To the

Members of the Presbyterian Church USA

Pursuant to

The Holy Scriptures

 

 

Submitted by

William Stevens
Elder, Loveland Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)

 

 

NO OTHER GODS!
PO Box 311
Loveland OH 45140

pcnog@pcnog.com

 

 

Disclaimer and Apology

The following applies to the Presbyterian Church USA. The Presbyterian Church in America, Bible Presbyterian Church, and others who have remained faithful to the Reform Tradition of scriptural obedience, are excellent churches and worth of consideration for any person looking for a good church home.


 

There is Substantial and Credible Information that

The Presbyterian Church USA

Collectively has Committed Acts that

Constitute Heresy

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The Charges

The Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA) has individually and collectively:

1.0 Acknowledged other gods;

2.0 Promoted teachers and teachings denying the deity of Jesus;

3.0 Failed to discipline those who have specifically committed the above acts; and / or

4.0 Failed to caution the laity of the PCUSA of the aberrant teachings.

 

****************************************

 

 

The Objectives

TO INFORM the membership and those who may be considering becoming members of the nature and seriousness of the heresy (apostasy) and to urge them to check out their home church very carefully.

END THE CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE: The laity have the right to know what their pastors believe. Pastors, say what you believe, and believe what you say. The sessions of each church should publish a "statement of faith" that unambiguously proclaims what they believe and make this available to the members and prospective members. The Presbyteries should likewise proclaim what they determine to be acceptable theological limits on this issue and advise pulpit nominating committees and screen pastors who wish to enter the presbytery accordingly.

TO CHALLENGE THE PRESBYTERIES to allow churches, whose congregations and pastors do not agree with the theological position of their presbytery, to sever ties with the denomination. And that the presbytery allows those churches to keep their church property and other assets provided that they remove the name Presbyterian from their church, unless they unite with another established Presbyterian Denomination.


 

The Evidence

 

1.0 Acknowledging Other Gods

Introduction

1.1 The Loveland Incident

1.2 The Pastor's Survey

Introduction:

 

The Good News: Jesus promised that those who "believe in him" would have eternal life and live in a place prepared for them by Jesus. Those who do not believe in him are condemned already because they do not believe in the name of the only son of God.

46% of PCUSA members believe: "Only followers of Jesus are saved."
Source: "Presbyterian Panel surveys of members, 1993 - 1997" www.pcusa.org

 

The first two Commandants States:

You shall have no other gods before (besides) me.

You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous god, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

The Gooder News: Followers of Jesus and followers of all the great religions will go to heaven.

24% of PCUSA members believe: "All great religions are equally true."
Source: "Presbyterian Panel surveys of members, 1993 - 1997" www.pcusa.org

  

1.1 The Loveland Incident

The existence and acceptance of this Gooder News theology was demonstrated at a November 18, 1998 meeting with the Session of the Loveland Presbyterian Church, Loveland Ohio (a Cincinnati suburb). A statistically significant number of members (those who believed with the 46% above) were concerned because the pastor seem to be teaching a doctrine that extended salvation to non-Christians. These concerned members were invited to a meeting with the Session, which was moderated by retired Pastor Caroll Wood, chairman of the Cincinnati Presbytery Committee on Ministry. During that meeting, three elders made the following statements:

Elder One: "I believe that Buddhists are going to heaven."

Elder Two: "I believe that the Jews are going to heaven."

Elder Three: "What I like about the Presbyterian Church is that they do not tell you what to believe"

Pastor Caroll Wood stated that the views expressed by the concerned members and the three elders were all within acceptable theological limits of the PCUSA.

Predictably, many members of that concerned group have left or are in the process of leaving the Loveland church for other denominations.

Conclusion:

These two views, that "All great religions are equally true." and "Only followers of Jesus are saved." are diametrically opposed, logically incompatible and therefore cannot be reconciled.

If following Buddha (or any other major world religion) allows one entrance into heaven, then Buddhism et al is functionally equivalent to Christianity. Their philosophy and teachings become as legitimate as those of Jesus’. This, we were told, is within acceptable PCUSA theological limits.

