Monday, May 28, 2012

The Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns, voting against biblical marriage and preparing for progressive intolerance

The members of the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, (ACWC) have posted the same statement on all those GA items which seek to change the definition of marriage from marriage between a man and woman to marriage between any two consenting adults. Their advice contains basically the same wording they used on the same kind of item at the 219th General Assembly. In committee 13, Civil Union and Marriage Issues, the wording for items 13-01, 13-04, 13-06 and 13-11, includes this advice:

“The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns concurs with the rationale given in this overture. The practice of excluding people who are gay and lesbian from marriage has its roots in the persistence of patriarchal standards for the lives of women and men. The notion that men and maleness are superior dictates that men and women behave in particular ways that abide by the constructed rules their sex has been assigned. For this reason, same-gender loving women and men are perceived as a direct threat to the norms that patriarchy lays out, as they, in their loving, challenge the models of prescribed masculinity and femininity determined by patriarchy. Gay men are a threat as they are often perceived as “too feminine,” and lesbian women are perceived as “too masculine.”…
As we watch as state by state people in the U.S. are standing against this form of discrimination, we challenge the church to act now with a prophetic voice that joins in this justice movement, rather than responding after marriage equality has been established across the country.” [1]
However on the AI items, 13-02,13-05 and 13-08, that would allow for those pastors, who wished to do so, the right to marry same gender couples, while also stating that those who would find it unexceptable need not do so, the ACWC’s advice is thus:

While ACWC does believe that allowing teaching elders to conduct marriage ceremonies of same-sex couples is a movement in the direction of progress in the church (See ACWC’s rationale for Item 13-09), we hesitate to endorse an authoritative interpretation that explicitly states also the allowance of refusal to conduct services or give use of church property. The authoritative interpretation ACWC has chosen to support in Item 13-09 certainly does allow for refusal to conduct a ceremony, as no teaching elder is forced to conduct any marriage ceremony, regardless of the sex of the couple. It simply is not explicitly stated. As the church continues to make progress on this issue as state-by-state we see acceptance of same-sex marriage increasing widely, leaving the allowance for refusal unstated will make for easier movement toward full access for same-sex couples to marriage in the church in the long run. (Italics mine)[2]
On AIs 13-03, 13-10, that do not state there should be an allowance the ACWC has this quote:

The ACWC concurs with the rationale given in Item 13-09 and understands implementing this authoritative interpretation to be a movement in the direction of progress in the church for fair and equal treatment of all people regardless of sexual orientation. While we advise approval, we do so with an understanding that this is only one step in moving toward a truly just approach to same-sex couples in the church. The ACWC would still advocate for full access to the covenant of marriage blessed by the church for all couples, regardless of the law of individual states. In all things, we believe the church is called to be ahead of the government when it comes to implementing just policies.

Two explorations need to be made here. The first quote leads to a question—how did such nonsense became the ideology of a supposedly Christian woman’s organization? The second and third quote are troubling—it portends a battle between not only church and state, but between denomination and church. To put it clearer, between that which is no longer church and that which is the Church.

The first quote: How did the ACWC come up with such nonsense as found in the first quote? There is a long history, but first of all notice they are not saying anything about Scripture or the importance of the biblical text. But they imply that the biblical text is simply human and is not the word of God. They are implying that the living Word of God, who stated that marriage, was between a man and a woman, and the written word of God has no authority. So what historical background informs their views and where does their authority come from?

(Before I go further with this I want to be very clear that there is no biblical text which states that gay men are a threat because they are too feminine or lesbians are a threat because they are too masculine. Marriage and its exclusive nature, between a woman and a man, are God’s choice and mandate by right of creative power and wisdom. We should bow before God's wisdom knowing that he does all things well.)

But the words used by the ACWC have a history and a theology. And they are a denial of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the good he wishes to do in the world through both men and women. There is a very well acknowledged but complex history of such radical feminism. However, to put it simply a part of the feminist movement evolved from a cultural, or romantic feminism that saw all male leadership as overbearing and cruel. It saw the essence of women as the good and ideal.

