Monday, October 6, 2014

Remnant Network - 22

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



    She rushed into my study about ten minutes before yesterday's first service and asked/accused, "Are you moving?"

    "No," I replied.

    She persisted, "Are you sure?"

    "Well, uh, yeah," as mind shifted from worship to worry, "I don't even have a PIF anymore.  Besides, I just wrote about that in the last KD ('Remnant Network - 21').  I may be assassinated, burned at the stake, or get my head chopped off by Islamonutballed fruitcakes buuuuuuut, no, I'm not interested in leaving and don't feel any nudging away from my call to you and our family of faith on the corner of Lincoln and Main."

    [...You can review "Remnant Network - 21" by going to the right column and clicking on "Remnant Network - 21"...]

    Candidly, she reported, "I don't read those."

    Parenthetically, she is not in the minority on that.

    "I don't know what I can say to convince you that I'm not moving and not interested in moving because I'm called here," I almost pleaded, "and, well, uh, I think the minority that hates me has not yet become the majority and..."

    "I was told you are moving to Europe," she explained.

    "Whoa, now that's novel...I would have guessed Iowa," I blurted.

    We went back and forth like that for five minutes.

    We hugged before and after the first service and again after Sunday School and I think she's kinda convinced I'm not leaving unless, uh, you know, I'm assassinated or burned at the stake or get my...


    Why would anyone start that kinda rumor?

    Especially in October.


    If you've got any ideas, let us know and Kathie will post 'em.


    Some motivations came to my noodle.

    Wishful thinking on the part of folks who left the church after the authentics started to outnumber the posers.

    Wishful thinking on the part of people who don't like all of the new people coming into the church who just love Jesus by the book.

    Wishful thinking on the part of non-believing clergy in town/around and who are threatened by being exposed as non-believing clergy.

    Wishful thinking on the part of political and ecclesiastical jingoists and idolaters who want to kill anyone who says their jingoism and idolatry ain't consistent with Jesus by the book.

    Wishful thinking on the part of people who still like to pretend the emperor has clothes.

    Wishful thinking on the part of people who long for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.

    Wishful thinking on the part of people who can't wait for Grandpa Jacob's cancer genes to kick in or I'm assassinated or burned at the stake or get my...

    Don't know.

    Those were just some of the inspirations/indigestions that came to mind as I entered the chapel for the first service.


    William told me, "You can't fix what you won't face."

    Sooooooo unlike American politicians and most clergy and denominational jingoists/idolaters, I decided to name it in case anyone wants to claim it.

    On the fly, here's what I recall saying, more than less, during "announcements" before both of yesterday's services and throughout most of the afternoon:

    Please know I have no illusions about my place in the life and ministry of our family of faith or even our denomination.  If I died today, there'd be ham and cole slaw in Fellowship Hall on Wednesday and then there'd be people lining up to be on the next Pastor Search Committee next Sunday so you could get the kinda pastor that you'd really like.  A lot of folks in the PCUSA would be happy because there are so few of us left in the franchise - a remnant - that still love Jesus by the book and remember and cherish and want to advance our heritage.  Lots of people don't like me because I'm not afraid to salt; and even though I'll admit when I'm wrong and confess and repent when corrected, lots of people just want their pastors and presbyters to say nothing and stand for nothing.  Maybe it's spirits of division that want to plant seeds of division in our church because we're really starting to move forward with Jesus by the book and shedding the idolatries of the past.  Maybe it's people in town who just want to hurt us.  I don't know.  All I know is, and the damage may already be done because people believe what they wanna believe, I'm not going anywhere because I'm called to be here with you, like being here with you, and love you enough not to lie to you about our need to move closer to Jesus by the book.  Of course, I could be assassinated or burned at the stake or get my...

    That's a summary of most of what I said before both services and throughout the afternoon.

    Again, I'm not sure why someone or some people have started this rumor; but I don't think it's motivated by anyone or anything up to any good in our lives.


    Maybe there's something providential in what I received from the OGD this morning.


The Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.
Matt. 5: 13

We have gotten accustomed to the blurred puffs of gray fog that pass for doctrine in churches and expect nothing better. From some previously unimpeachable sources are now coming vague statements consisting of a milky admixture of Scripture, science, and human sentiment that is true to none of its ingredients because each one works to cancel the others out. Little by little Christians these days are being brainwashed. One evidence is that increasing numbers of them are becoming ashamed to be found unequivocally on the side of truth. They say they believe, but their beliefs have been so diluted as to be impossible of clear definition. Moral power has always accompanied definite beliefs. Great saints have always been dogmatic. We need a return to a gentle dogmatism that smiles while it stands stubborn and firm on the Word of God that lives and abides forever. 
A. W. Tozer

    Jesus has taken His newly chosen disciples up into the hills, away from the crowds, in order to teach them what this Gospel is all about.  In His introduction, the Beatitudes, He explained the way to true bliss.  Now He is explaining what the responsibilities of a disciple are.