Accepting the religion of those who worship a god different from the god defined by scripture is equivalent to accepting their god. By acknowledging the existence and legitimacy of another god intellectually elevates that god to a plane level with our Triune God. Intellectually we then serve that other god and that is a violation of the first and second commandment.

Extending salvation to non-Christians specifically contradicts Jesus. The god of the Ten Commandments is the Triune God.

Accepting and or serving any other god is heresy.

Is this Liberal Theology? In discussions with pastors, theologians, and church leaders the term liberal theology has been used to describe the issues being presented. The term liberal is too vague to be of any real value. A church can be labeled liberal because women are allowed to become elders or ministers. Churches that do not prohibit the drinking of wine or other alcohol beverages are considered liberal by some. These issues are schismatic whereas the Gooder News doctrine messes with the person and purpose of Jesus himself and crosses the line from schism to heresy. I am not speaking out against liberals or any other label but against specific heretical ideas.

 

1.2 Pastor's Survey

The "Presbyterian Panel surveys of members" documents that 24% of the PCUSA members accept other religions as equally true to Christianity (thus their gods and teachings). The Loveland Incident confirms the reality of the belief and its destructive nature.

No data was found to determine if this Gooder News theology is coming from a grass root movement influenced by the media and other societal forces or if this Gooder New theology is promoted by, supported by, or tolerated by the clergy. Efforts to determine that information directly was frustrated by the clergy's general unwillingness to answer direct questions and their ability to speak around the issue.

A questionnaire, designed to determine the extent of this division and to roughly identify the Good News pastors from the Gooder News pastors was distributed by mail, addressed to the senior pastor and sent to 4 groups. Each questionnaire was coded so that the address of the church to which it was sent could be documented. Since each respondent indicated the seminary and date of graduation, the actually identity of the respondent can be reasonably determined.

Note: To review the questionnaire see Addendum A

Group One:     Every church in the Presbytery of Cincinnati (39 Responded {50% of those polled})
                        For a summary and detailed church by church results, see Addendum B

Group Two:    A Control Group: Evangelical Free Churches (36 Responded {50.7% of those polled})

Group Three:  PCUSA churches in Atlanta Georgia (The "Southern" Church)
                        (13 Responded {56.5% of those polled})
                        For summary and detailed church by church results, see Addendum C

Group Four:    PCUSA churches in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois (21 Responded {51.2% of those polled})
                        For summary and detailed church by church results, see Addendum D

 

The Questions:

The questionnaire had six questions but only two were important for purposes of this study.

Question 5 was deemed to be the strongest indicator:

"It does not matter whether a spiritual person prays to Yahweh or to Allah because there is only one god and it is the same god we worship."

Question 2 was useful especially as it correlated with Question 5.

An active Mosque in my community would enhance the local cultural diversity and would be good for my community.

 

Results Chart:

 Result_Graph.jpg (179846 bytes)

Result_Graph_EV.jpg (173350 bytes)


 

Discussion of the Results

 

 The results were striking in their contrast:

PCUSA Cincinnati Presbytery:

Eighteen (46.2%) ministers AGREED with the statement:

"It does not matter whether a spiritual person prays to Yahweh or to Allah because there is only one god and it is the same god we worship."

17 of the 18 also agreed that a Mosque in their community would be good. The sole dissenter only mildly disagreed. The correlation of the two questions was extremely strong for the PCUSA ministers and ZERO for the Evangelical Free ministers.

Of the 21 PCUSA ministers (53.8%) who disagreed, 28.6% agreed that a Mosque would be good for their community. I believe that the answer lies in the word "diversity". This word has taken on theological significance. To most PCUSA ministers, diversity is by definition good, regardless of its form and therefore cannot be opposed.

Evangelical Free:

As with any experiment, a control is useful to determine if other variables affected the result that were not originally foreseen.

The Evangelical Free Church was selected because:

During the past 13 years, the denomination has shown remarkable growth in the Cincinnati area while the PCUSA church has floundered;

Their ministers are educated to the same high level as Presbyterian ministers;

They attract the same social economic group as Presbyterian churches; and

Their doctrine is similar to traditional Presbyterian doctrine.

The drastic difference in response to the survey questions, under identical conditions demonstrates that the survey accurately measured a strong doctrinal difference.