This radical movement can be traced from Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826-98) to the late radical feminist Mary Daley. Neither Gage nor Daley were Christians and they both hated the Bible and Christianity with a vengeance. Gage dabbled in the Occult and Daley became interested in both the occult and modern Wicca. And for both most evil could be traced to ‘the patriarchy.’ The ACWC is infected with such ideas.[3]

On ACWC’s Facebook page they have links to several radical feminist websites. Their connections to the world of radical feminism are quite clear. For instance on March 16th ACWC focused on a ritual for women’s history using a ritual by the extreme feminist group Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). They linked to the liturgy. It ends with “Dancing Sophia’s Circle:

Ring us round O ancient circle,
Great Mother dancing free,
Beauty, strength and Holy Wisdom,
Blessing you and blessing me.

The ACWC Facebook page is also connected to the Feminist Agenda Network, which seems to deal with many Progressive Presbyterian issues. And the ACWC page is also loaded with progressive issues which celebrate their victories including those connected to abortion. Except for human trafficking, orthodox and conservative women’s concerns, whether they are Presbyterian or not, are not a part of the page or of the organization.

The second quote, which pushes for an Authoritative Interpretation which does not state that those whose conscience would be hurt by marrying same sex couple were free to not do so is a wide open statement about the ACWC’s understanding of human freedom. They wish to prepare the way for a time when all in the denomination would be required to marry same sex couples. They undoubtedly see a time when the United States government would make it extremely difficult for those who believe in the biblical definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman only.

There are many reasons to vote no on all of these items and AIs, but an important reason is because now one can see the ideological views of those pressing for a yes. They are boldly intolerant in their tolerance of sin. They care not a bit for the authority of Scripture or the future of the Church of Christ.

[1] With this introduction “The ACWC’s rationale for Item 13-11 is applicable here as well:” this same quote is also placed on all Items asking for the biblical definition of marriage as between a woman and a man to be upheld. 13-07, 13-12, 13-13

[2]The item 13-09 is that item the ACWC agrees with and this is their statement: The ACWC concurs with the rationale given in Item 13-09 and understands implementing this authoritative interpretation to be a movement in the direction of progress in the church for fair and equal treatment of all people regardless of sexual orientation. While we advise approval, we do so with an understanding that this is only one step in moving toward a truly just approach to same-sex couples in the church. The ACWC would still advocate for full access to the covenant of marriage blessed by the church for all couples, regardless of the law of individual states. In all things, we believe the church is called to be ahead of the government when it comes to implementing just policies.

[3]For instance see, The rise of Radical Feminism in Mainline Churches #2, The Rise of Radical Feminism in Mainline Churches: A History #3; The Rise of Radical Feminism in Mainline Churches: A History # 4; The Rise of Radical Feminism in Mainline Churches: A History # 5 and The Rise of Radical Feminism in Mainline Churches: A History # 6


Reformed Catholic said...

How have we gotten to this situation today?

My only explanation, based on what I've observed over the years, is that in the name of social justice, we've allowed the expansion of advocacy committees to move beyond mere advocacy to basically giving thumbs up or thumbs down to any and all overtures.

Considering how little time commissioners have to research the background, most will accept the historical background or research of these advocacy committees. Thus the commissioners become proxy votes for the views of those on committees.

Kamaumujimbe said...

Another incomprehensibly whacko line of pseudo-thought by ACWC that continues to undermine their credibility with anything remotely associated with reason or intellect much less sound Christian faith.

Noel said...

This same blather was called "heterosexism" back in the early 80s. There's not a gracious word for anyone who doesn't tow their line. They do not believe in dissent from their agenda.

History shows again and again that liberals, once they come into power, do not remain liberal. Once they have power, it's all Stalinism--walls go up around you and conformity is demanded. Unlike conservatives who can have a "my way or the highway" mentality, liberals offer no option for dissent or escape. There is no highway.

Anonymous said...

Noel, thats odd...I have heard the EXACT same complaint from a cousin of mine who bases his racism on direct quotes from the Bible, just as almost all southerners once did.

