If we do not study our history and its current events, we are doomed to repeat the same problems.
Since the Unitarians have championed religious diversity, there was a time Classical Unitarianism prevailed up through the late 20th Century. Since the principles shared with Universalists were one and the same, the group merged and became what one now calls Unitarian Universalism. From the time of its merger, many disaffected Unitarians have become disillusioned with the problems of Unitarian Universalism which resulted in a humanist takeover and became thoroughly pagan with an obsession of promoting pedophilia and polyamory.
The most liberal of all western denominations have become so hostile to all forms of Christianity, including the ones Unitarians adhere to it in their own traditional sense.
Alas, the re-birth of the American Unitarian Conference.
Does anyone wonder why?
Each person can worship God by elevating some portions of Scripture over another and pray to Him as they please. That is the gist of their beliefs according to the Manual of Unitarian Beliefs. Some sources like Our Unitarian Gospel practically boast about how removing the Trinitarian doctrine becomes the linchpin to undoing every other teaching. But as mentioned previously, upholding a form of Christianity that does not entertain accountability becomes nothing more than an open invitation for the church to become an institution for paganism, which is exactly what happened.
While diversity is one of Mr. Enns’ sacred cows as expressed multiple times throughout his podcasts, there is an old-fashioned biblical word for this: idolatry. It’s not a pretty one, but it’s sufficient to describe what individuals do when they champion different views over one voice.
Having a catholic faith makes the most sense.
Regardless of belief, systematic theology carries a form of importance the same way the rules, rituals, and rites of the Old Testament Period did—protect the flock from displeasing God and promote one truth. Although some things have changed throughout the history of Old Israel, the rules for Temple worship remained the same and the consequences of false worship remained as harsh as it did when the concept was inferred.
Christ mentioned that the God was looking for people to worship him in spirit and in truth.
He also mentions this in the priestly prayer.
While Mr. Enns is correct to say one cannot express their denominational views as the most exclusive without claiming their views are the closest to the Scriptures, there is a reason why individuals formulize the faith and that is because of this: God expects his followers to worship him in the most proper sense.
False views of them are not welcomed as recommended by the decalogue and the ten plagues upon Egypt.
If one does not wish to believe these realities, perhaps recognizing where the consequences of entertaining diverse opinions, views, and beliefs on the basics of theology have led to over the past fifty years:
The PCUSA, undergoing its initial split with the PCA in 1973, has undergone another split with ECO in the early 2000s—all this due to embracing leftist ideologies which would not stick. Currently, there are not enough members to hold its routine conventions for its general assembly (not enough members).
The PCA—an offshoot of the PCUSA—currently is undergoing a series of changes which would easily blow the denomination into the liberal & heretical camp, which is not far off. Its loose subscription ideology—first applied to the sacrament of baptism and creationism then applied to everywhere else—has taken its toll to the point where it’s only a short amount of time when the denomination becomes thoroughly progressive.
The UMC faces a similar split, as does the ECLA, which entertains a polytheistic wiccan congregation in San Francisco—you read that correctly.
The ECUSA, which has been steadily liberal and dwindling in number has led to another split with two different denominations—ACNA & CANA—all the while entertaining former New Jersey Bishop, John Shelby Spong, and his non-tradition approaches to Christianity. If one wants to talk about how much of a religious phony the former bishop is, pick up his latest copy of Biblical Literalism—A Gentle Heresy and peruse the pages of how he flatly denies the physical resurrection of the Christ.
In addition to these relentless splits over basic doctrinal truths, a few outrageous scandals are worth noting—
A Canadian liberal denomination has refused to take disciplinary action against a female pastor who came out as an Atheist.
A PCUSA minister came out similarly but wants to be called a Christian.
A Dutch minister came out similarly back in 2010 and faced no disciplinary charges for his atheism.
Former ECUSA bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori condemns St. Paul for releasing girl of demonic bondage.
Meanwhile the Church of England has had a variety of non-believing scandals, including a sizeable minority which does not believe in the Resurrection of Christ, bishops who cannot wrap their heads around the crucifixion of Christ, and a congregation which installed a Jesus in blue jeans.
Do fundamentalists really use this slippery slope into Atheism as a scare tactic as Pete Enns suggests?
Only if Mr. Enns remains a non-subscriber to Virtue Online & Juicy Ecumenicism.
Even if he does subscribe to them, he should be more thorough in his experiences of Progressive Christianity and be honest enough to admit these scandals do not discredit fundamentalist concerns as a typical scare tactic. While Bart Campolo’s son may be one typical example, the previous examples listed in this post makes the claim less of a scare tactic and more of an attestation to fact. Perhaps doing theology should include an awareness of these ongoing issues in older mainline denominations not only occurring in the United States, but also across the pond with the Church of England.
If Mr. Enns considered even the works of Bishop John Shelby Spong, he would retract a large portion of his podcast on this subject to consider one of the more ‘fundamental problems’—the prevalence of unbelief. For those remaining unawares of the prevailing denials of Christ’s Resurrection, as Spong points out repeatedly in his books (e.g., Why Christianity Must Change or Die and Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy), this should serve as a warning sign.
For someone who deems ‘the freedom of the Spirit is a proper context for theological discussion and even debate’ but affirms we need ‘to be more willing to be open to the spirit of God who moves in ways we don’t control, who is beyond us, and who, as the Bible itself shows us, is not limited to the words on the page,’ does not seem to understand history and the basic problems of Evangelical downgrades.
For the moment we are told not to assume, “that God is bound to Bible verses and certainly not to our interpretation of these verses but by definition has to be above and beyond all that,” is the same instant the openness to various theological positions, including heretical ones are fair game. The fact of churches having atheist pastors, refusing to take disciplinary action, the severe declines of these denominations, and the installment of crummy theological portraits of Christ serves as fine examples when various if not heretical interpretations are allowed.
There does not need to be a matter of time to reexamine the problems with Progressive Christianity—as mentioned at the series beginning, there is roughly five hundred years of this mess, with writings sharing these problematic issues going back into the late 18th Century. With the history of progressivism going this far back, there should be no surprise why certain groups like the Unitarians became pagan and hostile to Christianity and why Nathaniel Hawthorn took a jab at them with his publication of the Celestial Railroad.
Should we not be paying attention to the histories of these problems or should we take this ideology with visions anew?
Again Pete, history is not on your side.
Read the rest of the series at the following links: