Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Passing of Barnes and Keller at PTS

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



          Even pastors who never enrolled along with conscious not-just-navel-gazing pewsitters are wondering collectively, “What the anything but heaven is going on in that seminary between those stadiums for the Yankees and Phillies?”

          Dang, that was a mouthful; and that’s because there’s a really bad taste coming from the mother of all American seminaries.

          If you haven’t read about the Barnes-Keller fiasco in the NYC metro area reverberating throughout their kingdoms, google it before continuing.


          Now let’s all sing together, “Blest be the tie that unwinds…And they’ll know we aren’t Christians by our…”

          O.K., this is just another hypocritical reason why Gandhi’s heirs keep lamenting, “I would have become a Christian if it weren’t for, you know, uh, sigh, uh, Christians.”

          You can read all about it, again, in cyberspace or via,, and lots of other religious rags that love to take deserving shots at PTS; but you won’t hear anything about it by clicking on because that denomination continues in the delusion that PTS is still one of its seminaries and under its unrecognizably Christian and irretrievably apostate under current management thumb.


          For as long as I can remember and I am only a year younger than my administrative assistant, PTS has had a legal strategy locked away and ready to incarnate if/when the franchise makes any move on it by moving from voluntarily pretended submission to mandatory compliance with the whackos in Louisville and their supporting cast by some kinda denominational decision.

          Before going any further, I am indebted to PTS or, at least, the one in my kodachromed memories; for even I of Pauline sarcasm/cynicism long occasionally for the way things never were or maybe were but are no more.

          I harbor treasured mentoring memories of Sweazey, McCord, Macleod, Dowey, Metzger and Hoagie Haven, Story, Beeners, the Dynamic Duo of Lapsley and Hanson, Felmeth, Mig, Shaull, Hilt, and so many others while puffing Punches and Romeos on the deck; and when I was an important high steepler in KC and WSNC, I raised millions, literally, by tapping one of the most generous guys in the Midwest for their money-making board and…

          But after McCord and Gillespie, it’s been so embarrassing to even admit connections that I’ve had to exercise “creative neglect” and historical amnesia toward/about it so my Christian friends don’t think worse of me than they already do with some kinda guilt by…

          Really, unless you think an elephant is a mouse with glandular problems or have overdosed on St. John’s Wort, you know PTS has become a poster child for Europeanized syncretistic-to-the-max theological education; recalling a comic warning shared by McCord many times: “Did you hear about the two pastors talking at a cocktail party?  One says, ‘I don’t know who I am or what I believe or where I’m going?’  The other says, ‘Don’t worry!  The Presbyterian Church is going through the same thing!’”


          But you know all of that; and if you don’t, you’re still feeding its coffer like a mindless drone though it hasn’t needed anyone’s $ since McCord and Templeton.

          Actually, the preceding is not why I’m writing.

          I’m writing to provide some perspective on how “the deep state” at PTS understands this little tiff.

          It’ll pass.

          That’s their perspective.

          Just like forgetting who won last year’s Final Four or Stanley Cup, it’ll pass.

          I’ll never forget when I sat with my favorite P of PTS and we talked about some seminarians that were protesting, uh, whatever rather vigorously.  He took a long calm draw on his Churchill and confided, “It happens every spring.  Student unrest.  Then summer comes.  Some graduate and leave.  Some finish up on Greek and Hebrew.  Some study somewhere else.  Some take field education assignments and internships.  Then fall comes, a new class comes to replace the class that just left for a 33% turnover, and everybody gets back to work again.  Then along comes spring and we repeat history.  It’s cyclical, Robert.”

          That, mes amis et alumni - Oops!  Sorry!  Weren’t that many back then; though I hear, mirroring the franchise, that it’s now split right down the middle by gender as well as ideology masquerading as theology - is why PTS and its real players ain’t losin’ any sleep over Barnes and Keller.


Blessings and Love!


Salt! Shine! Leavenate!
Look up! Stand up! Speak up! Act up for Jesus!







Laura said...

What's even more ludicrous is that Kuyper would have shared Keller’s view. In other words, Kuyper would not have won the award now named after him because PTS would have to rescind it too! SMH

Joseph said...

Good friend,

I mourn the PTS of my past, and I pray for its future. I received a great grounding there thanks to Metzger, Diogenes Allen, Richard Armstrong, Sandy Brown, Cullen 1st Kings (I.K.) Story, McCord, Gillespie--el jefe after me time, but a treasured acquaintance before, Bob Jacks, Big Mac, et al. And now I weep. I like Craig Barnes and admire him as a preacher--he is a fine one. But, damn, this is a shame. And I recoil at the insult hurled at Tim Keller, who, by all reports from those who know him, is a honorable, decent, loving, and grace-filled disciple.

Anonymous said...

______'s first director got her M.Div. and PhD from PTS. She graduated with honors.
She is now a professor with distinction at ________ Seminary in _________. As a former lesbian, she now can't return to her alma mater and talk about her transformation by the power of the Holy Spirit. Many in the PCUSGAY and PTS have no clue about the power of God actually transforming someone's life. May the PCUSGAY and PTS...RIP.

James said...

I think both the pcusa and PTS have discovered what they believe and where they are going.

In 2004 we lobbied to get the denomination to adopt essential tenets. Now it has.