Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Friday, August 05, 2011

Praise for the Leaven of Heterodoxy


Rev. Mateen Elass who wrote "An Evangelical Declaration" I posted about earlier this week, had a letter published in the LayMAN today. Here is a sentence of interest:

Instead, we are faced with two options, between which we much choose to be faithful to Christ: either we peacefully reclaim the PCUSA and cleanse it of the leaven of heterodoxy to bring it back to our Reformation roots, or we peacefully withdraw, grieving the demise of a once great, now lost denomination.
I have to assume that I am included in that leaven that needs a-cleansing. I wonder how Rev. Elass proposes to cleanse me and the other little lumps of lovely leaven in the P.C. (U.S.A.)?

It might be more of a challenge than he thinks. Jesus seemed to be on the side of the leaven after all.

The empire of Heaven is like leaven that a woman took and concealed in fifty pounds of flour until it was all leavened. Matthew 13:33

14 comments:

Kattie W. Coon said...

Elass is making my job easy.

I'm going to the potluck at the end of this month along with a contingent of truely faithful conservative Presbyterian brothers and sisters from my church. If Elass, Larsen, Berkley, and Moody are in any way indicitive of the kind of folk we'll encounter there, I think our folk will easily turn their noses up on the Fellowship, like they did with the Whiners a few years ago. And we're a Confessing Church!

John Shuck said...

Looking forward to hearing your reports from the potluck.

Jodie said...

Funny catch there, John.

The whole point of the Church is to be the leaven of the World - according to Jesus.

But these guys, while they worship the Bible, don't even know what it says.

Here is my question of them: Whose side are they on, God's or the World's?

Because Jesus is on the side of the World, defending and standing up for the World in the presence of God, not the other way around. To follow Jesus, to be his student, is to follow in his footsteps, and to practice what he practices.

These guys do precisely the opposite. They want to defend God to the World. And in so doing take the opposite counsel, against Christ!

That entire "manifest" takes the opposite side to Jesus Christ's. Just like the Pharisees. I mean, Xerox copy!

If only they would read their Bible instead of worshiping it. Sigh…

John Shuck said...

If only they would read their Bible instead of worshiping it. Sigh…

Exactly! Thank you! A summary of what I have been trying to say for years!

Jeff Winter said...

Kattie, is that your real name or are you afraid of saying who you really are?

Jeff Winter said...

Jodie, I worship the Lord...not my Bible. Frankly, I don't have a clue what you are trying to say in your posting and I count myself as a fairly intelligent and discerning person

John Shuck said...

@Jeff Welcome to my blog. I don't require IDs. Who she is is not your concern at least here. You can take that conversation up with her at her place.

Jodie said...

@Jeff,

Well, I have no idea what you are trying to say either. You didn't give me much to go on there.

But I see from your blog that you are a "pastor evangelist" and want to "see the gospel preached to every man woman and child".

That raises several questions in my mind.

1) Aren't the roles of pastor and the role of evangelist basically different? When are you being the one, and when are you the other?

2) To whom do YOU want to preach the gospel?

3) To those that you preach it to, would you say is the newsworthy part of the gospel and what about it makes it good?

4) As a pastor, what role do you take between the World and God? Do you see yourself as representing God's view to the World, or do you see yourself representing the World's view to God?

5) When you are in the role of an evangelist, does that change?

6) Do you see yourself as a disciple - i.e. a student - of Jesus? If so, and assuming that students try to take upon themselves the mantle of their teachers to some degree or other, what aspects of Jesus and his ministry do you most try to immitate?

I am sure that if I had a better understanding of your point of view on these fundamental questions, I am sure I could give you a clue at least about what I am saying.

Michael_SC said...

Reading the conservative blogs is surreal. In the 20th century there were serious (and unsuccessful) conservative struggles against alleged liberalism. The conservatives lost, and formed their own denominations (OPC, PCA, EPC, etc). That, at a time when the PCUSA was probably more conservative than it is today. And yet in 2011 I read the same verbiage as one would have read in 1935 or 1970. So it makes me wonder if today's conservatives even know the history, or if they're not really serious and this is some kind of theater.

John Shuck said...

Reading the conservative blogs is surreal.

I often wonder about that same thing Michael. Consider the comment by Mr. Elass regarding "the demise of a once great, now lost denomination."

When, from his theological viewpoint, a viewpoint that affirms "the five fundamentals" in a literal from, was our denomination ever great?

Only in the early 20th century! Only during that period did the church insist on them. 90 years ago!

Or they lament the Confession of 1967. Anyone who was ordained as a minister when that was approved is at least 70 now. Anyone who is an active minister now, signed on to it (perhaps with the exception of the over 70 demo).

We have been "apostate and anti-Christ" for a long, long time.

Part of the thing is that you have people who come into the PCUSA because it offers freedom on their pet scruple as opposed to whatever denomination they came from and don't understand our history or polity.

We have had these battles again and again, and the healthy moving ahead choice was to reject requiring lists of "essentials" and binding consciences to particular interpretations of the Bible or Confessions.

My favorite line in the Book of Order (at least the old one) has to do with baptism. I offer this as a description of the ethos of Presbyterianism (PCUSA) style.

When should you have your child baptized?

Eight days? Within a couple months? Before their tenth birthday? Nope.

The answer is:

"without undue haste or undue delay."

Beautiful. It is up to the parents/guardians, their conscience, the elders of the local community to decide.

It takes a while to learn that, to live in that way of being that is Presbyterian.

Kattie W. Coon said...

John,
I didn't realize it until now, but it all makes sense. Elass is a board member of the IRD, and his previous call was as Senior Pastor of an EPC Church. I wonder if he ever actually moved his membership.

Jodie said...

A small incestuous club of disgruntled mall-contents...

With a big budget.

John Shuck said...

Yup.

Pastor of the Immanuel Presbyterian Church of Warrenville, IL and EPC congregation.

Figures.

It happens again and again. I remember in my previous presbytery, one of the most obnoxious guys had transferred from some fundie place because he got divorced and they booted him. He came to the safe haven of the PCUSA then started claiming it wasn't holy enough for him because of gays and our biblical views, etc.

I see this again and again. These guys come from some fundie Presbyterian offshoot or Baptist or whatever because of some reason that suits them and get freaked out at our "apostasy."

Kattie W. Coon said...

I don't think I would consider the EPC all that "fundie". Personally, I could affirm their Essentials of the Faith, and I like that departures from the Westminster Standards are possible at the Presbytery and Congregational level concerning ordination. I know that means their Women don't enjoy the right of ordination, but I can see that it is a matter of Biblical interpretation. I would be in favor of overturning the Kenyon decision in the PC(USA) on the basis that it violates Freedom of Conscience.
I had to laugh when I read the article on the Layman Online about denominations denouncing 10-A. I noticed that the EPC didn't actually denounce it. How could they, it would make a mockery of their own constitution. I imagine it’s just a matter of time before the EPC ordains a GLBT person (assuming they haven’t already).
It’s no wonder Elass hasn’t (yet) answered my last comment on his site. http://mateenelass.wordpress.com/2011/08/02/an-evangelical-declaration/#comments