CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Twisted Clergy, Deception and Abortion

May 2, 2009

A ‘wolf in sheep’s clothing’ is a very common expression, used to denote someone who comes into the flock to destroy it; that is, it describes an enemy who uses deception and cunning to feign friendship, when the real purpose is to bring trouble and ruin.

Like so many popular expressions today, this one goes back to the Bible. In this case it was Jesus who spoke these words. Aesop had earlier made use of this image in one of his fables, but Jesus used the phrase to speak of those who would claim to come in and look after God’s people, when instead they came to destroy them.

The actual verse, Matthew 7:15, says this: “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” The immediate context is Matt. 7:13-23 in which Jesus warns against deception and religious frauds. As he says in verse 21: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

There are many other similar warnings found in the New Testament. As but one example, Paul admonished the Ephesian elders with these words, “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock” (Acts 20:28-29).

I have documented cases of wolves in sheep’s clothing elsewhere on this site. Many individuals come to mind. And sometimes whole denominations seem to fit the description. The Episcopalian Church in America seems in many ways to serve as a prime example as the sort of thing Jesus and the apostles warned against.

Let me mention just one example (of many). I was recently informed of a certain Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, an Episcopal priest who seems quite representative of her denomination. Her website features sermons on “gay pride” and all the usual trendy topics this ultra-liberal denomination is into.

It seems that last year she delivered a sermon on the “blessings of abortion”. Yes you heard me right. This religious leader told her congregation that abortion is a great blessing from God and we must continue to work for abortion.

Her “sermon” (if you want to call it that – it is more of a feminist pro-death activist speech) is entitled, “Our Work Is Not Done”. There are a number of incredible features to be noted about this anti-life tirade. The first, and perhaps most important, is the way she uses Scripture.

And the way she uses it is by not using it at all! There is not one biblical passage mentioned in her entire sermon. Not one! Of course this makes perfect sense when we consider an apostate denomination like the Episcopalian.

While there are plenty of pro-life passages to be found in the Bible, there are no pro-abortion passages to be found anywhere in Scripture. No wonder her talk is Scripture-free. But there is another reason for this. It has often been noted that liberal churches are much more likely to use as their preaching text the most recent editorial from The New York Times than to actually use a biblical text.

So this is all par for the course here. She simply picks a trendy lefty social issue and pontificates on that for half an hour. Indeed, while the word “God” is mentioned a few times (clearly stripped of all biblical content), Jesus is never mentioned in this talk.

So she is seeking to feed her congregation by pushing radical social issues, and never once referring to the man from whom Christianity gets its name. But no self-respecting wolf would want to spend much time talking about the man from Galilee anyway. Instead they will ramble on about the latest trendy leftwing cause. (And if they do refer to Jesus, it is to turn him into a revolutionary leftist political activist.)

Let me cite a few choice paragraphs from her pro-death sermon. Consider this one: “Let me tell you something. Any argument that puts men alone at the center – for good or for bad – any discussion of women’s reproductive health that ends up being all about men, is not feminism. Nor, for that matter, is it Christian, or reflective of any God I recognize. And as long as anyone can even imagine such an argument, our work is not done.”

Note several things here. First, she clearly puts her feminism before her Christianity. Yes, we have gathered as much already. For her, Christianity is simply the bondservant to whatever trendy social activism she is spouting at the moment.

And then she of course creates a straw man. Who is putting men first here? The issue is human life, and the right of unborn babies to exist. And given that half of all the aborted babies are male, why shouldn’t men have a voice in all this anyway?

Here is another gem: “When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.”

This is just another bit of pro-abortion propaganda. As if poor economic conditions justify killing another human being. The truth is, there are all sorts of people who are poor and ill – does that mean they can bump off other family members with impunity? Just think of how much better we could do financially if we killed grandpa, or snuffed out that teenage son who eats so much.

Or consider her remarks about civil disobedience: “Let me say a bit more about that, because the religious community has long been an advocate of taking principled stands of conscience – even when such stands require civil disobedience. We’ve supported conscientious objectors, the Underground Railroad, freedom riders, sanctuary seekers, and anti-apartheid protestors. We support people who put their freedom and safety at risk for principles they believe in.”

This is more incredible waffle. And how dare she use the Underground Railroad as an example. This of course refers to the network of people who helped slaves escape to the free north in America in the nineteenth century. But there is no better analogy to the plight of the unborn than that of slaves. In both case, the individual in question is considered to be a second-class citizen, the property of another, to do with as the owner pleases. The slave master treats the slave as a non-person, and the pro-abortionist treats the unborn baby as a non-person as well.

