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Jun 19, 2006

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Quotidian Grace

As an American history major, I couldn't agree more with your well-written analysis. My husband said yesterday that if the PUP report is approved with rec#5 intact, then the commissioners might as well follow it up by passing a cup of hemlock and finishing the job of killing the Presbyterian church.

ceemac

Wonder about your reactions to a hunch I have had for a long time:

There are quite a few Presbyterians that will always vote against any constitional change officially permitting the ordination of homosexuals but who could turn right around vote in favor of ordaining a specific homosexual in their own congregation. And they'd be mighty angry if someone "from presbytery" came and told them they couldn't ordain that person. They'd try to explain that "Our Sue or Dave" is not like those people we vote against.

No data, just a hunch based on experiences and knowledge of little churches in little towns.

Derek Simmons

Michael:

Thank you for your clarity. I am taking full advantage of it by email your blog to many of my less clear thinking Presbyterian brothers.

My only concern--or let me say tongue-in-cheek "scruple" from whole-hearted and wholesale acceptance of your position as my own is this:

You say "The answer to the present crisis is clarity and accountability" and I paraphrase that into my "concern" thusly:

The explanation for the present crisis is the long-standing lack of clarity and accountability--the former(clarity)having been sacrificed on the altar of political correctness with ritual niceness dancing around the pyre and driving out righteousness; and the later(accountability) having been displaced by amnesty accompanied by the ritual chant of "mean-spirited" as an "indictment" of accountability. Whether a present re-assertion of clarity and accountabilty so long a Presbyterian characteristic but so long absent from PCUSA affairs can solve the present crisis is an open question; schism being the alternative.

Again thanks for pouring sense on these subjects.
Derek Simmons

Michael Kruse

Hmmmm... The Hemlock Assembly (Assuming it passes.)

Michael Kruse

"There are quite a few Presbyterians that will always vote against any constitional change officially permitting the ordination of homosexuals but who could turn right around vote in favor of ordaining a specific homosexual in their own congregation."

Personally, I don't think having homosexual urgings and desires disqualifies one from leadership in the church. The only issue of concern to a governing body ought to be behavior and willingness to live by the standards of the Scripture, the Confessions and the Book of Order. It is one thing to use discernment about persons who wrestle with these issue and another to normalize homosexual behavior as honoring God. Thus the disconnect you identify.

Do people sometimes cut slack for an "insider" that violates standards they would object to others violating in other contexts? I suspect some of that happens but I think the dissonance between to the two positions probably drives most people to take a consistent stand one way or the other. Just my guess.

Michael Kruse

Can't say that I really disagree with what you write. Thanks for your affirmation

will spotts

Wow.

Excellent analysis. You have really zeroed in on the main issue here.

Sunday morning, at the church I visited, I heard a presentation from mebers of the PUP committee. One of the things that was expressed by them was the idea that the Book of Order (and Confessions -- though that's not the presenting issue here) is more of an operating manual than a constitution. We don't really have a constitution.

I mean no disrespect, but it was kind of hard for me, knowing the earlier history of our predecessor denominations, not to think, LIAR. I suspect the speaker believed the assertion, but it was quite frankly false. I surely hope that this line is not being sold to the commissioners who are considering the report.

Michael Kruse

Thanks Will.

Quoting from the Book of Order.

.....

G-1.0500 The Constitution Defined

Definition of the Constitution

The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) consists of The Book of Confessions and the Book of Order.

G-1.0501

The Book of Confessions includes:

The Nicene Creed
The Apostles' Creed
The Scots Confession
The Heidelberg Catechism
The Second Helvetic Confession
The Westminster Confession of Faith
The Larger Catechism
The Shorter Catechism
The Theological Declaration of Barmen
The Confession of 1967
A Brief Statement of Faith - Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

G-1.0502

The Book of Order includes:

Form of Government
Directory of Worship
Rule of Discipline

.....

Furthermore the cover of my Book of Order reads:

"Book of Order. The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Part II."

I would have to hear the PUP members statement in context but do we most certainly have a Constitution. (Any chance there is a recording of that meeting?)

will spotts

I'm pretty sure there is not a recording. The setting was kind of like a Sunday School Class. The context was in response to the question about the difference between accomplishing with an AI what constitutionally should require the ratification of the presbyteries. The speaker's response (and I'm not sure which one -- three members were present, one was Jack Haberer, but I missed the beginning, so didn't get introductions) was that we used the word, but our meaning was not the same as the legal meaning. It was more of a Manual of Operations . . .. That he answered this question with that substitution seemed to be to attempt to sidestep the question. The audience, with the exception of that questioner, didn't respond very much, but seemed quite amenable to the presentation.

Ken Klewin

Excellent post Michael. In my opinion we already have way too much of a "cafeteria" approach. Three issues I've seen come out of this GAC, disinvestment, homosexuality, Trinitarian language ("mother, child, womb"), merely open PCUSA up to ridicule. When did Christianity cease to mean something? I recall Luther's words: Here I stand. I can do no other.

Michael Kruse

Thanks Ken. I would just make one correction.

These policies came from the GA, not the GAC. The GA makes the policy and the GAC oversees the staff that implements it. The bodies are often confused and being a member of the GAC, I often get hammered for things over which we have no control. This seems grossly unfair because our plate is already full of stuff over which we should be hammered. *grin*

Ken Klewin

Mea culpa, Michael. I did indeed mean the GA. On a related note, I just read that PCUSA's membership has fallen for 40 straight years. If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything. Or is that free-falling?

Mark

I just wanted to mention that there are a number of people who believe that God has no problem with homosexuality, and who have NOT "openly rebelled, disrupted General Assembly meetings, defied the Constitution".

The same thing existed with the ordination of women, and slavery.

Being in the majority does not make one right.

Michael Kruse

I couldn't agree more, Mark. I wrote:

"A significant number of those advocating the acceptance of homosexual behavior have done anything but live by the model I just described."

That significant number is still a minority of the minority position. Yet because authorities have too often been unwilling to hold defiant people accountable, they have been able to precipitate the crisis.

Being in the majority clearly does not make one right but neither does having conviction about a minority position give license to rebellion and defiance.

Derek Simmons

Michael:
At 5:18EDT the PCUSA swallowed the hemlock.
May the murdered victims rise again and form a new visible church that follows Christ and His Word Written.
Derek Simmons

Chris

Michael, this seems the most prescient of the blogs out there concerning PUP.

It seems as if Derek Simmons has another Trinitarian image for us to add to the Trinity report: Judge, Jury, and Executioner.

May God save His church (both ECUSA and PCUSA).

Michael Kruse

LOL. Thanks Chris.

I went channel surfing last night about 5:30 and caught Brit Hume on Fox commenting about the PCUSA’s new Trinitarian options. We make entertainment far too easy for the media. Jon Stewart could have had a field day with this assembly.

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