Evangelical Church Endorses Homosexuality

The Associated Press reports that an “evangelical” church in Colorado has decided to endorse homosexual monogamy as a valid Christian lifestyle. The pastor of the church reasons this way:

“Our position is not one of lenience, but a matter of justice. It’s not that we don’t acknowledge the reality of sin. It’s not a sin to be gay or act in accordance with your nature.”

The article also suggests that this particular church has found a middle-way and has transcended the typical conservative-liberal divide on this issue. But as you read on, it becomes clear that the pastor has embraced traditionally liberal interpretations of key biblical texts.

[The pastor] began to question applying the “plain meaning” of ancient Biblical text to here-and-now homosexuality. The Bible, read literally, suggests the earth is flat and could be used to justify slavery, he said.

He accepted the Biblical interpretation of other gay-affirming Christians: that verses condemning homosexual behavior refer to idolatrous pagan worship or violence.

“We reach an understanding of the Bible not just by studying God’s word, but by studying his world,” Tidd said. “If you think he’s the author of both, they both inform each other.”

If evangelicals can disagree about end-times theology and baptism methods and still be considered authentic Christians, he thought, why can’t the same tent hold disagreements about homosexuality?

The report includes remarks from David Dockery, president of Union University. He says,

“I don’t think it can be taken for granted anymore that the traditional evangelical view will be adopted by the coming generations given the changes and shifts in our culture.”

Dockery is certainly correct in this assessment. Moreover, we should expect to see more and more stories like this one coming from within “evangelical” ranks. The culture is pushing the envelope on this issue, and churches with shallow biblical moorings are simply going along with the flow.

This is all the more reason to pray for ourselves and our churches to be a courageous counter-culture in the midst of this opposition. We need to be in the world, not of the world, for the sake of the world (John 17:15).

51 Responses to Evangelical Church Endorses Homosexuality

  1. Kamilla December 20, 2009 at 3:01 am #

    Just for kicks, everytime a church story like this comes up, I look up the church’s website to see who is on staff. Shore ’nuff, there’s a Rachael that is listed as “worship pastor”.

    Oh, but there’s not slippery slope. That’s just fallacy. Right?

  2. Andy December 20, 2009 at 8:47 am #

    Hmmm… “It’s not a sin to be gay or act in accordance with your nature.” Really? I always thought that sin was part of our nature. So using that logic, then anybody can do whatever they want, such as murder and theft, but it can’t be considered wrong because the person is merely acting “in accordance” with their nature. I do not understand why this line of thinking never crosses the minds of these “evangelicals” when they compromise sound theological instruction for the “I’m okay/ you’re okay politically correct option’.

  3. Jada December 20, 2009 at 10:35 am #

    Kamilla, just for the record, I, am a daughter of a SBC-ordained pastor; extremely conservative; believe in marriage as one man/one woman; was adopted at 22 hours old and believe in the sanctity of human life at all costs; as well, I am a “worship pastor” in a bible-believing, evangelical church denomination, which allows women in ministry. (Free Methodist) And our denomination doesn’t believe in what you suggest in your post. SO, perhaps do a little research before you make such across-the-board comments.

    I know a lot of gay people, however, don’t believe this lifestyle is god-honoring or what my Savior intended. So…just for the record, don’t lump me, as a female, evangelical, bible-believing Christian in your hypothesis that female pastors in evangelical churches = pro-gay lifestyles or such.

    Oh, and I, personally, know one of the men (not the pastor) mentioned in the article. I pray that this discussion doesn’t become hateful. He is a man who has been prayed for faithfully by my family, invited into our home for meals, as well as to our church when we lived in his community. He is being deceived.

    I don’t endorse or promote this lifestyle. However, there is a way to strongly disagree, state the biblical facts without becoming hateful, tearing others down and ruining our own Christian witness. (you know the fruit of the spirit?!)

  4. Kamilla December 20, 2009 at 2:30 pm #

    Jada,

    I’m sorry, but “extremely conservative” what? If I might kindly suggest, could you review the recent history of denominations which first begin to “ordain” women and see what rapidly (historically speaking) follows? That your denomination currently does not embrace homosexuality is no sure sign of its future.

    And, for the record from me, yes, I did more than a little research. I actually do quite a lot. I’d do even more if I could figure out a way for it to pay the bills.

    Kamilla

  5. Don Johnson December 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm #

    There is a difference if one decides that women might be endorsed as leaders based on the Bible, contra CBMW, and if one decides to not follow the Bible in this area at all.

