In his April report to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, 221st General Assembly Moderator Heath Rada spoke about what he has heard and seen across the Presbyterian Church (USA) during his travels.
One of his most emphatic statements came when he spoke of how the PCUSA is “criticized by many outside the church as not believing in the authority of Scripture and not accepting Jesus as the only path to salvation.”
Rada said that both statements are untrue, and “almost blasphemous accusations about the PCUSA. First of all, there is not a teaching or ruling elder who is ordained in the PCUSA who does not have to answer the question in the affirmative – ‘Do you accept the Bible as the authoritative Word of God?’ — or a similarly worded statement that means the same thing. If they cannot say they do, they are not ordained. To say the PCUSA does not believe that is a lie. It is sad that people who want to harm us have used this untruth to lead many people who are less informed about such matters to turn against us.”
In making the declaration that all ordained officers in the PCUSA submit to the authority of the Bible, Rada must have somehow missed the Rev. John Shuck’s highly publicized announcement that he is a Presbyterian minister – a Presbyterian Church (USA) ordained minister –who confesses that he “doesn’t believe in God.” Shuck teaches the Bible as myth and proudly declares that his “personal beliefs don’t align with those of most Presbyterians.”
Shuck made a list of those personal beliefs:
- “Religion is a human construct
- “The symbols of faith are products of human cultural evolution
- “Jesus may have been an historical figure, but most of what we know about him is in the form of legend
- “God is a symbol of myth-making and not credible as a supernatural being or force
- “The Bible is a human product as opposed to special revelation from a divine being
- “Human consciousness is the result of natural selection, so there’s no afterlife.”
“In short, I regard the symbols of Christianity from a non-supernatural point of view,” wrote Shuck. “And yet, even though I hold those beliefs, I am still a proud minister.”
Shuck also made it very clear about what he thinks of the PCUSA’s ordination vows Rada spoke of when he wrote, “We require modern people to affirm anachronistic ‘vows’ thus forcing them to take great liberties in their interpretation.”
Some might desire to argue that because Shuck was ordained many years ago he hasn’t taken those vows recently. But they would be wrong. Presbyterian ministers are required to recommit to the denomination’s constitutional standards every time they move from one presbytery to another. As Shuck has recently made such a move, he has done precisely what the moderator says is not happening: Presbyterian ministers are knowingly lying and taking ordination vows in jest.
It is curious that the moderator would not have heard of Shuck. One might have presumed that they would have met as they both served as elected commissioners to the 2014 General Assembly. That’s right, Shuck, who admits that he does not believe in God, the divinity, atonement nor bodily resurrection of Jesus, the veracity of the Bible, nor the reality of heaven, was one of the people elected to discern the will of God as a member of the denomination’s highest council.
It is futile to suggest that his presbytery did not know about his beliefs – or unbeliefs – as throughout his ministry, first at First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tenn., in Holston Presbytery, Rev. Shuck hosted a radio show on NPR and maintained a blog site called Shuck and Jive, where his views are openly expressed.
Only Lord and Savior?
Another theological question Rada said he is often asked is does the denomination “believe in Jesus Christ as our sole means to salvation?”
To Rada, the “answer is blatantly obvious. One cannot join a church in our denomination without answering the question in the affirmative that she or he believes in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If you do not, you cannot be a member in our churches. And I have not met one single person—member or officer of our church—who does not believe that as truth. There has been a campaign of hate and divisiveness built against us. And it is not a true reflection of our particular body of Christ.”
So Rada asked the question, “How do we undergird the basic theological and faithful principles of our church in a way that lets the world know the truth about who we are? Nothing, absolutely nothing, is more important to members of the PCUSA than the acceptance of and love for Jesus Christ.”
Carmen Fowler LaBerge, president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee agrees, “Nothing is as important to the members, but loving and serving Jesus Christ alone, above all others, as the authoritative Word of God made flesh, is less important to the denomination’s clergy. The PCUSA’s own Research Services results bear that out. A high percentage of PCUSA clergy do not believe what the moderator acknowledges is the primary criteria for membership. There’s a disconnect between what the PCUSA says it believes in its confessions and what its people are preaching from the pulpits.”
Maybe Rada could begin with having a discussion with the Rev. John Shuck and others who have taken their ordination vows with a giggle and a wink.
