Four Ordination Questions PCUSA Pastor John Shuck is Tired of Lying Through


progressivechristianityPresbyterian John Shuck is at it again. He’s trying to get the PCUSA to affirm the Clergy Letter Project and Evolution Sunday. Again.  His last attempt was shot down 49-5.

And that’s not all.

According to an article he wrote in Presbyterian Voices for Justice [Network News – Fall 2015], he thinks the Presbyterian Church needs to do away with most traditional Christian doctrine:

“I think our theology is still in the 17th century while we live in the 21st century. The dogmas of our religious heritage do not meet the challenges of the world presented to us by science and by social science. All of the beliefs we are supposed to affirm such as Creation, Virgin Birth, Resurrection of the body of Jesus, miracles, original sin, atonement, heaven and hell, and a supernatural interventionist god called God are metaphors. At least that’s what I think. I also think many church members and teaching elders think like I do even as for various reasons they are not able to say it clearly.

“What is important is not to prop up a “belief system” that was created in a pre-modern world. What is important is what we do. We are a great denomination in terms of its commitment to social justice, eco-justice, and peacemaking. I hope that will still be the will of the PC(USA) when the dust settles. But we do need to talk about the belief part. The cool stuff that we religious professionals learned in seminary such as historical criticism of the Bible and liberation theology, the stuff that rarely made it from pulpit to pew, is now easily available on our smart phones. The jig is up. If we surveyed our youth groups we might find that a good number of our high school students are atheists. They know the age of the universe. They have learned evolutionary theory. If the choice is between the amazing world that science is showing us and Sunday School religion that includes belief in the dogmas I listed above, well, the choice is clear. As our moderator said, “the rapid change in the world around us…has put the Church’s relevance (not just the PCUSA but the entire church) in question.”

“I am not suggesting that people need to believe as I do. We need more than ever the freedom to explore these exciting questions in the context of church. I suggest a reform is in order in a practical matter regarding ordination questions. They are used far too often as a threat and as a 5 Network News Fall 2015 tool for bullying. Simplistically, they are viewed as affirming a box of beliefs. As such, they are obstacles to people who want to participate in the life of the church, but think they have to believe a bunch of impossible things and affirm them before a crowd. Because of this confusion over dated language, we lose people who we need to work on the important issues of justice.

I vote we skip the first four questions or reword them in such as way that they cannot be used to make people deny what we know about science and historical criticism of the Bible. The promise I make at ordination and installation whenever I say “yes” to the questions is to honor the tradition and to be ethical. That is really the point. Be a good minister, elder, or deacon and “serve the people with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.” That last question is the one that most people answer with gusto, “I do!” The dogmatic questions? Not so much gusto. I love the Bible and Jesus, but the supernatural foundation for them is becoming less and less credible for more and more people.

On a broader level, I think we should see our confessions and the Bible as testimonies to faith not tests of faith. It is where we were, but now we need to redefine ourselves for the challenges ahead. The world we live in now demands a theological upgrade, not simply a re-packaging of old beliefs.”

In case you’re wondering which four ordination questions he’s referring to:

  • a. Do you trust in Jesus Christ your Savior, acknowledge him Lord of all and Head of the Church, and through him believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?
  • b. Do you accept the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be, by the Holy Spirit, the unique and authoritative witness to Jesus Christ in the Church universal, and God’s Word to you?
  • c. Do you sincerely receive and adopt the essential tenets of the Reformed faith as expressed in the confessions of our church as authentic and reliable expositions of what Scripture leads us to believe and do, and will you be instructed and led by those confessions as you lead the people of God?
  • d. Will you fulfill your ministry in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of Scripture, and be continually guided by our confessions?”

As Paul Kincaid points out in The Layman, Shuck had to re-affirm those ordination vows recently. In light of his printed views on these doctrines, it means he lied. If his denomination had any sense of responsibility to God at all, they would defrock this imposter.

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24 Comments Add yours

  1. Siya Khumalo says:

    “Let your yes be a yes and your no a no”

  2. jesusknight says:

    Ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing indeed… he should be thrown out. What he is proposing is no faith at all, but a social ‘gospel’ that denies the power of the Living God. He is no pastor, he is a wolf and needs to be treated accordingly.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      He’s actually on record as saying that Jesus did not rise from the dead and that there is no God. The PCUSA seems to be well aware of the fact that it allows a wolf to roam freely amongst its flock

    2. help3434 says:

      How can he be a wolf in sheep clothing when he openly admits he doesn’t believe this things. It is almost like you guys don’t understand the meaning of the phrases you use. What a surprise.