  6. John December 20, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    The Associated Press reports that an “evangelical” church in Colorado has decided to endorse homosexual monogamy as a valid Christian lifestyle….
    Glad you put “” around the word evangelical!
    Kamilla, we have a woman leading the worship in one of our services and 1) we are conservative and 2) we have not ordained her and 3) she doesn’t want to be ordained!

  7. Kamilla December 20, 2009 at 10:32 pm #

    John,

    I’ll repeat the question I asked Jada – conservative what?

    It’s not conservative Christianity, it’s not even orthodox Christianity. So what, precisely, are you conserving by placing women in authority over men (whether or not you ordain them)?

    Kamilla

  8. Jada December 20, 2009 at 10:46 pm #

    Kamilla, I meant to not answer your question. Not b/c I don’t have an answer. Rather, I am not going to engage in this discussion further.

    No matter where I work, what title or position I hold in or outside of the church, as a Christian, I have work to do for the Kingdom. And I honestly, think God would rather I be about that business than defending my calling to ministry. If in fact, I am wrong to hold a position in the church, ordained or not, I would rather he tell me that in heaven, as opposed to me not fulfilling what I believe I am called to do on this earth out of fear of what others think or say about me. My husband, a pastor, and I are a team in ministry no matter the title, or piece of paper that I have, or don’t have.

    It is very funny this debate about women in ministry. Very sad, actually. So much ministry is here to do, all around us. So many people are hurting and need to hear the Good News of the Gospel, the message of the Savior and the reason we celebrate this Christmas season.

    Yet, so many are arguing about who should be doing ministry and how they should be doing it, instead of actively engaging in life-changing ministry in and outside of the church, formal or informal to people of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and genders.

    With that Merry Christmas to all!

  9. Jacob December 20, 2009 at 10:54 pm #

    I agree with Andy. Following the logic in the article, we can do whatever we want, because it is part of our nature.

    Sadly, this is just another article confirming the deep seated moral compromise and complacency of the church. I remember the words of the prophet Samuel after Saul was first made King. He said: 1 Sam 10:19
    “But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, ‘No, but set a king over us!'”

    Sadly the church seems to be taking the route of obeying the state before God.

  10. Kamilla December 20, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    Jada,

    I am sorry to be, apparently, the first one to tell you this, but that’s a false dichotomy. Our call is not simply to conversion but to discipleship. Being concerned about orthodoxy in faith and practice doesn’t preclude me from being about the business of winning souls – in fact it demands both of me — winning souls and making disciples.

    You saying you’d rather risk being told in heaven you were wrong to follow your “call” frankly, is terrifying to me. Because, what you are really risking is the kind of error that is fatal. The positon of your husband derives from the position of Christ — if you deny one, you risk ultimately denying the other. And then what you will hear is not, “Naughty girl preacher, you should have known better!”. Instead, what you risk hearing is, “Depart from me.”

    If we deny the first Adam, we will deny the second. The Church has known this for two thousand years and across all three branches of historic Christianity. Who are you? Who are any of us to overturn that?

    Kamilla

  11. Jada December 20, 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    You know, Kamilla, I am from the Louisiana. Born and raised there. My grandmother, a die-hard Southern Baptist and more importantly, a devout Christian, told me if I couldn’t say something nice, not to say it at all. However, sadly, I don’t always take her superb advice.

    Of course, I realize that it is not either/or, but both/and in regards to salvation and discipleship. So, sorry, you weren’t the one to ‘enlighten’ me on that subject.

    And you asked, “Who am I?” Well, I am a child of the King Most High, Jesus Christ. Period. And this is not a salvation issue. Please don’t make it out to be. My father, an SBC ordained pastor, always made sure I knew that–the difference between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ issues in discussions about Christianity.

    Certain Southern Baptists, or others who are opposed to women in ministry, will not be the only ones in Heaven, as you so alluded to in your post. It is about faith in Jesus Christ, not works, even if those works are done by a woman!

    You know, it’s not everyday that I have to defend my salvation to another Christian. Unreal. Usually, it is to an atheist, or my Wiccan neighbor. However, I have found they are much nicer than many Christians.

    Now, I am off to spend time with my husband and children. I have already put in a very long day at church. These people really are much more deserving of my time than this discussion.

