Eight General Seminary Professors “Resign” Without Their Knowledge

In an unprecedented move, the Dean and President of New York’s General Theological Seminary (GTS), the Rev. Kurt Dunkle, has either accepted the resignations of eight members of the Episcopal seminary’s faculty or flat-out fired them.

Which is it? Depends on which narrative of events you read. What is very clear however, is that several tenured and untenured faculty members at the Episcopal Church’s flagship seminary have been let go, in part because they wanted to meet with the trustees and board about difficulties with working with Dean and President Dunkle.

Dunkle, a lawyer and litigator who went back to seminary at General himself to become a priest, has had a very rocky tenure since becoming Dean and President. The problems that the faculty have had with the dean include the following excerpt of a letter to the board of trustees (posted at safeseminary.org):

He (Dean Dunkle)  once described Asian transit passengers in the San Francisco Bay area as “slanty-eyed.”  In a large community meeting last spring, he compared the technical side of theological education to “looking up women’s skirts.”  Before several faculty members and students, he spoke, as an obvious act of intimidation, of how “black people can do such interesting things with their hair,” a comment about which students complained. On several occasions he has stated that General Seminary should not be “the gay seminary.” And he frequently stresses that the institution should emphasize “normal people.”

There is more, but two that seem especially egregious, if true, are that the dean reportedly told a staff member that he loved “women’s vaginas” and that if she was uncomfortable with that statement, it was her problem. He also reportedly violated FERPA by discussing a student’s educational details in the entire General Seminary email list.

As a result of a limited response to these concerns voiced in a letter to GTS’ Board of Trustees and the Dean, the faculty members in question decided to stop working until they could meet with the board. In a letter dated September 25, 2014, the eight professors said that they would “discontinue teaching and performing all other academic and administrative obligations Starting Friday September 26, 2014.  We will not resume these activities until the board acts in good faith to demonstrate that you intend to take action to address our requests.”

Dean Dunkle and the board of trustees decided to take this as a “resignation,” said that they had accepted the resignation of the eight faculty members, and thanked them for their service.

Clearly things have gone off the rails at General Seminary in a spectacular way.  Any time faculty members are fired en masse there is certainly a crisis in leadership. Dunkle was a lawyer before he became a priest, but his behavior, and that of the board, seems to indicate that jettisoning the faculty is preferable to negotiating.

Many wonder what the real reasons are for taking such a drastic move. GTS has sold a number of properties in recent years: the grand entry to the seminary that faces Ninth Avenue is now a hotel. Dunkle was hired in the hopes of rebuilding the financial base and stabilizing the seminary, but that has not happened. Now, he is jettisoning the faculty with the approval of the board. The crisis has even brought out Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori (who recently announced she was stepping down at the end of her term) who will visit GTS on October 1 to meet with Dunkle and the board. Some however, do not see the visit as a good sign, saying that this represents “the creepy discipline”  that the current bishop and her lawyers have imposed on the denomination.

The firings of “the GTS Eight” suggests strongly in my opinion that the dean and the board do not care that they are up for accreditation review in 2015 by the Association of Theological Schools—nor do they care about the students currently in attendance at General. While their stance may be that the faculty did not either, it is clear that the group has tried to have a sustained conversation with the Dean and the board, but been ignored Now the dirty laundry of the seminary is out for the whole denomination and other interested parties to sift through.

If I remember my Reformation history correctly, it was The Act of Supremacy in 1534 that made Henry VIII head of the Church of England. Firing eight faculty members unjustly is not an Act of Supremacy, but an Act of Shame. Perhaps the Board of trustees and Dean Dunkle should ponder the twists and turns of church history before they land definitively on the wrong side of it.

84 Comments

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Difficult questions. Looking at the overall state of Christianity today, I think the only thing you can say for sure is God is not in charge.

  • audrey.a.metz@gmail.com' Audrey says:

    Why on earth haven’t Dean Dunkle AND the board of directors been fired??? If I were a prospective student, reading Dundle’s racist, sexist, inappropriate remarks would be enough for me to choose ANY seminary but that one.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    What is a prospective student looking for in a seminary?

