The National Post in their religion section, had this article. It is slightly long, but offers a compelling read into the decline and demise of the United Church of Canada. Much of it revolves around Mardi Tinda, the recently elected new moderator of The UCOC who is essentially the voice and face of the United Church of Canada. The Church itself was formed less than a hundred years ago as an amalgamation of four different protestant denominations in Canada, with the hopes of creating one strong, unified denomination.
To that end, instead of creating a strong unified denomination, it has been reduced to a ragtag bunch of irrelevant rebels whose only conviction is their insistence that inclusiveness reign supreme. As the face of the Church, we read that her passion and mission is to “help heal creation” by reducing humankind’s “carbon footprint.” She says the United Church is fighting for “climate justice” and in fact, she just returned from a leg of her Spirit Express, a series of town hall meeting across Canada to talk about environmental issues. This, it seems, is little more than an exercise in missing the point. When I think of Christ and his apostles, their mission seemed to be one that was focused on seeking and saving the lost- of calling all men to repentance and faith and for the latter preaching Christ and him crucified for our sins. I think creation care is as important as the next person, but what a striking, damning indictment against this woman and her Church that when asked what is her passion and mission as the public face of the church, that is her response.
When asked what are the minimal requirements for church membership in the UCOC, she seemingly balks at the idea that there would even be requirements, or that she has the right to foist them upon others. She personally believes the Jesus rose from the dead, but she would not demand that other people believe that in order to be a part of her Church. She states “I’m of a faith tradition that would say we are humble in knowing we carry partial truths. Truth is always God’s truth. It’s always being revealed to us more fully. And as we live in this life it seems to me there are enough religious voices that would say I have all the truth and in my experience that does not open us to greater understanding.”
This type of response is typically known as a humble hermeneutic, which when stripped down is anything but. In fact, I consider it arrogance in its highest form. Under the guise of humility and the reluctance to make any sort of definitive doctrinal statement they effectively dismiss the scriptures, ecclesial traditions, the church fathers, the ecumenical councils, and two thousands years of historical Christian orthodoxy. That is why they suppose there are no easy or definitive answers to questions like “Does God exists? Was Jesus God? Did he rise from the dead?” They don’t have anything they can point to to back up any of those questions. In fact, someone can answer “No” to all three of those questions and yet still be considered a Minister in the Church of Canada.
Case in point would be Reverend Gretta Vosper, an avowed atheist and a UCOC minister in Toronto. [Yes, you read that correctly] While she would be considered a two-fold son of hell and excommunicated by any other denomination, she is tolerated and even celebrated in the United Church of Canada. Mardi Tindal points out the positive side of having an atheist in the pulpit. “I celebrate Gretta and others like her who cause us to think more deeply about the nature of our faith…One of the things we’re seeing is a greater tolerance for paradox. What Gretta has done has ignited a fresh conversation and invigorated the discussion. This is in the DNA of our Church: to invite this open, deep broad conversation to be the body of Christ…Besides, you can’t talk about post-theism without talking about God.”
This should not come as a surprise though, as one of their prior moderators, Bill Phobbs, stated. “I don’t believe Jesus was God, but I’m no theologian,” David Giuliano, the most recent moderator before Ms. Tindal, stated “I don’t remember Jesus requiring anyone to subscribe to a doctrine before he healed them. To suggest that one needs to subscribe to a narrow understanding of who God is and who Jesus is seems antithetical to the understanding I have of Jesus revealed in the Gospels.” As it were, the root of all this nonsense comes down to two simple facts: These people hate the Bible and they hate Jesus.
In the UCOC, the Bible is not regarded as inspired or even particularly useful. Rather it is a collection of stories, oftentimes comprised of myths, contradictions and falsehoods that is meant to inspire people, but not mean to reflect or communicate any standard of truth or morality. This creates bizarre situations where people pick and choose certain parts of the bible that they agree with and discard others. For example, they would applaud Jesus sermon on the mount, as recorded by Mathew, but would reject other statements of Jesus, also as recorded by Mathew. The only filter seems to be what seems good to them to believe, which then lets them free to embrace illogic, paradox and contractions while being humble and spiritual about it. It is a mad way to live and view the world. The fallout from this is evident. Words and meaning don’t matter. Post-modern notions of truth and reality are championed and lauded. Its hard to wrap my head around it, exactly, but the conclusion is that God, the Bible, Christ, Creation, Love, Hate, Belief, Faith, Life, Death are all defined and determined by the person experiencing them. The standard is themselves.