  12. Kamilla December 21, 2009 at 12:36 am #

    Heavens, Jada, I’m not the one you have to defend your salvation to! I didn’t question your salvation, I showed where your theology leads – denial of the first Adam leads to denial of the second. Perhaps not initially, and perhaps mistakenly, but if one persists in rebellion against the Holy Spirit, then yes, it does eventually imperil one’s salvation.

    Because that’s what religious feminists do – they rebel against the Holy Spirit’s ministry in guiding the church. How else do you explain what seems to be His dereliction? Why wait until now to tell us, “Oh and by the way, Paul didn’t really MEAN it when he wrote, under My inspiration, all that bother about authority and submission and the husband being the head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church. Silly of me, really, not to have gotten around to it sooner.”

    Kamilla

    P.S. Denny, if this is more direct than you wish, I know this is your blog and won’t quibble if you delete this.

  13. Tim Webb December 21, 2009 at 1:19 am #

    Hmmm… maybe its time we stop using the meaningless term “evangelical”… after all, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has the term in their title, and has been gay friendly for many years…

  14. Matt Svoboda December 21, 2009 at 2:41 am #

    Denny,

    I just want to say thanks for being thoughtful enough to put “evangelical” in quotations in your posts.

  15. Mrs. Webfoot December 21, 2009 at 3:58 am #

    I was glad to read this part of the article.:

    “The exodus from Highlands began as the reason for the break became known. Tidd said over two months, the church lost half its attendance and two-thirds of its financial support.”

    Kamilla said:
    If we deny the first Adam, we will deny the second. The Church has known this for two thousand years and across all three branches of historic Christianity. Who are you? Who are any of us to overturn that?>>>>>>

    I assume that you mean male headship in the marriage and in the church cannot be over-turned. There is no other pattern besides that one in Scripture, in either Old Testament or New. “Head” means “authority over.”

    If we deny that pattern, then we are also in danger of denying Christ’s “authority over” His Church. Right? Is that what you mean?

    I think that the warnings about the “slippery slope” should be heeded. In the past Dr. Mohler has made some good points on that subject. Many are already at the bottom of that slope and we can easily follow their downgrade.

    This is a very sobering article.

  16. Mrs. Webfoot December 21, 2009 at 4:09 am #

    Jada, I read all of your comments. I’m not sure who you’re trying to convince.

    FWIW, I don’t think that all women who are pastors are therefore soft on homosexuality.

    It’s just that the two often go together, and that is no accident. Surely you have studied something about the connection between feminist liberation theology and gay liberation theology. If you haven’t, then you should. Add black liberation theology to the mix. If you are in the ministry and don’t know about liberation theology, maybe you could do some studies for yourself?

    I’m wondering why you got so defensive. Even if someone on a blog doubted your salvation, – which I’m not sure happened here -so what? Why do you care?

    Aren’t you glad that someone is concerned for your soul, even if that concern were unfounded?

    Remember, now, what your godly grandma’ said, and say something nice to me if you are going to say anything at all.

  17. Don Johnson December 21, 2009 at 11:32 am #

    FWIIW, I am concerned about the faith of those that would add something to it like no women leaders and separate over it, as that is schismatic. If you really want to have a church with no women leaders, go for it, but do not claim that is the only way to understand Scripture when you know it is not.

  18. Mrs. Webfoot December 21, 2009 at 2:46 pm #

    I would not doubt a person’s faith in Christ just because of their position on women’s ordination.

    Back to the case of Highlands church. Do you think that their pastor abandoned the faith?

    Note that half their congregation left and they lost 2/3 of their financial backing. The pastor’s actions were schismatic in the extreme. You would leave such a church, wouldn’t you, no matter what you think about women’s ordination?

  19. Kamilla December 21, 2009 at 3:10 pm #

    Mrs. Webfoot,

    Not that male headship can’t be overturned – but who are we to do it. What arrogance must it take to overturn basically two millennia of universal church witness – and more if you count the lack of priestesses in Israel.

    This is why Mr. Johnson, as above, is mistaken about the direction in which the schismatic actions run.

    Kamilla

  20. Don Johnson December 21, 2009 at 4:33 pm #

    Since “headship” is not even the Bible, there is nothing to overturn. Yes, kephale/head is used as a metaphor and one can differ on what it means.

    The witness is far from universal against women leaders, it is obvious that some will not see evidence they do not wish to see, but it is there in archeology if one looks.

  21. Mrs. Webfoot December 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm #

    Don:
    Yes, kephale/head is used as a metaphor and one can differ on what it means.>>>>

    Don, you really need to give up the “source” meaning for “kephale.” It doesn’t even make sense.

