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Sep 21, 2006


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Dana Ames

Excellent piece, Michael. Draws so much together into something understandable that makes sense.

Wright comments in more than one place about the hermeneutic of suspicion, and the need for Christians to replace it with a hermeneutic of love. Along these lines, I would think that Relationship would be appropriate to add to the polar Reason and Revelation- I like triads :) Any one held up alone isn't sufficient as the basis of a worldview, but all together do quite nicely, it seems to me.

I'm quite dismayed that our denom would publish something like this.


Michael Kruse

Thanks Dana. Wonderful thoughts as usual. I tend to think in terms of polarities where a paradox has to be embraced.

Fully God and Fully human
Reason and Revelation
Kansas City Royals and Baseball.

You wrote "dismayed." I have other words I would use but childern may be reading.


This article is so exellent that there is no way you have written it without help from extra terrestials. Or maybe you ARE one?

No, I really appreciate what you have done here, I will chew this mentally for a couple of weeks before it sinks in totally. It is pretty obvious that there are connections like this, when I read it. But i´m not sure I wiyld ever have been able to connect the dots on my own.
Thank you!

Michael Kruse


(Oops! I forgot to switch on the unviersal translator.)

Of course I am not an alien! :)

Seriously, thank you for your affirmation and I am glad you found it helpful.



Interesting essay. It makes a lot of sense.

I think you are correct in describing process theology as a form of liberal foundationalism (LF).

However I think you overstate the ongoing influence of LF in the Presbyterian Church.

The circle of educators and clergy that I move in are almost all liberals politically but they are not LF's theologically. Instead think Barth and some variation of Lindbeck's Post-Liberal.

The Presbyterian Theologians with whom I am the most familiar (Placher, Hunsinger, Cynthia Rigby, etc) don't seem to be LF's either.

I do encounter the occasional older/ retired minister who is an LF. But most often I find LF expressed by older (60+) church members. Especially those who came to the Presbyterian church from RC or Baptist backgrounds.

Michael Kruse

Interesting point ceemac.

I largely agree but I look at the author of the book and many of the people who are still pulling the levers of power and I think they fit your profile.

What is the average age in our denomination? I suspect a large minority still are the over 60 crowd and the still carry considerable influence. I agree about your observations of a post-liberal/Barthian emergence among those who have been educated in the past couple of decades but that takes time to filter through the denomination. I sense the residual LF is still very much present. Seminary/CE folks may have moved past LF but I think many in the church are still there. Maybe the tsunami that hit the seminaries is now sweeping into the pews.

Dana Ames

I read an article a couple of years ago that said in all the mainline churches the split is just about 50/50 for those over age 60 and those under age 60. This is the case in my congregation. Blessedly, I don't know of anyone among us locally who is a conspiracy theorist! Our new family ministries pastor digs Barth (recent Princeton grad) but is also a closet Anglican like me :) and loves sacramental/ancient church practices. Glory be!


Quotidian Grace

Thanks for reading this controversial book and giving us your thoughtful comments on it.

Last night I was reminded that the irresponsible and indefensible publication of this worthless diatriabe has real consequences close to home. My husband reported that one of the long-time members of our church was transferring to a PCA church because he found the denominational publishing house's publication of this book the "last straw".

What can be done to call those at WJK press to account and see they don't perpetrate another outrage like this?

Michael Kruse

One survey I saw showed a median age of 55 for elders and 51 for pastors.

"...a closet Anglican like me."

Hmmm... I see a new PPC book coming. Anglican spies among us.


Michael Kruse

QG, you are the third person who has related a story to me of departing members over this issue.

The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation is an entity of the General Assmebly and as such has not connection with GAC. The PPC website says,

"The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC) is the denominational publisher for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), but the materials it issues under its Westminster John Knox Press imprint cover the spectrum of modern religious thought and represent the work of scholarly and popular authors of many different religious affiliations. PPC's Geneva Press imprint is for a specifically Presbyterian audience. ....As an entity of the General Assembly, PPC is governed by a Board of Directors, who are elected in accordance with the requirements of the General Assembly Nominating Committee (GANC), taking into consideration a balance of ordained and lay, gender, racial ethnicity, geography, and age classification. In addition, the unique distinction of PPC's financially self-sustaining nature requires a diverse Board of Directors with specialized business expertise."

