Scotch-Irish-L ArchivesArchiver > Scotch-Irish > 1999-01 > 0917665559
From: "R. J. Kane" <>
Subject: Re: Heresy
Date: Sat, 30 Jan 1999 16:05:59 +1300
Since I have been getting a mention in Charlie's dispatches I thought I
would add an opinion.
[A plea for a hearing: My opinions will seem too strong to many of you -
they are the sort of opinions held by many of your Presbyterian ancestors,
therefore the expression of them can be of assistance to you in
understanding those ancestors. Besides which, Charlie's and Edward's
opinions are just as strong - but they express them better and say what you
believe to be true.]
Heresy trials and other conflicts in the church may indeed fail for the
reasons given by Edward & Charlie but also they often fail because they
come too late. The purveyors of heresy can be very subtle and can twist
"white into black" by slithering through all the shades of gray.
In addition, many people in the pews are too inattentive - they do not
realise what is happening till it is too late. I have been told (whether
truly or no) that if a live frog is placed in a pan of boiling water it
will immediately jump out. But, if it is placed in a pan of cool water
which is gradually brought to the boil it will stay till it is boiled to
death. This illustrates the attitude of many in the pews, they will allow
the truth to be gradually eroded away till they are too weak to fight the
In the NZ case referred to I think that the reason Prof. Geering got away
with his heresy was because the NZ Presbyterians were already too far down
the apostasy path. Wardlaw's position could not get the necessary votes.
A democratic approach is necessary in running a church organisation but far
too often the truth gets voted out. Those who lose, if they wish to
maintain what they believe to be the truth, have to separate from the
At this point (and in contemplation of this crisis) economic and social
factors may be given far too much weight (in discouraging separation). "We
will lose our church building!" "We cannot afford to support a minister!"
"Uncle John is staying and I don't want to fall out with him!" etc.
Somewhat in line with what Edward has said - There are sometimes "strange
bed-fellows" involved in church conflicts. Malcontents of various sorts
may attach themselves to a cause simply to get back at someone or some part
of the organisation. This explains why church splits (like political
revolutions) often lead to more splits. The common enemy has won (or lost)
and the reason for unity is gone.
By the way Charlie, although I have, from time to time, attended
Presbyterian churches I have never been a member of one. Back in 1959 I
even attended a Church of Scotland church for a while!