Wednesday, May 02, 2007

What the United Church (Dis)Believes

Many Christian churches have a confession of faith.

In the Anglican tradition, there is the Apostes' Creed and the Nicene Creed, both wonderful and well-worth memorizing, along with the 39 Articles.

In the Reformed tradition, there's the Westminster Confession.

In the anabaptist (Baptist) tradition, there's a rudimentary informal creed along the lines of "we believe the Bible (and reject everything else churches teach that don't line up with it)".

And then there's the United Church of Canada.

In a letter to the National Post today, letter-writer Harry MacLean helpfully outlines the beliefs, or, rather, unbeliefs, of the modern United Church.

* They believe the Bible is an historical record of people's views of God, rather than the word of God [contrary to the witness of Jesus Christ, the apostles, and the tradition of the Church]

* They believe that Jesus was a revelation of God, rather than God him/herself [a nice liberal side-step dodge. Usually damning error is not outrageous, as in "I don't believe Jesus even existed"; the best error is exquisitely subtle.... The Bible speaks of a Subtle One, does it not?]

* They believe the essence of God is love and compassion rather than justice and punishment [Does this mean that God's nature precludes justice and punishment, or that love and compassion are merely more core-values? I think the bottom line here is it means we don't have to worry about sinning. God's a Teddy Bear.]

* They believe that God is non-violent, meaning no apocalyptic “end of time.” [If Satan's evil forces rise up against God and his heavenly host, God won't fight back! If man thumbs his grimy nose at God, God smiles benignly and says, "tut, tut". Evil wins!]

This was the letter I submitted to the National Post:

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re: Letter from Harry MacLean

When members of a church such as Wesley-Knox United believe that the Bible is merely a record of how people in the past understood God rather than the word of God, isn't it time for a name change?

Since their leader Jesus Christ clearly understood Scripture as the word of God, isn't it time, in all honesty, to drop the name Christian (as in Christ-follower), and, out of respect for the views of John Wesley and John Knox, drop the Wesley-Knox designation while they are at it?

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And that's the way the Ball bounces.

4 comments:

frappeur said...

A lot of people think the United Church is, in fact, the New Democratic Party at prayer.

Why they might pray baffles me.

RkBall said...

I read somewhere recently, that among the various denominations, Anglicans tend not to pray when facing life problems or crises.

This does not reflect well on Anglicans.

Imagine praying, and not expecting God to answer the prayer. This is a symptom of a spiritual problem called unbelief, and it plagues us all in our natural, unredeemed state. We all need to be saved from it, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The opposite of unbelief is faith. It is more than just giving intellectual assent to a set of doctrines. It is firm confidence and lively expectancy exercised towards the living God.

Jesus Christ is our model example of a man who had complete, total, uncorrupted faith in God, whom he had the privilege to address as Father.

Through him, and through him only and alone, we also share in this wonderful privilege of addressing God as Father.

Lord, increase our faith.

James Love said...

While clergy in the United Church of Canada, I encountered beliefs worse than the ones you describe. Your general description however would cover the majority of clergy and active elders in the Church. The majority of people in the pews still hold onto a traditional redemptive theology.

The official doctrine of the United Church is still faithful however they have stopped enforcing it and therefore their defacto theology is what you describe. The leadership of the UCC are therefore hypocrites and liars. For all their talk of egalitarianism they still are unwilling to reform their official doctrine. They know the people would not accept their false teachings in a "remit". What they now do is a waiting game so more and more of the faithful older folks die and these false teachers hope to replace them with young people who will follow this "progressive" theology.

Not all clergy in the UCC are unfaithful, however I think it would be a wise thing to question any UCC person on whether their belief are really Christian before accepting them as brothers and sisters.

RkBall said...

James -- thank you for your post. You mentioned you were a member of the clergy within the UCC. May I ask where you landed? (On your feet, hopefully!)

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"