You are the salt of the earth. . .

    There is no higher compliment that we can pay a person than to say that s/he is the salt of the earth. Jesus gave us that expression. He told His disciples to be the salt of the earth.
They would have understood, perhaps better than we, what He meant.
    Yesterday, as I was walking on the treadmill, I watched an old episode of JAG. Harm and Mac were on a submarine when a generator went out.  The captain ordered all the meat to be packed in salt.  With modern refrigeration, we often forget that for many centuries salt was the most common preservative in the world. If people wanted to keep things from going bad, they preserved them in salt.
    If Jesus' disciples are the salt of the earth, He means that it is our responsibility to see that things don't go bad.  We are responsible for maintaining the highest standards.

We have become so accustomed to people making excuses for their failure to live up to their potential, that we assume God will do the same thing.  Jesus says, No; you are to be the salt of the earth. You and I are charged with maintaining the highest standards.

. . . but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

The Theology of Accommodation
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
James 2: 1
A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.
John D. Rockefeller
Example No. 1: The Kindly, Committed, Grandfather

 Commitment is not enough. It matters to what one is committed. From all I have heard, C___G___ is a decent human being. But being a decent and committed human being is not enough. Similarly, that a gay couple may have a committed and loving relationship in no way ameliorates the sinful nature of that relationship. Again, it matters to what one is committed.

My great-grandfather, who also lived in Georgia, was a man capable of great love and commitment. He loved his wife and his children. His daughter, my grandmother, loved him and remembered him as a kind, loving and committed man. He died when I was four years old, but I fondly recall sitting on my great-granddaddy's lap and tugging at his long white beard. I remember him wrapping his arms around me and how I giggled into his snowy beard as he cooed, "snuggle-boy, snuggle-boy." He also was committed and devoted and served causes in which he believed while receiving little or no compensation. His devoted and selfless commitment was rewarded when he was elected Grand Dragon of the Georgia Ku Klux Klan. It matters to what one is committed.
Dr. Earl Tilford

Example No. 2: The Winsome, Lesbian, Candidate

March 14, 2006

Apocalypse Now

 If I told you that the most conservative evangelical on the PUP [Peace, Unity and Purity] Task force celebrated the decision of Milwaukee Presbytery to ordain a self avowed practicing lesbian you would be tempted to call me a liar.
On Saturday March 11 I attended the meeting of Blackhawk Presbytery held at First Presbyterian Church in Marengo, Illinois. I was there as a guest in order to be with a friend whose new call was to be approved by Blackhawk Presbytery during the meeting. 
The members of Blackhawk Presbytery are a friendly and hospitable group.  I enjoyed my day of fellowship with them. The meeting was preceded by a 90 minute prayer service. More presbyteries ought to replicate this spiritual discipline.
During the meeting Mark Achtemeier, considered by many to be the most conservative and evangelical scholar on the PUP task force, gave a 1 hour sales pitch for the PUP report.  His report was followed by a 30 minute “Q and A” dialogue with the commissioners.
During his comments Mark affirmed two statements which I have heard frequently from other members of the PUP Task force:
That the PUP Report neither advocates nor permits "local option;”
  • That under the PUP Report presbyteries will not have permission to ignore the ordination standards stated in G.-6.0106b.     
Up to this point I was cautiously encouraged by Mark Achtemeier’s report.
Then he dropped a bomb!
Mark began to tell the story about how Milwaukee Presbytery had recently approved for ordination a self-avowed practicing lesbian.  Not only did Mark tell the story, but he rejoiced in how Milwaukee Presbytery used our polity and process to approve her ordination.
I was stunned!
In spite of the fact that the woman violated the standards for ordination, as set forth in section G-6.0106b of the Book of Order, Mark Achtemeier rejoiced in how Milwaukee Presbytery made this decision.  Apparently, according to Mark, the woman had such an irresistible and winsome spirit that Milwaukee Presbytery, including some conservatives, voted overwhelmingly for her ordination.
Mark Achtemeier thought this was great! 
I was stunned and so were a number of other commissioners who spoke to me after the meeting of Blackhawk Presbytery.  
Several commissioners asked me, "How could Mark Achtemeier support the defiance of our Book of Order?"
According to Mark Achtemeier this is how our process will work when the PUP Report is approved by General Assembly.  He enthusiastically and unequivocally supports this change!
In defending the process used and the decision reached by Milwaukee Presbytery, Mark Achtemeier described the candidate's lesbianism as a simple scruple.  Furthermore, he affirmed the presbytery's right to accept her lesbianism as a scruple.
In light of the biblical mandate and the historic affirmation of the church, how can anyone lightly dismiss as a simple scruple her rejection of God's instruction that we are to live either in chastity or in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman?
Since I was a guest at the meeting of Blackhawk Presbytery, I did not feel it would have been right for me to ask Mark Achtemeier any questions from the floor.  Furthermore, since he left the meeting before I could speak to him, I need to ask him these questions:

  • If I reject the Lordship of Jesus, is this a scruple or a heresy?
  • If I reject the authority of scripture, is this a scruple or heresy?
  • If I reject Chapter 8 of the Book of Order, is this a scruple or a heresy?
  • If I reject the ordination of women, is this a scruple or heresy?
  • If I affirm pedophilia and rape, is this a scruple or heresy?
  • If I affirm segregation, as several southern states did under the guise of states rights (which parallels the PUP Report’s advocacy for presbytery rights), is this a scruple or heresy?
Or, stated more simply, what is the boundary between a scruple and a heresy?
Advocating, establishing, and  standardizing a process which permits and celebrates the right of any governing body to ignore our constitution, our confessions, and God’s Word will destroy not only our connectional and covenantal relationship, but it will destroy the PC(USA)!
Mark Achtemeier’s presentation at Blackhawk Presbytery made absolutely clear to me that the PUP Report will not unite us in peace and purity.
Instead of bring peace, unity, AND purity the PUP Report, if approved, will bring the exact opposite upon our church.  The PUP Report will not bring:
  • Peace, because it will bring upon us the judgment and wrath of God;
  • Unity, because it will launch the PC(USA) into schism;
  • Purity, because it will allow for the approval of behavior which is disobedient to God’s call for us to live holy lives.

       I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom:  Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;  and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.  But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
II Tim. 4: 1-5

    Christians are called to maintain godly standards.  We can't do that if we make exceptions to accommodate our friends, even if they are winsome.
    Christians are called to promote godly purity.  We can't do that if we compromise our beliefs to accommodate those in our society who are committed to ungodly causes, even if they are kindly grandfathers.

I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.
    John 17: 15-19

    We are in the world to preserve, promote and exhibit God's standards.  We are sanctified as we do. We do not have the right nor the authority to change God's standards, to re-interpret them to accommodate our friends or culture, or to re-image God so that He no longer resembles Himself, rather He becomes the image of the prevailing cultural standards.
    If we are to be the salt of the earth, we need to change our culture.  We must not allow our culture to change us. If we do, we become good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.  Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
Rev. 2: 14-16
Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
     The Nicolaitans were a heretical sect within the church that preached accommodation with pagan society. They taught that since Christians were freed from the Law, they were at liberty to practice idolatry and immorality.

"It can be an act of faithfulness to terminate the life of an unborn child"
OGA-88-109, "The Covenant of Life and The Caring Community", page 10, adopted by the 195th General Assembly (1983)

"I confess that to love Jesus means to live in faithful, monogamous covenants of love.  ." 
Susan Andrews, Moderator of 215th General Assembly

The First Presbyterian Church in Yorktown, NY, was the host of a "Universal Worship Service" in which the participants offered prayers to a smorgasbord of gods -- including those who, "whether known or unknown to the world, have held aloft the light of truth through the darkness of human ignorance." The service, which the Presbytery of Hudson River promoted by e-mail to its ministers, included readings from Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, the tradition of the "Divine Female," Native Peoples and Judaism.
Apparently, a new pastor was called to the church who announced on his very first Sunday that only two Christian services a year would be held from now on (viz., Christmas and Easter).  He planned to lead "worship" like an imam on Ramadan, rabbi on Hanukkah, and so on; enabling Buddhist meditations on off Sundays.

