Gratitude for the faithful men who are fighting against the egalitarian feminist attack upon God's Fatherhood...
(Tim--Partly in an effort to take into account some of the comments, I've changed this post substantially this Saturday evening. If you'd read it before, you might want to read it again.)
For years it's been clear the egalitarian feminist attack upon reformed ecclesiastical communions has not been content to limit itself to the Christian Reformed and Evangelical Presbyterian Churches, but is increasingly focused on our own Presbyterian Church in America. This became obvious to me while serving on our General Assembly's Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in the Military. The arguments I heard then concerning the meaning and purpose of sexuality were absolutely abysmal--particularly those emanating from sophisticated teaching elders who saw themselves as God's gift to the PCA provided to aid their country bumpkin colleagues at rural, small town, and southern churches in learning how to contextualize the Gospel within this postmodern world.
As I listened to them carefully, it was evident the sound bites they employed in denying the truth or application of God's order of sexuality everywhere but inside the elders meeting and pulpit Sunday morning perfectly reflected arguments I'd heard in prior years at presbytery and general assembly levels in the mainline Presbyterian Church (USA). You know: slavery, cultural context, wife abuse, barefoot and pregnant, you can't turn back the clock, people will laugh at us--that sort of thing.
Then, of course the conservatives had their own reasons for not standing in the gap, opposing the feminist heresy. There was that old battle axe of Southern Presbyterianism, the spirituality of the Church, that conveniently kept many from feeling any responsibility to oppose our civil magistrate sending off our mothers and sisters and daughters to die for us on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. And there was also the federal vision to deal with--that issue alone took so much time and energy there was little zeal left for contending for God's order of sexuality.
Which meant, concerning this ideology from Hell known as egalitarian feminism, that the church is almost completely silent in opposing this heresy. Not simply outside her walls, but inside them as well.
Did you listen for the word "obey" in the bride's vow at your PCA church last week? Ninety plus percent of our teaching elders have removed it from their wedding liturgy, but no one cares. Really, it's an historical artifact that's too embarrassing to use in our sophisticated urban, egalitarian, cultural context.
Yet we turn right around and have the chutzpah to claim we're card-carrying members of the anti-feminism army known as the PCA because our senior minister is a man and he doesn't allow any women to sit on his session.
The egalitarian feminist idolatry has proceeded to claim her victories in our midst. She's pulled some churches out of our ecclesiastical fellowship, but most haven't needed to leave. Instead, they've continued to make converts to their "a woman may do anything an unordained man may do" summary of the biblical doctrine of sexuality and those converts continue to make inroads within our own presbyteries and local churches, but also at our reformed colleges and seminaries.
So, concerning sexuality, when godly men speak and act in witness to God's pure Truth, their opponents huff and puff about being persecuted, about how irenic they are, about the evils of dogmatism, about their good will and submissiveness to their "fathers and brethren," about how much we all need to get on with what really matters--evangelism. "There's a whole world out there going to Hell, and you want to fight about who serves Communion and whether we ordain our deacons? Get a life, dude. I mean, really! You guys are just jealous of my success; of my platform and witness; of my winsome demeanor and mind-boggling approval ratings; so you carp and snipe and spit at me. Like I said, get a life!"
Many within the PCA and other reformed denominations sympathize with these complaints. But without the forthright and loving work of the men pursuing hard, masculine discipline of this heresy, our ecclesiastical fellowships will soon have Ichabod written over them.
We need to face the simple fact that the egalitarian feminist heresy never stays static. Its attack on God's Fatherhood is relentless, both outside and inside the Household of Faith, and day by day it gains or loses territory. Either it destroys lives and souls, or those lives and souls are protected by faithful shepherds wielding the Sword of the Spirit as they call out to God to silence the Evil One.
So this is written as a tribute and encouragement to these godly men and the wives and mothers and sisters who stand with them. May your tribe increase.
And partly because it's the five-hundredth anniversary of his birthday, here's something from John Calvin to strengthen our weak arms and knocking knees:
But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:19,20)
Let us remember to whom they made this answer. For this council did undoubtedly represent the Church; yet, because they abuse their authority, the apostles say they are not to be obeyed. ...The apostles further make clear that obedience offered to evil and unfaithful pastors, even though they exercise lawful authority in the Church, is contrary to God.
Whatever title then men may hold, they are to be listened to only on the condition that they do not lead us away from obeying God. So we must examine all their traditions by the rule of the Word of God. We must obey princes and others who are in authority, but only in so far as they do not deny to God His rightful authority as the supreme King, Father, and Lord. If such limits are to be observed in civil government, they ought to be of still greater importance in the spiritual government of the Church. ...whenever men become so proud that they shake off the yoke of God and desire to lay their own yoke upon us ...let us recall the sacred authority of God, which blows away the vain smoke of all human excellency.
-Calvin, Commentary on Acts 4:19,20, tr. by Torrance, pp. 119-121.