous snake. He was a big one Davie, three inches thick and four feet long, and he just lay there in the sun looking scary. I was afraid of this thing and I didn’t move for a long time, and lo and behold, while I was watching I saw a miracle. I saw a new birth, I saw that old snake shed its skin and leave it lying there in the sun and go off a new and really beautiful creature.

When you start your work in the city, boy, don’t you be like I was, petrified by the outward appearance of your boys. God isn’t. He’s just waiting for each one of them to crawl right out of that old sin shell and leave it behind. He’s waiting and yearning for the new man to come out.
The Christians who today find themselves in the midst of an angry resentful society need to remember God is there and greater then any hindrance. His purposes are all wrapped up in Christ—the future may be full of transformation for many broken hurting people. It is certain it will be full of God’s love and comfort.

About the second thing, the differences between the orthodox and the white supremacist, which in fact, reading the two together, looks silly, but should be addressed because the name bigot, and racist has already been stated. The names have already been called. I have written many times about racist groups—one of my articles has even shown up on Storm Front's forum page as someone tried unsuccessfully to turn the conversation the right way. I know the difference very well. We all do!

The racist does not love, does not want Christ to change anyone—does not believe in change but only in endless hate. And here is the difference: love. Love for the sinner, love for the saint. My pastor every Sunday morning greets the congregation with the words, “Good morning saints.” After we say “Good morning,” he once again greets us with “Good morning sinners.” And we all greet him back with “Good morning.” The difference is the love of Christ; he takes sinners and makes them saints. We wear the righteousness of Christ—it covers our sin, and with its covering we begin to change—a change that will not be finished until the coming of Christ.

The world may hate those who belong to Christ but generally they know the difference between the redeemed and the unredeemed—between the orthodox and the white supremacist.

Like Paul we must live to make that difference known no matter the out come:

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. (2 Cor. 2:14-16a.)”

Picture by Penny Juncker

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A false report about marriage and some gnostic gospels

Just today, September 18, a news article was published in the New York Times, “A Faded Piece of Papyrus Refers to Jesus’ Wife.” It stated that a very small fragment of Coptic origin was found which refers to Jesus’ wife. According to Professor Karen L. King, the tiny fragment dates to the fourth century but may belong to an earlier text since it sounds like some of the material in  the gnostic gospels of Thomas and Mary. The NYT piece states:

Much of the context, therefore, is missing. But Dr. King was struck by phrases in the fragment like “My mother gave to me life,” and “Mary is worthy of it,” which resemble snippets from the Gospels of Thomas and Mary. Experts believe those were written in the late second century and translated into Coptic. She surmises that this fragment is also copied from a second-century Greek text.

While King insists that this does not at all offer any proof that Jesus was married, she goes on to insist, “It provides further evidence that there was an active discussion among early Christians about whether Jesus was celibate or married, and which path his followers should choose.” Trying to ignore the “whether Jesus was celibate” and go on to the marriage suggestion it should be pointed out that all of the Gnostic gospels, except Thomas which has later layers of Gnosticism  added, come at least a century or several after the biblical accounts.*  And there was little, if any, conversation between Gnostics and early orthodox Christians.
But more seriously the details in most of the Gnostic gospels are so bizarre that one cannot equate Christianity with them at all.  I have written about the Gospel of Mary in another place in a book review of Dan Brown’s novel, the Da Vinci Code. His whole plot was based on the idea that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. This is what I wrote about the Gospel of Mary:

He [Ben Witherington III] places The Gospel of Mary in the second century. [1]In “The Gospel of Mary,” Mary Magdalene refers to differing powers, such as ignorance, which she tells the disciples the soul passes as it ascends. Like all gnostic texts this one implies the soul must overcome ignorance and other powers as well as the material world and one must look within to accomplish this. Allegedly, this gnostic view of salvation is part of the secret knowledge Mary was given by Jesus.[2]However, neither the teachings nor the dating of these gnostic texts gives them any standing as truthful history about the life or teachings of Jesus. First, their gnostic doctrines contradict the whole Jewish background of the early church. Once again the Hebrew Bible and Jewish history come under attack. Secondly, these texts were written much later than the authentic texts of the New Testament.

