Shuck and Jive

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Schismatics in the PCUSA

Welcome to all of you linking from the Layman. Folks get a little touchy being called schismatic. But if the shoe fits...

What is a schismatic? From

1.Also, schis·mat·i·cal. of, pertaining to, or of the nature of schism; guilty of schism.
2.a person who promotes schism or is an adherent of a schismatic body.

What is schism?

schism noun
1.division or disunion, esp. into mutually opposed parties.
2.the parties so formed.
a.a formal division within, or separation from, a church or religious body over some doctrinal difference.
b.the state of a sect or body formed by such division.
c.the offense of causing or seeking to cause such a division.

Here is a helpful bit about divisions within the church from Religious Tolerance with more on schismatics.

The New Wineskins by the above definitions is a schismatic movement. The key to a schismatic movement is that it thinks it possesses the absolute truth and it thrives on pointing out what it thinks is heresy and apostasy in others. Then it feels self-justified in causing division with other Christians over these supposed heresies and encourages formal separation from the body.

Here is an example of a schismatic. His activities have not (yet) been "reported."


  1. and yes his activities have been reported

    Don't you just love the ominous tone that witch hunters like that use?

    You have my sympathies, John, for having to deal with yahoos in your denomination who keep trying to hound you out of your job.

  2. John you do realize that the PC (USA), by your definition, is a schismatic organization?

  3. Well, only in that all churches are schismatic in one form or another (the Roman Catholics and Greek Orthodox would claim otherwise).

    The PC(USA) was itself the result of a union between two churches (one of which was the result of a union just a couple decades earlier).

    But I gotta admit, John, you've gone and done one of my pet peeves: the dictionary proof--trying to prove one's point by quoting Webster. In a highly specialized discipline like theology, Webster proofs tend to be unhelpful. For example, using Webster to look up "general" and "revelation" will not help one understand the concept of "general revelation" at all.

    His dictis, I think it's difficult to argue that New Wineskins aren't schismatic. They are a group of PC(USA) members & ministers who are preparing to leave the denomination over doctrine (though really hating The Gay). If that's not schismatic, what is?

    I did find it funny that Bill Crawford warns his readers that the material on your blog is "likely offensive". Was he referring to the worst songs of the 70s and 80s contests?

  4. Sorry to peeve you Flycandler. True enough about dictionary definitions.

  5. John

    I learned in seminary that among the essentials (sorry flycandler :)) of the Reformed faith are the doctrines of election and the sovereignty of God. That means God brought us together in the PCUSA. Jack Rogers said that we Reformed types see the Church like a family. Ya can't choose your relatives and ya can't choose whom God brings into the Church even though you sometimes wish God had the wisdom to keep THAT person out.

    That means that I cannot and will not leave the PCUSA. It also means that I grieve as brothers and sisters in Christ do leave. The worst part is some of them are my friends. I feel abandoned.

  6. John,
    Bayou is for the time being a member in the PCUSA. You are also a member. Bayou has held faithfully to the Reformed faith. More importantly he has stood faithfully for Jesus Christ upholding all that Christians have held dear for almost two-thousand years. You have constantly flung what many of us care about in our faces, made fun of our faith and maligned it. It isn't that we don't care about you we do! But we also care about the Church of Jesus Christ. This is all very serious. It isn't fun and games and lets be as silly as possible.
    I am sorry that Bayou is leaving, I am not, but it seems to me that you are the schismatic, not Bayou.
    You have not only left the faith ,you seem, at least you give the impression to me, that you think this is all so funny. It is not! It is very sad.

  7. Viola,

    I have not left the faith or the Reformed Tradition. Bill Crawford has maligned me on his blog and his letters in the Layman "reporting" me even, or suggesting that I have been "reported" whatever that means.

    I have been a faithful PCUSA minister for 15 years. I have faithfully upheld my ordination vows. I have faithfully done ministry through and for Christ. And I will continue to do so.

    No, I don't think slander against me is one bit funny. Nor do I think your little jibes to me here or your letters about me on Presbyweb are funny either.

  8. You have been reported. Fortunately for you, trashing historic Christianity and the Reformed faith carries absolutely no penalty whatsoever in the PCUSA.

    Acting on your conviction of their rectitude, however, can get you consigned to the backwaters of the ordination game or tossed out of your retirement.

    Way to "fight the power", John. You're my hero.

  9. Pity the poor witch hunters, who are busy "reporting" those they wish to persecute, only to find that all their efforts go for naught.

  10. John,

    I do wish our pastors would show some professional etiquette and treat each other in public with a minimum of decorum and social grace. Unfortunately it seems the gospel they preach does not require it.

    While I don’t always understand your theological experiments, I’ll defend your right to conduct them any time. I for one am proud to belong to a denomination that still supports freedom of thought and freedom of expression.

    I consider that freedom to be God's greatest gift to me. I will always pay it forward.

    ("It was for freedom that Christ set us free..." - Gal 5:1)


  11. I did find it funny that Bill Crawford warns his readers that the material on your blog is "likely offensive". Was he referring to the worst songs of the 70s and 80s contests?

    Yes, this is evidence that John and others have indeed listened to rock music, clearly a tool of that middle aged guy in a red leather outfit with horns who appeared on Saturday night Live a decade or so back. I further enter into the public record: I saw John laughing last week at church before services. What business could a pastor possibly have laughing? The evidence mounts...

  12. One of my favorite radio programs is "The Rachel Maddow Show" on Air America. She sometimes punctuates wackier stories with sound effects and once commented that "I sometimes walk around town and wish I had my sound effects board." One of her favorites is to use, entirely out of context, the infamous "Dean Scream" in Iowa to express incredulous astonishment with a dash of frustration.

    So far we've gotten:
    dictionary proofs (wAAAAAAAUUUGH!)
    essentials (wAAAAAAAAUUUGH!)
    revulsion at the PC(USA) not prosecuting thoughtcrime (wAAAAAAUGH!)
    ministers laughing in church (wAAAAAAAUGH!)
    middle aged guys in red leather (wAAAAAAAAUGH!)


    John, you challenge your congregation to think critically about their faith. This is IMO the very heart of the Reformed tradition and hearkens back to the Reformation itself. Martin Luther was "reported" too. Fortunately for you, you don't have Pope Leo X to deal with.

  13. Gee fly

    One of my favorite radio shows is Dr. Demento. What does that make me?

  14. "Pity the poor witch hunters, who are busy "reporting" those they wish to persecute, only to find that all their efforts go for naught." (Mystical Seeker)

    Well it;s not all for not - there is a very weird scripture in Matthew's beatitudes about people being persectuted in the name of Jesus - John, I think you are slowly falling into that category. People are literally persecuting you 'in the name of Jesus' - so it says - your blessed!