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Commentary


"Oh what a tangled web we weave..."


The article "Seminary Event Blasts Mainline Renewal Groups" demonstrates, once again, the insistence by radical liberals in mainline churches to spin news events.  Oh what a tangled web we weave, when once we practice to deceive!

Let's step back for just a moment and take a look at the doctrine of various mainline Protestant denominations.  Now, I'm no expert in the varying doctrine of so many denominations, but I challenge the radical liberals who support the rhetoric exemplified in the referenced article to demonstrate where any "right wing" groups are trying to change doctrine in mainline denominations.  I would really like to see this for my own eyes, because then we could talk about it and criticize it if warranted.

In absence of any response to my challenge above, I posit that the "right wing" groups are making an effort to:  maintain the current doctrine of the denomination, and protect the doctrine from the radical liberals who for many years have been trying to foist changes onto the church, and have nearly succeeded recently as they continue to garner ever increasing control in the leadership of so many mainline denominations.

Who is trying to force whom?  I venture to say that it is the radical liberals who are trying to force their new age religion into traditional mainline denominations, where the vast majority of the membership has no interest in the new age religion.

Isn't it ironic that the radical liberals are claiming to carry the banner of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, separation of church and state; yet, when the conservative majority of the a denomination says "no" to the radical liberals' efforts to force their new age theology on the church, then the radical liberals want to squelch the free speech of the conservative majority using name-calling tactics of "bigot" and "hate", and then they run to the U.S. government to seek help in their battle by crying discrimination and then seeking law suits.

Isn't it obvious to everyone but the radical liberals who's on the offensive and who's on the defensive?

Following are my favorite excerpts from the referenced article, with my commentary.

Jo Ann Craig, Executive Director for Spiritual and Theological Development for the United Methodist Women's Division . . . alleged that racism and "heterosexism" were alive and well among United Methodists.
Certainly racism IS alive and well, but only among a minority of United Methodists--the liberals, that is.  The liberals just can't seem to treat everyone equally as they insist on categorizing people by the color of their skin, other outward appearances, national origin, ethnic surname, etc.--the list goes on.  The liberals insist on labeling everyone with a category and then making extreme issues of people based on their designated category.  I'm totally offended by liberals' attempt to pigeon-hole people based on immutable characteristics.  As far as I'm concerned, everyone is equal in God's view, and we should treat everyone equally as well, and stop this incessant categorization.
. . . heterosexism still "makes sense" to most church members, who think homosexuality is a "personal choice" and "immoral." This view has provided an entrée to "extremists."
There is only one way to read the Bible in regards to homosexual behavior--it's sinful, just like adultery and an entire list of other moral sins.  The liberals keep spinning the issue into a conviction of the people who believe they are homosexual; it's not whether a person is tempted by the sin of homosexual behavior, rather, it is an issue of how God's grace can transform the sinful behavior of any person who accepts God's grace and desires to live a more holy life.
She also alleged that demands for prayer in public schools and school vouchers are actually motivated by anti-Semitism.
That's a good one!  Vouchers would be anti-Semitic--yeah, right!  Has she ever heard of private Jewish schools?
This year's General Conference and its votes against any acceptance of homosexuality were especially discouraging to some, Craig noted. The arrests of pro-homosexuality demonstrators were a special blow, and some have given up on the church.
I would certainly hope that homosexual advocates would eventually get the message that the UMC is a church of the Bible (as demonstrated at GC2000), and that if conservatives are able to continue to defend the faith, no sin, homosexual or otherwise will be blessed by a UMC General Conference.

Certainly it's sad to see so many broken people, such as those who believe they are homosexual and who demonstrated at GC2000.  Ministry to these people (and all sinners, everyone) is what the GC2000 and every conservative movement of the UMC is all about.  All of the conservative movements are trying desperately to reach out to all broken people, but in the case of troubled people who believe they are homosexual, the radical liberals keep a rope around them and keep them blinded and deaf to the reach of the conservative movements.  The radical liberals continue to lie to their own constituents about God's Word, about salvation, about God's grace and His transforming power.

By the way, it wasn't the UMC or any conservative movements that caused the demonstrators to be arrested.  The spin of the situation portrayed by the radical liberals that they're victims of the conservative movements is ludicrous.  These people are being victimizing by themselves and by the leaders of the radical liberal movements.