His eight other points
Rada made eight other observations during his talk – though none as controversial as the one above.
- On the issue of gay marriage, Rada said that the recent decisions of the PCUSA “have been liberating and celebrated by some, they are painful and heartbreaking for others. But I am no longer seeing this as the defining issue of our church.” He said Presbyterians are telling him that they are tired of the fight and that they wish to continue as Presbyterians. He spoke of two churches in Texas that that many thought would be leaving the denomination, “but in the past few weeks they have stated that they are no longer going to be divided over this matter, and they have called dynamic pastors to lead them in ways that might make them be more strongly aligned with the denomination.” He said that while some churches were still considering leaving the PCUSA, “more and more I am hearing of those deciding to stay because what we offer as faithful followers of Christ is far greater than some of the issues that have been dividing us.” So he asked the question: “Now that it appears likely that the major storm of separation and upset over gay-marriage issues may be diminishing, what do we do to bring back the harmony we need and should expect as one body?” His answer was that the PCUSA needed to “undergird that in this ‘big tent’ we call the PCUSA, there is room for us to disagree in love and not be afraid that alternative positions will be crammed down our throats. People are not being asked to betray their conscience. Grace has been a hallmark of the Presbyterian Church throughout our history. And grace will continue to be a huge part of our DNA.”
- Rada also addressed the issue of the PCUSA’s relationship to the Jewish community in the United States since the divestment vote at the 2014 General Assembly. “I can tell you that I have worked hard to communicate with both our Jewish friends and our Palestinian support groups, to see how we might communicate in ways that will uphold the dignity and strong anxieties which both bodies have—and I might add that I believe both groups are legitimate in their fears. … This matter will continue to raise its head at our General Assemblies and will likely continue to be divisive.”
- “What about funding?” Rada said that the programmatic funds for the PCUSA are not increasing, in fact, “we are far short of what we need. Many people suggest to me that it is related to communication and the fact that people are not clear on what they should, can, and actually do give their money to support.” The question he asked was “What can we do to increase financial resources for our programs and operations?”
- Another area Rada mentioned related to “our witness to Christ around the world. Our global missions program is still extraordinary.” Rada spoke of the time he has spent with mission co-workers since he was elected moderator. “Their faithfulness and love and compassion, as well as their commitment to the faith and our denomination, and particularly to the wonderful people they are serving, is remarkable.” He also commented that “The Presbyterians who are breaking off from us and becoming other denominations do not have the same history of relationships and long-term bonds of love. Nor do they have the networks and relationships with both the governments and the churches that we have developed. They are losing a huge advantage in their efforts to make a difference around the world.”
- “Our church offices in New York City, with the United Nations, and in Washington, D.C., are huge factors in living out the faith by promoting worldwide peace and justice, the critical issues that Christ called us to pursue.” He spoke about visiting the White House where he was “informed by so many people from other church communities and nonprofits that we are the denomination that brings the message of Jesus into the realities of policies and projects being undertaken by our government.”
- “We are seeing an amazing emergence of young adults coming back to the church. Whereas statistics indicate that these folks are leaving evangelical megachurches in large measures, the PCUSA is seeing young adults returning to our membership.” Rada gave three examples and qualified that the phenomenon is mostly in “urban areas. Rural areas are not having the same experience.
- Another point raised by Rada was communications. “We need to find new ways to communicate in a society that is focused on communications like it has never been before.”
- The last point Rada made was about how the PCUSA functions as a denomination. “The basic question I am asked in different ways over and over is, Is the PCUSA set up to function in the most effective way to meet the needs of our denomination in 2015?” And the answer – not from the pew-sitters but from those at the General Assembly level – is No. “There is a growing interest and concern about the way we operate at the assembly,” he said. “My personal assessment is that we must spend time in setting our priorities as the Presbyterian Mission Agency and as a denomination. Does the structure need to change? All evidence says yes. But we can’t change effectively until we know our priorities,” he said.
The point here is that Rada go can off on people inside and out who disagree with his positions, calling us all liars and soforth, but since Shuck and Rada agree on gay marriage, he can say and do whatever he wants to, and Rada is just fine that.
The louisiville sluggers need to go after people like Shuck, who have never built a church, sent a missionary, etc, but oh no he’s not the problem, the rest of us are. Rada’s two faced hypocrisy knows no bounds.
