Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A final on "The Rise of Radical Feminism in the Mainline Churches: A History"

In my last posting on the rise of radical feminism in mainline churches I stated that I would post a follow up with some extra thoughts about radical feminism in the church today. Most of my thoughts are about the issues revolving around radical feminism, but also I want to offer a word of caution to the orthodox men in the church. I will begin with the latter.

As I posted my nine postings I noticed that I had only one male comment. But, for the orthodox this isn’t a ‘women only’ issue, instead it is about a movement and doctrines that have deeply affected all of the mainline churches and the PC (U.S.A.) in particular. Not only have I experienced the push for a change in ordination standards at all of the Presbyterian Women’s gatherings I have attended, as I review PW’s magazine Horizons, I have often had to write about some author’s heretical views of Christology and soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). These are two of the most basic Christian essentials.

As I traveled to the Fellowship Gathering in August I also discovered Presbyterian pastors who were unfamiliar with Voices of Orthodox Women a renewal group which writes about theological views coming from women in the Presbyterian denomination. This particular group, of which I am a board member, has very helpful information including a review of the 2011-12, PW’s Bible Study, “Confessing the Beatitudes” and reviews of Horizons which I generally write. The latest is here: Review of the September/October 2011 Horizons Magazine

And for an understanding of how Radical Feminism continues to affect the Presbyterian denomination one only need look at the last General Assembly held in 2010. Some of the overtures which came were attempts to change the Book of Order, in the section on marriage, from ‘between a man and woman’ to ‘couples.’ This was an attempt to change the denomination's constitution to allow same gender marriage. The Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns recommended passage placing this advice on the item:
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 is superior dictates that men and women behave in particular ways that abide by the rules their sex dictates. 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 that patriarchy determines. Gay men are a threat as they are perceived as “too feminine,” and lesbian women are perceived as “too masculine.”

In withholding the right to marry from same-gender loving people, the church is upholding this patriarchal standard for humanity. As a group committed to standing against patriarchy and its effects within the world and the church, ACWC advocates that same-gender loving women and men be allowed to participate in the commitment of marriage. The ACWC draws particular attention to the vulnerability of lesbian women in this exclusion, as these particular members of the body of Christ find themselves excluded and marginalized both for their gender identity and sexual orientation.
The real truth is that both women and men, who are faithful to Scripture, care not at all for the caricatures the ACWC provided in their advice, instead they care for living out their commitment to Christ by obeying his word. Their desire is to bring sinners of all kinds to the loving, forgiving, transforming grace of Jesus Christ. Their desire is also that unrepentant sinners, of any kind, not be in leadership over the precious people of God’s pasture.

In an attempt to enlarge the theological diversity, including orthodox, of ACWC, and others, a commissioner offered an overture asking for just that. ACWC committee members worked double time defeating it, even stating that they did indeed have a theological diversity of people. (Alas, one evangelical among many and she was not consulted when the above advice was placed on the overture.) And the ACWC leadership was seemingly unaware that one of the orthodox ladies speaking for the overture to allow more diversity had been turned down for membership in the ACWC for no apparent reason.

Radical feminism is the movement which has pushed the denomination toward the brink. Its radicalized theology is now mixing heavily with Queer theology; the denomination which opens its doors to the evolving theologies will in the end be everything but Christian. I am in the midst of writing a review of a book published by Westminster/John Knox Press. Gathering those driven away: A Theology of Incarnation mixes apopthatic mysticism (the way of negation) with radical feminism, Gnostic texts and queer theology; nothing is left of the Christian faith. It is total reversal.

There are several ways one can, as an orthodox Christian, stand against such devastating theologies. One is simply to be aware of them and be prepared to give answers. The most important way is, of course, to keep proclaiming the biblical faith; lifting up Jesus Christ as the one unique Savior. Another is prayer and fellowship with one another. Above all, simply keep standing, remembering Jesus is truly Lord in every situation.

An important practical stance against radical feminism is to keep uplifting the ministries of orthodox/reformed/evangelical women. Lift them up because their ministries are important, not to fill quotas. I recently listened to one of the women pastors at a local Evangelical Presbyterian Church. She stated that it was such a relief to her, after leaving the PC (U.S.A.) to know that others chose her because of her gifts and not because she filled a quota.

I want to end this with a video of the President of Fuller Theological Seminary, Richard Mouw as he spoke at the Fellowship Gathering. Listen for three things: the lifting high of the redemptive work of Christ, the encouragement to women as they minister and the call for a broader ecumenicalism which includes not only the extremely progressive UCC, but also all of the other Reformed denominations such as the Presbyterian Church in America.

Richard Mouw, Thursday Evening August 25 at the Fellowship Gathering from Fellowship of Presbyterians on Vimeo.

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