She finishes her “sermon” with these words: “These are the two things I want you, please, to remember – abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Let me hear you say it: abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. Abortion is a blessing and our work is not done. I want to thank all of you who protect this blessing – who do this work every day: the health care providers, doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, who put your lives on the line to care for others (you are heroes – in my eyes, you are saints); the escorts and the activists; the lobbyists and the clinic defenders; all of you. You’re engaged in holy work.”

It does not get much more incredible than this: now abortionists are saints! Those who make big profits by cutting babies to pieces or burning them to death with saline solutions are saints! And bear in mind that in biblical terminology a saint is someone who is set apart for God, a holy person, sanctified for God’s work.

So our “Christian” wolf is telling us that the baby killers are holy, sanctified and set about for God’s special work. I am flabbergasted. I really don’t know what to say.

No wonder Jesus reserved his harshest and sternest words for those who would twist God’s word and lead people astray. He warned that it would be better for such people to have a large slab of concrete hung around their necks and be thrown into the sea (eg., Luke 17:1-3).

Jesus took this kind of deception and betrayal very seriously indeed and so should we. If we wonder why the church is in such a miserable condition, it is because we have allowed denominations and individuals like this to become the very thing Jesus warned against. There are far too many wolves in the flock, and some housecleaning is long overdue.

katherineragsdale.blogspot.com/2009/04/about-time.html

[1476 words]

30 Responses to Twisted Clergy, Deception and Abortion

  • Appalling and from the depths of Hell. Abortion is a compulsory satanic rite of the feminist movement. Who would have thought that cutting up babies burning them to death and piercing their little skulls and sucking out their brains would become the multi billion dollar industry of death that it has become? Since the secular seventies and the abortion on demand cultism the inevitable and rapid decline of previously Christian countries has been written in the blood of tens and tens of millions of little lives.

    Just one factory of death in East Melbourne opposite Jolimont station has destroyed over a quarter of a million baby lives. It is situated a block away from the prestigious Hilton hotel on Wellington Parade.

    Jennifer Parfenovics

  • Once upon a time I used to shudder when someone spirit alive Christian would say that were going to theological college. I had seen so munch ‘quenching of the spirit by such colleges.

    What what you have shared above Bill is the end fruit of not only quenching the spirit but of also quenching the word of Yahweh and Y’shua.

    Is it time for more Martin Luther’s to stand up and leave all that is apostate? I say yes!

    Ray Robinson

  • Thanks Ray

    Of course it depends on the theological college. Some highly honour the word of God. I went to theological college, and hopefully I have neither quenched the Spirit nor apostatized. In fact, I even lecture at theological colleges. There is clearly a place for theological education, as I have argued elsewhere. So we have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale is a perfect example of complete and utter apostasy explicitly warned about in the Bible. Her deviant teachings are clearly at odds with God’s clear Word yet there seems to be no problem finding naïve and doctrinally ignorant believers to swallow that rubbish. To the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale I say: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).

    Nino Suraci

  • It’s not so much churches like the Episcopalians that are the problem given that anyone can recognise them as apostate. The more dangerous ones are those that mix truth with deception and are therefore not so easy to identify. These are the “wolves in sheep’s clothing” whereas the Episcopalians are more like ‘wolves in wolf’s clothing’.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • “While there are plenty of pro-life passages to be found in the Bible, there are no pro-abortion passages to be found anywhere in Scripture.”

    Define life. Is sperm not life? The average ejaculation has 7 million sperm. Is god killing 7million – 1 lives every time a woman gets pregnant? And what about miscarriages? Are these not abortions performed by god himself?

    Not every piece of living tissue and goo is a human being. Some has the potential to become such, but future potential should not be confused with what actually is now.

    Arthur Brash

  • The Episcopalians are now bearing the fruits of their disobedience in ordaining priestesses.
    Michael Watts

  • Thanks Arthur

    But you are simply making some basic conceptual errors here. Of course when I speak of “pro-life” I do so in the context of the abortion debate. I “pro-lifer” is obviously someone who is referring to an unborn baby, and argues that he or she has an intrinsic right to life.

    So no one is talking here about all living things, whether sperm or goo. We are talking specifically about the human embryo – a genetically unique individual who is simply making use of mum’s food and shelter. The baby is completely independent of mum or dad otherwise, and has his or her own unique genetic identity. Even pro-abortion feminist Naomi Wolf has conceded that the “pro-life slogan, ‘Abortion stops a beating heart’ is incontrovertibly true. While images of violent fetal death work magnificently for pro-lifers as political polemic, the pictures are not polemical in themselves: they are biological facts. We know this”.

    An unborn baby is not a potential human being. He or she is already a human being at an early stage of development.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Arthur, it seems that in your haste to parrot your atheistic indoctrination you have missed the title and context of the subject. “Twisted Clergy, Deception and Abortion,” the concern is that those who have been given the responibility to teach the Biblical world view are not. So therefore from a Christian’s point of view they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. There are enougth people peddling child murder outside the Church without false clergy making it their mission as well.