  • dliecht@ilstu.edu' Dan says:

    I have noticed over the years is that academics tend to unrealistically overestimate their indispensability within their respective institutions. On occasion, this can result in one or more to go way out on a limb in taking a principled stand. This looks like what may have happened here. By refusing to teach and carry on their contractual obligations in order to force a response from their Board, these professors engaged in a power play and lost. While justice in the transcendent sense may be on their side, that has increasingly little to do with how the power game is played, even now, so it seems, within the seminary environment. It is a sad day to be sure, but only one more episode in larger story of the deteriorating relationship between labor and management in American business that has going on for 30 or 40 years now. Like Pastor Niemoeller, there may be no one left to object now that they have come for these professors.

  • audrey.a.metz@gmail.com' Audrey says:

    Integrity of administration? Accountability?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Learning about God? ? ?
    Learning how to make a living in the Christianity business?

  • robingarr@gmail.com' RobinGarr says:

    Good article. I’d be cautious about linking without qualification to extreme conservative resources like StandFirmInFaith, though.

  • misspinkkate@gmail.com' ThePinkSuperhero says:

    Hotel is on 10th Ave. the 9th ave entrance is luxury condos.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    This is not like going on strike for better pay or better working conditions. This is going on strike for a better religion. The case should probably be decided by the supreme court.

  • davinocal2000@yahoo.com' David84103 says:

    “…to go way out on a limb in taking a principled stand…” sounds like the guy that got this whole thing rolling in the VERY beginning, oddly…

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    This is what happens when a denomination (and I am a lifelong member of TEC) does its discernment via political activism. The last 50 years have seen a rise in the use of political (boycotts, up/down votes, letter writing campaigns, blogwars, etc.) means to achieve desired outcomes rather than using the traditional Christian means of discernment in community.

    After the Presiding Bishop and other bishops “accepted the resignation” of many priests and bishops who did not resign, why can’t the BoT accept the “resignation” of faculty members that didn’t resign too?

    This is not to say that Dean Dunkel or the BoT are blameless. They are using political activism just as much as the faculty use it.

  • interfaithfreedom@sbcglobal.net' Pilgrim Soul says:

    Anybody see a connection between this and the firing of the Yale Chaplain? Between the Israel/Likud Lobby (and its enthusiastic supporters in institutional Christianity) there doesn’t seem to be much room for dialogue. And when there IS dialogue, the institution is always very careful to take the important things off the table.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I don’t think dialogue could be allowed. If it was just about these political issues it would be difficult, but it could be done, and it would have to be done. The issue behind the issue is Christianity itself. There is a dialogue about the origin and development of the religion, and when you get beyond what is taught in church and to what the history says you see a religion that was developed after the fact. The biggest problem with the common beliefs is Paul who wrote the oldest Christian documents didn’t know anything about any of the stories in the gospels which were constructed decades later. The deeper you look, the more it appears the gospels were made up, every bit of them. Dialogue must be stopped, and the farther you let it proceed the more danger there is for the current state of belief. The congregation does not yet know about all this, and the academic leaders who do know don’t seem to have any idea how to deal with it. I guess that is why we here on RD need to keep trying to help them.

  • tuesdayjanerupp@gmail.com' Tuesday says:

    Thank you for the article. A gentle correction. Presiding Bishop Shori will not be “stepping down,” as the article states, but rather will not seek re-election at the conclusion of her nine year term. The difference, though perhaps subtle, is meaningful.

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Free will remains SUCH a thorny issue.

  • robert.m.jeffers@lonestar.edu' Rmj says:

    Um, nonsense. I learned in seminary the historical origins of the gospels, but what I didn’t learn is that they were “entirely made up.” I learned, instead, that they were written by human beings, and that history itself is a complex construct of basically what we agree happened when.

    The joy of the gospels, in part, is their complexity and even their contradictions (try to take at literal history the two nativity stories, for example. As undeniable fact, they cannot be reconciled. But then, they weren’t meant to be historical in the Greek/Herodotus sense in the first place).

    If anything, as Hamlet said: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Learned a lot about philosophy in seminary, too. “Dialogue must be stopped”? Nonsense: dialogue must be encouraged.

    It was reading the work of the Jesus Seminar and Dom Crossan and Bultmann, etc., that strengthened and deepened my faith, rather than producing the opposite. You can lose your religion anywhere. You can also find it pretty much anywhere.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Good answer. Dialogue is good. My understanding of the Jesus Seminar is they were pointing out what things in the Bible are obviously not true. They can’t necessarily say what is true, but if they can discard those things that are clearly false, maybe people can come a little closer to truth.

