Response to this site

    From: 	Carole Burton[]
    Sent: 	Thursday, November 27, 1997 11:16 PM
    To: 		lots of folks
    Subject: 	Thoughts  from Nfld.
It seems to me that the stranglehold which a small nucleus had on the UC is being broken. And much of it is due to the Internet - no longer can they keep us in the dark, and do as they please. And much of the control which they exercised, depended on that lack of awareness.

When I first learned of GC exec. decision this week, I was sick at heart. They basically said we are not a church which places importance on doctrinal standards, therefore all calls to discipline Bill Phipps because he was going contrary to basic doctrines of the church, are inconsequential.

"..we do not believe that faithfulness consists in assenting to particular statements. Rarely if ever do we use DOCTRINAL STANDARDS to exclude anyone from the circle of belonging." All our cries of departure from the 20 Articles of Faith became irrelevant.

At first I felt, "It's no use. Right will never triumph in these matters. These people are too smooth, too political. They spent years manoeuvering into control of all positions of power in this church."

But no! The control which a minority held over this church IS being broken. The growing network of concerned UC people, joined across the miles by e-mail, for information, encouragement and mutual support, is a major factor in this. And the earnest prayers of many for this church are bearing fruit. (Apart from that, we can accomplish nothing.)

The websites of Mark Fearnall, Tony Copple and the renewal groups are also vital in this - as well as United Online. Now we know almost instantly what is happening.

Another major factor is an emerging new LEADERSHIP! We have been as sheep without shepherds. The shepherds we had, mostly deserted to the other side, or left us in dismay over a church gone astray, or remained silent, gripped by a strange FEAR which came over this church in 1988- a paralyzing fear. Only a few leaders, strong in faith, remained to truly shepherd us.

I heard it said in those years that those "at the top" in this church felt it was only a matter of time until all theologically conservative elements were gone from the church - because the THEOLOGICAL COLLEGES were controlled by ultra-liberals, and aging would take care of the few conservative ministers who had not yet left the church. Any conservative laity who had not LEFT the UC would be leaderless, and that element would soon die out.

But God has surprised us! We have a new generation of ministers, and amazingly, they are NOT all ultra-liberals! In fact, I believe there are more young ministers DEEPLY committed to Jesus Christ, than the UC has had in YEARS. Yes, there are many ultra-liberals also, but I am amazed at the number of very intelligent, very dedicated, theologically-conservative young ministers who are coming "out of the woodwork", as it were - and the Internet is joining them together. They are the leaders whom God has provided for us.

And they are particularly suited for ministry in this church - for their faith was tested in the fires of the theological colleges which usually sought to turn them from their evangelical convictions. Some yielded to the pressure, but others only grew stronger. And having wrestled with much DOUBT and many strange new theologies, as well as the multitude of changing mores and shifting values of our culture, they are especially equipped to give solid Christian leadership in this strange society in which we live.

They also have some things which they will need to learn from the elders amongst us!

I don't know about you, but I sense that the icy grip of FEAR which almost PARALYZED most of our ministers since 1988, is beginning to THAW - much like the thaw in Narnia, after "death worked backward", and Aslan came alive!

One evidence of this is the 16 out of 31 UC ministers in Ottawa area who dared to disagree with the Moderator's views on Jesus. (Ottawa Citizen, Nov.19) In most areas in the UC since 1988 very few ministers would dare to go against the ruling hierarchy.

Now that the ultra-liberal agenda has come down to Jesus, MANY ministers across the church are finally saying "No!"

Here in Nfld., BOTH Districts (there are no Presbyteries here) rejected the Moderator's statements.

WHAT CAN WE DO In the Ottawa Citizen article on the GC executive decision re. the moderator, Virginia Coleman was reported as saying that church members and congregations are still free to launch formal proceedings to force Mr. Phipps to resign. What would it take?

Former moderator Marion Best, in an article in the Vancouver Sun. (carried in Ottawa Citizen Nov.15) said only 5% of UC people would oppose Bill Phipps’ views of Jesus - the "conservative" wing of the church, centred mostly in the Maritimes, southern Ont. and Alta. (Rev. Don Anderson, on Tony Copple's website, tells us where Marion, in an e-mail to him, says she got that figure!) She actually believes only the renewal groups within the church oppose Mr. Phipps' views on Jesus.

We need to urge EVERY congregation to voice to GC executive and to their Presbyteries, their views on this.

And we need someone in each Conference to keep a record of what the congregations are saying - have copies of their statements on file.

If MOST congregations are opposed to Bill Phipps' views on these matters, surely there is SOMETHING we can do about GC executive going so contrary to the desires of the people in the pews. Especially in a real turn-around in WHO we appoint as our representatives to GC executive.

Also, would it be helpful to lead our congregations in a study of the Twenty Articles of Faith, if they have not already done so - perhaps at the same time looking at Rev. Brian Wilkie's NEW set of "Twenty Articles, 1997" (available on his website, a brilliant satirical expression of UC theology of recent years, which would help our people realize how far we have drifted.

