Sacramento Presbytery has over the past several years developed an unusually good program of pastor’s retreats. In the years past they have invited speakers who were great teachers of the proclamation of the word. However, now the Pastoral Support Committee of the Presbytery of Sacramento is set to undo their past good work. Bishop Yvette Flunder is the speaker for this year’s event. The information is in the April Newsletter
In the Presbytery’s newsletter she describes her ministry to those at the retreat this way:
We will examine methods to exegete both the text and the listeners. New and difficult truths can be packaged in a familiar wrapping, so a common relationship of trust based on collective experience can be established. Preaching that is outside of the theological, intellectual or cultural reach of the listener is an insult to the life experience the listener brings to the preaching moment. It is not enough for the preacher to simply be profound but to seek to be a profound blessing, by hearing from God and paying close attention to the ‘voice’ of the listening congregation and embodying the message with the listeners in a divine circle dance!
Flunder, a United Church of Christ pastor, is also “Presiding Bishop of Refuge Ministries/The Fellowship a multi-denominational fellowship of 110 primarily African American Christian leaders and laity representing 56 churches and faith-based organizations from all parts of the United States and Africa.” Flunder is also a lesbian who speaks for the gay community seeing that community as God’s new thing and gift to the church. And this is where the problem lies.
The pastoral support team has set up a teaching session, perhaps unknowingly, about how to preach the new thing. Notice, “New and difficult truths can be packaged in a familiar wrapping, so a common relationship of trust based on collective experience can be established.” So not only is Flunder’s message about something ‘new’ it is about how to present the ‘new’ thing so that it can be received by those who might not listen to such a message. And certainly the message is new.
Flunder has established a foundation, the YA Flunder Foundation. The Foundation created “the Seminary Project in order to move conservative seminary students along a staged continuum, from a negative or questioning position to a theologically based positive position for the moral inclusion of LGBT individuals to the tangible advocacy of this position within their conservative denominations.”
Some of the resources provided go so far as to insist that David and Jonathan were lovers and possibly Ruth and Naomi. Sadly they also attempt to show that Jesus had a sexual relationship with the beloved disciple.
This is subterfuge, by the speaker and by anyone else who knew what something ‘new’ was about. There are still, surprisingly, orthodox pastors in Sacramento presbytery and this is a slap in the face to all of the orthodox who have remained faithful in this presbytery. The preaching and teaching of the pure word of God is the call of the teaching elder. The upholding of Jesus Christ as the eternal Son, the dying Lamb, the Savior who takes away our sins, that is what both laity and teaching elders need to hear.
“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. (2 Timothy 4: 1-4)