She pledged that the Women's Division will continue to provide church members with "reliable information" to counteract "slander and innuendo."
The spin continues:  The slander is from the radical liberals as they drag God's Word through the mud, and deny the divinity of Christ and elevate false goddesses above God Almighty.
[Presbyterian Robert Bohl said] "I'm damned mad and here's why!" Referring to leaders for renewal within his own denomination, he exclaimed, "I wish they would go away!" He claimed that renewal leaders are not, as they profess, really concerned about biblical authority but about "control and power."
I guess that "control and power" is in the eye of the beholder!
Bohl alleged that the issue of biblical authority has been employed historically to justify slavery, denial of civil rights, and opposition to the ordination of women.
I don't know about anyone else who is hearing this stuff, but I was not alive during the period of slavery, I was too young and/or naïve to express an opinion on civil rights when it was argued 30+ years ago, and I don't see the parallel between these two issues and the ordination of women.  Why must the radical liberals group today's conservative movements with actions by different people in the past?  The answer:  SPIN!!
"Damn them! They will not go away!" he again complained about conservatives and their program for "theological cleansing." Bohl predicted that the "extreme Right" will continue to exploit the Bible and abuse human reason in its quest for power.
I think that conservative movements would probably agree with an effort to maintain purity in the theology of the church; but it's tough to keep it pure as these radical liberals continue to drag God's Word through the mud.  I would also think that conservative movements would certainly use Biblical authority in an effort to minimize the arrogant human tendency to elevate human wisdom and/or reason above that of God's supreme authority.
The "extremism," "absolutism," and "insidious malignancy" of the extreme Right "will eat away at those of us who are its victims," Bohl despaired. "But we can't sit by quietly and hope it doesn't happen to us," he implored. "I wish to hell I weren't here!" he added, but duty has compelled him to speak out against the threats arrayed against the church he loves.
Obviously he doesn't love the church as it exists today and has existed for ages past.  He insists on changing the church into a church he can then love.  I continue to ask the question:  If you don't agree with the teachings of the church, why do you insist on forcing your beliefs on the church?  Why not find a church to join that agrees with your beliefs, or form a new religion?  Don't the words freedom of religion mean anything to you?
Bohl specifically deplored the 1997 passage of a constitutional amendment that called for fidelity in marriage or chastity in singleness for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officials. He called it "bad theology" and emblematic of conservative inroads.
How can re-stating a thousands-year-old standard for living be twisted into being termed as the conservatives trying to make changes, or take over, or gain power, or control, etc.?  Obviously, the standards in the church concerning adultery have been well-known for centuries.  Now, conservatives are having to re-state the obvious moral standards by putting them in no-uncertain terms in church documents, simply in an effort to maintain what has always been.  I ask again:  Who's on the offensive and who's on the defensive?
Joseph Hough, president of Union Seminary, recalled his school's long-time commitment to studying the Bible "critically."
I certainly agree with the above statement.  This man is demonstrating that his institution has every intent of criticizing God's Word, and anyone who believes it to be the Truth.
He pledged that Union will remain a voice for "progressive Christianity."
Don't these radical liberals recognize that their own label for their movement perfectly denotes that their effort is to change Christianity?
Mainline churches, especially Presbyterians," are now facing their most "serious crisis." Union will stand with them against "self-righteousness and injustice," he promised.
The spin by the radical liberals never ends.  Isn't it self-righteous to elevate yourself above God?  Self-righteousness is claiming to know more about life and the universe than God, and to deny God's word.  And the ultimate in self- righteousness is to claim to have been given a new revelation by God, that contradicts God's Word--a revelation that God has never given to anyone in all the previous thousands of years where billions of people have previously walked the earth.  Wow!  You are certainly special!

And injustice:  Homosexual advocates work to ensure that no person who believes him/herself to be a homosexual should be allowed to consult a professional counselor (such as psychologist or psychiatrist) to assist in that person's escape from the destructive homosexual lifestyle.  Now that's injustice!

Anna Hale Johnson, board chair of Union Seminary, asked the audience of several hundred to ponder the "moral position of our society" if "so-called renewal movements" continue to gain ground within the mainline churches.
I, on the other hand, urge everyone to ponder the "moral position of our society" if conservative movements in the mainline denominations do not maintain the traditional values of all the centuries gone by, as clearly stated in God's Word.

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