The Thinking 

Nice Presbyterians

June 21, 2014



Heath Rada

THE General Assembly of the Presybterian Church (U.S.A.) endorsed same-sex “marriage” this week, voting to allow ministers to perform “any such marriage they believe the Holy Spirit calls them to perform.” The June 19th letter by Ruling Elder Heath Rada announcing the decision is a study in passive-aggressive rhetoric and arrogant, modernist blasphemy. According to Rada, a former Red Cross executive with a “a twinkle in the eye,” Christ died to make Presbyterians “reconcilers.”

“Please know that the same triune God in whom we place our hope, faith and trust in is still in control, and that the Assembly’s action today is the result of deep discernment to hear God’s voice and discern God’s will.”

The Presbyterians have a creepy cult of niceness. The spiritual life is dead within them. Niceness is an agreeable substitute. Super Nice people don’t say no to anyone who wants a wedding. In truth, this is not niceness, but self-love and cruelty. Liberals are cruel people with sugary-sweet smiles. In their niceness, they are masters of spiritual genocide.

Here is the letter in full:

To congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.):

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Earlier today the 221st General Assembly (2014) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved a recommendation from its Civil Union and Marriage Issues Committee allowing for pastoral discretion to perform “any such marriage they believe the Holy Spirit calls them to perform,” where legal by state law.

They also approved a recommendation to change language in the Book of Order to indicate that “marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”

Both decisions came with much thought, discussion and prayer, and clearly the entire body that is the PC(USA) will be interpreting these actions for some time.

Please know that the same triune God in whom we place our hope, faith and trust in is still in control, and that the Assembly’s action today is the result of deep discernment to hear God’s voice and discern God’s will.

We concur with the feelings expressed by Teaching Elder Commissioner Jeffrey Bridgeman, moderator of the Civil Union and Marriage Issues Committee, during his presentation to the Assembly.

“The apostle Paul tells us that ours is, in fact, ‘the ministry of reconciliation’ as ‘ambassadors of Christ,’ and he died for us so that we might be reconciled, that we might become reconcilers,” Bridgeman said.

In this season of both happiness and sadness over the Assembly’s decisions, we call on you to remember the overflowing grace and love God gifts us with, and to take seriously our charge to bestow the same grace and love on one another.

In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,

Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada

Moderator, 221st General Assembly

— Comments —

Terry Morris writes:

So if a Presbyterian minister next week feels he’s being led by the Holy Spirit to perform a marriage ceremony between a woman and her dog, this decision would permit him to do so if “marriage” between a dog and his pet human were legal in the state in question. Nice. ‘long as it’s legal and moral, don’t ya know. Note to Presbyterian minnisters: if you feel “the spirit” is leading you to “marry” same-sex couples, you probably are being led by a spirit. But it ain’t the Holy Spirit doing the leading.

Mr. Morris writes:

I should have added that this is tantamount to blaspheming the Holy Spirit. And we know what the Bible says about doing that.

 B.E. writes:

Not all Presbyterian denominations are created equal.

The Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) is one of the most liberal branches of modern Presbyterianism. It is the result of a liberal coup in the Presbyterian Church in the 1920s. Up until the latter part of the 19th century, Presbyterianism in the America was traditionalist and Bible- believing, often holding to one of the confessions, typically the Westminster Confession.<a href=””>Westminster Confession of Faith</a>. However, with the success of technology and modernism in general, Enlightenment ideals spread throughout society, including the churches. In the 1920s, the liberals took over the PCUSA, and turned Princeton Theological Seminary, previously a bastion of traditional Reformed Presbyterianism, into a hothouse of liberalism. The PCUSA is a liberal, not Christian, institution. The history of the coup, and the conservative/traditionalist reaction that led to the creation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, is documented in the book “The Presbyterian Conflict.”

