That didn’t take long.
The resolution proceeds to remind the denomination that the UCC Constitution states that the body "claims as its own the faith of the historic Church expressed in the ancient creeds and reclaimed in the basic insights of the Protestant Reformers." Accordingly, the resolution "provides an opportunity for General Synod to unashamedly, unabashedly proclaim that the UCC is a Christian denomination where Jesus is Lord."
Believe it or not, the resolution has attracted significant opposition, and some observers do not expect it to pass. Consider this reaction from a New Jersey pastor: "Religiously speaking, it sounds like apple pie," commented Rev. Raymond Kostulias of the First Congregational Church of Park Ridge. Nevertheless, he's not a supporter of the statement. He described the resolution as having "a judgmental quality to it that implies very strongly that those who do not agree with us are condemned or damned or hopeless -- and that's exactly the thing that UCC is against."
Well, Rev. Kostulias, that's what the Apostles and the early chuch called the defining line between orthodoxy and heresy -- between genuine faith and a false gospel. A denomination that cannot stand together in affirming the Lordship and deity of Jesus Christ is a denomination that has set itself against Scripture and the faith of the Christian Church.
Mohler’s interpretation of the resolution is misleading. He bears false witness to the United Church of Christ. Why would we actually oppose such a resolution?
The UCC respects freedom of individual conscience, and there are no "tests of faith" mandatory on our 1.4 million members, but we do honor the historic testimonies of our spiritual ancestors as they explored the Bible and applied its insights.
The resolution as worded would create a “test of faith” and in doing so would violate our church polity. In short, the resolution is an attempt (which I hope will fail) that seeks to make the UCC adopt a fundamentalist view of scripture that is common in Mohler’s denomination. Click here to learn more.
Mohler is a polarizing figure in the religious right. He has come under fire for declaring that Roman Catholicism was a false religion. Mohler was also one of the speakers at the anti-democracy rally Justice Sunday.
Under this leadership the Southern Baptist Convention has changed dramatically. Theological moderates and liberals have left the church in droves (taking many historic churches with them). Their denomination has fully aligned themselves with the Republican Party and taken an active role in advocating a partisan political agenda. Missionaries are required to sign statements of faith that commit people who sign them to following Mohler’s teachings. Many missionaries have quit. In fact, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship – a new moderate Baptist group – formed in response to this conservative take over of their denomination so that Baptists who did not share the ideological political views of the Southern Baptist Convention would have a spiritual home.
When former Republican United States Senator John Danforth of Missouri took issue with the religious right yesterday in The New York Times it was Mohler and his colleagues (James Dobson, etc) he was discussing.
The United Church of Christ is a denomination quite obviously committed to the Christian faith. We are not, however, a doctrinal church. Our members are not required to sign pledges that align us with one theological school or another. We trust our members to be faithful disciples and feel forcing dogma on them does nothing to further that discipleship. We put our faith in God before we put it in human tests of faith.
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