He is always complaining about how the culture moved the church on that issue, and how intolerant people are of his beliefs, and how unbiblical these 'libeals' are, because they don't follow the theology of himself, his grandfather (the deacon) and great grandfather (also deacon) etc. etc.
Poor thing, who wants to exclude others, feels...excluded. He is, in a word, sad. And, his "but mine was the overwhelming opinion here and everywhere once." and "The Bible says (quote Bible on incidences of slavery, quote Bible on how to buy and sell, old and new testament examples, etc/)" arguement misses the whole point of a loving a gracious God.

There is a time when people just say "NO, you are wrong. Your time held beliefs are wrong, and no, your position will NOT be treated as if it is still a respectable position to hold. I don't mean to be cruel, but that is just how it is."

It has happened with people like him on race. It has happened in this and all the thinking denominations on the role of women, and it is happening now with GLBT issues in the church.

Conservatives have the option to adjust...or end up like my cousin. No need to shoot the messenger by the way...although I suspect such will occur.


will spotts said...

"this and all the thinking denominations"? Seriously?

[I'm sorry - in that I know there are few things more annoying than someone kibitzing in a conversation - but do you see how elitist that thought is?]

Anonymous said...

it't not elitist to be right

to say that denominations that wont ordain women are not thinking correctly is just..well..true. They allow their own prejudices to color their views on it, for the evidence that it is the right thing to do is incontestable, and anyone that thinks women have lesser gifts than men have not approached the issue properly.

does not mean they are evil...just unthinking, and wrong.



Viola Larson said...

Will & Gene please don't take this off subject with an argument about women's ministry.

I like the way Richard Mouw President of Fuller put it at the first Fellowship meeting. He was extremely clear about the good call of women in ministry, however, he pointed out that if the PCUSA could be in fellowship with such denominations as UCC they could also have fellowship with the PCA--and then perhaps also the PCA would learn about the many women in the PCUSA who stood up for the essentials of the faith in their preaching and teaching.

But the real problem here that I have written about is an ideology that is not Christian since it rejects the authority of Scripture as well as the Lordship of Christ. And prepares for the ousting of those who do hold to the authority of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully Mrs. Larson, those of us who have worked for full inculsion of LGBT people in the Church will never acknowledge that fallacy that we have not held to the authotiry of Scripture and the Lordship of Christ due to our having worked for said inclusion.

Your saying we have, does not make it so, any more than my cousin who said we had rejected the authority of scrpture and Lordship of Christ because of our change "inspired by the culture" as he put it, on the other issue.

As per Dr. Mouw, he has a good point. I know PCA members who have come to question their denominations teaching on women (and on gay issues) because of their contact with PCUSA ministers and members. That said, the PCA is still wrong.

I apologze if it appeared I was taking us off topic. But, I was merely pointing out that the church changed on the issue of womens ordination, and was accused of abandoning scripture and Christ and 'following the culture'

Same thing happened on the issue of civil rights for racial minorities, and again, "you have abandoned scripture and Christ".

And, it is happening again with this issue. Same mistaken claims, and again, same anger and shock when those embracing change don't back down, stick to their guns, and make it clear that WE and our positions are not the problem, and there is no going back, and the discussion on whether this is right or wrong is over.

It takes two to discuss, and we are not intersted in listening to the conservatives monologue.

Some time ago, before I had a death in my family, several of us were having an interesting conversation here. First, let me again thank you all for you prayers and concern at that time.
Secondly, so much time passed, I never answered the question that deserved an answer, or really made the point I hoped to make.

If I may, here it is.

This is settled for us.
There is no more discussion amongst us on the left and the left wing of the moderate middle about whether full LGBT rights in the church and society are right and good in Gods eyes. No more so than there is discussion about race or the role of women.

Are there still some who have opposing views on race? (still a few, but none I hope in the PCUSA).
Are there still some who have opposing views on the role of women? yes, but their numbers are declining, and in the PCUSA, they know that the issue is not up for debate is settled. Even if they did not like the outcome. Was it necessary to deny ordination to some who stated they would not themselves ordain women? Yes. And that was the right thing to do.

To a lot of conservatives, that seems....uncomprehendable. That their opinions would be classed with those of the racists, and those who oppose womens ordination, is shocking...even appalling, to them. It seems many cannot believe we are "there" yet.

