A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Presbyterian News

Another presbytery has drawn up a list of items that ministers must be instructed and guided by but it's not "subscriptionist" because folks would not be "forced to subscribe to any precisely worded articles of faith"

And yet such a statement will be given to "prospective ministers" so that "our theological expectations concerning what Reformed ministers must sincerely believe and proclaim" is made known. Also they are to be used as guidelines to evaluate ministerial candidates.

If they have this sort of coercive force that people may be ordained or not so based on them, that they represent what ministers "must sincerely believe and proclaim", we have, in every sense of the word, a creed which must be subscribed to.

The statement itself, 46 pages are filled with polemic and it becomes clear that the purpose of it is to discourage or prevent presbyterian moderate and liberal members from considering ordination in the presbytery. Here's some example of the phrases they use:

We cannot affirm any theology that seeks to substitute human effort or to promote some more "culturally relevant" paradigm for our salvation, justification, and reconciliation with God than Christ'’s death on the Cross for us.

We also do not affirm the notion that Christ'’s atoning work is universally applied to all or most of the human race, so that all or most are saved, regardless of their religion or non-religion and apart from hearing the gospel and believing in Christ.

We cannot affirm any doctrine that regards Scripture as subjectively, but not objectively, God's written Word, or that maintains the Scriptures contain the Word of God, but are not in themselves the Word of God

The last piece is of particular interest, because it's a rejection of a classic protestant formulation which goes back to Martin Luther. Instead a 19th/20th century American protestant fundamentalist formulation has now replaced this in a mainline regional body.

When one reads the statement it becomes obvious how other voices are not wanted in this church and how the "traditionalists" are not traditional at all but are placing Presbyterianism on a whole new basis which has little reference to it's own histories and insights.

2 Comments:

At 9:32 AM , Blogger Alan said...

The traditionalists in the PCUSA have always done a great job of making the claim that their position is the "traditional" one, when it is anything but. For example, they campaigned on "traditionl" in order to exclude LGBT people from ordination, when in fact, who gets ordained has traditionally always been under the purview of the Session.

I suspect this action by the Presbytery of Santa Barbara will have little practical effect on ordinations. Everyone already knows which like-minded Presbyteries to go to in order to be ordained. However, moves like this will have the effect of further balkanizing the Presbyteries.

 
At 11:18 PM , Anonymous Chris T. said...

"We cannot affirm any theology that seeks to substitute human effort or to promote some more "culturally relevant" paradigm for our salvation, justification, and reconciliation with God than Christ'’s death on the Cross for us."

Wow, so they're going to kick out the "Jesus requires you to vote Republican" folks? That's radical.

 

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