    I think one question about the Bible is the telling of the story of raising Lazarus from the dead. The interesting question is not really the miracle, but where did this story come from. It is in the gospel of John, the last one written, around the end of the first century or later. This is the greatest most impressive miracle of Jesus, using the power of his voice to command someone who was dead and rotting in the grave for 3 days to come back to life and rise up and walk out of the grave. This story is not in the other 3 gospels. If they knew about it, they would have included it. It is not known in the writings of Paul, but then none of the gospel stories were know to Paul. So where did this story come from, about 100 years after the fact? The conclusion seems to be the writer of John made it up. Is that what the Jesus Seminar says? The Lazarus story in John was made up?

  • I disagree. Looking at the documents (including the block quote in this article), it seems to me a straightforward case of “hostile work environment.”

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    OK. That makes sense. I was wrong.

  • aravistarkheena2@gmail.com' Aravis Tarkheena says:

    This is a straight out thread hijack. It has nothing to do with the article or with the problems discussed in it.

    You have an almost tic-like need to repeat the one thing you know about Christianity in every single article that even touches on the religion, no matter what the article is about and even if it has nothing to do with your point.

    If you read the article, the firings clearly had nothing to do with theological views, the historicity of Jesus, or anything else, remotely connected to what you’ve written here. It’s not a crime to say nothing, you know.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Pilgrim Soul brought up the issue about dialogue, and what they could allow or be careful to take off the table. I think that is correct, and can be extended a little farther. Theoretically everyone is in favor of dialogue, but are they really? A top down highly dogmatic religion like Christianity has a lot of need to avoid dialogue that might question the basics of the religion, and at the same time they need a lot of dialogue to work on the political issues that are currently compounding often due to their world view. How will this work out? People can get into the political issues, but I think the basic issues of Christiaity that tend to be pushed to the back burner might be more important in the long run. Does it make sense to even have Christianity involved in the political dialogues? Wouldn’t it make more sense to resolve exactly what Christianity is and where it came from before they are involved in political issues of the day? There will probably have to be some disagreement on that question for a while.

    The question about the story of Lazarus in the book of John is not the only thing I know about Christianity. It is just the first issue, and in my mind the most clearcut and easy to resolve. If it can’t be resolved in today’s theological climate then it is probably best if we get stuck on that issue until it is resolved because if we can’t resolve even that, then there is little hope for us to get very far. If it can be resolved, other questions will follow.

  • mj_wesley@yahoo.com' Matt Johnson says:

    Your purpose in these questions is unclear.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Start with the question of what is a prospective student looking for in a seminary? Once they have come up with an answer of what they are looking for, maybe there could be a better answer about how to find that than going to a seminary. It was supposed to be a two part question. Those other two questions were just about jogging their thinking process to help them along in figuring it out.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    And I thought the Baptist denominations (all 983 different Conferences) had a corner on religious dingbats. Wrong me!

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    discernment in community doesn’t work.

  • joerogers67@gmail.com' joeyj1220 says:

    c’mon Jim. I read many of your posts, but what an absurd question. You are acting as if Episcopalian seminary students are looking for something different than any other student at any other school; a solid education with great faculty

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I was looking at Episcopalian seminary students as being the same as all other seminary students. What does education mean in a seminary environment? They might be looking for something that is not to be found, or at least not to be found there. I know I was when I was a kid 48 years ago. Would there have been any way to avoid the mistake? Are they doing this to learn about God? If so, how is the seminary qualified? Are they looking to make money in the religion business? If that is their decision, you can’t fault them for that. But they need to understand that is the decision they made. Are they looking for integrity? If so, then we might be able to help them with what questions to ask.

  • pbspivey@nyc.rr.com' tyrdofwaitin says:

    It seems that all our cherished institutions are unraveling. And as much as some quarters will be inclined to charge the Presiding Bishop Katherine with responsibility for this mess, I’m disinclined to scapegoat the first woman head of our Episcopal Church. Rather, the buck stops with the chair of the trustee board, Bishop Mark Sisk, for General Seminary’s train wreck. I believe it started several years ago when General elevated real estate development on the General campus to status of “Lord and Savior”. As a result of this development, General’s open and welcoming physical presence on 9th avenue and 20th street in Chelsea, became entombed behind a brick artifice of restaurants and hotel rooms; the new portals of General Seminary were relegated to a back alley on 21st street between 9th and 10th avenues. The desecration of General’s campus should have been the first warning.

