A dear friend and brother in the Lord recently made the following comment on my blog, which should receive a broader reading. Thank you Rob:
My wife and I made a round trip journey of just under 700 miles yesterday to take our oldest daughter to church camp for a week. As is always the case when a family makes a journey of this nature, the most common refrain is “Are we there yet?”
Alexis De Tocqueville wrote in “Democracy in America”, “I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerc – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it vas not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
I sorrowfully ask “Are we there yet?”
The impetus for the American Revolution was George III initiating a tea tax, the stamp act and the Townshend Act. Taxes as an impetus for revolution? This seems almost beyond belief to me as one who lives with modern Western sensibilities. Yet in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called George III a tyrant for having “erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” All because of taxes that were erected to pay for the growing costs of British government. Today, those who object to rising taxes are excoriated as bigoted selfish tyrants. Is something wrong with this scenario? Is there something incongruous about the founding principles of this country and the sensibilities of recent decades?
As an almost first generation immigrant (I was 5 years old) and naturalized citizen, I know what it means for my parents to work very hard to provide for the basic needs of their children. I look at my wife’s parents and the amazing sacrifices they made for their family, which included two special needs children. They refused any offer of government assistance, which was often pushed on them. I look at myself and my family, and I see some of that disappearing. I do not want it to. I do not want to sear my conscience and my sensibilities. How about you? Who is your model? I now look to the model of my father-in-law (currently suffering at the end stages of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases). He models true faith in Jesus Christ and his inerrant Word. He modeled true commitment and sacrifice to his family. He even accepted a foolish and often weak son-in-law, marrying his oldest daughter (that would be me). And he modeled a reliance on God’s strength, not government.
The gathering of Presbyterian women, began with a presentation of a panentheist. Cynthia Rigby wrote an article in 1996 in Theology Today titled, Free to Be Human: Limits, Possibilities and the Sovereignty of God. In that article she even claimed that “God cannot choose to become human” in reference to the freedom of God, denying the virgin birth of Christ and the incarnation. She also writes “in the panentheistic model proposed here, God is related to the world not because God chose to be but because to be related to the world is who God is, and the sovereign God is perfectly free to be who God is.” So it is with continued sadness that we find Dr. Rigby “kicking off” this major gathering of Presbyterian Women, and doing so “celebrating Calvin’s birthday.” Here is a revealing portion of this report on the presentation:
For Calvin, there were two major truths that are irreconcilable: how does God hold the all of creation in God’s hand while also being the shepherd who goes after the lone sheep?
“God is all in all, and calls us one by one,” Rigby said.
That gap of God being everything and caring for the individual creates a tension, and that tension is where Calvin often worked, Rigby said. In looking at God’s sovereignty, we are both challenged and assured. We realize that we are not God, and that God has to do with everything.
Ms. Rigby answers her own question in her 1996 Theology Today article. She believes that the solution is that all of the universe is ‘in God” or part of God. And in a fascinating twisting of Paul’s statement that comes from 1Corinthians 15, she alludes to her panentheistic worldview. She takes a verse out of the chapter that defends the physical bodily resurrection, the sovereignty of the God the Father, and Christ’s subordination at the end, and twists it to mean that creation is a part of God. This kind of nonsense is reprehensible, for a teacher of theology. Instead of taking the opportunity to celebrate Calvin’s birthday with a speaker whose worldview resembles Calvin’s, rather Presbyterian Women begin their gathering by twisting Calvin’s biblical views of the sovereignty of God into panentheistic, heretical nonsense. Is anyone surprised?
Believe it or not, I look forward to reading email notices from the Presbyterian News Service. It usually gives me good fodder to address the political foolishness and nonsense that masquerades as Presbyterianism. Just this evening I received a story called Choosing Life, written by Carol Gruber, reporting on Barbara Rossing’s presentation at the gathering of the Presbyterian Women. I was intrigued by the title of this article as I did not expect the topic of abortion to be addressed, let alone for a presenter to take a pro-life stance. I quickly realized that this had nothing to do with abortion, but with more nonsense regarding global climate change.
Barbara Rossing spoke of the enchantment of waking to the song of a bird, gazing at a waterfall or watching a child discover a new creature. But is all well with the world we cherish? As Rossing described the failing health of the earth, she reminded the audience, “The cruelest injustice of climate change is that it hurts the poor – those who have done the least to cause the problem – the hardest … As Christians, we should be concerned about that.”
I wonder if Ms. Rossing is aware of the rising worldwide skepticism of human-caused global warming?
I wonder if she is aware that more and more scientists are rejecting human-caused global warming, and more and more empirical evidence is showing no global warming at all?
I wonder if she is aware that “the poor” are more likely to suffer because of draconian efforts, like cap and trade that impacts the poor quite dramatically with increased costs for everything?
Her comment on watching a child discover a new creature saddens me. The title of this article could have easily been associated with a report on pro-life efforts. Seeing that instead it is a report about a Presbyterian leader pushing a progressive agenda, despite growing scientific evidence, it could have been about saving millions of lives. It breaks my heart.
Recalling Deuteronomy 30:19, Rossing challenged the listeners with the urgency of choice. God says to the people, “(C)hoose life so that you and your descendents may live.” Rossing reminded the crowd that “choosing life” means living in a more sustainable way. She also reflected that the time to choose life is now.
Wow! Talk about taking a biblical text way out of context! Moses’ speech is clear and unambiguous. He calls on the Israelites to obediently and exclusively grasp onto Yahweh and his revealed law. For the Lord is Life and his Word brings life. Moses warns them to not let their hearts and wills to stray from exclusive love and obedience to the Lord, or they will be destroyed.
“We are living in an urgent moment … a ‘kairos moment,’” Rossing said, defining a kairos moment as “when your whole life comes to a focus, an urgent moment in time.” She pointed out that even in this week, those at the Gathering are at a kairos moment — a turning point. In fact, Rossing said that the whole world is standing at a turning point, an “urgent kairos moment for God’s creation.”
Wow! You would think that a Christian speaker might be referring to a massive renewal or evangelism, where thousands of people are repenting and coming to Christ, finding salvation. Instead it looks like she is referring to a green theology.
As people consider how to work for renewable energy, sustainable food economies and the revitalization of local communities, Rossing asked, “How will we, our churches and our world, lead? How will we face this moment … and how will our church inspire the world to take action, choosing the path of life?” Rossing credited the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with “what is probably the most visionary statement on energy use and climate change of any U.S. church, a statement called The Power to Change, that commits your church to ambitious goals for climate change advocacy and reductions in carbon emissions, for the sake of the healing of the world.” As we work to correct the wrongs of the past, the climate crisis can be an opportunity for evangelism, Rossing said. A church in Delaware put 180 solar panels on its roof, and because of this, new people were drawn to the church. A Seattle church brought hybrid cars to its energy fair. Many other churches are drinking fair-trade coffee and advocating for stronger clean energy and green jobs legislation in Congress. Rossing, author of the 2010–11 Horizons Bible study on the book of Revelation said she believes “the book of Revelation can help us find the healing we need … Revelation’s images of renewal and healing — the river of life, the tree of life, the shepherding Lamb who wipes away our tears — these beautiful images can give us vision and courage today, as we stand ready to cross over into a new future. “We stand at a crossing point, a kairos moment for our world. In little and big ways, each day, we are called to make choices that affect the whole creation,” she said. “This moment really matters. Therefore ‘choose life,’ God tells us, ‘so that you and your descendents may live.’”
So to reduce global warming, by putting solar panels on your church is a wonderful way to evangelize. Reading this you get the idea that we are “saving” the world. She amazingly connects a prophetic apocalyptic message from Revelation of John, to adding solar panels.
Erma Bombeck once said that, “You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.”