Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 and God's wooing and merciful judgment

In a New Year's posting, "My Thoughts on God's Will for the PCUSA in 2012," Janet Edwards, a pastor who has long advocated for LGBT ordination, calls for reconciliation which includes the letting go of such terms as liberal and conservative. She writes, “We must shed the antiquated 20th century labels of “liberal” and “conservative.” They have never served us well and do us serious harm now.” Edwards goes on to advise:

In 2012, God can inspire us to see ourselves as Presbyterian Christians together who disagree on how Scripture informs our faith in Christ as we all navigate through the unpredictable and turbulent seas of this life. These are disagreements that can serve us if we choose. Namely, they can help us all to grow in our faith and to better serve God.
In such a case we would simply be Christians with different opinions about the Bible. We would all be mediators of our own destinies navigating rocky shoals and stormed tossed seas by the use of our own particular methodology. But the rocks before us are huge and the hidden dangers unfathomable to human eyes.

We tend to think that human agendas and plans, including the call for ordination rights and same gender marriage, is all that we, as a Church are dealing with. Edwards references it all that way: women’s rights, racism and gay and lesbian ordination all lumped in one confusing and false category. But that is not all that such an agenda calls for—a mighty enemy seeks to undo the Church. A mighty enemy (but a defeated one) seeks to overcome the Church with sin and the belittling of God’s word.

But more importantly the great Enemy of our enemy puts his gigantic NO not only upon our enemy but upon our own human agendas. His word is very clear. He will have his Church sanctified, washed and pure. By the use of his word he will present to himself “the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:25-27)

Biblically speaking, false prophets call for peace when there is no peace. In the Old Testament it often happens that God sends judgment on Israel and in the beginning or in the midst of judgment false prophets keep insisting that it is a time of peace and reconciliation. They pretend to stand between enemies as a peace maker who will keep two opposing sides together. In some cases the ones calling for peace are those who have shattered peace by encouraging the people to sin.

The New Testament puts this idea of a false call for peace in a slightly different form. The corruption that shatters peace has to do with the peace of the Church rather than a nation. The Church is often under assault by those outside of the Church. But the Church is also often under assault by those within. Those who have waged war against the Church within the Church, inflicting her with false teaching and antinomianism, cannot turn and call for peace and reconciliation among members; instead the call must be for repentance and reconciliation with God.

And only the Holy Spirit both wooing us and inflicting us with the judgment of God can turn us back to our Redeemer. 2012, this is the year we pray God will inflict those of us within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with the mercy of his judgment that we might turn in repentance and faithfully listen to the words of God. We pray that in mercy the Lord Jesus Christ will not take away the candle of this denomination.


Mac said...

I agree with Janet Edwards. Let's return to "orthodox" and "heretical."

Mac McCarty
Downingtown, PA

Chas Jay said...

Viola - Thank you for sharing with so many. In the last few months I've enjoyed reading your blog and I so appreciate you.

Janet Edwards spent the last few decades as a leader in the More Light Presbyterians with a focus on dividing the denomination to get enough votes to remove the ordination standards. She never sought reconciliation after the previous defeats. Such a divider is never a reconciler and she should support those that leave WITH PROPERTY IN TACT because she worked for this destruction.

Viola Larson said...

I agree, but I was thinking orthodox and progressive.

Viola Larson said...

Chas Jay,
Thank you for commenting. No she and others who have pushed for their version of justice have no understanding of the kind of battle they have waged. They have fought against the faith that the saints have held for almost two thousand years.There can be no reconciliation if we are to remain faithful.

Chas Jay said...

Viola, I agree with you. Reconciliation involves admission that one side must confess that their position has been the wrong one. Edwards and her friends never did so yet since they have "won" the debate, they are calling for us to make a confession we were wrong. She never relinquished her conviction that she believed she is but is calling for us to relinquish our convictions. I never agreed with the MCC people who formed their own church but I respected them because they did so. I have no respect for the More Light, TAMFS and other pro-gay groups that worked to change the PCUSA. They are now calling for the PCUSA to make an "official" apology to the LGBT community. For clarity's sake - there should be no reconciliation with her because such it is a bow to her and no longer bowing to God.