Saturday, June 21, 2014

You Call This Bold?

Today, Brian McLaren made two brief comments regarding the recent decisions made by the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). The word he used to describe both is "bold." The first "bold act" regards what McLaren describes as "Israeli occupation." According to the New York Times article he links to:
After passionate debate over how best to help break the deadlock between Israel and the Palestinians, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted on Friday at its general convention to divest from three companies that it says supply Israel with equipment used in the occupation of Palestinian territory.

The vote, by a count of 310 to 303, was watched closely in Washington and Jerusalem and by Palestinians as a sign of momentum for a movement to pressure Israel to stop building settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to end the occupation, with a campaign known as B.D.S., for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), one of a handful of historic mainline Protestant denominations and the church of many American presidents, is the largest yet to endorse divestment at a churchwide convention, and the vote follows a decade of debate — and a close call at the assembly two years ago, when divestment failed by only two votes.
I rarely, if ever, comment on Israeli/Palestine troubles so I will leave this where it is.

The other decision the PCA made that McLaren considers bold regards their vote on same-sex marriage - a decision McLaren refers to as "LGBT equality." At the very least I guess we can safely say that clarity isn't as overrated as McLaren has been telling us all these years. Nevertheless, here is what the PCA decided according to the New York Times:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted at its General Assembly on Thursday to change its constitution’s definition of marriage from “a man and a woman” to “two people,” and to allow its ministers to perform same-sex marriages where it is legal.

Both measures, passed by large majorities, are a reversal for a church that in 1991 and in 2008 barred its pastors from performing same-sex marriages, and that has held ecclesiastical trials for ministers who violated the ban and blessed gay couples.

The Presbyterian Church, a historic mainline Protestant denomination that spans a broad spectrum from liberal to conservative evangelicals, has been mired in the debate over homosexuality for about three decades. The General Assembly’s decision in 2010 to ordain openly gay ministers caused many congregations, including some of the largest, to depart.
My beef here isn't the PCA, but with McLaren's assertion that the PCA decision-making should be considered "bold." Regarding "Israeli occupation," I'll let the reader decide. But I am at a loss how anyone can consider the latter decision, by a mainline denomination no less, bold. To go along with the prevailing culture is not bold. To abandon biblical Christianity in order to jump on board the right-side-of-history-ship is not bold. Praising such denominations who agree with you from a distance as McLaren is doing here is not bold.

There is nothing bold here. Standing against the tide of sexual autonomy is bold. Defending traditional marriage is bold. Fighting for religious liberty against the encroachment of erotic rights is bold. What conservative Christians continue to defend on issues like gender distinctions, sexual sin, and the rest is bold. I would label what countless churches and denominations who are letting the culture direct their theology cowardice - a finger to the wind.

Its easy to agree with the majority because it gives us the allusion of security and allusive "relevancy." Its takes courage to stand against the world and proclaim "Jesus is Lord."


For more:
Farewell Old Friend: Saying Goodbye to the Emergent Church
Thesis | Brian McLaren and Emergent Soteriology: From Cultural Accomodation to the Kindgom of God - Full Series
I Don't Think That is What Palm Sunday is All About
I Don't Think This is What Good Friday Means
I Don't Think This is What the Empty Tomb Means
I Don't Think This is What Easter Means
McLaren on Hell and Universalism . . . Again
Hades, Hell, and McLaren's Eisegesis
The Clarity of Ambiguity: The Erosion of the Perspicuity of Scripture in the Emergent Church - the Complete Series
Where to Begin?: 10 Emergent Must Reads 
"A New Kind of Christianity" - A 11 part review and critique of McLaren's book
Revelation and the Ambiguity of Justification: McLaren Adds to the Confusion
Does McLaren Reject Penal Substitution?: A Review of the Evidence
Hamilton: McLaren and Whole Foods Stores
SBTS and McLaren: A Response to SBTS Panel Discussion
The Evolving God: McKnight's Critique of McLaren
The Future of the Emergent Church: McLaren Weighs In
Repost | Occupy Wal-Mart?: So This is What the Kingdom of Heaven Looks Like
Repost | Pinata Theology: Ignore the Issue and Swing at the Distraction - What Piper Has Taught Us About the Church
Emergent Panentheism: The Direction Towards Process Theology Continues
Will the Two Become One?: Emergents Turn to Process Theology
God's Many Names?: Emergent Pluralism in the Extreme
Theology Thursday | Don't Be Fooled: The Conversation Is Not Open To Everyone 
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