The books of the New Testament did not receive their status as the official canon at the Council of Nicaea, but at the Synod of Hippo in 393 and this “was re-promulgated by the Third Synod of Carthage” four years later. And it is certain the books were not canonized without first having been recognized by the Christian church as possessing authority.[3] As F.F. Bruce writes:

"There is a distinction between the canonicity of a book of the Bible and its authority. Its canonicity is dependent upon its authority. For when we ascribe canonicity to a book we simply mean that it belongs to the canon or list. But why does it so belong? Because it was recognized as possessing special authority. People frequently speak and write as if the authority with which the books of the Bible are invested in the minds of the Christians is the result of their having been included in the sacred list. But the historical fact is the other way about; they were and are included in the lists because they were acknowledged as authoritative." [4]

It should be added that E.M. Yamauchi writes about the various gnostic gospels and states that although they are all different they do have some common concepts:


… a dualism that opposed the transcendent God and an ignorant demiurge (often a caricature of the OT Jehovah).” In some systems the creation of the world resulted from the presumption of Sophia (Wisdom). The material creation, including the body, was regarded as inherently evil. Sparks of divinity, however, had been encapsuled in the bodies of certain pneumatic or spiritual individuals, who were ignorant of their celestial origins. The transcendent God sent down a redeemer, who brought them salvation in the form of secret gnosis.[5]

The important thought here to consider is that although progressive scholars may insist that early Christians debated whether or not Jesus was married, and non-scholars insist this is some kind of proof that he was married, the real argument has nothing to do with orthodox Christianity, the person of Christ or the authority of Scripture. There are no real connections between the two. They did not dialogue as we think of it in our mainline denominations.  Instead early Church fathers who lived in their century wrote about the gnostic  heresies. We have a sure word-a strong foundation, a revelation given by the Creator of the universe.

* I do not write about this because I believe that church leaders should not be married, but more importantly because it is an attack on the deity of Jesus Christ.

[1] Ben Witherington III, Women In The Earliest Churches; Society for New Testament Studies, Monograph Series, Ed. G.N. Stanton, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1989) 208.
[2] “ The Gospel of Mary,” in The Gospels of Mary: The Secret Tradition of Mary Magdalene the Companion of Jesus, Marvin Meyer with Esther A. de Boer, editors and commentary, (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco 2004), 19-22.
[3] F.F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments: How we got our English Bible, revised and updated, (Old Tappen, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company 1984), n. 30, 103-4.
[4] Ibid.,87.
[5] E.M. Yamauchi, “Gnosticism,” Dictionary of New Testament Background: A Compendium of Contemporary Biblical Scholarship, eds. Craig A. Evans & Stanley E. Porter, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press 2000), 414-418.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Intersex-a new weapon against the purity of Christ's church

Too many times, in the past, the progressive side of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has attempted to tell the orthodox that the conflict going on among us is simply about sexuality and rights, that the Lordship of Christ and the doctrines of the church are not under attack. But antinomianism either grows from false doctrine or is the generator of it. Recently a panel discussion at the Episcopal Divinity School; led by Professor Patrick S. Cheng of EDS and written about by Professor Kwok Pui Lan on her blog although about sexuality took aim at biblical teaching.

The subject was “intersex” and “transgender” theology. Although, intersex persons have some combination of male and female genitals (And there are many combinations as well as opinions about what constitutes intersex or intersex conditions), the main idea in the discussion was that an intersex person should not be considered unnatural in their sexual makeup. And with this understanding the goal is that both gender and theology has new meaning. So, according to the theories, there are many differing gender types, not just male and female. This is then applied to theological themes.

More Light Presbyterians picked up the story and wrote:
Our lived experiences help us understand the nature of God and God’s people. Feminist, Black, womanist, liberation, mujerista, and gay theologies have helped to deepen and expand our knowledge of an ever-creating God, the risen Christ, and the holy spirit at work in the world.
MLP then goes on to quote a portion of Kwok Pui Lan’s blog where she writes of Dr Susannah Cornwall author of “Sex and Uncertainty in the Body of Christ: Intersex Conditions and Christian Theology,” Dr. Megan K. DeFranza of Gordon College and several others professors. The alarming part of the quote is:
Cornwall emphasized that intersex persons challenge a binary construction of gender, which has dominated Christian theology for centuries. The acceptance of a non-pathological understanding of the intersexed necessitates the re-examination of some of the Christian images and teachings, such as the church as a feminine bride to a masculine god, the maleness of Christ, body and perfection, and marriage based on complementarities of the male and the female sexes.
On the Seminary web site is another description of the Forum, “Exploring Intersex and Transgender Theology.” In that article the comparison of eunuchs with other types of sexual problems, albeit in the panel they were not seen as problems, are discussed and the author writes, “After Dr. Cornwall spoke, Dr. DeFranza examined the biblical discussions of eunuchs in both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, and she argued that those passages might help evangelical Christians change their attitudes towards intersex people.”