    The second desecration came with the hiring of the Rev. Dunkle. I don’t need to enumerate that fiasco beyond what Dr. Butler, and others, have already reported, except to say that the buck stops with the trustee board. In this instance, they have desecrated the moral compass of this seminary by hiring Rev Dunkle, a litigator by profession. I can’t believe there aren’t scads of people who could more ably run General, including some of the existing faculty.

    Finally, the recent implosion, engineered by the trustee board, leaves me horrified that the guardians and stewards of General’s present and future resemble Philistines by their actions; not our Shepherd and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    You, sir, simply show the truth of what I said. Discernment in community does work – if the community is committed to discerning the will of God. I’ve seen it work in several congregations and at the diocesan level. One of the problems, though, is that discernment in community means that our own wills may be thwarted. That is never pleasant.

    Political activism also “works” if you are desiring to acheive a political end or substitution your will rather than to discern the will of God.

    The problem is that too many people hear God speaking in their own voices. They want to serve God, but only as advisers rather than as servants and slaves.

    I submit that all sides in this tragedy are simply following what they have learned from 50+ years of TEC “doing theology” via political activism.

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    I find it odd that you question the wisdom of hiring a litigator, yet support the faculty – which made their demands based on the advice of a labor lawyer and litigator.

    As ANY negotiator will tell you, never stake out a negotiating position that you are not willing to accept. Ultimatums may work in the short term, but they poison the relationship, destroy community and work to no good end long term.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    I have to wonder if discerning the will of God is an illusion. People or groups see what they want to see. Is it possible for a group to try to do what is best for humanity as a whole? As soon as the group tries to discern the will of God, they need a pecking order to decide who has the final say of what that is, and wherever it starts, that pecking order always seems to decay over time.

    I guess a way around the problem is to have scripture, like the Bible as the final say, but the Bible comes with a whole new set of problems.

    If you try to resolve the Biblical problems with creeds, you might end up with an even bigger set of problems. The ultimate answer might be outside the bounds of religion.

  • phillinj@slu.edu' NancyP says:

    I gather that the total faculty complement is TEN faculty. I would expect that the seminary would have to shut down. It seems unlikely that reasonable quality temporary faculty could be obtained in the short amount of time available, even if said temps wanted to cross the picket line. It seems unlikely that the remaining two faculty members have the breadth of teaching expertise to cover all the subjects. There are not a whole lot of Episcopal seminaries out there. Of course Schori is going to be needed to look into the situation. This whole situation reeks of mismanagement. There are other ways to divest of expensive real estate – just straighforwardly proclaim that the EC holdings could be better put to use elsewher, sell the newly valuable Chelsea real estate, and move to a cheaper facility somewhere in the NYC region, either in the Five Boroughs or Newark or other more affordable location. Put the rest of the money into good works, a scholarship plan for the seminary, etc.

    BTW, what does a seminary student look for? I would bet that students would be looking for peers and supervisors who can respect each other, argue constructively, and sit down in prayer together at the end (or beginning) of the day. I would also bet that students might not appreciate sexist and racist and anti-gay-person comments, if it is true that Dunkle made them. Is Dunkle a secret or not-so-secret Friend of Duncan (former Pittsburgh bishop who was prominent in the rebellion over Bishop Robinson)? What’s Dunkle doing in the gayest neighborhood of NYC, anyway – pretending it is 1950, and the world outside the seminary gates doesn’t exist? He should just come out and state his theological objections to gays in ministry, not engage in the heh-heh-we-are-all-REAL-men-here stuff. I don’t care if Dunkle likes vaginas, the only issue is, is he willing to be faithful to one vagina-owning person ie, wife?