As far pcusa missional priorites, as far as I can tell, it’s to bully churches out of their property and endowments, so they can support the bloat that’s our church government, people are voting with their dollars, and it’s not for this three ring freak show that the pcusa has become.
Moderator Rada, if you’re telling me the Bible is the “authoritative word of God” in the PCUSA, why don’t you follow it??? GA has passed, and the presbyteries have adopted, amendments and “authoritative interpretations” that are directly against God’s Word.
In fact, what Rada said about the authority of Scripture is no longer true in the PCUSA. When the PCUSA enacted the infamous G-2.0104-b, it not only authorized pastors, elders and deacons to engage in adultery and fornication, it provided that the Holy Scriptures are now simply “guidance” for ordination, not authoritative.
This is one of the most unbelievable articles I’ve ever read… In addition to meeting “Reverend” Shuck this oblivious moderator should meet the evangelical ministers and ordinands attacked, harassed, and rejected by COM’s and presbyteries for their Christian beliefs while the same ordain and promote those whose doctrine and lifestyles make a mockery of the Bible and standards the PCUSA supposedly believes!
Rada speaks with forked tongue, meaning he is a liar, and since 1967 when the pcusa rejected the Bible as authoritative, inerrant, he is delusional in thinking the Bible is the Word of God, and Christ is the only way of salvation. He would not be moderator if otherwise.
Although I am not a member of the PCUSA, I did listen to Moderator Rada’s presentation in full. He was very convincing to his constituents, i.e. people he is trying to “save” for the viability of the PCUSA. He is very good at his job as one who must convince the person in the pew that nothing is wrong and the PCUSA deserves their full support. I can’t imagine that he really believes everything he says when the evidence is quite contrary. I would love to hear his response to this article but I doubt that I/we will.
As an ordinary pew-sitting member of PCUSA it looks to me like Rev. Shuck has simply gone rogue. Not many of us, I believe, have ever come across an ordained minister who thinks along these lines. The LAYMAN should do whatever is necessary to get an official PCUSA response to Rev. Shuck’s position, and not leave this article just hanging out there. It goes without saying that an official PCUSA response is mandatory. The LAYMAN should not retreat to the position that “PCUSA will not talk to us.”
The only real “heresy” trials left in the workers paradise known as the PCUSA, are reserved for those who attempt to take their property with them in departure.
Other than that, you can pretty much believe, act, behave, confess what you want, when you want. And if you don’t like it, hang around a year or two, things will change.
What is the PCUSA? Is it an organization whose purpose is to raise high the name of Jesus, The Christ? Is it a body who have believed on Jesus, through the words of the Apostles of Jesus Christ, the head of the church, the jealous husband of His precious bride, the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the I AM, and the One who is coming again? What is this organization that it dare embrace disbelief in the gospel taught by the martyred followers of Jesus? Is this the people for whom Jesus so urgently and earnestly prayed as he faced unbelievable pain, suffering, forsakenness, loneliness, rejection and death?
To fully appreciate Shuck’s theology you should read his 8 points on his website Shuck and Jive. Regarding Jesus he elaborates.”he’s cool …he serves as a human ideal and a focal point for devotion like an ishta deva.” His latest statement of faith posted on his blog I DON’T BELIEVE IN GOD I BELIEVE IN GOD YES
I heard a Presbytery Executive and COM member say almost the same lines as Heath Radda. They proclaim that no member, elder, or pastor would be allowed membership or position without confessing the singular Lordship of Christ. They do not know of any…..claiming ignorance.etc.
Do you think they are being coached to give these answers? Do you think they are naive? Is this wishful thinking on their part in the face of the reality of defending the position of the PC(USA). What happens at GA is hard to defend to a discerning church!
The troubling thing is that these denials of the true actions of the denomination are being given to congregations members in discernment meetings.
There is deceitfulness and willfulness, ignorance is no excuse.
Maybe these executives are thinking they can be the gatekeepers of their Presbyteries and no unbelievers will be allowed in, but can they stop the wave that is coming in this denomination that supports so many views of Christ?
We should pray for our denominational leaders at every level, that they would live their lives to an audience of ONE, Jesus. With so many churches going through discernment, the truth will be proclaimed and hopefully heard whatever place one has in the denomination. God gives us many opportunities to think, say, and do what is right in God’s eyes.
