Shuck and Jive

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Abingdon a No

Abingdon Presbytery voted 'no' on amendment A, 26-34 (closer though than last time).

Covenant Network of Presbyterians reported that Noroeste voted No in February.

The tally is 65-45, I think, with Cascades, Grand Canyon, and Muskingum to vote Saturday.

Hoping for two holds and a flip!

Let's do this.


  1. Hey John!

    I have a question for you that is not at all related to, or inspired by, the topic of 10A.

    Would you agree that, from any perspective even remotely aligned with orthodox Christianities, that you are heretical to the point of apostasy?

    This is not a 'trick question' intended to draw you into the line of fire that some critics of your's might exploit.

    Actually, "heretical to the point of apostacy" is one way that I might describe you, but I am curious how you might define yourself.


  2. Would you agree that, from any perspective even remotely aligned with orthodox Christianities, that you are heretical to the point of apostasy?


    The whole point of this labeling (orthodoxy, apostasy, heterodoxy, heresy, etc.) is to secure power for oneself and to marginalize opponents.

    The assumption that the "orthodox" is the true group, the normal group, the "real" Christians is a non-critical acceptance of certain power arrangements.

    After that assumption is made and accepted, then a power struggle results in an attempt to marginalize others and not allow them access to the label.

    I am certainly not going to claim a marginalized status for myself, unless, of course, doing so, results in my rhetorical advantage. :)

    In my opinion, the theology I write and the values I express in my writings reflects a contemporary struggle.

    How do we understand the Christian traditions, and adopt and adapt them to our current needs? What, in other words, is the "Gospel" in our time and in our context?

    That process is "orthodox".

  3. Thanks for your response to my question, John.

    I do very much appreciate your thinking as evidenced by the fact that I continue to follow your blog on a regular basis, and not because I consider it a rich source to revisit what I think is wrong with Christianity.

    While some of the "progressive" Christians that I have become acquainted with via the internet seem to me to be devising (incoherent) theologies in an (apparent) rear-guard attempt to prop up notions that (I think) have outlived (or should have)their usefullness, you seem to be involved in a more creative and useful enterprise.

    Redefining "orthodoxy" is fine by me. Of couse I have no orthodoxy to defend, so why shouldn't it be?



  4. The redefining orthodoxy is a tricky matter. I don't care about it either, except for the issues regarding power. One's employment in the field depends to some degree how well one is able to show one is "orthodox". It is not a great game, but it is what we have.

  5. Churches that are up-front about these things (like Pastor John's church and probably very few others) point out that the very concept of orthodoxy is a little ambiguous. There were many voices in the early church, and the Empire-approved councils, by a vote, decided on the 'correct' opinion, which most people now think as heaven-sent revelation with no alternatives allowed and no further thought. I find it a huge irony that the same Empire that killed Jesus is the same Empire whose councils we unquestioningly look to for 'orthodoxy'. Would you buy a used car from that Empire?

  6. Thanks Guys! I appreciate both of you for reading, commenting, and helping the cause of a thinking faith!

  7. Muskingum Valley no 44-58-1.

    Tally 65-46.

  8. Grand Canyon YES 84-53 (big increase)

    Tally 66-46.

  9. Cascades YES 106-39.

    Tally 67-46.

    Two out of three ain't bad.

    No flips or switches.

    Keep it on!

  10. Michael wrote, " that the very concept of orthodoxy is a little ambiguous."


    The problem, Steve, is that many of the people in the PCUSA who pride themselves on their so-called orthodoxy are, to use your own phrase "heretical to the point of apostasy."

    Any number of these "orthodox" or "classical" or "traditional" folks are, as can be clearly seen in their own writings, dispensationalists, fundamentalists, and/or Pelagians. (Not to mention, as Pastor Bob has pointed out,Donatists, which is not a heresy, but related to it.) And their papist attitudes toward ordination can hardly be characterized as either Protestant, Reformed, nor Presbyterian.

    So, the question, based on the starting point of "from any perspective even remotely aligned with orthodox Christianities" is problematic at best when the modern day PCUSA Pharisees are themselves heretics.

    The definitions of heresy and apostasy used to be fairly narrow. Today 1) those words are incorrectly used interchangeably, and 2) they simply mean some phony so-called conservative has decided "I don't agree with you." For example, believing that LGBT people should be eligible for ordination does not now nor has it ever historically risen to the level of heresy. But "heretic" and "apostate" and "demons" and "monstrous" and any number of other words are used to describe people who believe LGBT people should be eligible for ordination.

    So, given their own obvious heterodoxy, we can't really be expected to take their accusations of heresy seriously.

  11. Hmmm... had a longish comment, but it didn't post.

    Oh well.

    The gist was this: Steve, the problem with your question is that it assumes that those who hurl the heresy and apostasy words around are actually orthodox themselves.

    However, many of the most outspoken busybodies, fusspots, tattletales and scolds in the PCUSA are obviously, as can be seen from their own writings, pelagians, dispensationalists, and closet papists. (And as Pastor Bob has pointed out, they're also donatists, which isn't a heresy, but is related.) Note that having clearly Roman Catholic attitudes toward the clergy isn't heretical, but it certainly isn't orthodox from a Protestant, Reformed, or Presbyterian viewpoint.)

    It turns out that simply spouting some Calvinist jargon occasionally doesn't actually make one a Calvinist. Particularly when they use the terms incorrectly. But no one has told our "orthodox" and "classical" friends that.

    Then there's the question of whether or not the particular belief even rises to the historical definition of heresy or apostasy. Today the phony orthodox among us would have us all believe that the definition of heretic is "I don't agree with you." For example, I've been called a heretic many times our so-called "orthodox" or "classical" friends because I advocate for LGBT ordination. Now, one's position on that issue has never and does not now rise to the level of any real definition of "heretic".

    They don't know orthodox and they don't know the meaning of the term heretic. So given all that, it's pretty hard to take such accusations seriously from the pretenders to orthodoxy.

  12. @Alan I don't know what happened to your comment. I read it as it came to my email account, but Blogger never posted it. I could post it for you, but I think you made the points above, that I think are right on!

  13. No problem.

    My second attempt was (somewhat) pithier.