Thursday, March 5, 2015
Will the PCUSA Go Kenyonesque?
Sometime in the next few months after all of the votes have been cast and certified, the PCUSA's novel as well as recent "authoritative interpretation" allowing/advocating same-sex nuptials will become a part of its constitution; allowing/encouraging its pastors to preside at same-sex nuptials and its churches to host the, uh, same.
While the constitution as amended will not force pastors and churches to preside/participate against conscience captive to 2K+ years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity, there is a growing concern/suspicion/prediction/guess that the PCUSA will go Kenyonesque and require its pastors to preside and churches to host; defrocking pastors and removing sessions who refuse to affirm, advocate, and participate in same-sex nuptials. Despite the clear and conclusive witness of 2K+ years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity to marriage being divinely designed for one woman and one man, same-sex couple requests cannot be considered as disqualifying for marriage rites in the PCUSA; and if the denomination goes Kenyonesque, it means pastors and sessions disqualifying same-sex couples from marriage rites because of their same-sex preference will be disqualified from ordained ministry in its particular churches.
Essentially, if the PCUSA goes Kenyonesque, it will mean conscience captive to 2K+ years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity - redundancy to remind those who have forgotten their roots only, uh, uprooted recently - will have been trumped by enforced loyalty to an institution and its ideology increasingly and unashamedly coincidental to Christianity as previously defined and propagated.
By going Kenyonesque, Christianity in the PCUSA will be reimagined/reinvented by navel-gazing egotism masquerading as divine revelation: "So humanity created God in its own image. In the image of humanity, humanity created God."
Simply, Christianity in the PCUSA, not dissimilar from most mainline denominations, is devolving into theology with two feet planted firmly in the air: "We know that's what Jesus and the Bible say; but we think..."
"Going Kenyonesque" is the SOP of an arrogant, self-righteous, and condescending "my-way-or-the-highway" mindset that understands and enforces inclusion and diversity by what it, uh, wants to include in its, uh, diversity. Uh, it means inclusion and diversity are exclusively defined/enforced by the existential bias of whoever's got the most votes at any given, uh, time.
It recalls one of the darkest chapters in the history of American Presbyterianism
Reviewing American Presbyterianism during one of its most intolerant and disgraceful incarnations may portend the reincarnation of "original" - ;) - Kenyonesque behavior.
Walter Wynn Kenyon died on February 13, 2012.
He was 64.
I've been wondering if it had anything to do with a heart broken in 1975 when one of the forerunner franchises of the PCUSA concluded its umbrella was not big enough to include him.
Dr. Kenyon had a heart attack on February 8, 2012 while exercising at Jackson, Mississippi's Belhaven University where he had been Professor of Philosophy and Biblical Studies for 31 years.
He died at 3:00 p.m. on February 13 after the family consented to remove life support after several days without brain function.
A graduate of Marietta College (B.A.), Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and the University of Miami (M.A. and Ph.D.), his father was a United Presbyterian pastor and Wynn followed three brothers following dad into UP pastoral life and ministry.
An obituary is available via www.caringbridge.org/visit/wynnkenyon.
Considered "a treasure to Belhaven University...a pillar of its faculty...brilliant, witty, Godly, and humble...constant pensive expression on his face...always contemplating the mysteries of the universe...engaged head and heart...Evangelical to the core...articulate...taught how not what to think...solid intellectual heavyweight...remarkable," he will be forever remembered as the victim of his denomination's damning intolerance of anyone questioning its ideological/political correctness increasingly coincidental to Jesus by the book.
Recalling reports about the "Kenyon Case" during my own preparation for ordination and recounting limitless conversations with his friends and foes since "our" denomination's despicable treatment of Wynn, his character shaped by intimacy with the Lord dwarfed those conspiring for his doom; as noted by sister Mary who said he never descended into the kind of bitterness from left and right that has become epidemic in the PCUSA: "He never looked back in regret in any way...He believed it meant that God was leading him in another direction. Belhaven University was where he needed to be, and he probably impacted more people there than if he had gone into ministry."
While no one can/should dispute his sister's conclusion, Wynn wanted to be a part of our denomination...just like dad and his three brothers.
He was prevented/damned by a dark conspiracy of oppressed to possessed "elders" who established today's "irretrievable apostasy under current management" that demands institutional loyalty over Jesus by the book.
Here are the crucifying details.
An honors graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Wynn was examined for ordination by Pittsburgh Presbytery in 1974.
Questioned about the ordination of women as pastors and elders, he said the Bible does not endorse women as pastors and elders; therefore, he could/would not participate in the ordination and installation of women as pastors or elders. However, he pledged to work with ordained women and would not stop a congregation from ordaining women.
While Pittsburgh Presbytery voted 147-133 to ordain Wynn, an appeal was filed to the denomination's highest court: the Permanent Judicial Commission. Overturning Pittsburgh Presbytery's vote to ordain him, the PJC ruled in 1975 that "refusal to ordain women on the basis of their sex is contrary to the constitution." The PJC ruled the denomination must deny ordination to anyone who refuses to follow explicit constitutional expectations: "Neither a synod nor the General Assembly has any power to allow a presbytery to grant an exception to an explicit constitutional provision...A candidate who chooses not to subscribe to the polity of this church may be a more useful servant of our Lord in some other fellowship whose polity is in harmony with the candidate's conscience."
Of course, we know that "principle" has been selectively applied ever since; especially when it come to you know who and what...