      1. Tony Breeden says:

        It’s because he says you can still be a Christian without believing Christian things that he’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He’s an atheist in the pulpit. If he had ANY integrity, he wouldn’t be there. He’s there to subvert. Bottom line: he’s a false teacher, which is exactly what this Biblical idiom is meant to describe. (Yes, that idiom comes from the Bible and, yes, I applied it correctly. School’s out)

  3. jesusknight says:

    This wolf should get the boot.. he needs to lose his pastorship at once! False doctrine should never be tolerated, it’s not like he is spouting this stuff in ignorance; he knows exactly what he is doing.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      The trouble is that the PCUSA just passed a resolution that secures a local assembly’s right to determine whether a candidate is worthy of ordination. You get a murder of like-minded crows together and, of course, they swear their crony’s worthy to join the parliament of owls.

      1. jesusknight says:

        While I am all for the local’s right to choose whoever they want, if the local assembly is really determined to let him be ordained when they know what he is actually truly standing for, they are in deep spiritual trouble.
        If the majority of them know their bible, there should be no ability for him to be even considered ‘worthy’. What could they be thinking, if they know Whom they serve? Why even consider this guy, who says he now doesn’t even believe that God exists? These people need to wake up before they get even more spiritually bankrupt than they already are. Terribly frustrating..

        He will lead them all off a cliff, and I am afraid he (and they!) will have a lot to answer for when he stands before God. That is truly sad to think about!

  4. Peter says:

    If a congregation wants him to be their Pastor, they should be able to call him. He has much good to offer to those who want to listen.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      That would be true if church were simply a social club and God had no say or part in it at all. Sorry pal: there are minimum requirements for both Christianity and its ministers. He’s a wolf amongst the sheep

      1. Peter says:

        Your About page merely states you are an ordained minister. Are you a minister in the PCUSA or are you just trolling them? You have responded to my post with assertions, but not really an argument. Why shouldn’t his congregation be able to enjoy his services? Why do you say he’s a wolf? What actual harm is he doing? How do you know he has ill intent?

      2. Tony Breeden says:

        The Bible is explicit that the fool says in his heart, There is no God. And also that without faith, it is impossible to please God, for we must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. These faithless “ministers” are teaching folks that it is OK to be fools and that you don’t really have to have faith in diredt contradiction to God’s Word. If they had any integrity, no one would have to defrock them; they’d quit on the grounds that they honestly don’t believe what Christians are supposed to believe. John Shuck is specifically teaching that there is no God and that the Bible is false, yet you ask me what harm a person intendswho purposely and falsely infiltrates a religious body in order to subvert and undermine their teaching, when those teaching have eternal questions?

      3. Peter says:

        You never did answer the question about whether you are a PCUSA pastor. If not, what business is it of yours? People can decide what religious organizations they want to belong to and who will lead them. Also, bolstering your biblical literalism with proof texts from the bible is hardly convincing to anyone not participating in your circular reasoning.

      4. Tony Breeden says:

        It’s not circular reason if the Bible is actually true. I can stand on the hill to defend the hill.

    2. jesusknight says:

      Just because they call him ‘pastor’ does not mean that God will accept him as one; especially since he doesn’t even believe..

  5. Ed Buxton says:

    This is why I left the church, too many people who can’t think beyond a 2000 year old sheep herder mentality. It is unfortunate, because the church has so many opportunities to do good. I hope mankind can learn to grow up some day soon.

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      I really rather think you left the church because you started to disbelieve the Bible; not simply because people around kept believing it

  6. Eliza says:

    Why are you so shocked? How could a body that has approved the ordination of openly gay men and women as “clergy” and approved same sex marriage in any way be able to stand firm for biblical faith in Jesus Christ? They have already thrown out the Bible and the truth, now they want to have unbelievers as ministers of their make believe god. This is just more of the same attack upon the faith once for all delivered to the saints by the devil and his cohorts.

  7. jesusknight says:

    If they don’t want to believe, that’s fine; but they should be brave enough to call themselves what they really are – non-believers and non-Christian. Believing in Christ is why we are called Christians in the first place. That is not circular thinking, it’s just logical, and by the way its also historical.

  8. Geoff Hazel says:

    Is there any difference between what John Shuck says and the Unitarians? It seems he fits over there very nicely. If he can claim his belief system and still remain a Presbyterian, does the word “Presbyterian” still have any meaning?

  9. Susan says:

    Pastor John Shuck wrote “The dogmas of our religious heritage do not meet the challenges of the world presented to us by science & by social science.”
    The issue with science’s reliability is that scientific conclusions are never conclusive…not to mention the corruption due to (grant) money and pseudo-science masquerading as science.
    Sue Hayes

    1. Tony Breeden says:

      The other, more basic problem for any religion making supernatural claims is that modern science is chained to pure naturalism and assumes that any all-natural answers must replace a supernatural one. Of course, all that modern science can do is provide all-natural answers that may or may not be true and are certainly false where the supernatural was involved.

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