Monday, October 8, 2012

Presbyterian Controversy cont.

We are looking at the Presbyterian Controversy.

The war also accelerated the secularizing tendencies that had been altering American life for over two generations.  America experienced a "revolution in morals."  Newly franchised women competed for jobs and the title of Miss america.  Freud became a household name;  sex came to dominate headlines, movies, and conversations;  and the divorce rate soared.  The waltz gave way to the Charleston;  jazz moved north from New Orleans;  and Sabbath worship succumbed to Sunday golf.  On almost every count the civilization Americans had fought to save was coming apart at the seams.
To man conservative Christians, one reason for the dissolution of American culture was all too apparent.  For the past thirty years liberal ministers, relying on German historical criticism and Darwinian thought, had been in the words of  Clarence Macartney, "slowly secularizing the church."  clearly, a secularized church could not halt the apostasy of the culture.  Withing the Presbyterian Church efforts to halt this decline had been, by in large, successful.  Militant traditionalists were well aware, however, that a pure faith was bought only at the price of eternal vigilance. When Harry Emerson Fosdick challenged the fundamentals of the faith, therefore, the only option for men like Clarence Macartney was active prosecution.  The battle lines were being drawn, and no one was to draw them more sharply than a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary named John Gresham Machen.  (p.27)

There are several points of connection for me here. One is that there truly is a battle line that has to be drawn. There is no way around it.  Friendship with the world is enmity with God.  You can't have it both ways.  Either the Bible tells you the truth or it tells you nothing.  This middle-myth-way is a denial.  I've lately discussed lots with people who insist that a metaphorical kind of understanding his highly meaningful.  Perhaps, there is some meaning in it, but it makes everything arbitrary.  Nope.  Thank you very much.

When my husband and I were young adults and newly married he was asked to go around to some churches to make a presentation on behalf of our synod which was not merging with the more liberal Lutheran church merger.  We had no idea what we were stepping into at the time and were surprised at some of the heat that met us.  I see now, that this is precisely the same controversy about the nature of the inspiration of scripture.

So now the liberal synods, first went with the liberal understanding of the word, started with the feminizing of God (our mother and father), ordained women and now allow practicing homosexuals as ministers.  It seems like the latter issue is what has people seeing how far down the road they have come.  Most men have very strong reactions to male homosexuality.  In querying them about that, I find that they say that many of them have had propositions of older homosexuals when they were younger.  That seems astounding to me.  It would be interesting to get some stats on that.  Anyhow, the spirits seem to draw lines there if not before.  That's the current situation.

Secondly, in terms of changes in over all society.  I think that some trends have taken on a huge momentum.  One, in terms of divorce.  As my children grew up around the turn of the millennium  almost all children in their circles of friendships came from homes where divorce was a huge factor.  Many of the teenagers were cutting themselves or taking drugs.  These people are hitting adulthood now.  I wonder what kinds of trends we see.  One trend is that they live together before marriage, but every girl wants an extravagant, showy, Hollywood wedding.  They start out by having dogs not children.  Sunday has completely broken down.  Everyone works so hard and runs around so much that Sunday is for sleeping in and then getting your shopping done.  People have had no religious education and history is not taught much in school either, except for the several unit studies they get, but now they are very confused about Christian theology and history with the result that they are tossed back and forth by quite malignant talk on the internet and various media.  I feel quite sorry for them, but they don't also seem to understand their need...  Enough for now.

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