My understanding is that in essence, the only control the denomination has over the PPC is through its appointment of board members. They receive no funds from the PCUSA and the PCUSA has no editorial control over their publications.

Personally, I think the best solution is to cut the PPC loose as a separate corporation and have them remove the name Presbyterian from the corporate name. Sadly I don’t think that can be accomplished until 2008.

Tomorrow, I will be making a post that address this issue and I will say more. But I think one thing we all can do is speak truth to insanity by making our opinions known to people we know who are in leadership positions and not letting this issue drop.

Quotidian Grace

Thanks, Mike, for addressing the issue. You are probably right that the best solution is to separate from the PPC and make them change their name. I look forward to your post on the issue and appreciate your time and thoughts.



I will be interested in your post about the furute of PPC. Your comments are always well thought out.

However my 1st reaction is that you (along with QG and others)are overreacting by proposing removal of the P from the name.

This was just one book. Unless you know of other seriously problematic books coming donw the pipeline one book is no reason to drop the P.

After all this is the group that is publishing some very useful stuff like:

* The Armchair Theo Series
* The Gospel and/according to... Series
* Being Presby in the Biblebelt ( I have bought more copies of this than any other book ever except the Bible)
* The Thoughful Christian
* The various Interpretation Commnetaries and Bible Studies
* 1998 Catechism resources

and that's just off the top of my head.


Near the end you wrote about the political dynamics. I believe that had much to do with PPC publishing the book. (Another conspiracy theory?) A 9/11 conspiracy book might tickle the fancy of the far left and far right. But, they are anti-Bush without the book. Will the book influence those in the political center? Doubtful. Thus, the publication is a quite worthless endeavor and the only thing it did was to make Presbyterians look like a bunch of whackjobs. Way to go Louisville!!!!!

It was only last year that Kirkpatrick and his mainline buddies had their little prayer session with Sen Harry Reid on how they needed to fight those nasty conservative politicos. If they were praying for a book that would scandalize Bush, it appears their prayers were not answered.

"The elections over the last decade have elected a president and congress that many liberal mainliners see as anathema to the agenda they have championed over the years. The world of liberal foundationalists is coming apart. They are becoming increasingly marginalized. Just like the Evangelicals of the late 1920s and 1930s the cognitive dissonance is at a fever pitch."

Michael Kruse

Thanks ceemac.

My post will be upper later this afternoon after it has "simmered" for a while. (I swear my ability to edit is getting worse the more I try.) There is more than just this book involved but I will let my post speak for itself and you can judge whether I am over reacting.

I agree that there are some good things coming from the PPC but those products can be accomplished by other means.

Thanks for being honest with me.

will spotts


LF retain control of most power positions - partly because of age, but also because there is still a vestigial embattled minority who espouse this coming out of seminaries. This minority tends for philsophical reasons to gravitate toward institutional and "mega-institutional" positions. LF will be disproportionately represented for many years to come.

What strikes me as interesting is how little penetration either LF or post-liberal/Barthian philosophies make with people in the pews. My evidence is anecdotal, but I encounter large numbers of Presbyterians who are entirely unaffected by either.

I'd like to see the P removed from PPC - because there is no institutional remedy. Pointing to "good" things they publish doesn't help - because there remains no oversight possible. Unless oversight were possible or more discretion were to be used in publishing choices, then the Presbyterian Church (USA) is saddled with the baggage of the PPC. The fact is the director of the PPC publicly referred to its long history of giving preference to publishing "progressive" materials. This should not be the case as the majority of Presbyterians do not describe themselves as "left of center". Since our structure is designed to be representative this should not be the case.

Michael Kruse

Thanks Will.

"What strikes me as interesting is how little penetration either LF or post-liberal/Barthian philosophies make with people in the pews. My evidence is anecdotal, but I encounter large numbers of Presbyterians who are entirely unaffected by either."

This is my sense as well.

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