Love Is Important, but It Isn’t Enough
I read with interest and respect “A Simple Roadmap from San Antonio”, by Glenn Sackett. Of the message about being loving in all situations, I heartily agree. There has been much suspicion and acrimony on all sides of all issues in the church. This ought not so to be.
But I cannot separate that love for all, from the support of women called to leadership, or the doctrines of Jesus. I believe that when one gets the love right, there will be room for some variance person to person, place to place. And servant leadership is the only real Christian leadership for the church. Gerry Chudleigh and Ricardo Graham often commented that the church would not move forward on women’s ordination until this was more generally understood.
Specifically addressing the issue of women’s ordination: Letting that go does not at all solve the problem. In our congregation we had a very humble and effective woman elder. Those against officially including women as church leaders talked her into believing her ordination and position were wrong. So she stepped down. Besides causing her to doubt if the call she had felt was divine or devilish, and making her unsure of the origin of impressions that have come since then, we lost her influence, work, and eventually even her presence in our congregation.
Moreover, those leading the opposition were not content to shut down women pastors and elders: other women in leadership positions lost their places also. Nor was having women silenced the end of it. They began questioning the Godhead. Some of them said that others who didn’t agree with their ideas of perfection were slipping into Babylon, that we are preaching a false gospel, that Ellen White’s writings were tampered with, and that she herself was influenced unduly by her son and others, that the church has been infiltrated by the Jesuits. Some in this group are now saying that we must keep the Old Testament feasts. The list goes on and on.
So do I think abandoning all the women God has called to different leadership positions and those who have supported God will calm the waters? No. It will only whet the appetite for more control of those who have become convinced that they need to have ever expanding power over the church. I believe that when we do not support both men and women whom God has called, gifted and sent, it is an affront not only to the people, but also to God who sent them.
Again, I greatly appreciate the call to put love first, last, and thru all that we say, do, and think.
(Name withheld by request.)