    The “kephale” is the one who has the highest rank in a relationship, the one who has the preeminence, the one who is “in authority over” another person or group of people.

    Yes, Kamilla, I am very aware of which way the schism runs. I am also tired of being used and then beaten up from all sides, so I just let Don have his say. I don’t have any reason to question his salvation, or that of anyone else who participates on this blog – unless they say that they are not Christians.

    The subject at hand is Highlands Church. I will repeat myself – which I am quite good at. The pastor’s decision caused the destruction of his church. That is somewhat worse than even a schism.

  22. Don Johnson December 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm #

    One needs to act in faith, once one has been diligent in study, knowing one may be wrong. Prots do not have a Magesterium, there is no infallible teaching authority.

    The kephale of an army most certainly did not have any inherent authority, that was the archon. The kephale was the first into battle, not the leader who decided what to do.

    In Eph 5 kephale is part of a head/body metaphor of unity, there is no need to see any leadership there unless one eisegetes it into the text or just assumes it.

    Until the non-egals admit there is a range of meanings for kephale, they will keep discarding the evidence of lexicons and make up whatever they want it to mean. Perhaps they know few would choose the choice they make.

  23. Kamilla December 21, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

    Mrs. Webfoot,

    I agree it is generally best to leave some people unanswered. However, sometimes the silliness is too much to bear – such as the supposed argument that the word headship isn’t in the Bible – well, Trinity isn’t in the Bible either. Are the Egals going to be consistent and not hold to the Trinity for the same reason they try to evade headship? Not if they still want even the merest figleaf of orthodoxy as a cover for their rebellion.

    Don, you are absolutely right. Protestants do not have a magisterium in the way RC do, not even Tradition after the fashion of EO. What we *all* have, however, is the ministry of the Holy Spirit and I’ve yet to see an Egalitarian give a sensible answer to the problem I posed to Jada above.

    Kamilla

    P.S. That’s enough from me on this thread – I may not have children of my own, but a friend has just emailed me with the news that they have had 18 children in their church so far this year (a couple more are possibly expcted before the ball drops at midnight on the 31st) – so I have a picture or two to giggle over. I love Babies!

  24. Don Johnson December 21, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    “Trinity” is not in the Bible and I am one of those that actually believe the Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practise, so I prefer not to use terms not found in the Bible. I am non-creedal.

    P.S. It is not “evading” headship, it is simply not agreeing with the non-egal choice on how to interpret the head metaphors in Scripture.

  25. Barton Ramsey December 21, 2009 at 8:23 pm #

    “Rather, I am not going to engage in this discussion further.” – except for the next 5 paragraphs + another post.

    Consistency is the key. If you cannot be consistent in little… how can you be consistent in… wait, that sounds familiar?

  26. russware December 21, 2009 at 9:07 pm #

    It is logical to assume that a church taking a liberal stance on homosexuality would also be egalitarian in their stance on women in ministry. However, this in no way legitimizes the slippery slope argument. For instance, whenever I come across a ‘King James only’ church I expect to find that they also hold to sola scriptura. Does that mean that the rest of us are headed down a slippery slope toward sola KJV? Of course not. The role of women in the Church and homosexuality are two separate issues. The scripture certainly addresses them differently.

  27. Jonathan December 22, 2009 at 6:43 am #

    Andy says: “I always thought that sin was part of our nature.”

    Unfortunately that view leads to christological heresy, because it entails either that Christ was sinful, or that he was not truly human. Either of which is of course heterodox, to say the least. Authentic, orthodox Christianity teaches that sin is absolutely not part of our nature, but is something accidental that has been introduced into it. This is why Christians also traditionally believe that, ultimately, sin will be purged from human nature and human beings will be able to be truly united to God – a belief expressed in 1 Corinthians 15:21-28, and which also underlies the Orthodox belief in “theosis” or the divinisation of human beings through Christ, the “first fruits”.

    The point of all this is that those Christians who do not condemn homosexuality distinguish between acts that come from human nature and acts that come from sin. They believe that homosexuality is an expression of nature, *not* of sin. Now you may disagree with them over that. There is a legitimate way to disagree with this (from a Christian point of view) and also an illegitimate way. The legitimate way is to accept the distinction between acts that come from human nature (which is not intrinsically sinful) and those that come from sin (which is a blot upon human nature), but argue that homosexual acts in fact come from sin, not from human nature. The illegitimate way is to deny that there is any distinction between acts that come from human nature and those that come from sin. As I have said, this is illegitimate because it undermines Christian faith in Christ himself and, ultimately, the possibility of human salvation. If human beings are essentially sinful then they can never be united to God. That sort of view is more like some kind of gnosticism than authentic Christianity, which is a religion of hope, not of despair.

