A Message to Richlands Area Presbyterians

 

I often write articles and messages here and on my website.  For the most part, I attempt to keep those articles very broad so that they will speak to a wide range of individuals from various backgrounds and communities.  This however is a little different.  I am writing this specifically to the individuals of our local community, in the Richlands, Virginia area. 

 

As many of you may or may not know the largest Presbyterian denomination voted in 2011 to allow gay clergy.  Now, I myself am not a Presbyterian.  However, I have no problem fellowshipping with those who hold to essential Christian doctrines, be they Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist or Pentecostal.  That is why this unsettled me and managed to catch my attention.  As a matter of fact, within the last week the Presbyterian Church meet once again to discuss controversial topics.  In this case, a proposition to redefine marriage was narrowly defeated.

 

When the vote came out of the 2011 Presbytery I decided to email Presbyterian pastors and see how they felt about the vote.  I’ve found over the years that the opinions and votes of the larger organization are often not held at the grassroots level.  What I sought to discover was how those pastor, local to our area felt about the decision.  Overall I was very pleased with the responses I received.  Some of the pastors were seriously considering leaving the denomination all together because they could not sacrifice Biblical orthodoxy.  While others strongly opposed the decision of the Presbytery and felt they could make a positive change within the denomination.  I don’t personally agree with the decision to remain in a denomination that doesn’t hold strongly to God’s Word but I could understand their thinking.

 

The more shocking responses were surprisingly closer to home (a pastor in Richlands).  The simple question asked was this:

 

“I was wondering what your reaction was to the recent vote by the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area on G-6.0106b, which will allow for the ordination of gay and lesbian pastors into the ministry. Thank you for your time. Any information you are able to provide is greatly appreciated.”

 

I’ll share the full text of that dialogue with the Pastor at the end of this message.  For now, allow me to move on. 

 

Within the last few days, an individual on my friends list updated their status message to extend praise to the leader of large food chain who’d expressed that he and his company stood firmly on the side of traditional marriage.  This status received a few comments, one of which was from that same Presbyterian Pastor.  In his comments he pointed out the lack of fidelity within heterosexual marriages, which I would agree with but then when on to give his support to “gay marriage.”  He said that he felt it wrong-headed and wrong-hearted to deny a “venue for same-sex fidelity.”  Naturally, I responded strongly (I’ll make those responses available to anyone who asks so that you may determine if my comments were beyond the bounds of biblically acceptable) and he proceeded to use sarcasm to belittle me in any way he could. 

 

I write this little message specifically to Presbyterian’s in the area.  I’m sure that many of you, like myself assumed this view point didn’t represent your church; that this view couldn’t possibly be held by the man you’d entrusted with the high calling of guiding and leading your flock.  Ladies and gentlemen, we were wrong.  Not only is your Pastor towing the denominational position but he is in fact considerably more liberal than the denomination itself.  While the denomination has narrowly rejected gay marriage but affirmed non-celibate gay clergy, your pastor has affirmed both. 

 

This should be a concern for you.  Even as a non-Presbyterian Christians it concerns me greatly.  You see, each generation likes to push the boundaries.  I am rather sure that many of you would’ve never imagined the position your church would take twenty years ago and yet here we are.  What will it be twenty years from now?  In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says:  “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”  In times past, salt was used to preserve but the PC(USA) and your Pastor have lost their ability to preserve.

 

Romans 12:2 says: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Look around you.  Look to the position your Pastor has accepted.  This is not transformation by the renewing of your mind.  He has chosen to conform to the world’s view of morality, not God’s view.  A man conformed to this world rather than transformed by God’s revealed Word is a man unsuitable to lead a flock. 

 

I don’t say any of this out of hate for homosexuals.  I would, instead encourage you to love them, always showing the true love of Jesus Christ.  However, we don’t love them by telling them pretty lies.  We don’t love them by caring more about their temporal happiness than about their spiritual and eternal safety.  And we certainly don’t love them by justifying the very sin that has ensnared them and will ultimately lead to their eternal damnation.  Being silent or supportive of damnable sin is not love.  It is the greatest form of ungodly hate. 

 

God word has said condemned homosexuality as a sin in both the Old and New Covenant.  God describes it as vile passions in Romans chapter one.  In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, God warns us not to be deceived.  He further tells us that a homosexual will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  When your Pastor justifies that sin, he not only demonstrates that he, himself has been deceived but he encourages those ensnared not to seek life giving repentance.  If the blind leads the blind they both fall into the pit.  Don’t allow yourself to be blinded or lead by a spiritually blind leader. 

 

I pray this does not offend you, as that most certainly is not my intention.  I have kept silent for more than a year now, to respect the privacy of that Pastor.  That Pastor has repeatedly refused to come to repentance.  That is why I now bring it public.  I encourage each of your to question your pastor; see where he stands.  Then question yourself.  Ask yourself if your church and denomination mean more to you than your Savior and the truth He has given us in His Word. 