I would suppose that, by change their attitude toward intersex people, she must mean accept them as normal sexually.[1] But the real issue here is the attempt to change Christian teaching via sexual experience rather than allow the Scripture text to inform sexuality. And the truly frightening part is the desire to change Christology for the sake of sexuality. The desire is ancient paganism in the guise of academia.

The crisis confronting the church today is not about rights or sexuality but has to do with a lack of true faith, a failure to obey and honor the word of God, a refusal to acknowledge with our lives the Lordship of Christ and his saving and transforming work. In that very place where we read that Christ loves and planned for the purity of his church—the attack is now engaged. As in times past, the days of Old Testament Israel and the raunchy sexuality of late medieval Europe, perverse sexuality is simply the weapon used to thwart the will of God. But Christ will not be frustrated, and in fact his work is done. We wait on and for him, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water and the word, that he might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. (Eph. 5:25-27)”

[1] In a sense those theologians who are using the physical problems of those they call intersex are doing just that using them. It is as though we looked at a person with serious eye problems and said well that is simply normal which means there are all kinds of ways of seeing-all normal-20-20 is really no different than someone who is blind. It is just a different way of seeing, called, perhaps, un-seeing. The point is a physical condition cannot be used to excuse the sin of same gender sex or any other sin.

Friday, September 14, 2012

An excellent article on SSA (Same Sex Attraction)

The Gospel Coalition site has up an excellent article by someone who has experienced SSA (Same Sex Attraction). Christ has begun a transformation in his life, (For twenty years!). The article is “The Unique Struggle of Same-Sex Attraction” by Haydn Sennitt. I place it here because of some of the arguments that have occurred on my posting, Ruining the Book of Confessions: the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Updated, but more importantly because it is so filled with wisdom, help and the grace of God.  The article begins:

Not long ago, someone asked me how long I've been dealing with same-sex attractions. I was surprised to find a big, round number before me: 20 years. Of those 20 years, five and a half have been as a married man and as a father. I'm not gay: I'm a new creation in Christ. I am a Christian struggling with unwanted same-sex attractions (SSA). I am a pastoral worker and a Bible college student, and homosexuality has been a prominent part of my journey as a Christian. I wish that it were not so, though part of me knows that God has been using this struggle powerfully to bring me to himself.

SSA has shown me how God can work in a specific issue like homosexuality while also showing me glimpses of God's fatherly heart and sin's deep effects on other people.”

The Unique Struggle of Same-Sex Attraction” [The link was broken but is now fixed.]

Hat tip Kevin DeYoung

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The blessing of scorn

Last night, September 11, I put up one posting and then saw the information about the Presbytery of Twin Cities resolution. I felt I should write about it and post it, which I did. However, the first posting I did, "For their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way" I feel is important. I was really grappling with some of my own hurts and concerns, even some anger, that has been caused by what is going on within and outside of the denomination. So if you have-not read "For their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way" perhaps you should.

Picture by Ethan McHenry

Ruining the Book of Confessions: the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Updated

The Presbytery of the Twin Cities has passed a Marriage Amendment Resolution  with a statement that muddles the Presbyterian Book of Confessions making it unsafe for the orthodox in the denomination. The resolution, which was passed 99 yes, 39 no and 4 abstentions, is aimed at Minnesota’s marriage amendment. The amendment which has been placed on the November 6 2012 general ballot would change the state constitution so that, “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota.”  The Presbytery’s resolution resolves that:
 "Resolved that the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area at its September Stated Meeting       oppose the proposed Minnesota state constitutional amendment on marriage, scheduled for the 2012 general election ballot, that would prevent one group of committed couples and their families from pursuing ordinary legislative or legal means to gain the support and protections afforded to all others; and be it further

Resolved that the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area at its September Stated Meeting encourage its congregations and its members to stand opposed to divisive politics and to advocate for the dignity and worth of all citizens within our state; and be it further

Resolved that the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area take action to make the Presbytery’s position on this matter known throughout the Presbytery, and to the public at large.

However, as noted above, one of the reasons is taken from the Presbyterian Book of Confessions, the Confession of 1967."

