ByFaithOnline Reaction to PCA GA

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, Jun 20, 2009.

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  1. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I have been reading the comments on the ByFaithOnline article (Find it here) and wanted to know from our PCA brethren if the views expressed by the (seemingly vast majority of commenters) is an accurate picture or not of the thoughts of your general PCA member on the Deaconess issue and the understanding of the role of women in general?

    Thanks and Blessings,
     
  2. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    NO!! I don't know of one woman in our church who feels like many of the commenters do.

    I wish the people complaining on it would give specific examples of what the church is holding them [us] back from.

    I don't see clear enough evidence that supports deaconesses, and so I am fine without that being a role in the church. I know there are solid Reformed churches that do, the RPCNA at least, and I am sure they studied the issue--so I see that there may be two possible understandings, but I do not think the PCA should re-introduce this idea of a study committee every year until it passes. Which is likely to eventually happen. We have come to believe that it is unscriptural, and I don't think we should keep voting until that changes. Our votes do not make Scripture.
     
  3. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    I wasn't at the GA obviously, but from my experiences in a number of PCA churches the views expressed on that site are fairly representative of the spectrum of views in the congregation. There are those who believe women are given an un-Scripturally large role, those who believe that are given an un-Scripturally small role, and a few who are satisfied the way things are. I don't think the issue of women's work in the church is necessarily tied to the deaconess issue. While I do believe most lay members of the PCA would agree with the pro-deaconess view, I don't think the most of the comments are necessarily pushing for deaconesses as much as a broader women's ministry within the church. The two are sort of linked, but I don't think quite as closely as some think.

    Interestingly, I find the role of women to be bigger in larger churches. To me this is counter-intuitive: I would think smaller churches would need women to do more work simply to make up for the lack of numbers. But almost invariably women seemed to more formally involved in larger congregations. I'm not sure why that is, but to me it highlights the gray area between what women absolutely can do within a church, and what they absolutely cannot do. Can women be administrators? How broad can their responsibility go before it becomes a position of authority? Can they lead some ministries? At what age group should they no longer teach male members? Of course there are many other similar questions - these would have been addressed with the study committee, which is why it is unfortunate that it failed - the debate will only continue, rather than be settled for good.
     
  4. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    :lol: I guess to keep some of these ladies from tears you guys in the PCA should just turn the denomination over to them. I mean if you were REALLY gentle, you wouldn't make a lady cry. You big, fat meenies.
     
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    To this point there have been just under fifty comments on that page, and it seems kind of evenly divided. How much weight do we give those 25 comments? How many people do they represent? Besides, we live in the era of the sock puppet and Sheryl from North Carolina, for all her display of emotion over reason, could just as easily in reality be Mike from New Jersey who likes to mess with Christians' heads. Can't tell much from comments, especially when poorly identified. Nor do a few comments a denomination make.
     
  6. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    I also notice the comments have to get approved, and that leads one to the next question: who's doing the approving, and how does that affect the over all look of the responses.
     
  7. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    The commenter "Sheryl" needs to stop moping and join an EPC church.
     
  8. Sven

    Sven Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ben,

    I don't know the figures on this, but it seems to me that since it is such a big issue in the PCA there must be quite a few that are upset by the GA's ruling.

    Jessi,

    Your one church doesn't speak for the entire denomination. I wish it did though; sounds like the women there are content and godly. Not every Church in the PCA is like that. I served on an IMPACT missions group two years ago where one of the groups had a leader that was a woman. She was quite outspoken and strongheaded. It was hard for me to work with that group.

    Pastor Brown,

    We should be encouraging submission to Church authority not splitting with a Church because of not getting one's way.
     
  9. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Mason,

    I think the PCA is a mixed bag on this issue, as evidenced that my assessment would be opposite yours with respect to size of churches. I have found that women tend to be more involved in both smaller churches and in "more conservative" churches. We likely have the most vibrant WIC in our Presbytery, on both the local and national level. Women are heavily involved in our mercy ministry (meals, flowers, grief ministry, counseling, etc) without having (or wanting) any titles or offices.

    I would also say that David Coffin's point re: the study committee is well taken. If there were a committee, and it said in its report "Women should not be business administrators" (which is not a Biblical office, and the Bible does not IMO speak to it) then Sessions/Presbyteries would be reluctant to permit them to do that because the Study Committee "was against it."

    Local context is best, except for offices (deacon/elder), where the BCO actually speaks and should prevail.
     
