If at first you don't succeed: and now, it's the SJC...

(David/Tim) When they couldn't get state legislatures to embrace abortion, men like Bernard Nathanson from New York City were pleased to have the US Supreme Court issue their 1973 ruling, Roe v. Wade, throwing out the western world's historic laws against abortion in one fell swoop across all fifty states. It was the exercise of raw judicial power. And speaking of judicial power...

At next week's PCA General Assembly in Nashville the Nominating Committee has put up these men for the Standing Judicial Commission: Bryan Chapell, Bruce Terrell, and Sam Wheatley.

Bryan Chapell, a teaching elder candidate for the Standing Judicial Commission, has had years to condemn or oppose the introduction of woman officers into the life of the PCA by Redeemer Presbyterian Church of Metro New York Presbytery, as well as the creeping of this practice across our denomination. Sadly, such concern finds no place in Bryan's strategic plan.

Pastor Sam Wheatley, another teaching elder candidate for the SJC, has this to say about the Strategic Plan Bryan is promoting:

"To me, the Strategic Plan is a hopeful call to remembering our passion."

Sam agrees with Bryan's call for the PCA to create "safe places" to talk, and to provide "more seats at the table (for) women (to have an) advisory voice on committees, (S)essions, Boards, speaking at gatherings, consulted by presbyteries. In the face of a Strategic Plan for the PCA that's as strategic as cold mutton, Sam's voluble support must be considered an indication of his allegiances and priorities.

To complete the troika...

Bruce Terrell, a ruling elder candidate for the SJC, is Executive Director of Redeemer's Pastoral Staff. Before moving to Redeemer, he assisted Mission to the World's CEO, Paul Kooistra. The practice of woman officers within Bruce's church and presbytery gave rise to this disciplinary action filed against the presbytery that eventually made its way to the Standing Judicial Commission last year.

Voting to place Bruce Terrell on the Standing Judicial Commission is tantamount to voting for a response favorable to women deacons from the Standing Judicial Commission in any case that comes before it. We would prefer to see men elected to the Commission who do not have vested interests in opposition to the historic practice of Reformed Protestant churches concerning woman officers.

Not men associated with what we consider a feminist revision of that practice.

Obviously, the proponents of woman officers care a great deal about who has a seat at the table of the Standing Judicial Commission as it hears these complaints concerning the promotion of woman officers in the PCA.

We agree with them. The men we entrust with the judicial power of the PCA is critically important.

Comments

I assume you are going to GA and nominating others in these men's places then...?

Dear Andrew,

I hadn't planned on going. Perhaps I'm out-of-the-loop, but until recently I thought there would be no great issues on the docket of this year's GA. The Strategic Plan was a surprise, as were the names of the men running for the SJC. Up until now the SJC was a part of the PCA that had been generally free from overt politicking.

At this point I don't intend to revise my plans.

In Christ,

David

>Up until now the SJC was a part of the PCA that had been generally free from overt politicking.

Of that sort at least.

Redeemer does not have women officers. Please be more precise in your criticism.

>>Redeemer does not have women officers. Please be more precise in your criticism.

Again and again, men write to tell us Redeemer does not have woman officers, and that we should stop saying they do. Yet Redeemer herself refers to her woman officers as "officers."

The real imprecision here (if it's not too charitable to call it simply "imprecision") is perpetrated by those who deny what is a plain fact. Calling them "officers" is all over Redeemer's publications and has been for years. I'd put in links, but anyone who googles "Redeemer," "deacon," and "officer" will come up with all they need. For instance:

http://www.redeemer.com/about_us/leaders/officer_nominations.html

(And in case this changes, I've done a screen shot and I'll be posting it on the main page.)

So enough with this complaint. Those who make it have no excuse for continuing to bamboozle the church.

Truly,

Sad stuff, Tim. Really sad.

The "Elected Leaders" page (http://www.redeemer.com/about_us/leaders) states that the diaconate is a "group of men and women nominated, elected and appointed by the Redeemer members" (what happened to ordaining and installing?) and a ruling elder is "a member who has been elected by the other Redeemer members." (What happened to ordination and installation?) Sounds like becoming a deacon is a better, more rigorous process! The diaconate is also listed first. The "Elders" page tells nothing about the role of elder; it just lists them. The "Diaconate" page has an extensive description, complete with videos. On that page, men and women are "nominated, trained, elected and appointed." That's even better than the previous description; they are trained as well. On the officer nominations page, the deacons are listed first, along with a video. According to this page, the process is exactly the same for a deacon, deaconess or elder (except for who the nominee meets with). Along with describing the process for all "officers", there is a link to testimonies from "deacon/ess."

The nomination form, of course, speaks for itself. There is really no argument around this. I suppose one could argue that they are not ordaining anyone. But that presents its own set of problems (BCO Chapters 17 and 24). Or I guess one could argue that they are just being very inaccurate in their descriptions. However, they are remarkably consistent and precise in their inaccuracy. And even if that were the case, they are still modeling and teaching their congregation that deacons, deaconesses, and elders are all officers in the church and are elected in the same process. And maybe there is so much more description and information about deacons compared with elders because they assume that everyone understands the role of elder but not that of deacons. But that seems very unlikely to me.

Redeemer has women officers. That much is clear (and improper). They appear either to ordain them, or to fail to ordain anyone. Both of which are improper. It appears that they elevate the role of deacon above that of elder; at least, that seems to be part of their culture. Arguments to the contrary (about having women officers) go against all the evidence.

The following e-mail in response to this post came from a Redeemer man last night:

* * *

All (Redeemer NYC) Sunday bulletins have the following at the end: "If you have a question, a financial or other practical need or would like to pray with someone, Redeemer officers are at the front after the worship service, or you may call the Diaconate Message Helpline, (212) 726-1334.”

Almost exclusively, it is women standing at the front addressing the needs of those who come forward. In fact, the women often have to go seek out men to stand up front (with them).

Additionally, the worship leaders are forced to say "officers" or "deacons/deaconesses" when they close the service.

* * *

So Redeemer calls its women "officers" each week in the bulletin, she forces her pastors to refer to them as "officers" at the conclusion of each worship service, and when a pastor on Redeemer's staff called them "leaders" instead of "officers," he was disciplined.

Love,

What do you think of Francis Nigel Lee's paper on the role of women in the church--primarily helping other women? And what about the RPCNA who've had female deacons for years? And the RPCES which also had women deaconesses as far back as at least 1976?

Dear Eliza,

Sorry I haven't read Lee's paper.

The RPCES consistently rejected woman officers (deaconesses) despite James Hurley getting his committee to put pressure on the denomination to change for a couple years running. If the denomination had approved woman deacons, though, those deaconesses would have born little resemblance to what Redeemer and her sister congregations are doing, now.

Any deaconesses who served in any past time in the church were clearly subordinate to the male deacons. Redeemer, though, has no such Biblical provision. There is no distinction in the exercise of authority by male or female deacons, and the head (Director) over their entire Diaconate is a woman.

In other words, in the past deaconesses weren't a Trojan Horse for feminism, so everyone made it clear to their congregation that they didn't exercise authority over men and that they were subject to the male deacons.

Those are the two things that Redeemer will never make clear in her promotion of woman officers, and there's a reason.

Love,

Well, Sam did not get elected but the other two did.

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