In the Resolution this is what is stated:

"Whereas, according to our Book of Confessions (9:44), “In [God’s] reconciling love, [God] overcomes the barriers between brothers [and sisters] and breaks down every form of discrimination... The church is called to bring all men [and women] to receive and uphold one another as persons in all relationships of life: in employment, housing, education, leisure, marriage, family, church, and the exercise of political rights.... Congregations, individuals, or groups of Christians who exclude, dominate, or patronize their fellowmen, however subtly, resist the Spirit of God and bring contempt on the faith which they profess,”

But the authors of the Resolution have changed the meaning of 9:44 by leaving out several words. This is what the Confession actually says.
God has created the peoples of the earth to be one universal family. In his reconciling love, he overcomes the barriers between brothers and breaks down every form of discrimination based on racial or ethnic difference, real or imaginary. The church is called to bring all men to receive and uphold one another as persons in all relationships of life: in employment, housing, education, leisure, marriage, family, church, and the exercise of political rights. Therefore, the church labors for the abolition of all racial discrimination and ministers to those injured by it. Congregations, individuals, or groups of Christians who exclude, dominate, or patronize their fellowmen, however subtly, resist the Spirit of God and bring contempt on the faith they profess. (Bold mine)
It can plainly be seen that this part of the Confession of 67 is about racial discrimination, not about sexuality.  By changing the meaning of this part of the Confession the Presbytery of Twin Cities has caused those who oppose same gender sex on the basis of God’s Holy Word to be pictured as those who resist the Spirit and are bringing contempt on their faith. By voting yes on this resolution members of the Presbytery have endangered the unity of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). How can there be any fellowship or communion among us given this horrendous action.

May God have mercy on us.

UPdate: The Presbytery of the Twin Cities has sent out an e-mail alert on this resolution. The one quote they picked from their resolution was the mangled quote from the Confession of 67. They do have a facebook page where one could post thoughts. 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"For their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way"

Reading in the gospel of Luke I noted something Jesus said in the beatitudes that I had not paid attention to before: “Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (6:26). Now this has to be taken within the context of the whole passage where Jesus is encouraging those who have been or will be insulted because of their faith in Christ.

Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy for behold, your reward is great in heaven. (6:22-23)
The contrast is between praise and insult. And amazingly in this case the insult turns into a blessing while the praise happens because of a person’s unfaithfulness and falseness. And my interest is in the idea that the people of Jesus day, who were praising what was false, were the children of those who praised false prophets in the Old Testament. (One has to consider not only those who simply gave out favorable prophecies rather than the warnings they should have delivered, but even the lascivious prophets of Baal.)

Furthermore, Jesus is himself being prophetic in that he acknowledges that in the days to come those who hold tight to him, that is abide in him, will be considered evil by others. Jesus is saying that those who live contrary to the revelation of God would rather heap praise on those who disparage the person of Christ than praise those who are faithful followers.

So having clarified that those who are insulted because of their relationship with Jesus should leap for joy—at the their coming future blessing, and that those who hear nothing but praise from those who praise false teachers should be concerned, where does that leave the orthodox in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and other mainline denominations? Jesus has more to say. Yes, it is about loving your enemies, loving those who hate you, blessing those who curse and mistreat you.

There is a whole list:

1. Give to those who ask only give more than they ask.

2. Treat others like you want to be treated.

3. Love your enemies and not only that also do them good.

4. Be merciful.

5. Do not judge and condemn but rather pardon. (Note this is very personal and has nothing to do with calling the sinner to repentance—note James 5:19-20—which in reality is doing the sinner good.)

