News From Lake Woe-Be-Gone: the Meeting of the GA of the PCUSA

 
Download This Issue of ARPTalk (#33) in PDF Format

Download This Issue of ARPTalk in PDF Format

Garrison Keillor, of A Prairie Home Companion fame, is from Minnesota and is well known for his stories about his fictitious hometown of Lake Wobegon. As hilarious as his stories are, his stories about the descendants of the Norwegian immigrants who settled that the part of Minnesota that he comes from generally reflect the tendencies of Scandinavians for depression or woefulness. From this, Keillor seems to have come up with the name of Lake Wobegon for his woe-be-gone characters.

The news from the General Assembly (GA) of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PC(USA)) is also woe-be-gone, that is, woeful. It is the opinion of the Editor that any resemblance that now exists between the PC(USA) and historic Christianity is only vestigial or accidental. Indeed, the PC(USA) is now a denomination of woe.

Consider the following action by the GA:

The Opening Service: A Worship Service Of Presbyterian Paganism:

A friend of the Editor described the opening service of the GA of the PC(USA) as “goofy.” There were bagpipers and there were middle age people not too gracefully dancing and twirling around with banners and there were people beating drums and there were native Americans wearing traditional dress and there were people dressed in the costumes of skunks and woodchucks and beavers and other forest creatures and, then, there was the members of the GA calling to the four corners of the earth for the presence of the spirits. It was almost as amusing as the Main Street parade at Disney World.

However, “goofy” is not the correct word to describe this woe-be-gone meeting of the GA of the PC(USA). “Goofy” dignifies the activities of the GA too much. The correct word for this meeting of the GA of the PC(USA) is syncretism.

The dictionary defines syncretism as “reconciliation or fusion of differing systems of belief.” Yes, that is what the meeting of the GA was. It was the admixture of elements of Christianity and other religions that equals a new form of Presbyterian paganism. This was even the acknowledged intention of the leaders of the GA: A FORM OF PRESBYTERIANISM THAT IS AFFIRMING OF EVERYONE’S RELGIOUS IDEAS AND CONCEPTUALIZATION OF GOD. Interesting, the leadership of the new Presbyterian paganism desires to reach out to young people with a form of evangelism that knows nothing of conversion to Christ. How much more woe-be-gone from historic Christianity can a denomination go without becoming a cult?

The GA adopted a motion that immediately extends the health and pension benefits of unordained employees to the partners of same-sex unions:

At this point, it does not matter one way or the other what members of the PC(USA) say about same-sex marriages or the ordination of active homosexual and lesbian ministers. Institutionally, the Rubicon has been crossed in this action of the GA.

Reports from the Task Force on Civil Unions and Christian Marriage were passed and sent to the Presbyteries for further study:

At this point, the GA seems to have lost its nerve. Hundreds of congregations and thousands of congregants have been lost over the homosexual and lesbian issues. So the watchword is: STUDY. Study what? Are the Biblical prohibitions against homosexuality and lesbianism going to change? So, study what? No, it is not an issue of study. “Study” is a political ploy to buy time in order to get a larger majority to advance the agenda of Presbyterian paganism.

A motion was passed and sent to the Presbyteries that strikes and replaces the present fidelity and chastity standard that forbids the ordination of practicing homosexuals and lesbians:

For years, the liberal majority and the homosexual and lesbian lobby have been attempting to destroy the fidelity and chastity standard regarding ordination. They have done it now! The only thing that has hindered the passage of legislation that permits the ordination of practicing homosexuals and lesbians was the constitutional provision for a super-majority of two-thirds of the Presbyteries for ratification. All that is needed now for the change is a simple majority. Indeed, the PC(USA) is woe-be-gone into a Canaanite fertility cult of nastiness.

A motion was passed on Israel and the Palestinians that was not as anti-Israel as it could have been:

Has anyone noticed that when the members of the GA of the PC(USA) discuss Israel that their rhetoric often sounds like the rhetoric of Nazis in Germany in the late 1920s? How could such a situation exist for such a cultured and broadminded and liberal and enlightened people?

A motion passed and sent to the Presbyteries that, if ratified by a two-thirds majority, would add to the Book of Confessions the Belhar Confession of the South Africa:

Why not add this confession? When a denomination has a smorgasbord of confessions, not one of them has any weight or authority. When the PC(USA) adopted its “book of confessions” approach back in 1967, the intention rather clearly was to relativize the authority of any individual document. Well, we can see where that has led. Now the PC(USA) might as well add the Book of Mormon and the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita and every other statement of religious belief that can be found to their Book of Confessions for all the difference it will make. When all doctrines are affirmed, then nothing is believed. The only thing that can be clearly said is that historic Christianity has been jettisoned for a form of Presbyterian paganism and that the PC(USA) is in the land of woe-be-gone.

And God Sent a Prophet To Warn Them!

One of the mournful refrains in the Old Testament is that time-and-time-again God sent prophets to the people of Israel and Judah to warn them of their apostasy and impending judgment. Amazingly, the woe-be-gone Minneapolis meeting of the GA of the PC(USA) was blessed with a warning prophet.

The prophet was Archpriest Siarhei Hardun of the Orthodox Church in Belarus.

Father Hardun, in bringing ecumenical greeting to the GA, first, thanked the PC(USA) for financial aid in dealing with social problems in Belarus, such as, homeless people, mentally retarded people, and orphans. Then came the warning words of the prophet!

Fr. Hardun said: “I represent here the Orthodox Church of Christ – the church that has an unbroken, unchanged, and unreformed tradition. And our theology has never been changed or reformed for almost 2000 years.” Then he said: “Christian morality is as old as Christianity itself. It doesn’t need to be invented now. Those attempts to invent new morality look to me like attempts to invent a new religion – a sort of modern paganism.” Then he followed with these words: “When people say that they are led and guided by the Holy Spirit to do it, I wonder if it is the same Spirit that inspired the Bible, if it is the same Holy Spirit that inspired the Holy Orthodox Church not to change any doctrinal or moral standards. Is it really the same Spirit? Or perhaps there are different spirits acting in different denominations and inspiring them to develop in different directions and create different theologies and different morals.” Fr. Hardun concluded with these words: “My desire is that all Christians should contend earnestly for the faith, which was once for all delivered to the saints, as St. Jude calls us to do. And my advice as an ecumenical delegate is the following: ‘Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind.’ Yes, the words of St. Paul.”

If you have not heard and seen Fr. Hardun, I encourage you to READ THIS ARTICLE.

Unfortunately, Fr. Hardun’s words fell on ears that will not hear. However, on the Day of Judgment, the members of the woe-be-gone GA of 2010 will not be able to say that there was no prophet among them.

These are my thoughts,

Charles W. Wilson

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