  10. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Well, there are times where one must follow one's conscience. Our own polity affirms this quite well. Yes, there are times to submit to our elders. But there are times where remaining can lead to such divisiveness that one must encourage those who cannot/will not submit to just move on. It's one of the blessings of living in a free country.

    Case in point: If the Auburn Affirmation liberals had been asked to move to another denomination in the 1920's the PC(USA) today might actually be orthodox. But, we chose to keep them with us and they did not submit to sound teaching. And mainline heresy was accomplished.
     
  11. BJClark

    BJClark Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know of any women in my church who desire this either..there might be, and I'm just not aware of them..but yet many women serve..

    The only one I know of who complained about things re: women..left our church and went else where..
     
  12. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    On another note: All of my PCA friends should be thanking God that your denomination has no claim on a congregation's property! Take it from the mostly dead PC(USA)--you want congregations to be allowed to depart if the time comes!
     
  13. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    I find this whole subject to be just plain weird. When we lived in PA we went to a PCA church that had deaconesses (who were feminine servants and not authoritative). And it seemed like a basic Christian cultural understanding that when women have babies and toddlers you do everything possible to stay home with them. Plenty of people lived in fixer uppers and old row homes and we all had old furniture and no extra money and didn't eat out or go to Disney World.

    Now I am in a PCA in NJ that will never have deaconesses and is fully committed to the BCO. But it seems like too many women think nothing of full time careers and being stressed out all the time. Women have a baby and go back to work full time and nobody blinks. But we don't have deaconesses.

    I think the focus is on the wrong battle. The right battle isn't deaconesses, it is Titus 2 and women trying to be at home at the very least with preschoolers. Or at least only working part time with toddlers if they are desparate for money (and the beautiful home does not qualify one as desperate).

    So the PCA GA passes a rule that deaconess are out. Fine, I will agree. And then PCA women everywhere have babies and go back to work full time and nobody utters a peep about it? Sorry but I think the whole discussion is just so wierd and wrongly focused.
     
  14. Sven

    Sven Puritan Board Sophomore

    Pastor Brown,

    Your Auburn Affirmation example is extreme, and has little bearing on the issue before us. However, even in their case it would have been better for them to submit to Ecclesiastical authority and return to true orthodoxy. Submission to Ecclesiastical authority is the better road to take, unless it means going against the clear teaching of Scripture.

    The malcontented men and women in the PCA need to learn to submit to the GA. The PCA's historic understanding of women in the Church is in line with the clear teaching of Scripture.
     
  15. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Lynnie, I don't think [m]any will disagree with you that such personal, domestic issues should be addressed and taught from our pulpits and in personal pastoral counseling. But we're comparing apples and oranges here. The deaconess issue is one of an ecclesiastical practice out of accord with the BCO; the other is an issue of continuing sanctification of all Christians. One is addressed by synods; another by individual pastors. These things are dealt with differently.
     
  16. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    I obviously know that mine is anecdotal, but I have been a member of another PCA church where the results would have been the same.

    I was just trying to answer the OP, as I do feel very much that I am your "general" PCA member
     
  17. Beth Ellen Nagle

    Beth Ellen Nagle Puritan Board Senior

    Sometimes I really don't like women. :lol:
     
  18. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    We can sit around all day discussing what people need to do/should do and we should! But history teaches us that some people will not submit, period.

    As a pastor I have seen instances where someone should just agree to move to another faith community, one that is in line with where they are on a subject of conscience. How many of us currently reside in the same church, same denomination of our birth? It seems like we always read here of people changing churches over matter of conviction. Are we now to condemn the judgments of conscience of our brothers and sisters? I hope not!

    Again, in my pastoral experience, unhappy people who refuse correction and teaching are often better served by moving on. And so are our congregations!
     
  19. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Pastor Greco,

    Other than the size of the church and involvement of women, I agree with everything you say. I'm all for the local option outside of the offices, but the problem is that there are plenty of people in the PCA who think it is wrong for women to have any sort of "title;" they believe this puts her in a position of authority and should be forbidden. I don't see why a study committee couldn't simply affirm the "local option" outside of offices. They wouldn't have to rule in particular on every possible scenario (such as women business administrators), but simply make a general, blanket report that women can have formal roles outsides the offices at the discretion of the local session and presbytery. Don't you think this would be a good, unifying report?
     
  20. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    No I don't think it would be unifying. That was why I voted against it. The fact that the Minority Report had supporters(as it did last year) who varied from those who wanted a report to shut down all options and discipline churches in our denomination who are playing on the edge of the deacon(ess) issue and those who want deaconesses now highlights this.
     