I have read John Shuck’s blog. He should immediately be brought up on charges and subsequently defrocked. How can we maintain an evil liar and unbeliever in our midst.
This is specifically why I left the denomination…
I once worked on at a large prominent church with 3 other pastors…
One pcusa pastor got drunk enough one night to confess to me that he is”more a buddhist”
After articulating to the youth what Christian Universalism is, another pastor told said in front of them, “Well I guess that makes me a universalist.”
While reading one of our candidates for ministry faith statement I asked another pastor, “It sure seems like she is articulating a moral exampler theory of atonement. That’s not a sufficient theory of atonement is it?” To which I was told–“that is what I believe”
Sadly, Rev. Rada is a poster boy for the ills of the PCUSA. John Shuck is an eruption, sort of like a boil, of the “infection plaguing this denomination. The fact that no governing body is willing to lance the infection and drain the puss means the PCUSA will grow more and more septic. Someone earlier on this topic mentioned that COMs and Committees on Preparation wage virtual war on those who come before them, but are orthodox in their beliefs. I have personal experience of this phenomenon. AS to the $$ “shortage” Rada laments; churches do not have money problems. They have spiritual problems that manifest themselves as money problems. I would also suggest that many, many people know EXACTLY how Louisville is spending the money and that is why they are redirecting their giving. Just look at the debacle with the staff of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities who apparently saw no ethical problem with circumventing established financial procedures and lines of authority. There is most certainly a communication problem, and the officers and agencies of the GA are the ones NOT hearing because they are NOT listening; either to the pew sitters or, more importantly, to the Holy Spirit!
Does upholding the authority of scripture include adding other texts to it?
I have been a Ruling Elder Commissioner to the past three GAs and have heard many statements from the floor that exactly contradict our Moderator’s views. We have struggled for many years with ordained pastors flagrantly ignoring the Book of Order and conducting same-sex marriages before the most recent changes–and they have been sustained by local PJCs. I believe that our Moderator does NOT know and understand the will of the church and that he is ignoring obvious realities in order to protect open wounds. I am a Presbytery Moderator and the ground floor reality is not what our Moderator would have us believe.
Rads please describe just one thing the PCUSA does according to Scripture
Apparently Mr. Rada believes that it is impossible for a minister to lie or to have a mental reservation when he says that he believes that what the Bible says is true or still holds today. If so, he is living in a dream world.
“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone is greedy for unjust gain;
and from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD. (Jer. 6.13-15)
What’s left of the PCUSA is a club for elderly white liberals. I’m sure there’re some orthodox congregations and individuals still in it, but they have no voice and are irrelevant to what’s going on inside the denomination. I have the task of teaching systematic theology at African Bible College using the 1933 Louis Berkhof textbook. In it he describes Presbyterian polity as being bottom -up. That may have been true in 1933, but in subsequent years it became a definitely top-down structure, and that’s “how we got here.”
That reminds me. PCUSA was the denomination that banned “In Christ Alone” from its hymnal because the lyrics talk about Christ’s atonement for our sins. I remember all the PCUSA pastors who came out and supported the ban, saying the doctrine of atonement was barbaric. Fortunately, in my ex-PCUSA church we sing it all the time.
Off topic, but Layman.org is such a blessing. It allows open discussion of the most fundamental issues we face, without censorship. On multiple occasions my comments to articles on Pcusa.org have not been published. I am a lifelong member of PCUSA churches and have served as a deacon and elder. For the denomination to not permit expression of my opinion is infuriating and heart breaking.
I have a quibble regarding the title of this article. Instead of “Rev. John Shuck”, it should just be “John Shuck”. “Reverend” is an adjective that does not describe him.
I think that if you concentrate on the messenger (Heath), vice the content of the message you miss the mark. Heath, post Detroit, has always been sort of like the ‘deer in the headlights” when it comes to the facts and his grasp of reality. He is more or less a paid cheerleader for the organization and would give a positive spin to the Titanic, “its just a little water”, and this is what will be for the next year in the PCUSA. Are you expecting him to embark on a “truth and reconciliation” tour? , please.
But there is a little dirty secret to call him out for. In his public remarks he is always referring to the PCUSA as a 1.8, 1.9 million member denomination. It is not. The best and most accurate measure of denominational membership is not what churches report, but per capita collection rates.