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    We won’t be around for another million years. I suspect the spirituality of our hunter/gatherer ancestors, lost in favor of a whole bunch of “stuff” like money and power and collective violence, was a spiritual devolution of sorts that required all mannor of attempted remedies. It’s hard to say if Jesus or Buddha or Lao Tzu made a dent in the suffering caused by all that “stuff” we love so much. People seeking G-d and people seeking to serve others in their search for G-d are not (or should not be) education consumers.
    And never should the head of a seminary act as this man has.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    Or perhaps giving up on the idea that the will of G-d can be known in its fullness. Seems to me this situation could have prevented by not hiring a man with such personal shortcomings.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Well how should the head of a seminary act? Presumably he should act religious, but I don’t think there could be any agreement on what that means. He might be acting a way that shows potential seminarians what they are in for, and in some cases that might be the best way to help them. I would have to think the sooner the contradictions become obvious, the better.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That would only be a temporary covering of the issues.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Those mystics who still have something to say might be able to accomplish more in another venue. Instead of working for those institutions, they might be able to reach people better by doing something like becoming writers for TV sitcoms.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    I suspect G-d is far too subtle and unpredictable (to our understanding) to conform to a human archetype. The Man In Charge – Zeus, Odin, Jupiter have long ago lost their credibility. Perhaps omnipotence does not mean what we think it means.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    Only good ones. You might be onto something there. When we laugh at our absurd predicaments, and love each other’s personal idiocyncracies through humor, we become something extraordinary: we laugh in the face of our absurdity, the human condition.
    Perhaps that is how we are the Image of G-d. Nothing else makes sense. Our fellow creatures also love and suffer, but it seems, as far as we can tell, they do not laugh at their own absurdity. Perhaps they know something we do not.
    But levity aside, I suspect what the mystics have to say to us is already there in numerous publications and interpretations accessible to the average interested layperson. If I found them, others can. Perhaps they should be promoted by dying religious institutions.
    I also think the G-d drunk are channelled by artists and poets and musicians and actors in every era. Their gifts will never die as long as humanity endures.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    Yes, but I wonder if such academics are not indispensible to their students, even if they are not important to the institution.
    With the misuse and abuse of adjuncts it is clear too many educational institutions no longer care that much about their students or their teachers.
    So religious seminaries hold the same values as secular universities.
    Why would anybody expect any religious institution to hold different values and standards when we are so often disillusioned?
    That disappointment is why so many of us pick up our sandals and walk away.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    Oh, but what Paul said, he set off an earthquake………….when we can explain why we was so profoundly certain he lived in Christ Crucified, we might have an answer.
    Everything else is splitting hairs.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    What I found from the historical interpreters was interesting and often inspiring. But it was clear even to this uninformed reader that each one brought a personal perspective to interpretation.
    Yes, yes, one can find faith anywhere, sometimes by following those that went ahead of us, leaving those leave bits of thought along the path.
    That is what schools are for, to point out where the bits are found.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    The literal truth doesn’t matter.
    Metaphor has a truth beyond literalness.

  • BlueRose51@comcast.net' Joan59 says:

    Does not seem spiritually satisfying, even for institutional survival, to question the basics of religion by debunking literal interpretations of scripture or dogma. They are stories after all, parables, who is to say they are not spiritually and psychologically real, even if they cannot be proven as historical fact? Certainly any belief system has profound historical effects that aren’t dependent upon the our limited knowledge of historical events. Who are we to say the interior Reality of these stories are not valid? Perhaps we should ask instead what happens to people who embrace a faith, and are even willing to challenge the prerogatives of political power to hold it? Why was it so powerful it energized people almost 2,000 years later to confront their subjection with peaceful nonresistance?

    Dogma will most certainly evolve over time to dwell in a deeper level of meaning, only because people seek for it, and only when we could free ourselves of materialist literalism. Stories are metaphors and allegory, song and dance and art; they must be EXPERIENCED as powerful symbols that contain their own reality.
    We really need to get over the idea, the hubris, that we can define and measure everything; that Reality bends to our measurements.
    Well, maybe it does, after all. It becomes a wave or particle when we look at it. But we don’t know what it is when we are not looking.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    “even if they cannot be proven as historical fact?”

    This point is now being turned upside down. Instead of not being able to prove as historical fact, now it can be proved as not historical fact. We can prove it is not true, and that is different from not being able to prove it is true. Or at least it might be different. Once people start to see, we will see what happens. Christianity has lasted for near 2000 years, but it won’t last forever. The end is near.