  28. francis December 22, 2009 at 10:02 am #

    It is good to turn away from the WORD to the WORLD, not only when gay issues arise. Shall we turn the same way when salvation of the WORLD IS INVOLVED. when doctrines die, it begins to die in the Leadership. I mean leadership not the leader. To remain in Church that has become a gay club in the name of working in the kingdom betrays the the ethos of a christian steward. the daughter of a pastor can be anybody-backslidden. compromise in not a sin, its the middle way. but how far from the only WAY is the middle way. rationalise it and contextualise it, what is good may not be right, what is approved by church may not be godly. evangelical theology is not the same as being an evangelical in name. check the doctrines of the evangelical movement, led by the Grahams, Winters, Moodys. are you somewhere near them? what is a gay church doing in the world. DEAD. and witnesssing to DEAD PEOPLE A DEAD TESTIMONY OF MURDEROUS LETTERS.JEZEBEL IS HERE SO IS BABYLON-SO IS ARMAGEDDON. ride on pastor Nature.

  29. Mrs. Webfoot December 22, 2009 at 1:12 pm #

    I understand what you are saying, Kamilla. What great news about all the children born to those in your church! Congratulations to each one and to the church family as a whole.

    Russ:
    The role of women in the Church and homosexuality are two separate issues.>>>>>

    Russ, I can accept that argument in some cases – like that of the lady pastor who made it clear in this thread that she did not condone homosexual behavior, etc.

    I reject your argument in the case of liberation theology. If you like, you may read my comments on that subject. I wouldn’t even say that liberationists are not on a slippery slope. They are “there” already. The struggle for gay ordination and the struggle for women’s ordination are “joined at the hip.” They are the same struggle.

    Surely you know that, though, right?

  30. Mrs. Webfoot December 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm #

    Correction. Make that “I wouldn’t even say that liberations ARE on a slippery slope. They are ‘there’ already.”

    Have a blessed Christmas, Russ and everyone.

    – Mrs. Webfoot

  31. Mrs. Webfoot December 22, 2009 at 1:15 pm #

    Barton, did you have something substantive to say? If you did, I missed it.

  32. Mrs. Webfoot December 22, 2009 at 1:29 pm #

    Barton, Kamilla will likely keep her promise. I’m the one who is squirly.

    Hey, have a good day, okay? Just one more little paragraph, and I’m gone until I’m back!

    You think you’re funny! ;-)

  33. Mike December 22, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    In recent surveys 50% of Americans claim to be Christians, 8% of Americans attend a church service regularly, and 60% of Christians in America are women. This would lead me to say that 3% of American men go to church and are Christians. If men will not step up to the calling of Christ then like Israel God will send someone else. The argument is not with Jada but with the 97% or say 40% of men who are called and are not acting.

  34. Mrs. Webfoot December 23, 2009 at 4:38 am #

    Mike:
    The argument is not with Jada but with the 97% or say 40% of men who are called and are not acting.>>>>

    Mike, you left me wondering who would do what women are supposed to be doing if they try to pick up the slack for men who have failed.

    As women, we were created for a purpose already, and it is not to do the work of men when they are being irresponsible. We have our assignment.

    In the church and in the home we women have plenty to do already.

    Do you see what I mean?

    Yes, I know that sometimes a man gets sick or has an accident and therefore cannot fulfill his role in the same way as before or as he would like to.

    In general, women shouldn’t take over when there are no men or when men are unable or unwilling to do what God calls them to do. Often, when women step aside, men step up. I have seen this happen, actually.

    If there are no men to do the job, then women can pray in faith, asking God to raise men up. In fact, I can think of only one time in the Bible when God called on a woman to lead His people. Every other leader in the Bible was male – and there were a lot of them, even in the darkest of times. God really didn’t have a problem raising up men to serve Him. Why do you think that He has one now?

    Well, Mike, thank you for your comments. Have a Merry Christmas!

    God bless,
    Mrs. Webfoot

  35. Don Johnson December 23, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Any group of believers that suppresses the working out of the Spirit thru all the believers will be less than God wishes.

  36. Brian Krieger December 23, 2009 at 5:36 pm #

    Don:

    It sounds like what you are saying is that unless I am able to use my gifts the way I see it, God is being done a disservice.