J. Gresham Machen, one of the premier theologians of the time and a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, in 1923 wrote a short book called “Christianity and Liberalism.” The first chapter, eerily similar to the sorts of things that Lawrence Auster would write some three-quarters of a century later, clearly lays out what liberalism (a.k.a. modernism) means: “the many varieties of modern liberal religion are rooted in naturalism ―that is, in the denial of any entrance of the creative power of God (as distinguished from the ordinary course of nature) in connection with the origin of Christianity” (ibid., p. 2). He goes on to say, “Modern liberalism… has lost sight of the two great presuppositions of the Christian message ―the living God, and the fact of sin” (ibid., p. 59). Unlike the PCUSA, the OPC has no pastorettes; does not embrace, much less accept, homosexuality; never uses “worship music” in place of hymns and psalms; and adheres to the Bible. It is a Confessional church (for more on what that means, please see Alan Roebuck’s essay on the topic at the Orthosphere. The OPC was the subject of a recent hit piece in USA Today. In an editorial on Bowe Bergdahl, the OPC was denounced as “hyperconservative”; it was also claimed (falsely, of course) that it “compels followers to feel the inner spark of absolute certainty of one’s own God-given righteousness.” If one reads between the lines, one can see that Bergdahl had left the OPC; even so, the editorial blamed the OPC for Bergdahl’s actions, and even went so far as to say, “We as a society have too frequently failed to take religion seriously as a source of evil as well as good,” thereby implicitly calling not just the OPC, but all religions, evil. (A fine thing for a professor of religion to write indeed!) The editorial has just enough weasel words to avoid being libelous, yet still leaves its readers with no doubt about how they are supposed to feel about this church.

“Hyperconservative”? In that it adheres to a pre-liberal understanding of Christianity, yes. “Calvinism on steroids”? In that it faithfully teaches Reformed theology, yes. Illiberal? Absolutely.

Laura writes:

Yes, PCUSA is the most liberal manifestation of Presbyterianism and there are Presbyterians who courageously defend the natural law and are very far from Rada’s views and the cult of niceness. They tend not to be sentimentalists and to oppose sentimentality with Rationalism. Like other mainline Protestant denominations, Presbyterianism has split up into different sects. It is ultimately unable to defend itself from this fragmentation. I have a couple of Machen’s books, which I have read. While I don’t agree with his definition of liberalism and would hesitate to call him a theologian, I admire some of his critique of the forces of modern dissolution.

Laura adds:

Given that Presbyterians of all denominations do not believe that the Catholic Church, divinely established by Christ, is guided by the Holy Spirit, they have no foundation for their belief in the Bible, which comes directly from the authority of the Catholic Church and would not exist but for the Catholic Church. To be honest, Presbyterianism should rest only on Presbyterian truths, and not take what properly does not belong to it, in which case it is founded purely on denials.

To quote Orestes Brownson:

That Protestants, that so-called orthodox Protestants at least, profess to hold, and claim as belonging to their Protestantism, many things that are also held by Catholics, nobody denies; but these things are no part of Protestantism, for the Church held and taught them ages before Protestantism was born. They are part and parcel of the one Catholic faith, and belong to Catholics only. Protestants can rightfully claim as Protestant only those things wherein they differ from the Church, which the Church denies, and which they assert; that is, what is peculiarly or distinctively Protestant. We cannot allow them to claim as theirs what is and always has been ours; we willingly accord them their own, but not one whit more. All which they profess to hold in common with us is ours, not theirs. Adopting this rule, which is just and unimpeachable, nothing in fact is theirs but their denials, and as all their denials are, as we have seen, made on no Catholic principle or truth, they are pure negations, and hence Protestantism is purely negative, and consequently is no religion, for all religion is affirmative.

Protestantism has partly been enabled by the diffidence of Catholics who are too polite or cowardly to point to this organized plagiarism.

John writes:

Rada writes, “The Apostle Paul tells us. . . .” So why won’t he consider what the apostle says about sodomy? Romans I:26-27.

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