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    I don’t know anyone who believes that the will of God can be known in its fullness.But that does not relieve us of seeking to understand what we can understand.

    I will never fully understand my wife (let alone God). She will, forever, remain a mystery to me – one that I anticipate great joy in trying to unravel for the rest of our lives. But that doesn’t give me permission to sleep with other women, claiming “mistaken identity.” If I get into bed and there is a blond haired, blue eyed 20 year old there, that is not my wife and I had better get out of bed quick!

    One of the purposes of the creeds, Holy Scripture, and the teaching of the Church is to tell us whom we are worshiping. If the god we worship conflicts with the Creeds, the Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church, then that is not YHWH and we better stop worshiping that god.

  • dwlindeman@comcast.net' DWLindeman says:

    My comments here are similar to those I’ve posted on Inside Higher Ed:

    On the face of it, it appears that the faculty is telling the board that it has made a big mistake in appointing Rev. Dunkle dean. It doesn’t appear that the board has known how to deal with this. It’s puzzling that the board would appoint a non-academic as dean of a historic seminary. That is, it takes time to acquire the skills required to run such institutions. Most colleges would never consider taking on someone without this kind of experience. This assumes that Rev. Dunkle actually
    made the offensive and impolitic statements that are attributed to him; it indicates that he is a maverick who is in over his head.
    However, it’s been observed that an inquiry conducted by lawyers has already begun at GTS, and is still underway. The eight faculty members who confronted the board outright before this investigation was complete have erred in their overreach. Faculties are not in a position to make unilateral demands on educational institutions.
    A vote of “no confidence,” by the faculty would have been far more effective. This is what led to the resignation of Prof. Larry Summers from the presidency of Harvard.
    Ultimately, it appears that it is the board that has made the most crucial mistakes in this sorry situation. The faculty did too, but when a board does not listen to faculty with regard to personnel matters and general morale, this is the sort of debacle can be the result.

  • jlh11a@acu.edu' doulos says:

    I have every sympathy for the faculty, but you have left out several pertinent details without which this story makes no sense, namely: a) the demand was not the meeting alone, but a flat-out refusal to work unless the dean were fired, and b) a flat-out statement that a legal investigation (about their allegations concerning the dean) was irrelevant to their decision not to work if the dean were not fired. This does not make the board’s actions right, but it does (unlike your report) make the board’s actions comprehensible.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That’s true, and it can’t be stressed often enough. In religion, truth doesn’t matter. Or to put it more clearly, religion and truth are like water and oil, they don’t mix. If you shake them up and try to mix them, they will pull apart from each other as fast as they can.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    Plus that is what RD is for.

  • bramptonbryan@yahoo.com' DavidHarley says:

    “the Creeds, the Holy Scripture and the Tradition of the Church”

    The historic Creeds were created in particular circumstances, to define which positions fell within orthodoxy and which did not. How many today see the so-called Athanasian Creed as central to their understanding of the Trinity? Indeed, how many churchgoers of whatever denomination understand Incarnation, Atonement and Redemption, or would accept those doctrines if they did understand them?

    Calling for absolute allegiance to the Creeds, presumably interpreted from one specific viewpoint or another, is like demanding the re-imposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles. That train has left the station.

    So too with the Scripture. Whose view of what is binding or true is to be accepted? That of the Christian Reconstructionists? That of those evangelicals who call for the death of all Muslims? Most Americans would not accept as authoritative even the Beatitudes, if they knew what they were.

    So too with Tradition, the longstanding authority for Roman Catholic defenders of doctrines not found in Scripture. At what stage does Tradition cease for members of the Anglican Communion? The Reformation? Or does it continue until Vatican 2? Whose magisterium is to be to considered authoritative?

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    I know the God I worship is YHWH and the Triune God that Jesus called “Father.”

    Which god do you worship? ISTM that you worship the one that looks upon you in the mirror as you can make your god take any position that you want to.

    When I was ordained, I took a vow to be “loyal to the Doctrine, Discipline, and Worship of Christ as this church has received them.” The phrase “has received” indicates past perfect action. The vow is not to worship as this church may construe them.

    Do I “understand” the Incarnation, Antonement, or Redemption? Surely you jest as no one can fully understand them. I accept them. I accept that God became man in the person of Jesus Christ who is Fully God and Fully man. I accept that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross pays the penalty for my sins and defeats sin and death on the cross. I accept that Jesus’ sacrifice redeems me from the power of sin and death – to which I sold myself through my sin.