    I don’t konw how God will use any gifts He bestows upon me. It is dangerous for you or anyone else to pretend to know that for yourself, much less others. He revealed biblical roles (Col 3, 1 Peter 3, 1 Cor 11, 1 Tim 2, 1 Tim 3, Titus 1, Eph 5 among others), hence I would also say it is dangerous to blur the lines and claim darkness in an area that has been revealed. But, as usual, we’ll have to disagree on that.

  37. Don Johnson December 23, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    You interpret some texts on gender as having roles. I do not, or at least not to nearly the same extent.

    The Spirit grants gifts, including leadership ministry gifts, as he wishes. There is nary an indication in those verses that God sorts them according to gender. We already see in the Aaronic priesthood how God sets limitations on ministry participants at the time of institution of a ministry, how else would one know than to know it from the start?

  38. Carol December 24, 2009 at 2:27 am #

    For instance, whenever I come across a ‘King James only’ church I expect to find that they also hold to sola scriptura. Does that mean that the rest of us are headed down a slippery slope toward sola KJV? Of course not. The role of women in the Church and homosexuality are two separate issues. The scripture certainly addresses them differently

    Thank you for that remark. I was troubled by Kamilla’s discussion of “slippery slope” and that remark gave me a handle on why. For the record, I believe the calling of elder is for men only. But the Bible says that God’s Spirit is poured out on all flesh, including women, who prophesied in that day. I do not believe that women serving in ministries in the church, under the authority of elders, be they music leaders, youth directors, mission trip coordinators, or what, are denying Scripture. I would only challenge a woman who demands to be an elder, and I would not attend a church that had women elders, as such a church cannot be supported on Scriptural grounds.

    Furthermore, from the Old to the New Testaments, homosexuality has been roundly condemned. Not so women taking an active role in ministering to others, including proclaiming the Word of God, as Anna of old did (a fitting example considering the Christmas season is upon us). The verse, sung in Handel’s Messiah is actually this – “The Lord gave the Word; Great was the company of the women preachers.” Women can certainly preach. God, from the Scriptures, has given the leadership of local congregations to the men. It is my view, after considering the Scriptures, that it is a wise group of elders who allow women in the church to use their spiritual gifts, whether they be teaching, hospitality, giving, administrations, or any other spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit gives to both men and women.

  39. Don Johnson December 24, 2009 at 9:53 am #

    If you want to be free of that interpretation limiting women in ministry, you can choose to study some egal teachings.

  40. Mrs. Webfoot December 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm #

    I suspect that Carols is already pretty familiar with egalitarian teachings. Am I correct, Carol?

  41. Don Johnson December 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm #

    There is a difference in reading egal materials themselves and reading summaries from non-egals. The latter simply cannot be expected to present egal teachings, as they do not believe it. To be a Berean, one must study both sides in their own words.

  42. T. Webb December 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    To Don Johnson (#24):

    You state, “…I am one of those that actually believe the Bible alone is sufficient for faith and practise, so I prefer not to use terms not found in the Bible. I am non-creedal…”.

    Thanks for the clarification. As an explicitly non-creedal person, how do you know which books of the Bible to use? There is no inspired list of books in the Bible. If you use the 66 books of the Protestant canon (or those of the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic canons), then you are explicitly affirming a creed or declaration of which books are inspired. Help me to understand your position better.

    Thanks, Tim

  43. Don Johnson December 25, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    Tim,

    Your question is also implicitly a question to all prots (and Messianics for that matter), unless they accept all the declarations of the ecumenical councils to the time of the listing of the books.

    I will give my answer, other prots or Messianics may have other answers.

    Part of my answer is seeing the canonization process as recorded in Scripture itself, as this guides what happens later. This includes the process where Scripture comes into being and later is recognized as Scripture.

    Part of my answer is my relationship with God. I get confirmation thru my study of the Scriptures as a consistent story across many years and many authors.

    Part of my answer is that I see the church council as endorsing the existing canon in operation in the vast majority of congregations, rather than selecting items to be in the canon or not. That is, they did not have the authority to select anything, the most they might have done is endorse what already was the case. And it was already the case because the 12 DID have the authority, as guided by the Holy Spirit.

    Of course there are many details I have left out, but that is a summary.