But then there is something more, not in this particular text but in Matthew 5:43-48, which also has to do with the beatitudes. I am using this because Dietrich Bonhoeffer, using the text, offers some thoughts on the future and the love that is required of Christians for enemies. This is hard but I believe it is time to reread it. Bonhoeffer was writing about his day, but it has some relevance again. Bonhoeffer wrote it in 1937 with the Nazis in power, but he looks back to the beginnings of the problems that then existed. The Church was already partially divided and the Synod of Barmen had already met and produced the Declaration of Barmen. Some pastors were in prison. There is of course a very great difference, except in some other countries, but the words are important:
The commandment, that we should love our enemies and forgo revenge will grow more urgent in the holy struggle which lies before us and in which we partly have been engaged for years. In it love and hate engage in mortal combat. It is the urgent duty of every Christian soul to prepare itself for it. The time is coming when the confession of the living God will incur not only the hatred and the fury of the world, for on the whole it has come to that already, but complete ostracism from ‘human society,’ as they call it. The Christian will be hounded from place to place, subjected to physical assault, maltreatment and death of every kind. We are approaching an age of widespread persecution. Therein lies the true significance of all the movements and conflicts of our age. Our adversaries seek to root out the Christian Church and the Christian faith because they cannot live side by side with us. …
Bonhoeffer goes on to speak of the battle that is to be fought—by prayer:
And what prayer, what confession, what hymn of praise will it be? It will be a prayer of earnest love for these very sons of perdition who stand around and gaze at us with eyes aflame with hatred ... It will be a prayer for the peace of these erring, devastated and bewildered souls, a prayer for the same love and peace which we ourselves enjoy, a prayer which will penetrate to the depths of their souls and rend their hearts more grievously than anything they can do to us.
There is much more to read. It can be found in The Cost of Discipleship.

This is a call to prayer, love and abiding in Christ, staying close to the one who has called us. My husband and I recently attended a Catholic Mass for a dear friend who recently went to be with the Lord; she taught music and led a community choir in Northern California for many years. There was a procession at the beginning which included her husband. I will never forget the expression on his face as he passed us. He walked with a cross held tightly to his chest, and he held it so tightly and with such determination on his face I could believe he would never put it down. That is our calling.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Other Christ

Recently my husband asked me to read several pages of a book he is reading by John Stott. In that book, The Incomparable Christ, I discovered another book; The Other Spanish Christ: A Study in the Spiritual History of Spain and South America which I ordered. The author is John A. Mackay past dean of Princeton Theological Seminary and founder of Theology Today. The book was written in 1932. While I did find some of the material dated and unhelpful Mackay’s focus on the dead Christ of Spanish and South American religion versus the living Christ, (the other Spanish Christ), and our fellowship with him was of great interest.

In writing of the dead Spanish Christ, Mackay opines that many in Spain and South America saw him as victim without any sense of his life. They based their religion on their longing for immortality which they simply saw as a continuation of their earthly life. A true relationship with the living Jesus was missing. Mackay writes:
In Spanish religion Christ has been the centre of a cult of death. And yet, paradoxically enough, it was the passion for fleshly life and immortality that created this interest in death. The dead Christ is an expiatory victim. The details of his earthly life are of slight importance and make relatively small appeal. He is regarded as a purely supernatural being, whose humanity, being only apparent, has little ethical bearing on ours.

Mackay goes on in his explanation of the zeal for immortality:
The Spanish religious passion for life has not, however, aimed at life in the qualitative Johannine sense; it has been a craving not for regeneration, but for immortality, for “total immortality in its vilest and sublimest, meaning.” Its supreme dread has thus been death not sin.
Mackay shows how this concept of Christ worked out in communion. The ritual became all important but in a magical way. Those who ate did it as a means to immortality. “He partook of it not to become better through feeding upon Christ; He ate it as a magic recipe, proscribed by his spiritual advisers, in order to live forever.” The problem is care and love for creature and creation over care and love for the Creator. Love of the world more than love of Christ.

The contrast then that Mackay presents against the dead Christ is of those who above all else cling to a living Christ in a living relationship. Mackay begins the chapter about the different Christ, as does Stott in his book, by referring to Raymond Lull. He was a missionary during the 14th century who advocated for prayer rather than crusades as a means of converting the Muslims. In his eighties he was stoned to death by the Muslims he was seeking to convert to Christ.

Mackay writes “Christ is for him our Life, our new, eternal Life. He does not immortalize life as it is, but transforms it into what life should be.” He then refers to the seventeenth century mystics, in particular St. Teresa of Avila and St John of the cross. Mackay offers the reader that famous 16th century poem that points exactly to the Christian’s true love:

I am not moved my God to love of Thee
By heav’n which thou didst pledge me as reward.
I am not moved to cease to grieve Thee, Lord,
By thoughts and fears of Hell which threaten me.
Thou move’st me, O my God. Mov’d sore am I
To see Thee nailed upon that cruel tree,
The scorn of men, wounded despitefully,
Mov’d am I: Thou dost suffer and dost die.
Mov’d am I thus, my Lord, to love Thee; yea,
Were there no Heav’n at all, I’d love thee still,
Were there no Hell, my due of fear I’d pay.
Thou need’st not make me gifts to move my will,
For were my hopes of Heav’n quite fled away,
Yet this same love my heart would ever feel.
The Christian’s ultimate love is Christ. Because he is living, in union with Jesus the Christian finds real life. Life that begins now. Life that is transformative. Life that is filled with love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Verbal persecution by way of twitter