    Nino Suraci

  • Come on Arthur, are you deliberately “playing dumb” here? I’m not trying to be offensive, but I don’t know how else to put it as I’m always baffled when people make statements that reveal such misinformation.

    A sperm and an egg, to put it very simply, are the delivery system of mum and dad’s dna. Put together, a completely new human being is created at the moment of fertilisation. It is then, neither sperm nor egg, nor even a fertilised egg (in terms of human reproduction, there is no such thing as a fertilised egg) once fertilisation has occurred you have a new human being.

    Your life Arthur, began at this point, you were not “potential” human life, you were – and are still – “actual” human life. You had the potential to grow, just as a teenager has the potential to grow, but you did not have the potential to be more alive, you were just as alive then, as you are now.

    And regarding miscarriages being abortions performed by “God himself”…..are you saying that since miscarriages occur then deliberate abortion, the killing of human life via a “doctor” who uses instruments to slice up and then suction the baby out is ok?

    If that is your argument, then it logically follows that the death of 2 year olds, from disease for example, should also be considered a murder committed by God, so therefore, we should all feel ok about people murdering two year olds?

    Regarding the very silly woman in Bills article, i quote her in order to respond:

    ““When a woman wants a child but can’t afford one because she hasn’t the education necessary for a sustainable job, or access to health care, or day care, or adequate food, it is the abysmal priorities of our nation, the lack of social supports, the absence of justice that are the tragedies; the abortion is a blessing.””

    The abortion, in this case, is an assault. It does nothing to help her and does nothing to foster the political will needed, to change the circumstances that make her vulnerable to abortion. Why help women out of poverty and disadvantage? They can just have an abortion.

    Kelly Williams

  • Galatians 3:27-29 (New International Version): “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    1 Peter 2: 9-10: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

    For those who are not entirely informed, the American Episcopal Church is actually in schism. There are still conservative congregations who have not accepted the new liberalisations (apostasies) and are seriously considering placing themselves under the authority of the African Episcopal Church. Some may already have.

    As for the American Episcopal Church being punished for allowing women into the priesthood, what about electing an openly gay priest to the office of bishop? At the risk of seeming crass, I do not believe the absence of a penis automaticly disqualifies a human being from the pastorate. If you’ll excuse the expression, very few men in the existing Christian pastorate would have a prayer of qualifying for the priesthood/pastorate under the exacting law of Moses. However engaging in sexual sin of any type, whether openly or in secret, has always been God’s disqualifer for any sort of office of authority within the church.

    M.E. Huffmaster

  • Wow, this absolutely flawed me! Abortion is murder, maybe she needs to be reminded of the consequences of one who commits murder. I certainly wouldn’t want to be in her parish if she believes what she preaches.
    Esther Smith

  • @ M.E. Huffmaster.

    Ah, but gender runs deeper than mere physical appearance, at least if we take a biblical look at things. It is oh-so popular these days to believe that equality = identical, that a woman and man must be copies of each other in order to be equal (I am making a general statement, not criticizing you directly in this).

    But the Bible, and reality (the two are the same…), says otherwise. Men and women are very different, from outward appearance to the ways we think, to the values and strengths we have, expressions, etc.

    The most relevant point is the importance of the male-female relationship in the bible, and the roles they play. Throughout both Testaments we see constant expression of God being the leader and His people/church being a bride, and the relationship between them is clear.

    So too for man and woman, where (in my simple understanding) the man is a leader and the female the {I have forgotten the Hebrew word used in Genesis}.

    Rather than put it in terms of “disqualify”, I would take the approach of “what we were designed to be, what our relational role is”.

    Feel free to expound/correct anything I have said, however.

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney

  • Thanks guys

    But before we get too far down the path of debating the merits or otherwise of women’s ordination, I might nip it in the bud. It is certainly an important issue, but it is not really germane to the topic at hand. Perhaps I will pen an article one day on this subject, and then the gloves can come off! (Actually I hope it will remain a civilised debate!) Thanks for your understanding, cooperation and patience here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Was the congregation in agreement with this fruit loop? Or was she plastered with rotten fruit?
    David Visser

  • The movie Amazing Grace is well worth watching. It depicts one person’s courage and perserverance against the evil of slavery. A useful guide in our fight against abortion.
    Stefan Pittari

  • Aha. Sorry Bill.

    Guess I sidetracked cause there isn’t much to comment on the actual issue. What can we say that isn’t obvious?

    The Bible is the ultimate reference for Christian lives, isn’t it?

    Tristan Ingle, Sydney.

