You’re dumb. No, you are.

imprrh@gmail.com —  October 18, 2014

This is not a post about Women’s Ordination, but I will use the present debate to illustrate a point, a problem and a perspective that has become too common in our church. I have seen the following statements being made in the past couple of weeks:

*People that don’t believe in women’s ordination are male chauvinist pigs that hate women and want to send all of us back to the Stone Age.

*People that believe that the bible supports women’s ordination are part of a conspiracy from Satan/catholic church/the world (or all of them) to bring down the Adventist church.

Frankly, I’m tired. I have had enough vitriol to last me for three lifetimes. I have diagnosed myself with “I’m fed up with the infighting” disease.

So, whatever your convictions, may I offer three suggestions:

  1. Freedom.

One of my favorite phrases is: in the essentials, unity. In the non-essentials, liberty. In everything love. Even though I have reached the conclusion that there is no biblical command to impede women from serving as fully functioning ordained pastors, I understand that faithful, loving, studious and spiritual people have reached a very different conclusion. We can debate, we can share perspectives, but I am not allowed to name-call or make declarations as to the level of spirituality you possess. In the last week, a person I consider a friend called everyone who believed in WO as people who were deceived, from the devil and Satan’s agents. That grieves me. We can do better.

  1. Fear

Frankly, the arguments based on fear gets us nowhere. I see it in many social media conversations. I see fear that next year the General Conference will vote down not only WO but any type of ordination. I see fear that if we ordain women, then the next day we will be appointing gay pastors. I see fear that this is just opening the door for the Jesuits to infiltrate the church. Fear paralyzes. Fear shuts down rational thinking and destroys discourse. Fear is never the solution. Which brings me to my last point.

  1. Faith.

I believe we give the devil/society/humans too much credit. We act like this is the first time a controversy has stirred the pot in the church. We have selective amnesia and forget that at the end of the day, this church was here before us and will be here after we are gone. Have faith in God, for once! This is not a McDonalds we are trying to operate here. This is a spiritual organization. As such, spiritual solutions are required. Have faith. That doesn’t mean you stop doing, but base your operations from the perspective of faith. Freedom. Not fear.

So, let’s start by praying for our leaders. Followed immediately by specific prayers for people that are “on the other side”. Followed by prayers for yourself, so you are able to remain true to your convictions while keeping an open mind and extended arms.

PS- Keep comments with a tone of Christian love.

imprrh@gmail.com

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3 responses to You’re dumb. No, you are.

  1. Over the past 30+ years of pastoring I have found myself encouraging attitudinal politically conservative church members to pray for the leaders of our country. They were certain the leaders (Democrats) were going to ruin the country, etc. In spite of Paul’s injunction, many refused. I have had several who did pray and in no uncertain terms told the Lord to kill, put to death, those leaders; sooner rather than later. Sadly, some of my self proclaimed Biblically conservative family and friends have been taking that same attitude of praying for the death or driving out of those who do not believe in the “Headship of MEN doctrine” or are for the the Ordination of Women in anything, let alone the Pastoral Ministry. And they do vehemently believe that this debate is an essential doctrine and that there can be NO unity with teachers of false doctrine.

    I have found that my friends who are so angry against W/O are honestly fearful, not just of W/O but many more things. And as I listen to them, they will claim to trust God, but are fearful that God won’t intervene the way they insist He must. Much of it seems to be a control issue in some deep seated way.

    I particularly agree with your suggestion of having faith in God. We are not a McDonald’s, and we should not try to run our church on that basis. Personally, I believe that the more we have moved away from being a “movement” and more of an “institution” we have moved away from Christ’s leadership methods and become more Grecian. Ruling over, instead of serving.

    I have a question for you. Where in the New Testament does it say that “Pastors” have taken the place of “Priests”? If in fact there is something to that, then your previous suggestion of mandatory retirement of 70 is way to old. If their is no stipulation of Pastor=Priest, then it would seem that it would be a “Spiritual Gift” and maybe we’re going about this whole thing like the blind leading the blind. And all this arguing really is an ethical/moral dilemma.

    Thanks for your suggestions, already trying to encourage those attitudes. May God have mercy on His Church.

  2. Thank you so much for the balance. I have been accused of many of the things thrown at the opposite – whatever that might be. (see 2 Timothy 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, 2 Timothy 3:2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, [but] gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.) I appreciate that we can affort tto be kind (gentle) to each other as the Bible admonishes and as Jesus exemplefied in His earth life. Even when He had been proclaimed Son of David – and in that position rebuked the leaders – there were tears in His voice as He spoke His scathing rebukes. [But it was only after the people had accepted Him as ‘son of David’ did He even do that. It was not what He did for the most part.) One conclusion I have at this time is that God may still be using some who have been so strong (one side or another) in that they may be able to still lead folks to Christ in ways I will never be able to do. On the other hand I agree that I should be praying more for those who ‘disagree’ with my conclusions at this time. God bless