GC Executive in its recent meeting tried to change WHAT the basic doctrines of the church are! They thought by a declaration, they could make the "doctrines" of the UC include the documents "A New Creed", "The Lordship of Jesus" and "The Authority and Interpretation of Scripture", IN ADDITION TO the Basis of Union (Twenty Articles of Faith). Surely this cannot go unchallenged.

Actually, in a theologically- and scripturally-aware church, those documents would have been declared ultra-vires from the start - contrary to basic doctrine of our church. But they were VERY skillfully worded, and most were deceived by them. They contain enough TRUTH to make them sound acceptable. But they also contain key concepts which have been USED to take the church STEP BY STEP into theology which is far from the Twenty Articles - and indeed far from theology of the Christian church worldwide and down through the centuries.

"Mending the World" and "Who IS Jesus for the World Today" have been skilfully put together in the same way. They contain enough truth to make them sound acceptable to many.

But Jesus as "representative of God" will never satisfy anyone who truly loves him, and who knows him as God and Saviour. It's a long way from "the Mighty God" to "representative of God"- (like, say, Billy Graham?)

The Jesus presented in "Mending.." p.10,11,13 and "Who is Jesus.." p.12-14, 17 bares very little resemblance to the Jesus I know. For one thing, he evidently never performed any miracles - of healing etc! And he is not going to return to earth in power and glory- unless this is a tiny detail not important enough to be mentioned therein.

But then of course, if he is not divine, he couldn't do these things anyhow.

(Incidentally, in the GC exec. statement, though Scripture is accorded very little authority in our church, it is used to downgrade church DOCTRINE. Since the accusation is that our moderator has gone contrary to our basic doctrine, they used the very Scripture they love to ignore, as a basis for reducing the importance of church doctrine - it has only a "subservient authority", compared to Scripture. True enough - but ..! Word games - since Scripture has even LESS authority amongst us than doctrine has.)

Carole Burton
Clarke's Beach, Nfld.


From: 	Carole Burton[]
Sent: 	November 21, 1997 12:19 PM
To: 	Copple, Tony
Subject:   Moderator
Hello! I am a Newfoundlander, and REALLY appreciate the web sites you two have set up re. the moderator etc. The LISTING of newspaper articles etc is VERY helpful - especially to people like myself, new to the net - if you didn't list these things, many of them I'd never find. For one thing, most of us would never find the newspaper articles - we wouldn't know about them on the day of publication, when they would be more easily-accessible- and after that day, we'd NEVER find them- without links such as yours.

I also really appreciate your own statements about Jesus. In these crazy times, we all need affirmation of our faith.
Mark, I met your Dad on the COC-sponsored march at GC 1990 in London. I was amazed that a Salvation Army officer would transfer into a crazy church like ours! Yet I know in recent years the Lord has called many people - very committed evangelical/theologically conservative or whatever term one would use- into ministry in this church- so he mustn't be finished with this church yet!
My husband is a recently-retired UC minister who has had a strong evangelical ministry here in Nfld.
**Can you tell me why I can't access your website, Tony, with the identifier given, top of articles retrieved from your site and stated in the Ottawa Citizen article of Nov.13. I'd like to tell others how to access it, but the only way I can reach it is through Mark's site, by the links.

Jesus is Lord!
Carole Burton

[By Tony Copple: much appreciate your kind words, Carole, and much more your words of loving faith and wisdom. My site is at with a mirror version at You should be able to get into one of these if not both most times of day, but sometimes the traffic is high as more people hear of them, bless them!]


From: (Brian Wilkie)
    Subject: RE: Thoughts from Nfld.
    Date: Fri, 28 Nov
Carol's whole note is great, so if you haven't gotten this one, ask Carole to send you a copy- don't ask me, because I already have your address!

I wonder: remember that it was Gutenberg's press that was instrumental in breaking the power of a corrupt church. (Instrumental indeed -- an instrument in the hands of the Almighty!) I pray that the internet might do as much for this generation!

On a practical note, make sure that your contributions are getting widely circulated: take a look at the all the addresses on the notes being sent to you. and add them to your address book. I just grabbed a dozen new contacts from Carol's last note, and have asked her to tell me the real names that go with the addresses.

I for one would really appreciate it if everyone who gets this note would write a short note in reply (reply to all) and introduce yourself briefly to me, and perhaps the rest of the crowd.

Give at least your name, location, email address and web page URL if you have one. Tell me if you can receive "rich text formatted notes"{RTF} (If you're using "windows messaging" or "Microsoft Exchange" or "Convene for windows" you can.)

BTW, I am Rev. Brian Wilkie, Dominon Chalmers United Church, co-labourer with Dr. Allen Churchill.
you can send me rich text notes.

If any one know an Email address for Rev Peter Cowley, or Mr Stephen Cowley of Grimsby or Hamilton, or Rev Drew Maxwell of Burlington, please let me know it.