  21. WarrenInSC

    WarrenInSC Puritan Board Freshman

    Is this one of those examples of what a growing number of folks mean when they say the PCA is becoming schitzophrenic?:lol:
    Ok, I know it's serious and very personal as well.
    To answer the original question on this thread, after almost 25 years in two different PCA churches (GA - heavy with PCA committee families & SC - mostly Northerners), I saw no instance of women using their gifts and demanding a title. However, over the last few years, I am seeing a subtle attempt to purposely 'grow' that issue from some newer leadership.
     
  22. Sven

    Sven Puritan Board Sophomore

    Are you talking about Church history or your own personal history here? Furthermore, since when did the judgments of the individuals conscience suddenly become more important than the judgment of the Church? This view of Church discipline and Church authority is one of the main problems of Christianity in America. The Church would do better if we would instead of saying, "Go your way," said, "it is better before God to be in submission to your Church in these matters." I am referring to matters that do not clearly contradict Scripture. This view of Church authority and discipline has more historical weight than the individualism you are promoting.
     
  23. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    I understand, but surely the majority view was divided as well - at least to some extent. If a report came out affirming the local option and was affirmed by the GA, wouldn't that, to a degree, silence the critics on both sides? Or at least settle the issue so it won't come up year after year?

    Also, what do you (or anyone else) think the odds are of the same overtures being bright again next year, and if they are brought, what the odds are of them passing given the extremely tight vote this time around?
     
  24. Classical Presbyterian

    Classical Presbyterian Puritan Board Junior

    Nonsense. This is not 'individualism', this is presbyterian polity. People can move from churches and they do.

    Being a pastor involves far more than disciplining members and it certainly does not involve any form of rhetorical coercion when a member of the church reaches differing conclusions on matters of belief. As pastors, we are also called lead people to discernment in the Word of God as to where they are called and what they are called to do. There is a line between counsel and coercion. Let's leave the latter to the papacy and the cults.
     
  25. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    If by 'settle the issue' you mean a split sooner rather than later, yes.

    Based on what we've seen in other denominations that have turned from the mandates of scripture, the liberals are likely to keep returning with the issue until they prevail. Then it's on to the next item on the agenda.

    Some of us here are old enough to remember how this story ends.
     
  26. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritan Board Doctor

    Once you establish that in a confessional church the "confession" does not have to be followed and officers do not have to follow their vows to uphold it, everything is up for grabs.

    There is no unity. There is not peace. There is no purity. There is no clarity.

    It becomes each man doing what is right in His own eyes. We follow personality of men, not God and transfer our focus off of obedience to God and submission to Him and the brethren for His sake to our own imagination, or following our leader or faction.


    God withdraws his blessing and chastisement begins as He gives His people over to the chastening of the darkened imaginations of men, clouded by confusion, disorder and rebellion.

    We can see the effect of sin clearly in Scripture. It's something that ought strike a holy fear in all of us... what we can become if we get our own way.

    Remember, reformed theology teaches that unity of the church must be grounded on doctrinal agreement. That's why we are called "confessional."

    In the PCUSA, which the PCA separated from over issues like this, it went this way:

    women as trustees denying infringement on elder or deacon authority
    study committee on women as deacons without authority
    women as local option deacons with authority
    women as deacons required by presbytery
    women required as deacons by constitution (which was not followed by those who wanted them in the first place, but would be by those who did not want them later)
    study committee on 'women'
    local option on elder
    women may infringe on duties of elders and deacons as trustees
    women elders optional by not commissioners at general assembly
    women elders required by constitution but not commissioners at general assembly
    women attend general assembly but without authoritative 'voice'
    women go to general assembly with full ecclesiastical authority
    study committee on eliminating discrimination against women in office
    'affirmative action' for women elders, deacons, trustees and moderators
    church discipline against teaching I Timothy 3, Titus I, etc.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2009
  27. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    Exactly.
     
  28. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    Has there really been church discipline against teaching the BIBLE? YIKES.

    I think a committee is unnecessary. I think the Pastors should just go home from GA and address their congregation with the Bible.
     
  29. WarrenInSC

    WarrenInSC Puritan Board Freshman

    Then there was the NEXT stage of 'gender confusion' - instead of 'women this and women that', the PCUSA is now going through the 'homosexual this and homosexual that' routine. It is a grave error to think that allowing 'gender confusion' between the sexes will not lead to 'gender confusion' within the sexes.:stirpot:
     
  30. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Scott,

    Can you please show me specifically where anyone in favor of the study committee is in favor of opposing/not following the Confession or the BCO?
     
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