Sep 10th, 2007 · Categories: Culture, PCUSA · 5 Comments

PCUSA: Business as usual

Amid the announced departures of Washington Office Director Elenora Giddings Ivory, and Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, the renewal crowd have turned absolutely giddy. They seem to think these are signs of positive change in the PCUSA. To me, it looks like Christianity Lite continues to captivate the enterprise.

From a recent Presbyterian News Service (PNS) story, Shaking comfort zones and a few hands, on the PCUSA website:

The story from the 4th chapter of John’s Gospel about the Samaritan woman, who was a Gentile, and Jesus, a Jewish man, “gives us a signal about how we are to position ourselves if we are to do evangelism,” especially when sharing faith across cultural boundaries, Sadongei said.

Christ’s evangelism began when he put aside his own cultural understandings and assumptions, acknowledged the stranger’s presence and initiated a conversation, she said. Then an “unbelievable dialogue” flourished that eventually brought home the gospel to the Samaritan.

“Jesus and the woman were willing to risk trying something different, willing to be open to a person who was much different than them, and possibly learn something from them,” said Sadongei, a member of the Kiowa and Tohono O’odham tribes and full-time stated supply pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Phoenix.

Is Pastor Sadongei telling this story from the Samaritan woman’s point of view? Or is Sadongei herself unaware that Jesus is much more than just “a Jewish man” who was “willing to risk trying something different”. Is she seriously suggesting that before he could evangelize, Jesus had to “put aside his own cultural understandings and assumptions”, that he had to change somehow? According the story, Pastor Sadongei went on to make some very good points about how to be welcoming and loving toward strangers. But did she have to fictionalize the account of Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman to make her point? Could she have found no factual basis in the Bible?

Or consider the progressives’ recent discovery that evangelism is a Good Thing (Spiritual revival is key to social transformation, Wallis says). But evangelism for what purpose? It’s not what you might think, according to “progressive evangelical” Jim Wallis. [As an oxymoron, “progressive evangelical” is first rate, a shining example of the left’s use of Godspeak to cloak a decidedly humanist objective. ]

“The social transformation of the world – alleviating poverty and disease, restoring human rights and religious freedom, bringing peace overcoming prejudice – can only come through spiritual revival.” For this reason, “there are very few things as important as evangelism in the churches today”, Wallis told the National Presbyterian Evangelism Conference. Apparently evangelism is not a means of carrying out the Great Commission, but a new-fangled way of bringing about social transformation:

“Everyone knows politics is broken, is failing to address the moral issues of our time,” he said. “And history shows that when that happens, social movements rise up to change politics, and the best social movements have spiritual foundations.”

And what is the power of the current social movement that Wallis perceives? “Spiritual power is being harnessed to address the great social challenges of our time.” This statement is right out of the first Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Why were the Nazis seeking the Ark of the Covenant? Because they (and George Lucas) saw it as a vast power source that could be harnessed for their own earthly purposes.

Do the departures of Giddings Ivory and Kirkpatrick suggest a cultural change for the PCUSA? Of course not. Neither of them created the worldly culture that has overtaken the PCUSA, they both merely reflect it. Their departures will be barely noticed as the denomination spirals downward into irrelevancy and apostasy.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 10th, 2007 at 9:44 pm and is filed under Culture, PCUSA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “PCUSA: Business as usual”

  1. will Says:

    October 2nd, 2007 at 5:23 am

    I have to agree that the departures in question will not change the culture of the PC(USA). Such a thing may be possible, but it cannot occur without repentance. Even on a more prosaic level – one can’t change direction without abandoning the one in which one has been going. And I don’t see such as a change as in anyway likely.

  2. Grumpy Says:

    October 10th, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Thanks for your comments, Will. I have recommended your “My Name” blog entry to our pastors and session.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    December 18th, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    If you don’t like PCUSA that much, you’re always free to go.

  4. Grumpy Says:

    January 3rd, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I always appreciate insightful comments from anonymous posters.

  5. Gary Says:

    January 18th, 2008 at 12:16 am

    Too bad anonymous that if an entire church wants to go, they get shackled unless they leave behind the property that they paid for and paid for the upkeep of.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>