    If you don’t believe those, then I doubt very much if you are a Christian in any significant meaning of the word.

    My trust is not in my own mind or intellect or emotion. My trust is in the faith of the Apostles and Prophets in the faith of the Church. Where is your trust?

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Judge not,hypocrite!

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    Isn’t it rather judgmental to call someone a hypocrite? I guess that means you are the hypocrite.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Just quoting the Bible… Hypocrite! Comment noted… dismissed!

  • Philip_L_Snyder@yahoo.com' Phil Snyder says:

    So, you are free to judge others, but others are not free to make judgments on what is or is not Christianity? Isn’t giving yourself the right to perform actions that you deny others the very definition of hypocrisy?

    Or are you saying that quoting the Bible makes one a Hypocrite?

    Can you show me where my comments made a final judgement on anyone’s eternal fate?

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Guest votes are your specialty, aren’t they Hooper/Susie?

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Keep walkin’ and don’t let the door…..!

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Oh, God IS in charge alright. God just lets the right wing extremists self-destruct. It’s good for the health of the nation.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    So, so true! More like StandFirmInQuicksand!

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    God doesn’t care about us.

    Think about it. What has God ever done for us? If God gave us religion then that is much worse because that would mean God must really hate us. I prefer to think it just happened by chance, and God doesn’t care.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    You really are an ignorant dolt! You know nothing about Christianity or God. Educate yourself! If that isn’t possible, go back to your knitting and stay out of intelligent conversations!

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    That’s the whole point. God is not involved in this Christianity stuff.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Comment noted… dismissed.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    We have a pretty good picture of how our world evolved into place. I guess beyond that you could say for God so loved the world he created the Jesus myth that whoever believes could die believing he is going to be with the Lord, but knowing in the back of his mind that might be doubtful. Beyond that I don’t think you have anything, and your dismissal seems to confirm it..

  • photoshockpenn@gmail.com' NelsonRobison says:

    These kind of incidents is one of the reasons that the general public won’t think about becoming a Christian. When there is infighting like this it darkens the reputation of those who are involved, whether or not they’re the instigators. Surely there are other ways to fix problems like this other than the excoriation of those on the opposite side of your position.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Don’t waste your time sparring with Mr.Melby, Phil.I went through quite a few of his posts on Disqus last night, and I am convinced that he is seriously disturbed; count yourself blessed that his replies to you have been as mild as they have been. I’m sorry to say it, but Mr.Melby is a SERIOUS hater of everyone who doesn’t march in lockstep to his “brand”of christianity, which when you examine his posts you’ll discover doesn’t even remotely resemble ANYTHING the Scriptures teach.Mr.Melby is rude, condescending, vicious, and hateful; his posts literally spew vitriolic venom towards his enemies, which are, apparently,legion!! I never read anything like it on ANY website I’ve ran across.At any rate, spare yourself the aggravation Phil, and DON’T. ANSWER.HIM.

    .

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Tell THAT to George Melby!!!!

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Trust me, Jim:whatever you THINK you’re doing on this site, “helping”the Christian Faith is NOT your area of expertise.

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Frankly, Jim, I’ve found the so-called”Jesus Seminar” to be less than useless in my over 25 years of Biblical studies; as far as I am concerned, it’s a tiresome, boring exercise in ivory tower pseudo – academic twaddle. Ever since Crossan claimed that Jesus’ body was dug up and eaten by dogs, there is LITERALLY NOTHING he nor anyone of his ilk can EVER AGAIN tell me about Christianity.For Crossan or any presumably sane person to utter such vile blasphemy puts them way outside the pale as far as I am concerned.So, from my perspective, the rightly – dismissed, not-soon-enough-forgotten, so-called”Jesus Seminar is DEAD to me.

  • anonymized-1634596460@disqus.com' Guest says:

    Well, sure, Jim…you can make “religion”anything you want it to be. But Jesus…well.What can you do?