The shadows continue to grow and it is particularly troubling when part of that  gloom is aimed at a friend, Professor Robert Gagnon and a familiar church, Sunrise CommunityChurch in Fair Oaks California.  I am very troubled that one Presbyterian, Teaching Elder, Tom Eggebeen, would do this to a colleague.  I will explain.
I often go to a page entitled The pcusa Daily. It is a daily news site spin off from the twitters of Presbyterians which I often read. Every so often if I have the hashtag (#) PCUSA on a twitter which links to my newest blog posting it will appear on the site which changes daily.  It is, I think, mostly an individually run site and I don’t really understand how it works or who, at the moment, is claiming to be the publisher. There are many such sites for various entities. This site seems to be mostly progressive but now and then a few of the orthodox make it through. In fact, today there were several orthodox postings, including mine. 
However, there is this:

Tom Eggebeen who has in the past blogged for the Presbyterian Outlook tweeted an article from a place called, Joe. My. God.  It is a gay blog of some sort.  When Eggebeen tweeted the link, he said this:

More about Prof. Gagnon at Pittsburgh: #ga220 I find his virulence over the top.[1]
This is what Eggebeen linked to, NOM Speaker Robert Gagnon To Keynote "Ex-Gay" Brainwashing Conference"—which includes a picture of my friend Professor Robert Gagnon and a small article which begins:

Virulently anti-gay nutcase Robert "Gay Is Worse Than Incest" Gagnon, who regularly speaks at NOM affiliated events, will keynote the September "ex-gay" conference by the brand spanking new Restored Hope Network, which was apparently formed in reaction to Exodus International's recent rejection of brainwashing and torture.

The comments below the article are awful and at least one should be reported to some authority. It is, “To hell with circular logic. What they need is a circular firing squad.”

When one tweets an article  to go on Twitter and puts either a #PCUSA hashtag and/or a #ga2010 hashtag it is clear that you intend for all those who look for those hashtags to find the article.  Eggebeen wanted Gagnon to be abused and made fun of by other progressive Presbyterians.

This is really getting out of hand and it is my hope and prayer that some of the leadership in the PCUSA will take a stand against teaching and ruling elders harassing in this manner. It would have been acceptable for Eggebeen to disagree with Gagnon’s faith and teaching and explain why. But what he did instead is verbal persecution. Gagnon is after all a Professor in one of our Presbyterian Theological seminaries and he is a faithful Christian.  He is also a brother in the Lord.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The real answers and the false ones: More Light Presbyterians and the suffering

It is time to change the story line. More Light Presbyterians with their every article are trying to make Christians who do not agree with same gender sex appear as bullies and homophobic. Recently MLP highlighted two news articles, one erroneously suggesting that an evangelical church is homophobic, to another, MLP added false information in order to make it appear as though the homelessness of some LGBT teens was caused by homophobic Christians.

The first news article is from the New York Times. In the newspaper the title is, “After Gay Son’s Suicide, Mother Finds Blame in Herself and in Her Church,’ the More Light site has it as, “Jane Clementi’s Church Failed Her – Your Story Can Make a Difference.” The second news story is introduced on the MLP site as “Keeping All Youth Safe and Off the Streets.”That is an introduction to a Huffington Post article, Getting LGBT Homeless Youth Off the Streets by Laura A. Hughes.

The first story is about the agonizing experience of a mother whose gay son commits suicide. She is an evangelical who supposedly blames both herself and her church for her son’s death. The MLP authors added to her blame of the church with this:
Her youngest son, Tyler, felt strongly that she didn’t accept him, largely because of the teachings of her church. The truth is, she was on a journey towards understanding and acceptance in spite of her church’s dangerous theology, but when Tyler ended his life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge, there was no more time for conversation. (Italics mine)
But in an article, Guilt, grief and God: a gay son’s suicide, about the New York Times article, asks a question and gives some explanations. The question is:
Anybody catch the story on Tyler Clementi’s parents leaving their evil, gay-bashing evangelical church?
The answer the author, Bobby Ross Jr. of GetReligion, gives is that the New York Times never bothered to ask the church or pastor of the church any questions. (Neither did the MLP author.) But a different news outlet did. According to Ross Jr. the Religious News Service did and this is the answer the RNS gave about Pastor Rob Minor of Grace Church:
Rob Minor, senior pastor for Grace Church, said on Monday (Aug. 27) that his church teaches that “God’s ideal” is sexual abstinence before marriage, and monogamous heterosexual marriages. “But we also understand that we live in a world where everyone is striving to reach God’s ideal,” Minor said. Minor said he and an associate pastor relayed that message to Jane Clementi before she left the church.