  44. russware December 25, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Canonization is without question the fundamental problem with the strict, modern application of the ‘sola scriptura’ mantra. Not only does the concept of an infallible canon become absurd, but ‘sola scriptura’ itself is an extra-biblical concept. A contradiction by definition. I expect we will see fewer and fewer adherents over the next 50 years. On one side of this narrowing group (I’ll call them Reformation Preservationists – Reformationists? ;-) ) will be those who once again embrace the more robust, historical view of divine revelation. On the other side will be those who reject the historical embrace of the divine nature of scripture altogether. Moving forward, those are really the only two logical options. But, I could be wrong. ;-)

  45. Don Johnson December 26, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    Russ,

    If you want me to understand your claims, you will need to unpack them more for me. Also, it would help to know from what perspective you are coming from? For example, I am evangelical prot studying Hebraic roots of Christianity and am egal.

  46. russware December 26, 2009 at 2:22 pm #

    Hey Don,

    Not sure this is the right place to dive into all of that. But, I’ve read many of your comments over the last couple of years here and so I know that you are a thoughtful guy. In light of that, along with your declaration of a fairly extreme version of sola scriptura, I would guess that you are familiar with the historical and ecclesial arguments I would make anyway. Hope you had a great Christmas.

    Russ

  47. Mrs. Webfoot December 26, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    Brian:
    It sounds like what you are saying is that unless I am able to use my gifts the way I see it, God is being done a disservice.>>>>

    Brian, it seems to me that the egalitarians would put the Holy Spirit at war with Himself and men and women at war with their own nature.

  48. Mrs. Webfoot December 26, 2009 at 6:33 pm #

    Don:
    There is a difference in reading egal materials themselves and reading summaries from non-egals. The latter simply cannot be expected to present egal teachings, as they do not believe it. To be a Berean, one must study both sides in their own words.>>>>>

    I agree, Don – except that I assume you mean a person should compare all spiritual teachings to Scripture if they want to be a Berean. I am a great believer in going to primary sources.

    My favorite egalitarian is Dorothy L. Sayers, but she is nothing like the CBE egals. I liked Dr. Stackhouse’s book, but I disagree with his conclusions. He actually helped me define myself more clearly as a complementarian.

    I have read quite a few articles at the CBE. I would read the more recent book defending egalitarianism – the name escapes me at the moment – if it is available free online. I have pretty much quit buying books. We live in a condo.

    I have read many, many posts written by egalitarian apologists such as yourself and Sue. I have “dialogued” many, many hours with egalitarians.

    I read pretty much all of Gundry’s online materials.

    DLS is the only one I take seriously at this point in time.

  49. R.C. December 28, 2009 at 1:45 pm #

    There’s no reason to equate being a choirmistress or lead guitar player in a worship band with holding an ordained office…UNLESS the person holding it happens actually to be ordained.

    Most churches, however, don’t have ordained music leaders; these folk are “on staff” in the same sense that the church secretary or nursery administrator is “on staff.”

    But that’s a red herring. The question of the historical trend towards heterodoxy is the broader question, and female musicians aren’t especially relevant.

  50. R.C. December 28, 2009 at 2:45 pm #

    In my previous post, I said that “the historical trend towards heterodoxy is the broader question.”

    A hundred and fifty years ago the mainline Protestant denominations were, by today’s standards, as morally orthodox as the strictest of our era’s fundamentalists, let alone conservative evangelicals.

    Why the change? And what does that change imply for the future?

    Why The Change?
    Well, the change has occurred because of a lack of living authority, which leads to division, which leads to doctrinal drift.

    The Bible is the authority-center for evangelicals (as it once was for mainline Protestants). But the Bible doesn’t speak up to say, “Hey, waitaminute; you’re interpreting me wrongly!” So in practice the Bible is almost infinitely malleable for the purposes of teaching moral and theological truths.

    As a result, when a denomination starts off with a very conservative set of moral teachings, it only starts off that way. Cultural drift occurs, and there are always tares and wheat, mixed together, inside every denomination. Traditions begin to shift over time.

    Now some folk resist the drift towards worldliness; they’re called “conservatives” or “traditionalists.” Others embrace it; they’re called “liberals” or “progressives.” When the two groups can’t agree with one another, the denomination splits into two denominations, one more worldly than the other.

    This is the history of denominations, of course: In the beginning, there was The Church. The Eastern Orthodox and the Catholic separated; there are now fifteen or twenty organizations constituting Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

    Likewise, in the West, there was the Catholic church under Rome; then the Protestants formed three or four separate parallel organizations. But each of these split along conservative/liberal lines, several times over. A hundred years later there were a couple of hundred “churches” (from an organizational perspective) in the West; a hundred years after that, nearly a thousand; by the 21st century, nearly twenty thousand. (And that’s if you don’t count all the one-off churches unconnected to any denomination.)

