Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Martyrdom of St. Norm

Proof that the culture of spin has evolved beyond the political is found in a new website "Friends of Norm".
This website is the second step in the beatification of Dr. Norman Kansfield, President of New Brunswick Seminary in New Jersey. Dr.Kansfield is under increasing pressure following the revelation that this past summer he married his daughter to another woman in Massachusetts.

The first step in painting "St. Norm" as a martyr for the cause came in a letter sent by Dr. Kansfield to the clergy of the Reformed Church in America. A letter in which he offered no apology for his actions, but rather attempted to portray himself as "one of you." In this letter he proclaimed himself: a conservative, evangelical and solidly reformed individual.

Friends of continues the process of painting Dr. Kansfield as a loving father, a progressive thinker and banner holder of God's grace and love. The website paints in glowing terms Dr. Kansfield's path in ministry, his "successes" at the seminary and the positive impact his actions have upon the world.

What the website fails to note however, is that Dr. Kansfield's actions are in violation of the very office he holds by virtue of his ordination in the RCA and his recognition as a Professor of Theology by the RCA's General Synod. A General Synod that repeatedly over the years in addressing the issue of homosexuality has declared it to be incompatible with Scripture.

See the following link for the latest statement of the RCA on homosexuality:

Further the website fails to address the fact that this is not the first time Dr. Kansfield has attempted to foist his views upon the RCA. In the 1990's, Dr. Kansfield was instrumental in the hiring of a lesbian professor to the staff of New Brunswick Seminary. The resulting uproar from the churches involved a buyout of this professor's contract and the loss of financial support from a number of Reformed Churches. Financial woes have continued over the years as a result of this action.

Also, while the website praises the work of Dr. Kansfield in improving the seminary, it does not tell us that while enrollment has doubled, the percentage of Reformed Church students has declined dramatically. In fact, the diverse student body of the seminary includes many who hold views antithetical to the doctrines of the Reformed Church.

While this website offers you a chance to be numbered among the friends of Norm, it doesn't tell you about those who are no friends of Norm. We read nothing of how Dr. Kansfield and his "friends" have been lurking at the ReNew site (a group for evangelical RCA pastors and others to talk about needed changes in the denomination.) and compiling a list of Churches and pastors who have taken a vocal stand against his actions. Nor do we hear testimonies of some of Norm's friends who have "lovingly" confronted those who disagree with his actions. Perhaps I will be allowed to share my story of being called a liar, a thief or a homophobe.

But I won't hold my breath waiting for an invitation, because I am not a friend of Norm and all the spin in the world won't change my mind.


hans brinker said...

why does rev. kansfield look like he has the love of jesus down in his heart - he smiles, he's kind, he's joyous and the people who speak out against him seem to sneer and scowl and have bad fashion? just a question. perhaps you will address this in your next random response?

Scribe said...

Nice blog! You may wear sweatsuits on trans-atlantic flights, and you may scowl at classis meetings, but the truth has set you free. Preach it brother!

Dutch Girl said...

How do I find this ReNew site? Can't seem to find it. Thanks.

cityslicker said...

Let's say the Reformed Church viewed interracial civil marriages the way it apparently views homosexual civil marriages. Would you still think that the President's actions were wrong just because they went against the church's written policy? (Jerry Falwell warned in 1958, "If we mix the races in schools, in churches, the ultimate end will be the social mixing which can only lead to marital relationships.")