Three interesting tidbits/caveats.
1. After being banned/damned by the denomination, Wynn wanted to continue pursing advanced degrees at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Refused for reasons suspected but not confirmed, he ended up at the University of Miami. Again, so much for inclusion and diversity!
2. Not long after Wynn was banned/damned, Mansfield Kaseman, an already ordained pastor in the United Church of Christ that has been leading the pack when it comes to apostasy in mainline denominations, was received into membership in our denomination through National Capitol Union Presbytery in 1981 despite denying the deity of Jesus and being a notorious syncretist. Again, inclusion and diversity are determined by who's got the most votes in our franchise!
3. In one of his last interviews, Dr. Kenyon reflected on his "trials" juxtaposed to the increasing/projected persecution of evangelicals in the PCUSA: "I'm really not bitter...The issues you're facing...We were afraid this is where everything was going."
The PCUSA is "irretrievably apostate under current management."
Specifically, the PCUSA is captive to a political correctness dictated by popular votes with primary allegiance to the institution's current ideology/plurality masquerading as theology. Institutional loyalty trumps 2K+ years of Biblical, confessional, constitutional, traditional, historical, and common sense Christianity.
Precisely, ya don't have to follow Jesus by the book in the PCUSA anymore; but ya better not "scruple" with the franchise's latest existential obsession.
Fortunately, evangelicals have been promised the PCUSA will not go Kenyonesque when it comes to same-sex nuptials.
What do you think?
Will the PCUSA go Kenyonesque now that the franchise allows/advocates same-sex nuptials?
While many like me who have been ordained after the Kenyon decision continue to disagree with Wynn about the ordination of women or we wouldn't have been ordained into the franchise after the PJC ruling, will we be banned/damned for not presiding/participating in same-sex nuptials?
Will we be targeted?
Is the lynch mob coming after us?
My friends in bureaucracy tell me not to worry.
Hello, Alfred E. Neuman!
I don't think it will happen.
A very, very, very brilliant and active ecclesiastical lawyer in California: "Going Kenyonesque is inevitable. I will not be surprised if authoritative interpretations of the constitution are issued by the next GA making 'willingness to ordain' and 'willingness to perform' mandatory. My suspicion is the institutional power and progressive parties will pass the next GA, however, to preserve the illusion that they meant the promise to only make same-sex marriages discretionary and optional and to save legal fees by allowing the self-sorting to continue. I don't think anything will happen in 2016. Then, after that, the race will be on between the PJC system and GA to issue the AI on willingness..."
Ruling elder in Oregon: "There was a time when the leadership of the denomination had influence in our culture. Now, for the most part, it is simply the caretaker of empty buildings funded by the ransom it charges departing churches. A friend just left our church. He said, 'It's useless. I'll just slip away.' That's what's happening. Best wishes as you struggle with the disappearing PCUSA."
Pastor reflecting on his presbytery's vote on the amendment to allow/advocate same-sex nuptials: "The very fact that the tone of our last presbytery meeting seems intolerant of even listening to the Biblical stance on marriage leads me to believe 'going Kenyonesque' is inevitable...The very fact that they did not want to enter a discussion by limiting everyone to 2 minutes!...I can't get through my 'Welcome and Announcements' on Sunday in 2 minutes!...The warm fuzzies are gone...I will probably not be retiring as a PCUSA minister...Our base is getting smaller and smaller. Yes, the train is coming!"
Journalist: "Kenyon II is coming! To quote the parrot from Aladdin, "Why am I not surprised?"
Geezer: "Not if but when! It will come through secular pressure. A civil court case will be raised against a church that refused to marry a gay couple. The GA will not support the church. Thus, by GA's inaction, remnant churches will be forced out of the denomination. GA staff doesn't have the guts to stand up for anyone."
A younger and uncommonly articulate, calm, and faithful presbyter: "I don't think they'll force us to do them. I'm not real worried about it. I think the muckity mucks want to move off this asap because the whole denomination is falling apart and they'd rather salvage what's left. Can you really force a pastor/church to allow/perform a wedding? Maybe we should just stop officiating at weddings for the state. I'm not drawn into conspiracies; but there may be one out there."
Clearly, the most reconciling teaching elder in my neck of the woods: "It will most likely go Kenyonesque. If I'm still in the PCUSA when it does, I will look to leave. I can't in good conscience stay when they are blatantly and intentionally going against God's Word."
Church Planter in Missouri: "Bobby, I love you. I want you to continue to have a great ministry. Don't waste it on Zombie Church! Protect your congregation before they come after you! I know you like the prophetic role and it suits you well. Someone has had to hold up a spiritual mirror for the nitwits who think they've been called by God to lead in the ways of the evil one.. You've done a great job at it. But they will come after you soon. It's time to come out from them. The hour is late!'
I was an Eagle Scout.
I was/am like Presbyterians and most mainliners who talk one way and act another way...having creeds contradicted by deeds...saying how much we love Jesus by the book while insulting Jesus and contradicting the book...
While I often betrayed the best ethics of Scouting by my bad behaviors, I remember Scouting's best advice/warning: "Be Prepared!"
While I do not envision the PCUSA going Kenyonesque, I am preparing myself, our family of faith in Belvidere, Illinois, and others for the possibility of the PCUSA going...
I will write more about that soon (viz., "If the PCUSA Goes Kenyonesque...").
For now, "Come, Lord Jesus!"
Blessings and Love!