Only two ministers (5.5%) answered question 5 as "Strongly Agreed" and both "Mildly Disagreed" with the idea that an active Mosque would be a benefit to their community. BUT: One minister modified the question 5 and added the comment "Allah is not the god of the Bible". Clearly he intended to disagree with the original question. This was confirmed by a telephone call. Not only did he Strongly Disagree with the original question, but he was also on his way to India to evangelize the Hindu's. He used the word heresy to describe those who would equate Allah or any other modern god and Yahweh.

The other minister was contacted. He assumed that the questionnaire had come from an Islamic group and answered the question, as many experienced evangelists would be trained to respond. He too considered it heresy to equate Allah and Yahweh.

Only one minister "Strongly Agreed" that an active Mosque would be good for his community but this same minister "Strongly Disagreed" with question 5.

Regardless of the above disclaimers, the data is presented in its raw form because there is a slight likelihood that a few Presbyterian ministers may have made a similar assumption.

Comments from Gooder News Pastors:

"It’s not a matter of total indifference. The believer must choose and know the personal presence of God as expressed in his / her own traditions." 33 Indian Hill OH

"... In fact, the Arabic term "Allah" is also periphrastic, meaning simply "exalted One." The deity referred to by all these periphrasis is understood in all western religions as the sole deity, although each religion understands the personality & character of that deity differently. Thus it’s not a "Christian God" or a "Jewish God" or a "Muslim God" but one God understood & worshipped differently by the three Great Western Religions traditions..." 159 Rock Spring, Atlanta GA

"I have found that Islamic mysticism overlaps Christian Faith. I believe the resurrection helps all who receive it. I believe some worship Christ, they just don’t know it." 105 Covenant, Columbus OH

"I would rather see a person accept Islam over no religion or over a self-centered spirituality" 120 Calvary, Fort Wayne IN

"I have worshipped in the blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey & found love & peace among people." 139 Knox, Naperville IL

Comments from Good News Pastors:

"I am a Christian who believes and relies on the words of Jesus and Scripture concerning my salvation. I do not believe just being religious is what God has asked of us. I do not believe Allah and Yahweh are one in the same, and I believe there is a difference between God and gods by whatever other names people use." 2 First Presbyterian, Batavia OH

"We worship the God who is Father of Jesus & part of Trinity." 12 Covenant First, Cincinnati OH

"The nature of god matters!" 62 Silverwood, Cincinnati OH

"The importance of worship (serving God) is the highest calling as men and women. To take an ‘all roads lead to god’ approach is blaspheme. Either Islam is right or Christianity is – there is no room for compromise. Yet, please do not make the modern equation that disagreement equals hate. I do not hate followers of Allah, nor followers of any other religion..." 146 Christ, Atlanta GA

"Even the same God, worshipped in different ways, makes a difference." 117 First Presbyterian, Bloomington IN

 

Conclusion:

Does it make a difference in the name of the god one invokes for effective prayer?

Jesus by any other name is still Jesus, but
            Jesus by any other definition is an impostor.

When one prays to the Triune God, one prays to the god defined by the scriptures. When one prays to Allah, one prays to the god defined by the Qur’an. Allah is not the god of scripture. Islam specifically denies the divinity of Jesus and elevates Muhammad to a position of superiority over Jesus.

To invoke in worship or prayer the name of any god (Allah, Baal, Buddha, Chemosh, Kama, Great Spirit, Zeus etc.) other than the Triune God of scripture, violates the first and second commandment.

It is sin - a rebellion against the Triune God.

I would submit that those who hold and / or teach this doctrine commits heresy against the Triune God.


 

The Evidence

2.0 Promoted teachers and teachings denying the deity of Jesus

The Influence of "The Borg"

The Borg: The Borg is represented in the homepage picture as a Star Trek character. The Star Trek's Borg is an evil race, part human and part machine, who viciously conquer and assimilate other cultures. The real Borg is even more insidious. He is the theologian Marcus Borg, Hundere Distinguished Professor of Religion and Culture at Oregon State University. His ideas have a powerful influence on the Gooder Newsers. While it is not my purpose to give a comprehensive report on Marcus Borg, I believe that a few quotations from his book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time will accurately summarize his central theme.