Using Presbyteries in the North East as example. Many EPs will report that per capita collection is only running about 60% compliance. Most presbyteries in 2015 are just writing off anywhere from 30-40% of members on roles as “uncollectable” for a number of reasons. So where are all these people? The truth is they do not exist. The truth is they are either dead, off the grid, dropped off the radar, or in essence do not exist for PCUSA purposes. Real membership, engaged membership, active membership, elderly white liberals, call them what you want is really only about 800-900K nationally.
It is like a hollow egg, form but no substance. And sooner or later the shell will crack.
When I was younger I used to enjoy watching William F Buckley’s show. He would spend an hour discussing a single point of economics or foreign policy with a guest. It allowed for a thorough examination of positions. Without an opportunity to fully explore a position people can hide behind the phrasing of the question or their response. When Rada says he believes ” Jesus Christ is our sole means to salvation” does he mean ours because that’s how God revealed himself to us but for others it may be Buddha or does he mean for all of humanity. Perhaps the Layman could host a series of debates or discussions on issues Rada commented on like the authority of scripture and Jesus Christ as the sole means of salvation. If nothing else we owe it to our youth who are encountering atheists and practitioners of other faiths who have fully explored the foundation of their beliefs or disbelief.
Rada is a lot like our present President. He believes in the deity of words. Just because he says elders pledge to believe scripture is authoritative MAKES it so (in spite of the evidence to the contrary). This is what makes liberalism so pitiful.
Unfortunately Shuck has taken down all of the comments to prior posts on his blog. He was asked prior to his recent installation whether he was going to answer the questions in the affirmative in light of his 8 points which if truly believed would mandate negative responses. His response was that he was going to answer in the affirmative because he holds his vows and 8 points “in tension” with each other. You may recall “in tension” was the justification for the GA acting unconstitutionally. As pointed out by readers of the Friendly Atheist when his article was published to call oneself Christian and hold the views he espouses is intellectually dishonest. They pointed out several essential tenets of the Christian faith Shuck denies. I think the challenge Shuck presents is clear “are there any essential tenets of belief” in the PCUSA.
Rada is upset with those ” outside ” the church and their criticism ???
Well I am inside the church for 60+ years and he can count on that same
Criticism from me ….so now he can pick on and be unhappy with those
” inside ” too, because there are plenty of us.
I agree the numbers are overstated. But even the officially reported number for 2013 was below 1.8 million. I think that number was reported in May of last year, which means we should be seeing the “official” 2014 number soon. I admit that I’m very curious to see what it will be. Was the Detroit GA the straw that broke the camel’s back for tens of thousands of PCUSA members? Or will the membership losses be surprisingly small? (I tend towards the latter, since I observed no exodus of members from my former church when 14-F passed. But I hope I’m wrong, and membership losses set a new record).
It takes one to two years for the discernment process to play out.
Do you think we are going to have a wave of churches leaving
since that is just about how long it is after the last GA?
how many churches are in discernment? Does anyone know?
The complacent, middle, membership should be waking up
to what the goals of the denomination are now…….or is that just wishful thinking?
I hope someone at 1.) PCUSA- Louisville, or 2.) The Layman, or 3.) Local church session will act on this information and make Mr. Shuck accountable for his beliefs, AND make Mr. Shuck’s local Presbytery and Church accountable for not policing/governing as they are called to do. I just left the PCUSA in January, I could not take it anymore. BUT, Mr. Shuck’s views hurts the Body of Christianity, not just the PCUSA. It is my hope in the next issue of The Layman, there will be an update to this story. It is one thing to report Mr. Shuck’s heresies, if the accusations in this article are true then I would be disappointed if Mr. Shuck is left to continue his work as a ‘pastor’ for any Bible centered church.
There is more than one way to silence someone you don’t agree with. Sure, you can use force, censorship, burning at the stake, stoning…
But what about proving them wrong? What about accepting the intellectual and spiritual challenge and actually defending what you believe in?
Or are this one man’s beliefs, pastor of a really small church, such a threat to your own faith that your only option is to shout him down, tar and feather, and march him to the city limits?
Folks, haven’t we seen enough of those days?