  • Katherine Hancock (notice I don’t use the term Rev in her case) is either a saboteur or she is mad- quite mad. Also Arthur Brash draws a very long bow if he equates a miscarriage (God’s fault?) with the lucrative work of the abortionist. God has set out the laws of nature and given us free will. There are any number of reasons why miscarriages occur naturally, just as there are accidents happening all the time. However abortions are deliberate acts by surgeons, execising (wrongly) their free will.

    I heard one dunce comment in defence of abortion the weak and corny old argument (which has been done to death), “What would Jesus say?” Except for some poor woman, who has been bullied against her will to have an abortion, I’m sure Jesus will have his say, of the others’ disgraceful behaviour, on the day of judgement.
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Sick, sick, sick!
    To advocate abortion is to deny that man was created in God’s image. Saving whales is regarded as more important than protecting the lives of unborn babies. We live in a very sick society. A warning to all of us not to follow blindly our church leaders when they stray from the truth.

    Glenda Morgan WA

  • There was an abortionist in Rockford, Illinois named Ragsdale who drove a blood red Mercedes. I wonder if she is related?

    Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ chapter 3 or 4 on ‘means and ends’ mentions sending out high profile loons to say incredibly ‘off the wall’ things to make your crazy suggestions seem balanced.

    So in the USA, President Obama can be for partial birth abortion of a viable child and for the abandoned starving of an abortion surviving child, but do so regrettably and speak of it soberly. He can even appoint a fiscal benefactor and best friend of abortionist extraordinaire George Tiller (even moderates call him ‘Tiller the Killer’) and appoint this devotee as Secretary of HEALTH and HUMAN services.

    BUT, and this is where Olinsky is instructive, Obama and his supporters can always say “Well, Barack is no Ragsdale”. Clever. But I do hear howling behind that fleece.

    Joe Whitchurch, Indianna, USA

  • Joe,

    And I could imagine the potential marketing takes on this:

    Obama – up to 50% less Satanic than Ragsdale!

    Barry O – Molech now comes in a easier-to-swallow version

    I was going to think of more but it’s actually not funny at all. About 800,000 lives every week, globally. That woman is certifiably insane. Or just evil. Jet black.

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks, Bill.

    Ms Ragsdale (I won’t call her “reverend” because Ms Ragsdale’s pro-death stance proves to me she doesn’t deserve the title.) is one of the blind leading the blind into the pit. I don’t know if there is a “geranium growing in her cranium” or if she’s possessed by a Jezebel spirit, but it’s rather obvious that there’s something very wrong with her…..and with the people who would take anything Ms Ragsdale has to say to heart. But Ms Ragsdale’s spouting off does not concern me as much as the quiet undercurrent of this form of madness infecting society as a whole. Needless to say, Ms Ragsdale is only the visible tip of the iceberg and seasoned sailors know it’s what lies well beneath the surface that sinks a ship.

    M.E. Huffmaster

  • Unfortunately this nut is not alone, apparently there’s a whole coven of murderess clergy actively involved in promoting child sacrifice. Check out the headlines:
    ‘Pro-Choice’ Clergy Mark ‘Roe’ Anniversary By ‘Blessing’ Abortion Clinic
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-balan/2008/01/24/pro-choice-clergy-mark-roe-anniversary-blessing-abortion-clinic
    Nino Suraci

  • Many thanks for the tip Nino. I feel another article coming on!

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Bill, Thanks for this contribution exposing this emmisary of evil.
    Stan Fishley

  • For evidence of further twisted clergy, go to Berit Kojos’s web site ‘www.crossroad.to’ and see what Brian Mclaren is saying about those of us who believe that Christ will return.
    Wayne Pelling

  • I am sick of the biased news coverage on the affairs of St Mary’s Church in Brisbane.

    The media is controlled by religion-hating people.

    http://www.news.com.au/couriermail/story/0,23739,25433188-5012471,00.html

    Jane Petridge

  • Bill, this woman is mad! No one in their right mind could speak about human life in this fashion…the smallest and most innocent of all human beings!
    Jane Byrne

  • Thanks Jane Petridge

    At this very moment ABC television is airing yet another story on St. Mary’s. It is of course praising the renegades to the hilt, while demonising the official Catholic line. I turned it off after two minutes. In that time it was clear where the story was going, including one of the rebel priests referring to the establishment church as being like the Nazis. So very typical of the ABC.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thankfully Bill our local minister is very much against abortion. I really feel that these feminist type preachers are expressing the issues of the day just to gain popularity with the majority. The fact that they don’t align their thinking with the Bible should in any reasonable society prevent them from expounding views so contrary to God’s will. I believe that a baby is a real human life in the womb after just a month of gestation. Every reasonable thinking mother will feel guilty if she takes this life away by her conscious decision. I applaud what you are doing and please keep up the good work.
    Geoff Dean, UCA Scottsdale Cluster Secretary and Lay Preacher.

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