Well, that is where your opposition on this issue is. We are not interested in discussion about a settled theological issue. There came a point when those who could not accept the new attitudes and church position on race, or the new attitudes and position on women, realized it was time to accept it, move on, or just not make waves and get on with the life of the church.

On the issue of LGBT ordination, we have reached this point. I am not shocked that conservatives do not agree with our positions. I am just stunned that many do not seem to realize just what has happened, and the new reality of it.

Thank you for the opportunity to post.


will spotts said...

Viola - Sorry. I was actually taking it in yet a different direction. I detest elitism. Either way, not the topic of your post.

Chas Jay said...

Thank you for your last post. You've actually done exactly as ACWC has and as I predicted you would. You've strengthened Viola's statement with your post.

Viola Larson said...

Your long and many comments tell me that you have not settled the issue yourself. You “protest too much.”

The slavery question was a historical oddity. Only the South and England adhered to what they considered a biblical mandate- and they did it from their experience placed over the Scriptures. Paul told the slaves if they could get their freedom they should do so. And he told their masters that the slaves were equal in God’s eyes. As for women that has a very long history that would take several posts. But the fact is there are seeming contradictions about women in the Scripture. When you use Scripture to understand Scripture, the proper way to do exegeses, the contradictions are resolved.

The practice of homosexuality is never acceptable in the Scripture—in fact in Romans 1 it is seen as the outcome of a people denying God. There is no way the contradictions can be resolved but there is forgiveness and transformation for all sinners who repent. God loves and cares for the broken—he wants to heal and make new. That is the beauty of Christianity; we must not cast that away.

Anonymous said...

There are progressives who strive to be genuine liberals ... I know some personally. Meaning, they really believe what they say about diversity, honoring different opinions (or at least tolerating them), and making room for people of varying perspectives in the PC(USA). People like this will even say they think the Kenyon decision was wrong because it violates the idea that we struggle together to find a place for everyone. I don't know if their ideals are possible in the long run, but I know they are sincere and live up to what they profess.

Then there are progressives like Gene (whoever he is ... why is it that some of these progressives are so afraid to identify themselves for real?). There is nothing really original in what he is saying. The smugness, the elitism, the ever present chip on the shoulder, the unashamed playing of the race card (which works in two ways ... Africans who hold to traditional teachings are mocked and told to "grow up"),the dime store quasi-Marxist determinism that "progress" is inevitable, the support of bullying when it suits their purposes (exhibit A ... Walter Kenyon) ... it's like reading the NY Times Op-Ed Page.

But as Viola suggests, "Gene" protests too much. It *is* strange, is it not, that "Gene" keeps coming to this benighted corner of the blogosphere. Is he trying to convince us, or himself?

The truth is, every church that has given way to society's corruption of sexuality is not a "thinking" church as a much as a "disappearing" church. And that is because, when a church does not honor the Word of God, it will not be honored by the God who graciously and lovingly gave us His Word for our instruction, our growth, and ultimately our salvation.

May God bless you all,

John Erthein
DeFuniak Springs, FL

Anonymous said...

Marxists, Muslims, and gay activists like Gene and the ACWC all seem to operate from the same mindset. It says that once a given policy, land, or country has been taken, it is illegitimate for struggle over it to continue.

Muslims have the doctrine of the Dar al-Islam, which says that once a given place has been ruled by Muslims, any other form of rule is per se illegitimate.

Marxists have the Brezhnev Doctrine, which said that once a country has adopted (or had imposed upon it) a Communist regime, no other form of rule is legitimate.

Gay activists use the same thinking with regard to public policy and church order. Once homosexual behavior has been approved, those who continue to oppose it are consider retrograde, and may safely be told to sit down, shut up, and follow the rules.

All three make the same mistake, which is thinking that history is a straight arrow pointing at some pre-determined end that human beings can bring about, at which point the result is frozen for all time.

David Fischler
Woodbridge, VA

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

What we cannot stand to face, says so much about the strenght of our arguments.


Viola Larson said...

You need to understand the difference between making comments for dialogue and talking about other's personal life. You may repost what you wrote if you remove personal information from it.