    Don’t misunderstand me: I am not here talking about unique permutations of doctrines and creeds. One could not honestly argue that there are twenty-thousand-plus different Protestantisms in terms of unique core beliefs. But if we count organizations containing more than one congregation, over whom the organization can exert influence about what the leaders in that congregation teach? There are easily 20K plus in the U.S. alone.)

    So history shows that division occurs over differences of doctrine, and that the Bible provides no practical source for unity.

    Fine, one might say: But does that prove that gradual liberalization occurs? Is it not, one might ask, equally likely that a unified denomination has the same quantity of liberals and conservatives before the split as the two denominations have, taken together, after the split? Doesn’t this endless mitosis merely result in the clearer labeling of the orthodox and the heterodox by sorting them into different organizations? Is there any reason to believe it actually increases the numbers of the heterodox?

    There is.

    First, when we compare the morals of the denominations of four hundred years ago to those of evangelicals today, it is obvious that the earlier ones were far stricter, and far more open about it.

    On masturbation? Abortion? Fornication? Adultery? Remarriage after divorce? Extravagant living? Failing to tithe? Immodesty? Does anyone not know that our Christian forebears were, by modern standards, positively browbeaten from the pulpit regularly on all these topics? Find me an evangelical church today that from the pulpit teaches, boldly, the morals of yesteryear! There aren’t any.

    So change has certainly happened.

    Second, we can easily see why this is so. The mechanism is related to the doctrinal divisions:

    Moral standards are traditions; they are not independently and exhaustively reasoned out from first principles by each person who decides to adhere to them, but are instead more “caught than taught.”

    So when young congregants are raised in one of the conservative denominations, they “catch” their moral code — but some less well than others. That is, they either pick up the fullness of conservative morals, or a compromise between those morals and those of the secular world.

    And when they are raised in one of the liberal denominations, they either pick up the fullness of liberal morals, or a compromise between those morals and those of the secular world. (Remember, this is one of the liberal denominations, so their moral starting point was already compromised to some degree!)

    A few decades later, the conservative and the liberal denominations will each split, but they’ll rarely produce offspring denominations more conservative than the original. Instead, one of the offspring will be as conservative as the original, and the other, more liberal.

    And of course, when a new generation of children are raised in these four denominations (where there once were two), two groups will be raised with less-conservative morals than their forebears prior to the split.

    There will be exceptions to this pattern, but what I have described is the norm. The outcome over many generations may easily be foreseen!

    What Does This Imply For The Future?

    In the near future, a large minority of today’s evangelical churches will be solemnizing gay marriages. In the far future (say, 200 years?) most of them will do so.

    Your grandchildren’s Christianity won’t look much like yours, just as yours doesn’t look much like your grandparents’, and theirs didn’t look much like their grandparents’.

    Want to Buck the Trend?

    There are Christian organizations capable of bucking the trend. Eastern Orthodox churches have not liberalized as much as Western Protestantism, because Apostolic-era traditions provide additional data. The practice of only permitting Biblical interpretations which could plausibly have been held by Church Fathers in the first 500 years of Christianity has, therefore, a stabilizing impact.

    And, while lay Catholics and some parishes in the U.S. have become very liberalized, it must be noted that the teaching of the Papacy hasn’t, because the Popes have an even more effective mechanism for preventing doctrinal drift; namely, the claim of infallibility. If there ever was a pope who taught (as a matter of his Magisterial office to the whole Church) that homosexual liasons were intrinsically disordered and sinful, no later pope or bishop can ever say otherwise without entirely destroying the claim to papal infallibility, and thus destroying the Catholic Church. So in Roman Catholicism, each pope paints all his successors into a corner. The papacy may do a piss-poor job enforcing their teachings (witness pro-choice Catholics in Congress), but the teachings themselves, once adopted, don’t (can’t) change. That’s a boon.

    Conclusion

    We can therefore anticipate that the Christianity of 100 years from now won’t look much like today’s, in many moral areas, except for the Orthodox and Catholic communions.

  51. Don Johnson December 29, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    Every prot (or Messianic) claims by being such that the RCC and EOC have made mistakes. If one believe that either the RCC or EOC has NOT made mistakes, then they are one of them. Some people do shift around.

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