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    This is not about helping the Faith. It is about helping the believers see a better way. The Faith is blocking their path.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    It may be dead to everybody. It’s value is what it can teach about the state of the religion, and what I take from it is the willingness to compromise. Blasphemy is not a problem. The problem is we need to get to a more truthful basic starting point and then go from there.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    The Bible shows us Jesus was a story of invention of the story of Jesus over the course of a century. It is not the story of a Jesus whose message was distorted over time. It is a story of a non-existent Jesus whose message was developed as the church needed it.

  • photoshockpenn@gmail.com' NelsonRobison says:

    Who pray tell is George Melby? I’ve tried the normal internet searches and found nothing that would give me any idea as to who this person is and how he pertains to this article.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Hello! That’s me! I am an ordained Christian minister who calls the bluffs of obnoxious trolls on internet blogs. Hooper, Inc. (Hooper, Susie Sotar, Brad621, Paul, et al, even posing as “Guest” giving themselves Up votes for their faux prognostications regarding anything sacred) has been denounced by every intelligent correct-thinking commenter on religious and/or political blogs, They start arguments where there are none, and twist words and people’s arguments to their way of thinking, and then whine when more intelligent people don’t buy it! I “out” the trolls! That’s what I do! Regarding your remarks, you are spot on the mark, and it probably won’t be long before you’re a word victim of these gigolos of verbiage yourself. As for being a household word (lolol), this is another fear of the above-named trolls. I don’t want to be, or need to be a household name now or in the future! Blessings and peace, Pastor George M Melby, M.Div.

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    Wow!!! Just… WOW!!! +++++

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    THANK YOU! You are spot on the mark. This is what supports good Christian thought today. There are none so blind as those who WILL NOT see, no matter how clear the message is. Take note, Guest and Ringo/Hooper!

  • photoshockpenn@gmail.com' NelsonRobison says:

    Pastor Melby, thank you for answering my query. In an internet search I did not find any information about you and I was wondering who you were.

    As for your quest to rid the internet of trolls, that I’m afraid is a lost cause, the trolls are a part of the makeup of the internet, because of the anonymity of the internet and the ability of people to hide behind nom de plumes. For myself, I decided to post in my own name, and to let everyone know that I’m not afraid to let my thinking be known.

    I was once the assistant pastor of an independent church, charismatic, and evangelistic in nature. I am familiar with many of the problems surrounding the faith but as of this point choose not to join in “any reindeer games,” because of the illogical nature of the holy book called the Bible, and the authoritarian nature of church leadership. Rather than force myself on others I chose to leave because as a rebel I was not accepted by those in the numerous churches I ministered in.

    Now I use the gifts I have, my intelligence and ability to think and write, to share the ideals of humanism and the rights of all to think for themselves and the freedom of conscience that is part of the Bill of Rights of this nation. If you’d like to carry on some conversation, I would be grateful for the chance to converse with someone that is learned and has such a goal in mind.

    My email is photoshockpenn@gmail.com

  • dakotahgeo@hotmail.com' George M Melby says:

    YOU are spot on the mark. It is notable that Jesus himself was a ‘rebel’, BUT with a cause, lolol.
    My e-mail address is daotahgeo@hotmail.com and I look forward to meeting you. Kudos, Blessings, Peace, AND Joy!

    Edit: Wins for Christ-MANY; Hooper Mafia, Inc.: 0! 🙁

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Well…as the old saying goes about opinions…I myself approach the historicity of the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles from an entirely different angle, so I don’t agree with your claim about what Paul knew or didn’t know, and when. If I believed you, or whoever you got your revisionist history from (The so-called”Jesus Seminar”perhaps?), I may as well jettison the entire book of Acts, or is it made-up, too, according to YOU? No, Mr.Reed, I’ll take my faith in the Saviour over the opinions of men ALL.DAY.LONG.—God bless you!

  • polyearp2@gmail.com' Laurence Charles Ringo says:

    Wow, Melby…you would support someone who endorses that pseudo – historical bunch of God haters known as the so-called”Jesus Seminar “? You would actually be in favor of a person who claimed that John Dominic Crossan DIDN’T blaspheme when he claimed that Jesus’ body was dug up and eaten by dogs??? WOW.There IS something wrong with you, dude.

  • viggiano_rp@yahoo.com' Sanity Please says:

    The only outcome that makes sense going forward is for both the Dean and the GTS 8 faculty to leave.

  • reedjim51@gmail.com' Jim Reed says:

    You don’t need to fear. You could have left comments open.

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