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Community of Concern – Happily in Denial is Not a Fruit of the Spirit


By Carman Bradley

By why of context for a study of the individual UCC reformers spread across Canada, it is important to recognize that United Church theology, when carefully examined can be exposed for what it is at its very core, an attack upon: (1) the integrity of the Bible; (2) the sufficiency of God’s written revelation; (3) the authority of Scripture; (4) the very nature of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; (5) orthodox Christianity; (6) the institution of marriage; and (7) the long-standing heterosexist worldview of the state.  The UCC doctrine permitting pre-marital, extra-marital and homosexual sex is an attack upon the comprehensive Christian sexual ethic of married, life-long monogamous heterosexual sex.  The UCC view that Jesus Christ is not the singular exclusive way to God the Father is rooted in false spiritual indifference to Christ’s atoning sacrifice, His resurrection and indeed, Christ’s divinity and role in final judgment.  This apostasy, in our day and age of unprecedented access to information, including ample orthodox reform counsel, must result in the same conclusion that the first century Fathers of the Church made regarding the GnosticsThe United Church denomination is now, and has been for decades, under a false spirit.

In effect, the Community of Concern (COC) within the United Church of Canada has been for two decades a brilliant “orthodox” light hidden inside an opaque apostate jar.  The COC came into existence in Spring 1988, as an act of declared dissonance against the UCC SOLM Report on Human Sexuality, a pro-homosexual document opening the way for the ordination of so-called “practicing” homosexuals.  There are four purposes of the COC: (1) to promote within the UCC greater adherence to the Twenty Articles of Faith in the Basis of Union; (2) to encourage within the UCC a theological renewal grounded in Scriptures, Christian Tradition and the Articles of Faith; (3) to encourage a deepening of theological perspective among clergy and laity within the UCC; and (4) to assist the UCC in speaking to society with a clear, consistent, unambiguous and prophetic voice on matters of moral, social, economic and political significance.  There is little argument over the merits of the COC at its start or in acknowledgement of the orthodox witness of the Community over nearly two decades.  The Community’s presidential list, indeed, membership reads like the who’s who of Canadian orthodox evangelicalism; awesome saints in their own right.   Nonetheless, the question remains: “Is there any heresy that the UCC could commit, which would convince the membership to separate?”

Given two decades of COC existence and as long a period of continuous heretical decision-making within“status quo witnessand “abject denial.”  Their refusal to abandon the apostate denomination has now extended to beseeching disenchanted UCC members to not leave.  The article “WHAT SHOULD I – WHAT CAN I – DO?” in the June 2005 edition of Concern, reveals an unholy desperation: the denomination, it is fair to contend that the founding and continuing premise of the COC - to reform the UCC from within, is now implausible, if not unscriptural.  Somewhere in the many years that have flown by since inception, the COC has developed a comfortable niche, which must be characterized as both:

‘What should I do?’ (1) No matter how betrayed you feel, don’t give up your membership in the United Church…Do you want to see Unitarianism become the lodestone of the United Church?  Do you want the ‘New Statement of Faith’ to be accepted without any critical discussion?  Every person who leaves weakens the cause of reform.  If everyone who disagrees with it abandons it, our Church will become isolated from all our fellow Christians in Africa and Asia who are unalterably opposed to the same-sex agenda.  And with those who disagree with its ultra-liberal theology gone, the United Church would have little more effect than a service club in setting a moral tone for society…So DON’T LEAVE.  (2) If you can’t bear to listen to what’s being dished out from the pulpit, find a congregation - perhaps another denomination – that will accept you as a devoted visitor.  You’d be surprised how many are ‘stopping out,’ but still haven’t given up on their United Church.  To keep their sanity they go elsewhere on a regular basis but choose to devote a portion of their givings to reform and renewal.  (3) Try inviting a few sympathetic church friends to your home for conversation and informal worship.  Share your grief at the direction the church has taken.  And tell them about COC, an organization that lives up to its name: a Community that has real Concern for its members.  (You would be surprised how many have never heard of us!)”[i] [bold text is as found in article]

When asked in November 2004 to be the catalyst sponsor of a petition against same-sex marriage the Community declined.  The Chair of the COC Executive Committee wrote: “We believe as an organization that our main priority, given our slim resources, must be to hold our national church accountable, and as I am sure you know that in itself is a gigantic job.”  At that time in November, there was a hope that the COC (20,000 individuals strong and placed all across Canada) might put into public action, at a crucial stage in the same-sex marriage debate, what they were preaching to themselves about their unorthodox associates.  These evangelicals within the UCC are not giving their best witness for Christ.  Where was the clear, consistent, unambiguous and prophetic public voice?  They ask God to heal their land, but constitutionally deny the option that they should separate in defiance of the apostasy, in obedience to God and in best interest of the public.  What are the fruits of 20 years of holding the Church accountable?  What unorthodoxy has been prevented?  Instead of now challenging the few remaining evangelical members who see the light and want to leave, the COC should end their status quo witness and call all its membership to separate.  The dearth of accountability fruits for the COC labors begs its dissolution:

A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.  So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any.  Cut it down!  Why should it use up the soil?’  ‘ Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.  If it bears fruit next year, fine!  If not, then cut it down’ (Luke 13:6-9).

These verses apply equally to the UCC.  The extent of COC denial is characterized by their refusal to leave having acknowledged the absence of reform fruit for twelve additional years running.  The UCC should be allowed to say what they wish before the Supreme Court or elsewhere; however, they should do so speaking as a “Unitarian service club,to use COC terminology, and not as Canada’s largest mainstream Christian denomination.  The continued presence of proclaimed evangelicals inside the UCC and the sustained association of evangelicals from outside the UCC, masks the denominations true identity.  Satan has blinded the eyes of many, but God is not deceived.

In a speech titled “THE PAGANIZATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH,” before the Community of Concern AGM, April 29, 2004, Dr. Don Faris said:

In 1989 I wrote the book, ‘The Trojan Horse: The Homosexual Ideology and the Christian Church,’ as a response to the 1988 General Council...If the authority of the one Word of God, Jesus Christ, as attested in the Scriptures, is replaced by the authority of ideologies from the dominant culture, are we still dealing with Christianity? It is not with great pleasure that I say 15 years later, that what I predicted has happened.  With the approval of gay, lesbian and bisexual marriage, the foolhardy blessing of behavior that God condemns, the paganization of the United Church is almost complete.  I define modern paganism as a self-centered religiousity based on the notion that everyone should believe whatever they want and do whatever they want, because there are no religious or moral absolutes.”[ii]The Community of Concern gives s one of their founding motives, We intend to pursue a positive and healing ministry throughout the Church, encouraging members and congregations to remain within the United Church, working to resolve our concerns.[iii]

Denial is not a fruit of the Spirit.

Copyright © 2008 StandForGod.Org

[i] “WHAT SHOULD I – WHAT CAN I – DO?” CONCERN, Vol. XVI No. 2, June 2005, p. 3.

[ii] Don Faris, “THE PAGANIZATION OF THE UNITED CHURCH,” CONCERN, Vol. XV No. 2, June 2004, p.1-3.

[iii] “Explaining the Motive,”, 10/30/05.