Do not the vows taken by elders regarding the constitution of the PCA and submission to brethren require that we (all of us) follow and abide by the polity of our church (in letter and spirit) until such time as that polity is changed through orderly constitutional process rather than by the drip-drip normalization-by-tolerated-violation approach of ecclesial antinomians—no matter how winsome and missional they be?
The fact that a significant number (likely hundreds) of Presbyterian Church in America congregations “have” female deacons or deaconesses or present females as holding the office of deacon or the imaginary office of deaconess is indisputable.* Also beyond question is the fact that a number of PCA churches do not ordain male deacons (presumably to create a unisex, egalitarian board of deaconing persons) is also beyond dispute.
Questions for PCA officers:
1. Has anyone considered the incremental-but-inevitable effect of allowing quasi-/non-ordained “officers” in a denomination?
2. How many members of PCA churches with female “deacons” or deaconesses (a term with no set meaning in our polity) know that the female deaconing persons are not actually officers? If members are confused it may be because some churches use the same nomination, training, and election processes for females who are called deacons or deaconesses as they do for men who are part of the diaconate.
3. What is the long-term effect of allowing churches to forego the ordination of one of the two offices our polity requires?
4. Have the de facto three-office/three-office-attracted pastors considered the effect that their position may have on our supposed firewall against ordaining female elders (of one kind or another)? In other words, will we move from “women can never be elders” to “women can never be preaching (or senior) pastors.”
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By Frederica Mathewes-Green — 1 year ago
Jesus didn’t come just to save us from the penalty for our sins; He came to save us from our sins—now, today, if we will only respond to the challenge and let Him. A nation of grownup Christians, courageous, confident, humble, and holy, would be more compelling than any smiley-face ad campaign. The Lord does not love us for our good parts and pass over the rest. He died for the bad parts and will not rest until they are put right. We must stop thinking of God as infinitely indulgent.
Forget what the Billboard charts say—to judge from church ads in the Yellow Pages, America’s favorite song is “I’m Mr. Lonely.” Churches are quick to spot that need and promise eagerly that they will be friendly, or be family, or just care. Apparently this is the Church’s principal product. When people need tires, they look up a tire store; when they start having those bad-sad-mad feelings, they shop for a church.
Here, for once, denominational and political divisions vanish. Churches across the spectrum compete to display their capacity for caring, though each has its own way of making the pitch. The Tabernacle, a “spirit-filled, multi-cultured church,” pleads, “Come let us love you,” while the Bible Way Temple is more formal, if not downright odd: “A church where no stranger need feel strangely.” (The only response that comes to mind is “Thank thee.”) One church sign in South Carolina announced, “Where Jesus is Lord and everybody is special,” which made it sound like second prize. And one Methodist congregation tries to get it all in: “A Christ-centered church where you can make new friends and form lasting relationships with people who care about you.”
But when Jesus preached, He did not spend a lot of time on “caring.” The first time we see Him, in the first Gospel, the first instruction He gives is “Repent” (Mark 1:15). From then on, it’s His most consistent message. Yes, He spoke words of comfort like “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden” (Matt. 11:28). But much more frequently He challenged His hearers, urging them to turn to God in humility and admit their sins. Even when told of a tragedy that caused many deaths, He repeated this difficult theme: “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:1-5).
We love the caring sayings of Jesus. We repeat them often, paste them onto felt banners, and print them on refrigerator magnets. We mostly ignore those on repentance.
We live in a time when it’s hard to talk about Christian faith at all, much less awkward topics like repentance. (No era finds repentance easy, but many have found it easier to talk about.) Paradoxically, we live in a very easy time. We are the wealthiest, healthiest, most comfortable generation in history. With less to struggle for, we become increasingly oriented toward pleasure. This all-too-natural inclination is what most unites us. America is a place of wild diversity, but we all meet at the shopping mall.
By Samuel D. James — 7 months ago
Written by Samuel D. James |
Tuesday, June 21, 2022
The recovery of American masculinity will be a counterrevolution of dignity, encouraging men to embrace their God-given strength, competitiveness, and desire for meaning as signposts pointing them toward a rich life of worship, temperance, and self-sacrifice.
The firebrand gender philosopher Camile Paglia once famously declared that there is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper. Provocative as always, Paglia’s point is that, historically speaking, the extremes of human achievement—both superlative genius and murderous sociopathy—tend to be occupied by men. Society, Paglia argues, must therefore pay close attention to masculinity because the stakes are particularly high. The trajectory of the American male over the past few decades is proving Ms. Paglia unnervingly correct.
Conservatives have often sensed an anti-masculine bias in elite spaces of journalism, higher education, and pop culture. This was the animating spirit in a recent speech by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., to the National Conservatism Conference. Hawley’s talk, titled “The Future of the American Man,” eloquently summarized many concerns that religious and traditionalist Americans have about contemporary masculinity.