Jesus never spoke of himself as the Son of God, as one with God, as the light of the world, as the way, the truth, and the life, and so forth. Indeed, he never spoke the words of John 3:16 - that verse from my childhood that had summed up my image of Jesus. (Page 11)

Jesus once again moved center stage. This happened because of my first-semester New Testament course. There I learned that the image of Jesus from my childhood - the popular image of Jesus as the divine savior who knew himself to be the Son of God and who offered up his life for the sins of the world - was not historically true. I learned that the gospels are neither divine documents nor straightforward historical records. They are not divine products inspired directly by God, whose contents therefore are to be believed (as I had thought prior to this). (Pages 8 & 9)

Moreover, the longer I studied the Christian tradition, the more transparent its human origins became. Religions in general (including Christianity), it seemed to me, were manifestly cultural products. (Page 13)

Why is Borg important? In my home church, a former minister taught a course using Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. The course was not designed to expose Borg's teaching to our members but to expose our members to Borg's teaching. Subsequent, pastors have quoted Borg in sermon, not as a warning but to hold his ideas up as an example. By every measure, Borg is a quintessential false teacher who needs to be exposed not promoted. When our pastor was challenged on this issue, he responded, "Borg claims to be a Christian and has a following. Therefore, I must take him seriously." (By that logic I should teach a course on the teachings of the Ku Klux Klan because David Dukes also claims to be a Christian and has a following. Hell will freeze over first.)

Bottom line, the clergy of the PCUSA (and many others according to the press) have bent an intellectual knee to the Borg. His ideas have been studied, considered and integrated into the clergy's personal theology and therefore into the teachings delivered from the pulpit. Some undoubtedly believe what Borg believes. But Borg's real influence seems to be the way in which one can, under the guise of intellectual scholarship, discount sections of the Bible and therefore discount the authority of the Scripture in general. This is especially handy when Scripture happens to take an opposing view to a current politically correct social issue which clergy wants to promote.

Intellectualism can be a false god - a false god that is especially luring to highly educated pastors. Those who bend a knee to a false god sin. Those who lead others to a false god are judged even more harshly.


 

The Evidence

3.0 Failed to discipline those who have specifically committed the above acts.

As the survey has indicated, the PCUSA is a destructively divided church over fundamental issues.
                                                                                (See Addendum E, Strength Through Diversity?)

When preparing for our meeting with the Session of the Loveland church concerning the teaching from the pulpit of the Gooder News theology, I contacted a known Good News PCUSA minister. The issue was explained and the question asked:

Q: Is this an important enough issue to challenge the session and the pastor?

A: This is an extremely important issue in our denomination and I commend you for taking a stand.

Q: May I use your name?

A: No, (pause) I have to get along with these people.

The PCUSA clergy is well aware of this Gooder News theology. I have talked with several and there is a certain sadness in their speech and their demeanor concerning what is happing to their church. A few have left the denomination but usually for ancillary reasons.

I would submit that to remain quiet, for motives like "getting along," is paramount to passive support of the Gooder News theology and selling out ones values for security and social comfort. I would further submit that if the issue were some politically correct issue, the outcry from the Gooder News clergy would be deafening.

Complacency is Complicity.

The Good News Clergy cannot ethically remain complacent.


 

The Evidence

4.0 Failed to caution the laity of the PCUSA of false teachings.

 

This charge is directed to the Good News pastors who have failed to warn their congregations about the serious problems that exist with in the denomination.

Is it not the duty of the clergy to warn their congregations concerning false teachings even if that requires pointing a judgmental finger at their own denomination? Are they not bound by Paul's charge to Timothy to:

"…preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own liking, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.

It is the experience at Loveland Presbyterian that the members were not aware of these fundamental and divisive issues. It was not until a crisis that previously content members, who were contributing to the work of the church, discovered that the church, which they had trusted, was supporting teachings that they considered false.

This is the sin: A good news pastor may consistently present sound teaching to their congregation. But families move, kids go off to school, and young couples marry and have children. When they look for a church home and find a PCUSA in their community do they understand that there is a high probability that that new church is a gooder news church? When they send their children to Sunday school, what will they be taught? Have they been forewarned to look closely at a PCUSA before joining? They have not.

They are sheep walking unaware into a den of wolves.

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