Monday, February 13, 2012

The Divinity of Christ - an essential


While many have been aware of issues within the PC(USA) for decades, some of us are new to the game. I was surprised recently when someone referred to the existence of those being ordained who did not affirm the singular saving lordship of Christ in the PC(USA) as rumor and gossip. So I did a brief search which yielded enough for me to say that this is not gossip but the truth as there are those that deny even the deity of Christ within the PC(USA) as ordained ministers. Of course there are many more such incidents not available via a simple google search, but again this was enough for me to not classify this information as gossip. I understand that on paper the PC(USA) does affirm the historical stance of the church, and many ministers are not outside these bounds, but let's be honest about the state of the denomination.

- “I believe that Jesus may have been historical but most of the stories about him in the Bible and elsewhere are legends. But he's cool. He serves as a human ideal and a focal point for devotion (like an ishta deva [,a concept from Hinduism])” (Source) (Rev. John Shuck, PCUSA pastor in Tennessee) Rev. Shuck also believes that Jesus did not die for our sins. (Source)

- "Again, I say that the language of religion is metaphor and myth. If everyone in the room understands that we are speaking in those ways, I am willing to expound the Christ myth passionately." (Source)(Rev. Dennis L. Maher, retired PC(USA) minister who would rather be a Unitarian Universalist - Source)

- In 1981, the highest court in the PCUSA upheld National Capital Union Presbytery’s decision to ordain Mansfield Kaseman. In answer to the question, “Was Jesus God?” Kaseman replied, “No, God is God.” Later, in an attempt to explain his position, he said, “Saying Jesus is one with God is a better way of saying it … but I, too, am one with God." (Source)

- There have been a few in the PC(USA) who have denied such basics as the deity of Christ. I heard one pastor do this very thing in a Presbytery meeting where he was involved in examining a candidate for ordination. This pastor was upset that the candidate has said so plainly that Jesus was God incarnate. At the time, I thought the examination was going in the wrong direction, and the candidate should have been examining the pastor! (Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts) (Source)

- In 1993, a conference entitled “Re-Imagining God” was funded by the PCUSA mission budget ($60,000) and planned largely by PCUSA personnel at denominational expense. Participants received tens of thousands of dollars worth of travel and registration expense reimbursements from the PCUSA mission budget. At the conference, “worship” leaders denied the existence of a transcendent God, worshipped “the god within ourselves,” and exchanged the goddess “Sophia” for Jesus Christ, declaring that Jesus “was first born only in the sense that he was first to show us that it is possible to live in oneness with the divine source while we are here on this planet. (Source)

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for linking to my blog! One correction: my last name has only one "c" -- Shuck. Your readers might enjoy hearing my new radio program, "Religion For Life" (www.religionforlife.me). Have a great day!

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    1. Hey Samuel, for some reason that link didn't work regarding the sins post. Try this http://www.shuckandjive.org/2011/10/jesus-did-not-die-for-sins-of-humanity.html. You and your readers might be interested in Part 2 as well. http://www.shuckandjive.org/2011/10/jesus-did-not-die-for-sins-of-humanity_2367.html

      It is a surprise to find the diversity of theological expression in the PC(USA). I find it a strength although some would disagree. Be well!

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    2. Ok, I think I corrected all the errors. Thanks for helping me in my blogging venture. I think I would agree with "diversity of theological expression" but we probably disagree on what "diversity" entails. The boundaries for me are actually quiet wide but I do believe there are boundaries.

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  2. Hi Samuel, I have linked to your blog posting at http://www.naminghisgrace.blogspot.com/2012/02/belhar-again-unity-without-confessing.html

    Thanks for your posting. May Jesus be with you and bless your writing.

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  3. I found your blog linked to Viola's web site. I'm not sure where you received your education, but it is quite clear that those who hold to theological liberalism/progressivism, deny the unique deity of Christ Jesus. They might use language that masks this, but the system of thought rreferred to as theological liberalism or progressivism clearly and fundamentally rejects the basic orthodox view of the historical Jesus. Their views tend toward pantheism/panentheism or mere naturalism/atheism. The majority view within PCUSA leadership is theological liberalism. So while many don't make clear statements on rejecting the deity of Christ as does John Shuck, the majority of PCUSA leaders would agree with his position, though not in the as many words. I speak from many years of experience (though I left a couple of years ago) as an ordained elder and pastor on a CPM. My own estimation is that approximately 60 to 70% of pastors in the PCUSA reject the orthodox position of the unique deity of Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity. They favor more of a pan/en/theistic view of Jesus and God.

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    1. I went to Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL and took a few classes at Dubuque Theological Seminary at the request of my CPM. I was under care at First Presbyterian Church of Orlando, who just voted to be dismissed to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. My presbytery, including the CPM and COM, have been in my limited experience, part of the 30%. It's only been in my recent experience and delving into the denomination that has made me aware of the issues you name.

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    2. Thank you Samuel. May God bless you and First Pres. Orlando. I am an ordained teaching elder in the EPC Presbytery of the SouthEast, currently honored to be serving in Hixson, TN.

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  4. Long time since I commented on this post. Since Menlo Park Presbyterian Church has found greener pastures, this post has become popular. My blog has changed. Now go to www.shuckandjive.blogspot.com for all heresies that are fit to print. Also, www.religionforlife.com will get to you my new personal blog…. Be well.

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    1. Praying that you John will someday be born again! Jesus Chrsit came to testify to the truth-- I do hope He finds you before too many are led down the road to perdition.

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