As for the provocatively titled blog post, I do mean that quite literally. Her erosion of membership has been a breathtakingly beautiful sight to behold, coming fast and strong and gaining in momentum over the years. I think the best thing would be for the Church to wholesale repent of her idolatry and blasphemy, but barring that, I would actively pray that her membership dwindles as fast as it possibly can, so that the denomination ceases to be no more.. The United Church isn’t even a “Church” anymore. They have become a religiously-themed social/political advocacy group, pushing an agenda that most other Christian denominations would be horrified at. They can point to other “progressive Christian” figures in the past as the inspiration for their slide away from Christ, but it definitely doesn’t help their cause. They bite the hands that feeds them because they hate the historical, Biblical Jesus, all the while begging for scraps at their imagined, idolatrous Jesus. It is pathetic, and the sooner this monstrous, blasphemous, satanically- inspired entity disappears, the better.
*Note, there is a United Church of Canada Church here in town. I do not know anything about them, as they have not returned my calls and have no website that I can visit and glean more information about them. I would suggest that they are innocent until proven guilty, and scriptural sound until proven unsound. Its possible they are a minority in the wider denomination that are still faithful to the word and to Christ, even as their denomination is leading tens of thousands to hell. If anybody knows anything about them, please contact me and let me know.
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 1For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead atHis appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 2 Timothy 2:1-4
October 12th, 2011 at 7:05 pm
You should do a post about the Episcopalians in the US and the Presbyterians (well, one of them i can’t remember which). I think they’re both about to implode.
October 12th, 2011 at 7:15 pm
You are probably referring to the PCA, [the good one] verses the PCUSA [the bad one] I might do one on the PCUSA soon. Good idea!
October 12th, 2011 at 8:56 pm
The rumours of the UCC Church’s demise are over rated. I am saddned by the “unchristian” attitude and lack of grace.
October 12th, 2011 at 8:59 pm
Michael, firstly I’m glad to see you here on the blog, and I look forward to some dialogue. I must insist though that you give me specifics. In what way am I behaving “unchristian”? what does that mean to you, and how am I displaying a lack of grace?
October 13th, 2011 at 12:26 am
Interesting post, but you cant paint us all with the same brush I’m afraid I’m curious what you would think of this part of the United Church of Canada. http://cruxifusion.ca
October 13th, 2011 at 2:51 am
Hey Rev Nick. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope to hear from you in the next little while. I stand firm in my observation that the UCOC,as a ecclesial institution, is apostate. The leadership from the top down have abandoned the scriptures and the gospel. They’ve inoculated people to it and this is demonstrable in any sort of objective sense. Their use of scriptures and understanding of the christian faith is both schizophrenic and demonic, and it hardly even makes sense to me, to have such a contradictory, inconsistent worldview. For this reason it would take a miracle to turn this ship around. That being said- again, my first instinct is to pray that this is done- that there is a wholesale repentance and that Godly leaders would find a way to take back the Church from these people
That is why I would support any renewal movement that seeks to be biblically faithful. There may be some good UCOC churches out there, but they are not common. If I understand the purpose of cruxfusion, it seems like this would be one of those admirable attempts to be a remnant. That is a good thing, and I applaud any efforts to encourage, uplift, and support the remnant.
October 13th, 2011 at 1:18 pm
Interesting article but you have names misspelled and it is the United Church of Canada, not United Church of Christ. These errors indicate to me, that you are sharing your opinion with no real scholarship. You are entitled to your opinion.
But you come from what I see as a narrower perception of who Christ is and what the role of the Bible is in our lives. Naturally if our starting place differs, where we go from there will be different. I joined the United Church of Canada when I left the Roman Catholic Church. There was little room for questioning and growing in my faith in that place. I can ask, listen, pursue and challenge decisions in UCC.
October 13th, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Hi Ken. I would say that you are right- I have misspelled it the United Church of Christ a few times instead of what I intended to say- the United Church of Canada. A bit of a mistake which I have corrected at your prompting, but which in no way suggests a lack of scholarship.
Furthermore, this fundamentally comes down to the authority of the scriptures. I believe that can actually learn things about Jesus and the Christian faith from the Bible- , and that if we are consistent we won’t just pick and and choose which parts of it we like and what parts we choose to believe and follow.
That is what is so strange to me. So many UCOC peeps run headfirst into intellectual suicide in this area where everything they know about God and Christ is found in the bible, and they believe certain things here and there but repudiate others at will. That’s why they love when Paul goes on a spiel about love in 1 Corinthians 13, but when he says in Galatians 1:8 “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” [I'm thinking you Gretta Vosper] then all of a sudden Paul is irrelevant and doesn’t know what hes talking about and is fit to be ignored? That he’s judgmental and has ” a narrower perception of who Christ is”
Where is the consistency?