So many comments like Bob’s in this thread, all of which amount to: “Won’t someone ELSE please do something about this? Because I only care enough about it to post vitriol in a comment thread.”
And that, folks, is why you lost.
Its not about stoning him but his call being approved is concrete proof that the PCUSA is unwilling to uphold its doctrinal standards on key issues the faith. This is a failure to rightly exercise discipline, the third mark of a true church of Jesus Christ. If the constitutional, doctrinal, and confessional standards aren’t upheld then what is the point of printing the paper?
Tom, I did do something about it, I left the church after 32 years of being part of the PCUSA. The PCUSA goes down and it is bad for Christianity as a Body. I don’t want the PCUSA to disappear like so many other posts mention. I have no power as a non-member, I am still interested in what the PCUSA does as it indirectly affects me as a follower of Christ. Those who have a say in the PCUSA, please clean up this baggage as it is bad for the corporate church.
When I attended PSCE, I was so proud that Dr. Rada was its President. It seems, however, that he has fallen in line with all of the progressives/liberals/replacement theology apostates who now run the PCUSA. My heart aches for my childhood church: PCUS. The apostasy of the PCUSA would have NEVER happened if the union of the Northern and Southern Churches had not taken place. Now, after 20 years of hard work, studies, five degrees, I have left the PCUSA. I must face God when I am called home. I must be able to say that I was faithful to God’s Word. Dr. Rada, you are willingly blind – as are so many in the PCUSA. There will be a day of reckoning for you, for Shuck, and for all of those in the PCUSA who had brought about its demise. Even my “used to be dear friend,” Sally Woodard. My heart breaks, but I am ready to stand before God and proudly declare that I left a denomination that has turned its back on the Bible, on what it says about marriage and homosexuality, AND Israel. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you.” I wonder if it is possible for our Lord Jesus Christ to pick up the entire PCUSA Headquarters in Louisville and throw it into the lake of fire. I hope so. Let’s hope the ringleaders of this apostasy as in it when this happens….including John Schuck.
If you are hoping that John Shuck will be held accountable for his heresies in a PC(USA) court, then you had better get used to disappointment, because the PC(USA) has not had the stomach for convicting its ministers for heresy since the 1920s–the Mansfield Kaseman case of 1981 proved that. Kaseman denied the Deity, Virgin Birth, and Bodily Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet his presbytery approved his call to pastor a small Maryland church. He was brought up on heresy charges before the Permanent Judicial Commission of the United Presbyterian Church (USA), which affirmed his presbytery’s approval of his call.
In the extremely unlikely event that John Shuck were to be brought up on heresy charges for his flagrant unbelief, he would be given a denomination-wide platform to preach his heresies while the national press reported on the spectacle of a 21st-century heresy trial in the PC(USA), and then the PJC would uphold his presbytery’s approval of his call, and he would not be disciplined.
No, unless he repents, the only recompense that John Shuck will receive for his heresies will be when he stands before the judgment throne of the God he denies, where he undoubtedly will receive the reward promised for the false prophet (Rev. 19.20). I say this not because I bear any ill will or hatred toward John Shuck, but that he might repent of his heresies and put his trust in Jesus Christ, as He is revealed in the totality of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, and thus be saved from the penalty his egregious sins demand.
May God have mercy on his soul.
Mr. Rada needs to wake up from his dream. PCUSA -Louisville Base does not believe neither the Scripture nor Jesus the Christ. If it beleives then it needs to obey what Jesus said.
Another area Rada mentioned related to “our witness to Christ around the world. Our global missions program is still extraordinary.”
Mr. Rada.. Where were you when PCUSA had more than 300+ missionaries and now less than half of that number are on the field. According to Louisville leaders – 13 Missionaries will be cut at the end of this year and by 2017 , a total of 40 will be gone.. This denomination is gone down to the tube.. Losing members left and right. If things are rosey like Rada said, then why did I get aletter asking for money to support missionaries by so call leaders in Loisville. Wake up Rada , Christ can illuminate you.!
“My personal assessment is that we must spend time in setting our priorities as the Presbyterian Mission Agency and as a denomination. Does the structure need to change? All evidence says yes. But we can’t change effectively until we know our priorities,” he said.
Fire all in Louisville GA office at all level. Put men and women with Christ´s SPIRIT, who loves and obey His Words and practice morality in these offices to lead.. This is the main priority to bring back effectiveness of PCUSA in its witness in the US A and around the world.