“We love Jane and Joe and Jimmy and the rest of the family very much, and we respect their decision,” Minor said.

Minor added that the church does not “bash” or “judge” people, nor does it make homosexuality a priority issue.

“The fact is at least in the six years I’ve been here, I never preached on it, never talked on it,” Minor said. “It’s just not been an issue for us.”
That doesn’t sound unloving, and certainly not dangerous.

The second story is really just a piece about a place that takes in and helps LGBT young people who are on the streets because they have been kicked out of their homes (for various reasons) or because their families are too dysfunctional to be of any help. But the MLP author puts it this way:
Many homeless LGBT youth were rejected by their families because of religious homophobia, whether or not the families were active churchgoers. (Italics mine.)
Really! The first person highlighted in this article is Crystal:
"Crystal," a resident in our transitional living program, has one such story. While she was out to her family as a lesbian, she was sleeping in a closet in a home she shared with 25 other family members. Most of Crystal's family is addicted to drugs and used them in front of her siblings -- and while they were normally somewhat tolerant of her relationship with her girlfriend, they regularly picked fights with her regarding her sexuality when high. Her family's poverty, combined with her sexuality, forced her to leave home.
Where does that paragraph say anything about “religious” homophobia? Rather it was “drug induced” homophobia. It is truly a combination of poverty and drug addiction that caused the problems this poor young woman is dealing with.

So why in the midst of these tragedies is MLP attempting to verbally persecute the Church of Jesus Christ, to the point of either exaggerating the information or creating false information? Why are they using others, who are suffering, to further their own agendas? There is a complex problem in the PCUSA and in other mainline denominations where most problems are seen as correctable by advocacy and political change. Certainly some are, but the suicidal death of a child and the needs of a child caught in a dysfunctional and drug addicted family cannot always be solved in that manner.

The Church of Jesus Christ has two duties here. One is to love and care for the hurts of these families. The other is to keep proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ; offering news about the one who through his death and resurrection forgives and gives new life.

My husband asked an interesting question concerning this subject. How would the early church have handled these problems? The answer is very clear—although many may not want to hear the answer—the gospel is wrapped around it.

The apostle Paul in one of his letters to the Corinthians when writing about the multiple problems of both their secular society and their church states:
Do not be deceived neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor. 6:9-10)
But them he goes on with the solution.
Such were some of you, but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (6:11)
Here is the Church’s calling, not just to the LGBT community but to all, including the covetous, the drunkards and the rest on that list. The Church is called to proclaim the newness of life, the forgiveness of sins, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, the justification that is ours in Jesus Christ. The life of Jesus, his death on the cross—his shed blood, that is the answer when applied to our lives.

And there is a longer list of sins that begins in Romans 1 with the sin of same gender sex but it goes on to include: envy, murder, deceit, malice, gossiping, slander, hating God, being insolent, arrogant and boastful, inventing evil, disobedient to parents, lacking understanding, untrustworthy, unloving and unmerciful. The list covers just about all sin and later, several chapters later, Paul sums it all up with:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But again there is the same solution. Those next several chapters of Romans are filled to over flowing with the grace of God flowing from Jesus Christ and how that overcomes our sinful nature:
But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God though him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God though the death of his Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-1o)
So the early church, the biblical church directed the needy, the sinner to the forgiveness and life found in Jesus Christ. And in that community of redeemed sinners was strength, discernment and resurrection power for living a new life. But there is something more, the church permeated society with the goodness of the gospel. Lights came on here and there in the darkness until in some places there was abundant light. Light enough for whole nations to see by. As the Scripture and the hymn proclaim, “in Christ there is no darkness at all.”

But to return to the beginning of my posting, More Light Presbyterians are slandering those who abide by the authority of Scripture. And that is darkness which, in the absence of light also grows. It will become darker—yet the light, the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ shines in the darkness and cannot be extinguished.

Picture by Ethan McHenry