Friday, May 16, 2008

Prayer? Yes! But Hold the Propaganda

People are praying for General Assembly. That's absolutely wonderful. It's necessary. It's primary. More power to them. Count me in, too.

Moderator Joan Gray asks us to "pray that we will be open to the fullness of God’s will in our General Assembly." May it be so!

On the other hand, Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick delivers a rather mixed message about Christian unity:
  • While Kirkpatrick has failed to champion and uphold historic Christian moral teaching, he yet brings attention to "the strong faith we share with Christians throughout the ages." Yes, that historic faith is outstanding, but why hasn't Kirkpatrick honored it with his own example? Why hasn't he vigorously sustained the sexual morality that has been part of that strong faith throughout the ages?
  • While Kirkpatrick writes, correctly, that "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has long understood that it is only one part of the body of Christ, and that we seek to make visible the unity we share with other Christians," he has concurrently issued harsh and retributive legal briefs (here and here), seeking to label any group of Presbyterians not sufficiently attached to the PCUSA alone as not "the true church." Which is it? Is the PCUSA only one part of the body of Christ, or is it the only part that is "true"?
  • While Kirkpatrick invites us to find out more about an "effort to create closer connections between NCC member churches," he seems to limit the graciousness of ecumenicity only to the dance of the few dying dinosaurs within the National Council of Churches. At the same time, he has seemed to stoke the fires of distrust against our closest denominational siblings, such as the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Why limit the call "to engage in fellowship, prayer, and study with other Christians" to a small, increasingly irrelevant and secularized sliver of the body of Christ? Why leave out vital fellowship with Southern Baptists, Roman Catholics, Pentecostal, independent, and evangelical brothers and sisters in Christ?

For Pentecost and leading up to General Assembly, Moderator Joan Gray calls us to prayer and to seeking God's will. Stated Clerk Clifton Kirkpatrick, on the other hand, touts the National Council of Churches, which just happens to have its funding slightly imperiled at the coming General Assembly. I'll take the prayer, but for me, hold the not-so-subtle NCC propaganda.

It seems high time for a new Stated Clerk more attuned to the faith and life of the congregations within our denomination--someone to match within the Office of the General Assembly the fresh breezes of ministry blowing within the General Assembly Council. And someone less attuned to promoting and maintaining personally favored failing ecumenical institutions of a previous era.

3 Comments:

Blogger James said...

Dear Jim,

Great post, timely, on target and not even slightly pithy!

As to the final paragraph, I believe it points up a significant issue to which we must be alert.

The election of the new Stated Clerk is, in fact, a watershed issue for the PC USA going forward from San Jose.

I have not met Mr. Parsons. I have read several comments about what a good man he is. I believe those comments to be sincere.

I also believe them to be irrelevent in the election of a new SC. Whatever else he might be, he is indelibly stained as Mr. Kirkpatrick's able and willing accomplice for the last several years.

To elect this hand-picked heir apparent is to insure the continuation of the failed leadership of Dr. Kirkpatrick.

I cannot speak more strongly for the necessity of the renewalist/ evangelical core of our denomination to coalesce and work for the election of a candidate who will lead us back to actual Reformed faith and practice. The failed policies of progressive liberalism have done nothing but ensure growing losses of membership and the enhancement of the syncretistic acculuration of the denomination.

Let's get behind Casey Jones and make a difference.

7:02 AM, May 19, 2008  
Blogger Jim said...

James,

I feel like a name-nanny, but I need one's full name, city, and state on all comments. Please let us know who you are and where you live, or I will need to remove your comment, and I don't want to do that.

Thanks.

Jim Berkley
Bellevue, WA

9:49 AM, May 19, 2008  
Blogger James said...

Sorry Jim,

Thought I had it on there. Or maybe I thought you might guess from the content! :>)

Jim Yearsley
Tampa, Fl.

10:22 AM, May 19, 2008  

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