 

Below are the full text of the email (the pastor’s name has been removed but please remember that I have specified that this message is for the Richlands area).  The text of the recent message will be available in the sidebar.

 

First email:

Pastor,I was wondering what your reaction was to the recent vote by the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area on G-6.0106b, which will allow for the ordination of gay and lesbian pastors into the ministry. Thank you for your time. Any information you are able to provide is greatly appreciated.Aaron Kinder

 

Response:

Aaron:

Do not know who you are…don’t recall meeting you.

Reviewed some of what you have written and espouse on the Internet, after which I have decided that I would not distinguish your request with a comment. I usually confine my fishing to bodies of water and gatherings of God’s children. How about you?

Rev. ------------

Pastor, ---------- Presbyterian Church

 

Second Email:

---------,<?xml:namespace prefix = o /> 

To the best of my knowledge we have not meet. I was not aware that was a prerequisite for asking a question. I appreciate you taking to time to nearly respond to my query. In truth, many times silence speaks much louder than words. I can understand why you’d find the messages on my website so disturbing. After all, how un-Christ like it must be for a ministry to proclaim that drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, marriages and individuals suffering from sexual perversion all have hope through the transformative power of Jesus Christ; all have the opportunity to change and be changed through the Holy Spirit. How offensive it must be to visit a Christian ministry’s website and find that they still believe the Bible is God’s infallible word and that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” 

 

 

I, Sir do not confine my “fishing” to any particular bodies of water. You, see I feel that all peoples, tribes and tongues are in need of Jesus and can be both saved and changed through Him; not merely from our well guarded little pulpits. After all, “they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick.” 

 

Well Wishes, 

Aaron C. Kinder 

 

 

Response: 

 

Rather coy, Aaron, to insist you were just asking a question. And an absurd straw-man argument to suggest that either I or my church or denomination is uninterested in the Christ-like ministries to which you refer. Believing the Bible is God's infallible word is not the issue, either...of course. Literal interpretation of the Bible may certainly be, according to your remarks, your website positions, and the sources you reference. Keep on proof-texting, but it will always fail to obtain the argument here.

 

And the fishing reference, Aaron, of course had nothing to do with selective preaching of the gospel to only certain people...another attempt on your part to set up a straw man argument. It obviously needs explained to you that coyly fishing for a response from me about a problem within our church body is not going to get a response from me for precisely the reasons made evident in your email below.

 

This is what I think, Aaron. I commend you for your emphasis on a ministry to "drug addicts, alcoholics, prostitutes, marriages, and individuals suffering from sexual perversion." These are great goals and worthy of the efforts of anyone who loves the Lord, and I believe you love the Lord. I also think, and I hope I might find your agreement on this, that these days are filled with far too many people who seem bent on defining and justifying themselves through the criticism of others far more than through the declaration of the best of who they are and what they are about. The Holy Spirit inspires many gifts, and I believe we are best served when we encourage those gifts in others.

You won't find either my denomination, my church, or myself engaged in asserting who we are by denouncing you or your ministry. For my part, the content of our exchange here remains between you and me, as it effectively ends here.

 

Third Response:

--------, 

I was never trying to be coy; nor was I fishing for an answer. If you would refer to my first email to you, I asked you a question outright. Yes I have a position on this issue. Just as I am rather sure that you have some opinion, one way or the other. I asked you, as well as several other Presbyterian pastors, because I was truly curious if this decision represented the congregations in our general area. I know that groups, be they secular or religious often have a disconnect, to some degree or another, from the grassroots levels of said organization. 


The response you received from me was written based on what I saw as a very condescending response from you. It was not an attempt to get some sort of sound bite or to “assert who we are by denouncing your ministry.” I believe that you would agree that your comment “Reviewed some of what you have written and espouse on the Internet, after which I have decided that I would not distinguish your request with a comment,” was rather surly. If you somehow felt that I way prying into a “family” sort of situation, I apologize. That was never my intent. You see, Dennis I work with the belief that Christians, be they Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, or etc are all one family. 

 

I appreciate your kind words about what is truly a focus of my personal ministry. I would agree with you that oft times people are far to prone to assert who they are by criticizing who they are not. However, when you and I go out into the community, we represent ourselves as “Christians.” Not, “Hello, my name is Aaron and I’m a Pentecostal Christian.” Or, “Nice to meet you. I’m ------ and I am a Presbyterian Christian.” You see, we all wear the same label. Therefore, when we have stark difference on issues that one of us believes directly impacts salvation (after all that is what should be central to both you and I) it becomes necessary that these differences are directly and openly made known. 

 

I do believe that you misunderstood the intent of my question, which truly was for the purposes I have already given. 

Sincerely, 

Aaron Kinder

 

End of conversation:

The conversation really picked up on the status message, only in the last couple of days.