From My Point Of View: Arguing About The Messenger, Ignoring The Message -- By: Maria L. Boccia
From My Point Of View:
Arguing About The Messenger, Ignoring The Message
Maria Boccia, Ph.D., is on the faculty of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and a student at Denver Seminary. This article was first printed in The Denver Post. Sept. 26, 1992, and is reprinted by permission.
The Episcopal Church has been making headlines because of the move by traditionalist congregations to separate themselves from the main body of the church and create a separate synod.
The focus of the traditionists’ ire is the ordination of women priests, something the Episcopal church has been doing since 1974, but which it recently has become more insistent about. Similar splits occurred in the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA), over the ordination of women elders a few years ago. I find these splits fascinating.
Within the Episcopal, PCUSA, and other mainline churches, there has been for years a diversity of views of the Christian faith. For most of this century, the leadership, seminaries, and many members have held to liberal views of Christianity, including a Bible which is not inerrant (i.e., without errors), as well as views of God, Jesus, salvation, etc. which are significantly different from the historic orthodox position. Yet the conservative elements within these churches managed to tolerate all these deviations from traditional orthodoxy, and stay within their denominations. Only with the liberalization of the church’s view of women have the limits of toleration finally been overreached, and these conservatives have left with a flurry of publicity about the destruction of the church. Why?
For most evangelicals, including myself, a high view of the inerrancy and authority of the Bible is a critical belief. That is, my view of the world, my standards for morality, my guide for living are all ultimately and immediately based on the teachings of Scripture, which is believed to be God’s Word to us. Yet the conservatives in these denominations managed to compromise and coexist for years with leadership that denied this fundamental tenet of the Christian faith. Only when faced with the press for women in leadership did these people feel it necessary to withdraw from fellowship. It is therefore an interesting question: How could these conservatives tolerate and compromise on the central doctrine of Scripture, but leave because of the women’s issue, which might be perceived as a more peripheral doctrine?
The answer lies in part with the way the women’s issue touches people’s lives. When we raise questions about the roles of men and women in the home, church and society, we ask questions about the fundamental nature of men and women. This touches our self-concept, our egos or souls if you will. We are asking people t...
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