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Every denomination needs one of these...

Dorhauer concedes: UCCtruths is right

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

UCC Missouri Mid-South Associate Conference Minister John Dorhauer is finally coming to terms with the fallacy of his own conspiracy theory that the IRD is trying to steal or "Steeplejack" UCC churches. From his latest post:
A frequent tactic in response to these presentations is the cry from the IRD, from UCCTRuths, from The Biblical Witness Fellowship that "They have no proof!" That is a semantic argument. What we have is evidence. What we do is present it, along with our theories about how to interpret the evidence...
Yes, he's conceded in the past that he doesn't have any proof, but when he retreats into word games to defend his error, he is essentially admitting that he is wrong.

But we'll play his word game.

"What we have is evidence," is his claim now. Evidence? Evidence of the Institute of Religion and Democracy stealing UCC churches? Evidence of Biblical Witness Fellowship steeplejacking UCC churches?

It comes down to one simple question: Can John Dorhauer name a single UCC church that was stolen by the IRD?

It's a "yes" or "no" answer.

As 200 plus churches have left the UCC in recent years (as well as the entire Puerto Rico Conference), Dorhauer and other conference ministers are scrambling to play the blame game. With all these churches leaving, you would think Dorhauer could name just one church that the IRD has stolen. How many more churches have just closed up in recent years (one notable church in Dorhauer's own backyard)?

If you read Dorhauer's book or see his presentation and can't name a single UCC church that the IRD has stolen and still walk away believing the conspiracy, you are an idiot.

If, however, you walk away from Dorhauer's "theories" and objectively look at the big picture, what Dorhauer has really identified are churches in crisis... either theological or political.

Whether Dorhauer wants to believe it or not, local UCC churches are not monolithic in thinking. Most UCC churches did not participate in the "God is Still Speaking" campaign from the national office and only about 10% are certified as "Open and Affirming". According to a Hartford Institute for Religion Research study, roughly one quarter of the UCC's members consider themselves liberal, one quarter consider themselves conservative and about half consider themselves moderate. With this kind of mix of theology, ideology and politics, you are going to see tension in the local church. As a consequence, you are going to see churches that want to leave and some that will want to stay and affirm the denomination.

It's really not all that complicated... but it does make conference ministers like Dorhauer feel defensive since they really don't have any control over how local churches manage their own affairs. In response to this lack of control, Dorhauer creates FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt) and then fills it with a "theory" that he concedes he doesn't have proof to support. In the end, the only people who are buying into his conspiracy are those who are foolishly predisposed to believing that local churches can't think on their own and couldn't possibly leave over issues of theology, ideology and politics.


Someone on the UCCtruths.com message board mentioned the "steeplejacked" churches from Dorhauer's last post about the Pastoral Referral Network as a possible example of the IRD conspiracy. Nowhere in Dorhauer's book, web site or presentation does he actually say that Mark Friz or David Runion-Bareford are IRD operatives trying to steal UCC churches for the IRD - he's very careful about this. Again, it comes down to one simple question: Can John Dorhauer name a single UCC church that was stolen by the IRD?

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posted by UCCtruths, Tuesday, October 02, 2007


You have to love a blog post titled "More on my travels". Why not call it "Why I'm great"?
commented by Anonymous David Berndsen, 7:05 PM  
John Dorhauer is not a loving critic.

Well James, I guess you can call me an idiot because I know of churches that were drawn out of the UCC by IRD tactics. I served on the Western Association Council of the Illinois Conference for several years. In that time 5 churches left our association and most of them used "the matrix." Its a form that Dorhauer has mentioned, which compares "UCC beliefs" with those of the Congregational denominations, Evangelical Free Church, and sometimes Evangelical Covenant Church. It uses great fallacies such as saying the UCC bans the use of the word Lord and supports suicide as a moral choice, etc. My own home church left in this manner. Peoria Heights Congregational Church, Peoria Heights, IL. You want a name you've got it.
commented by Blogger James, 10:59 PM  
Using "the matrix" is hardly an indication that the IRD is stealing a church. I have seen various forms of this "matrix" used for years as churches discern their differences with the national office. One church I am aware of even attempted to draft their own while trying to discern their differences with the denomination. I won't debate with you the clarity these matrix's provide - I've seen one version that, admittedly, stretches the truth a bit. In the end, the local church is free to use whatever tools or documentation they like.

Let's admit it - the problems in some local churches stem from political and theological differences whether it's expressed through a "matrix" or through a newsletter. We have to be honest about the root cause of these churches leaving. It is not, as Culver and Dorhauer have stated repeatedly in their presentations, an IRD attempt to take money and property away from the church. If true, I'd be blasting the IRD until I couldn't type anymore.
commented by Blogger UCCtruths, 11:25 PM  
I developed a form of the "matrix" to help our church members understand the issues when we looked at leaving the UCC in 2003 (we did ultimately vote to leave). The matrix was based on others I had seen, but was not provided to us by any outside organization. We left because we simply didn't fit in the UCC anymore. No one stole us or influenced our decision except God's Holy Spirit!

Rev. Lin Smalec
Salem Church, Waynesboro, PA
commented by Anonymous Anonymous, 11:17 AM  
Perhaps the IRD are editing wikipedia



Perhaps Microsoft is trying to undermine the UCC!!



All a 'matrix' proves is that somone is trying to sit down and make a scientific decision. The fact is that the New Century Hymnal DOES seek to eliminate the use of the 'paternalistic' word LORD. (http://www.reformedworship.org/magazine/article.cfm?article_id=755 "Nearly every "Lord" is trivialized to some other word, calling to mind the New Testament's test of orthodoxy (1 Corinthians 12:3). "

Also, the latest UCC synod promotes discussion on Assisted Suicide. ( http://ucc.org/synod/resolutions/physician-aid-in-dying-final.pdf )

So in summary, just because it's in a matrix doesn't mean it's not true.

commented by Anonymous Richmond T. Stallgiss, 7:00 PM  

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