DEGROFF: Dogma Du Jour

Written by John DeGroff on March 1, 2021

“For we wrestle not  against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”  Ephesians 6:12

I’ve chosen to start this month’s installment with this verse from Ephesians for a very specific reason.  The verse is part of the well known “whole armor of God” portion of scripture (Eph. 6:11-17) and therefore focuses on the fact that believers will be under constant attack, spiritually and otherwise.
The phrase “spiritual wickedness in high places” has been understood to mean either spiritual assault from governmental leadership or religious leadership. Christ Himself called the Jewish religious leaders a “generation of vipers” (Mt. 12:34), as did John The Baptist before him (Mt. 3:7).  So there is nothing new or surprising about the church and its leadership being corrupted by the world.
And on that happy thought, I’d like to get to my reason for this article. Late last summer, I chose to leave the United Methodist Church. I was never an “official” member. I no longer want to be a church member anywhere due to some very negative situations in the past. That’s not to say that I don’t have a church fellowship. I do. I’m now attending New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw, IN, pastored by Rev. John Lowe. Do I agree with everything this congregation believes? No, I don’t. But it’s The Word that’s being preached, which brings me to the specific reasons I left the UMC.
Back when the Wuhan Kungflu Overreaction began in earnest, the church started to go with social distancing, which eventually lead to virtual services. No in-person services meant that my participation as part the worship music team ended. Okay, no big deal. However, once it was deemed “safe” to gather together again, I was told I would have to wear a mask. I will not wear a mask to play music. Period. Besides, I think it’s oxymoronic to worship the God Who Heals while wearing a face bra.
About this same time, an email went out to all the UMC pastors, which they were then expected to share with their congregations. The gist of the email was that “we need to do everything to eliminate our racist tendencies” and be otherwise aware of what awful people we truly are.
I felt that the church I had been attending since 2005 just called me a racist.  If racism was such a problem, why wasn’t it dealt with back in 2005?  Seemed kind of conveniently coincidental that all this abhorrent “racism” appeared at the same time as an election year, which featured street theater by BLM and Antifa. Yeah, totally coincidental.  I have a bridge for sale….interested?
I went on the main website for the UMC, just to see what they really had to say.  The first article I found was written by a church leader in Portland, OR, who completely trashed President Trump for sending federal troops in to protect the federal courthouse during the riots. The writer of this article claimed that the troops were only there to harm the “peaceful protestors”. Never mind that the President was completely within the scope of his official duty to uphold the rule of law under the Insurrection Act of 1807.
The second article I found was entitled “Dismantle The Architecture Of Whiteness and White Supremacy” by Bishop LaTrelle Easterling.  First off, who even talks like that?
Anyway, go on www.umc.org and you’ll find all manner of things like that.  A great example is a video entitled “Deconstructing White Privilege” and an article “What Does It Mean To Be White?”, both by Dr. Robin DiAngelo.
It’s safe to say that the UMC has completely given itself over to the new “woke” dogma of Critical Race Theory. (There’s been a big push for this among the Baptists as well.)
For anyone not yet familiar with Critical Race Theory, or CRT,  in a nutshell it’s the idea that race and racism permeates every aspect of culture and society in general.
There are five tenets to the theory: 1) Racism is ordinary, 2) Interest convergence, meaning whites support racial justice only if there is something in it for them, 3) Race is a social construct by white people, 4) White people always dominate the “story” (i.e. history), while people of color only get to have a counter-story, 5) White people are actually the true beneficiaries of all civil rights legislation.
The initial ideas behind CRT date back to the 1970s.  The current trend stems from the writings of Reichard Delgado and Jean Stefancic who published an introduction to the theory in 2001.
That the UMC and other mainstream denominations would buy into CRT isn’t surprising.  For more than 30 years, “social justice” (i.e. justice in terms of the redistribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges within a society, or as stated in Oxford Languages, individuality gives way to the struggle for social justice)…has been the prevailing dogma.
It may have taken the progressive/socialists/liberals some time , but in reality it was a smooth process to take over major institutions, including most mainstream Christian church denominations.  On a personal level, I feel that the Lord is allowing this to happen in order to “shake the tree” and clean house.
What worked for me by leaving the church I attended might not work for you.  However, I would encourage anyone who is hearing more CRT and Social Justice instead of the Gospel over the pulpit to prayerfully consider their options.  Just as I believe we might have to split the country in order to save our freedom, you might have to vote with your feet regarding your place of worship.
FURTHER READING
I’ve previously written about the “emerging” church trend in another Clash article, “The Emergent Trend The Media Won’t Report On”, posted on 8/17/2017.
There are quite a few scripture verses that are applicable to understanding what we’re encountering through the church now.  On the view towards racism and gender: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye all are one in Christ Jesus.”  (Galatians 3:28)  In general, dealing with what is being thrown at us, check out: Proverbs 17:3 “Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.”; Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil.”; and 1st Jn. 4:4 “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world”.
Consider Luke 12:51 if you, too, are looking for a more Bible based fellowship:  “Suppose ye that I have come to give peace on earth?  I tell you Nay.  But rather division.”  These are the words of Christ in regard to what it takes to follow Him.
Lastly, never forget the powerful simplicity and truthfulness of Matthew 7:20:  “Therefore by their fruits shall ye know them.”
As always, thanks for your indulgence.
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION

For the last several months, I’ve been mentioning my upcoming album release. Well, “Salt 2: Trophy Hunting For Unicorns” is finally here. Along with myself and the cast of usual suspects from the last project, vocals are again by Petra’s John Schlitt, with some great guitar work by another former Petra member, Greg Hough. Shawn Browning, who is the owner/operator/alpha dog of Rottweiler Records, also makes a vocal contribution. However, while it’s not really a problem, I have to tell you that physical CDs are not yet available. Once again, due to the Wuhan Flu, the duplicating plant my record label uses is months behind schedule. The project can be acquired through all major digital music outlets. If that’s the way you like to obtain your music, you’re in luck.

I have also renamed my Facebook music page. In order to reflect the proper artist name of the new project, my page is now called John DeGroff & Friends, but can still be found at the same link. We have also started a merchandise page that will feature the new CD when available, along with some other projects I’ve played on throughout the years. There are also T-shirts available, and one really unique Petra related item. Please check out John DeGroff & Friends merch.
Also, please feel free to check out Rottweiler Records on Facebook. Thanks in advance for your support.

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John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.