I have to ask…. what Jesus are the PCUSA missionaries preaching? What gospel? What reformed faith and traditions? I’ll be honest, I cannot at this point trust in anything that comes out or is run out of Louiville.
What more is there to be “done” that Evangelicals in the PC(USA) have not done already? But we cannot change the attitude of the denomination’s heart, we cannot divorce it from its perverse worship of the idol of relevance, and we cannot save it from its sins.
The PC(USA) has become consumed with the thought that in order to be relevant to the world, she must adopt the world’s ways of thinking. She has adopted the world’s theories on the origin of life on this planet. She has adopted the world’s critical attitude toward the veracity and reliability of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. She has adopted the world’s insistence that there can be no one “way” to God, that God can “reach” individuals apart from the saving efficacy of explicit faith in Jesus Christ alone. And now she has adopted the world’s ideology about human sexuality. Paul warned Christians against being conformed to the ways of this world (Rom. 12.2), but the PC(USA) is woefully conformed to the ways of this world. Paul said that the world through wisdom does not know God (I Cor. 1.21), but the PC(USA) believes it to be wisdom to hold that the world can, indeed, know God through anti-Christian philosophies and ideologies. James wrote that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (Jas. 4.4), but the PC(USA) has made every effort to entice the world to be its friend. And John wrote that “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I Jn. 2.15). Well, I really don’t see the love of the Father in the way that the PC(USA) aggressively goes after the property of congregations that seek to separate themselves from the denomination, all for the sake of upholding the sanctity of the very worldly Trust Clause.
And the real irony is that the more the PC(USA) has sought to be relevant to the world by adopting the world’s methods and ideologies, the more she has made herself irrelevant. And as she reaps the bitter fruit of that irrelevance through waning membership in her congregations, she persists in thinking that she just needs to be more relevant, that she needs to adopt more of the world’s ways of thinking, to be successful, to at least retain her young people, even if the world isn’t coming into her sanctuaries after all the effort that she has put into trying to entice him.
And so, the PC(USA) has prostituted herself to the world–just like Judah in Ezekiel 16, or “Babylon the Great” in Revelation 17. She has left her first love (Rev. 2.4), she has taught the Lord’s servants to practice sexual immorality (Rev. 2.14,20), she has become dead (Rev. 3.1), and she has become lukewarm, wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked (Rev. 3.15-17). She has become a conduit by which one can call oneself a Christian while still living a worldly lifestyle in an age in which organized religion is no longer in vogue. She has prostituted herself to the world and received nothing in return.
Again, I do not say these things because I hate the Presbyterian Church (USA), but rather in order to convince her of her spiritually destitute, fallen condition. I urge her to repent, to turn away from her worldliness, and to seek reconciliation with the God whom she has abandoned, fashioning for herself an idol to her own liking, that says the things that she wants to hear. But I also know that there is very little likelihood that she will heed what we Evangelicals are saying–we have been warning the PC(USA) to turn from her self-destructive course for more decades than I have been alive.
Now, I fear that she has passed the point at which God has determined to harden her heart in preparation for judging her (Ex. 4.21, Josh. 11.20, I Sam. 2.25, II Chron. 25.16, Is. 63.17, Rom. 9.17-23). I pray that this is not the case, that I am mistaken in my reading of the condition of the PC(USA). I pray that the PC(USA) will heed the Lord’s call to repent of her worldliness, of all the profitless compromises she has made to the world, and return to the love from which she fell. But I am not optimistic that her current slide will be reversed.
What makes us “Presbyterian” is our form of government, not our “doctrinal standards”. And I haven’t noticed any distinction between conservatives and liberals with regard to enforcing our Constitution. In that regard, there is more than enough blame, ignorance, disregard, and guilt to go around.
My response. Thanks for the publicity! http://www.shuckandjive.xyz/2015/05/embracing-change.html
There are a few national Presbyterian churches over seas that no longer recognize PCUSA missionaries. I expect that even more will follow suit.
You respond with insults and not with facts or reason. Disappointing but not at all surprising.