MINNEAPOLIS – To the tribal rhythms of bongo drums, about 200 women – plus a "few good men," as they called them – swayed slowly into the room for the opening worship of the 10th anniversary (and final) Re-Imaginined god Gathering.
They came on this cloudless day, June 19, to praise water, tell their stories and be reminded that, as women, they have creative license to change entirely what has been an orthodox understanding of the Christian faith. After all, they say they believe the Bible is a product of a patriarchal mindset that oppressed women.
"We don't need folks hanging on crosses and blood dripping and weird stuff."

PHILADELPHIA – When arguing for church acceptance of homosexuality, most advocates talk about monogamy. But others are bolder.
"I am a strong ally of those in healthy, polyamorous relationships," declared Debra Kolodny. She argued that having multiple sexual partners can be "holy." Kolodyn was leading a workshop at the WOW (Witness Our Welcome) 2003 convention, an ecumenical gathering for "sexually and gender inclusive Christians."

       H. Richard Niebuhr identifies liberal theology under the Christ of Culture label and sees liberals as accommodating Christianity to the prevailing culture.  In Niebuhr's view, Christianity and culture are neither in tension, nor opposed to each other.

       "Liberals are open to the truth of other religions," said Donald E. Miller in The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Theology, Westminster Press, 1983. "Christianity is not viewed as the only expression of man's search for God or of God's revelation to man. . . Liberals tend to assume a broadly ecumenical attitude."

       Whenever we see people compromising God's standards to accommodate someone with a winsome spirit or a kindly demeanor, we see that the Nicolaitans are still at work in the Church today.

"The plain man in the church has difficulty understanding the nature of the struggle. He does not yet appreciate the real gravity of the issue. He does not see that it makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds of the church the modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. This modernist might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the reformed faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest is affirmed, but all is denied because all is affirmed merely as useful or as symbolic, but not as true. A thing that is useful may be useful for some and not for others, but a thing that is true remains true for all people and beyond the end of time."
J. Gresham Machen 

    There is the second great lesson:  Salt adds flavor!  If we are the salt of the earth, we must add flavor to wherever we are.
    The way some Christians live, one would get the idea that Christianity takes all the fun out life.  It shouldn't be that way. 

What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.
Rom. 6: 21

The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.
Thomas Morell

    What the world calls "fun" more often than not leaves one feeling ashamed afterward.  If we are to be the salt of the earth we need to be showing the world a better way to live.

There is a story about Alexander the Great, one of the world’s greatest warriors. His army conquered most of the known world in its time. Now in Alexander’s army, there was a young boy who was handsome, strong and skilled at fighting. It seems that during a fierce battle the boy became frightened and hid himself in a cave.

When he was found, he was immediately brought before Alexander for judgment. Alexander, seeing that the boy was terrified and in fear for his life, took compassion on him and asked him, “Son, what is your name?” The young man answered back, “Alexander” with a quiet reply. Upon hearing this Alexander the Great said, “What did you say?” The boy then raised his voice and strongly shouted out “Alexander”. Once again Alexander the Great sternly said, “Boy, what is your name? The young lad responded once again with a sheepish voice and said “Alexander, sir”. Then upon hearing this, the great conqueror exploded in anger, picked up a sword, raised it over the boy’s head and said, “Change your ways, or change your name!”

I think Jesus is saying the same thing to some of us who claim His name.

O Lord of all good life purify our lives.
Help us to know more of Thee,
and by the power of Thy Holy Spirit, use us to show forth Thyself to others.
Make us humble, brave and loving;
make us ready for adventure.
We do not ask that Thou wilt keep us safe,
but that Thou wilt keep us ever faithful to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In His name we pray.

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God's truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” 

John Calvin

The Old Gray Dog

Jim Tuckett



Blessings and Love!


Reformed Catholic said...

Who would start such a rumor?

The Evil One is at work, envious of those who have the Holy Spirit at work in them.

Envious of those who still profess Jesus as Lord, and are not afraid to proclaim there is only ONE way.

Those who do not believe in that profession and proclamation are the ones who listen to the Evil One and cause the issues we're seeing throughout our franchise.

Christine said...

God uses you greatly… you speak to me through him during every one of your sermons. I keep what you say in my heart throughout the week, come back the following Sunday for a refill… Don’t let the “posers” get to you… you may be a little tough, or loud… but you have passion… something most people lack… People that do not see you for that, do not see the Jesus for what he stands for… Keep on preacher man, Keep on…

I’m trying to be a better person… I listen in a whole new way… it’s pretty exciting!!!

Dr. Robert R. Kopp said...

Reformed Catholic,

Indeed, mon ami, methinks it's an Ephesians 6 thing