Hawley pointed out that record numbers of young men are failing to graduate, work, or marry, and that this constitutes a genuine social crisis. Moreover, as Hawley observed, the emerging generation of American men do not seem to have a definite vision for their lives. Vocational ambition and community leadership are increasingly ceded to women, as many twenty and thirtysomething men languish in inactive lifestyles dominated by video games and pornography.
These are trends conservatives certainly should be talking about, and Hawley should be commended for talking so transparently about them. But if “The Future of the American Man” gets the symptoms correct, it names the disease only in part. Throughout the speech, Hawley casts the current plight of masculinity on “the Left,” arguing that third-wave feminism’s misandry is at the heart of Democratic and progressive policies, and thus, the primary agent of this crisis.
By E. Calvin Beisner — 1 year ago
Written by E. Calvin Beisner |
Thursday, December 16, 2021
COP-26 didn’t even bring any new progress toward the world’s developing countries’ meeting their pledge at 2009’s COP-15 in Copenhagen to transfer $100 billion per year to developing countries for climate finance, which they’ve not done. It said it regretted the failure and urged repentance. That’s all. No enforcement mechanism—just like with everything else COP-26 did.
Did anything good come from Glasgow?
Well, that depends on how far back you go.
Go back 245 years and you get Adam Smith’s An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations in 1776. That was most definitely good, the University of Glasgow professor of moral philosophy solidifying the growing case for free-market economies, arguably indispensable to the Industrial Revolution’s lifting more and more of humanity out of extreme poverty.
Go back another 8 years and you get Rev. John Witherspoon leaving his church in Paisley—then a small village outside Glasgow, now well within the Glasgow metro area—to become President of the College of New Jersey, which became Princeton University. That, too, was most definitely good, Witherspoon serving as a member of the Continental Congress, where he made a strong case for separating from Great Britain, and teaching moral philosophy, including politics, to 19 members of the Constitutional Convention, including primary drafter James Madison.
Jump forward to 1865 and you get Joseph Lister starting to develop his insights, based on work by Louis Pasteur, into the role of microscopic germs in causing infection, leading to his development of disinfectants, the practice of sterilizing surgical theaters and devices in hospitals for the first time, and eventually the household application of disinfectants. (One, Listerine, was developed just 14 years later by Joseph Lawrence, a chemist in St. Louis, Missouri.) That was undoubtedly good, preventing, in the century and a half since then, untold millions of deaths from infection.
Since the area was first inhabited several millennia ago because the River Clyde was great for fishing; since its founding as a town in the 6th century by the Christian missionary Saint Mungo; and since the founding of the University of Glasgow in 1451, Glasgow has blessed the world with an impressive number of scholars (including 8 Nobel Laureates)—historians, philosophers, theologians, lawyers and jurists, natural and medical scientists, and more. The world would be a poorer place without them.
But jump all the way forward to 2021, and the question, “Did anything good come from Glasgow?” could elicit a different answer: not much, maybe nothing. Or, ironically, a lot of good. It all depends on one’s perspective.
Glasgow was where the 26th Conference of Parties (COP-26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) took place. Government representatives from almost every nation, including 130 heads of state, were joined by UN bureaucrats, leaders and activists from hundreds of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with admission into the actual business meetings, and around 100,000 people who showed up for marches and protests before and during it.
The first day of The New York Times’s serial coverage of the two-week climate summit started by saying world leaders gathered “to debate how to deliver on the unmet promises of the past.” The same coverage the day the conference ended began:
Diplomats from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a major agreement aimed at intensifying global efforts to fight climate change by calling on governments to return next year with stronger plans to curb their planet-warming emissions and urging wealthy nations to “at least double” funding to protect poor nations from the hazards of a hotter planet.
Translated from bureaucratese, that amounts to: Failing to achieve anything substantive, diplomats agreed to try again next year.
To the extent those are an accurate summation of COP-26’s main purpose, it’s safe to say it achieved little if anything.
From the standpoint of people scared to death that we’re all going to fry 9 years from now (since it was 3 years ago that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, declared, “The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change”)—or maybe 15 years, or 80, or … whatever the time frame, we’re doomed unless we scotch fossil fuels and replace all their energy with wind, solar, and other “renewables”—from that standpoint, nothing good came out of Glasgow last month.
But then there are those who think human-induced carbon dioxide emissions do contribute to global warming, aka climate change, but that the warming
is nothing much in the grand scale of things,
will likely bring more benefits than harms,
even at its worst would only make the average person at the end of this century about 4.34 times rather than 4.5 times wealthier than today (as even the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change admits), and
would be accompanied by enormous greening of the planet and reduction of hunger as plants feast on increased atmospheric CO2.
From their standpoint—which is mine—that little to nothing came out of Glasgow is good.