The people on this comment line are hoping the “publicity” you are getting will cost you your position at your church. PLUS it confirms to us (who only know you through this story) that you are in fact “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”, you didn’t defend the allegations said about you and your character. I hope your comments are like gasoline poured on a fire and gets people who are in a position to make changes take your cavalier response as the insult it was intended to be. I charge the Session of your church to re-ask the ordination questions, and then report your answers to the Presbytery.
Mr. Shuck is only the loudest tip of the apostasy iceberg in PCUSA. I’ve had many conversations with ordained Elders in person & online over the years, and many (half?) openly state that they believe one of two positions:
1. Everybody is saved by Jesus, whether they believe or not. Faith is not necessary.
2.All belief systems are valid ways to God. Christ is not necessary. (No one who has actually read the works of other religions could believe that).
There is a third position I’ve only seen expressed once, by a Louisville Elder:
3. All belief systems, including Christianity, are equally in error in their trying to comprehend God. The focus of this view is more pragmatic-secular in its approach to dealing with the problems of the world.
This last view is only one step away from John Shuck’s outright atheism.
As a non-Elder layman, my stated position in the past has been & is – it’s every member for themselves on matters of faith & Scriptural interpretation.
As there are many members of my church (& online) who still cling to the literal faith in the Divine Christ, Lamb of God, risen Savior – I have a role in supporting & encouraging them. Many of us are too old or ensconced in our church to leave.
Actually, the battle of faith is enlivening and can keep one sharp.
A little late getting to this thread, but here are my credentials: denounced PCUSA ordination; went through process to be accepted/ordained in EPC; endured slander as I tried to faithfully lead a remnant into the EPC; am now TE in a church trying to love our community and help people. It saddens my heart to read the rhetoric aimed at the Rev. Shuck. How does Galatians 5:22 speak to this?
“Facts and reason”, Todd? Really? Have you even read the comments in this thread?
While technically you are correct (Presbyterianism is the form of church government), certainly the belief system starting with Luther, and more fully developed with Calvin, Knox and others are at a bare minimum are implied with the term Presbyterianism. (PCUSA moved quite a way away from that with the J. Gresham Machen encounter in the late 1920 and the 1930s.) They have continued to move farther away in the ensuing seventy years. With Machen they in effect ruled against fundamentalism and for “modernism” as the term implied in the era. Now they are moving away from “standards of practice” that have stood for millenia within all branches of Christendom. Are they reformed, but always making the wrong reformations?
Anyone who believes what Mr. Rada or any of the official managers of the PCUSA says is “universally believed” because the current ordinands “must” answer these questions in the affirmative is naive. It is easier to believe that these managers know exactly what they are doing than that they are yet so naive.
How many references in the Holy Scripture on ‘rebuke?’
In my estimate the Machen incident is the elephant in the room when presbyterians consider discipline. It is the blackest spot on our record (presbyterians in the United States, the group not any specific denomination). If I had been around then I can certainly see how I might have been among those who drove him out. I think this incident made many presbyterians rightly afraid of exercising discipline.
Facts and reason. The PCUSA denies the facts regarding Christ, and doesn’t think they are important. There is no dispute about that by anyone who knows the facts.
While working in my church’s PNC, I came across Rev. Shuck quite by accident about six months ago. He makes his beliefs quite clear in his blog, as he does in his radio show, which is broadcast via local PBS affiliates. I easily came across numerous instances where the EPs of the two presbyteries in Tennessee and Oregon had to know all about him as part of his “transfer” (how can I call it a “call”?) between the two presbyteries last year. I also quickly learned from his blog that he was a delegate to the most recent GA. Last year, Mr. Rada was a guest on his radio talk show. The two of them had a nice forty minutes of friendly banter and shared politically correct sensibilities.
There is no way the denomination’s leaders do not thoroughly know about him. None.
If I had to explain all of this, I would guess that Rev. Shuck’s armor, his sword and his shield, are his ardent and thorough political correctness. No one who considers himself a good liberal would feel free to confront the obvious inconsistencies between his stated beliefs and the denomination’s published beliefs and demand action, because Rev. Shuck espouses the religion of the denomination’s leadership, sans the references to God. To me, he is evidence that in PC(USA) it is more blasphemous to be politically incorrect than it is to deny god. So he goes merrily along, espousing a moral superiority conferred by the distilled purity of his PC-ness and openly leading his congregation to his understanding of a modern christianity.
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