Friday, April 7, 2017

Just Say No




It's hard to say no. Nancy Reagan wanted kids to just say no to drugs. It didn't work. Many evangelical churches want their young people to say no to sex. That doesn't seem to be working out too well either. But, we don't have to look at failed campaigns to know how hard it is to say no. We can just look inside ourselves as Christian sinners to know how easy it is to say yes and how hard it is to say no to sin.

White Southerners of my generation know how hard it was to say no to racism and segregation. I recall at college one Sunday night when a group of guys wanted to go after a male student who had gained entrance for a black girl to see the Billy Graham film "The Restless Ones" by escorting her into the Mississippi Coliseum. I have written at my old Blog The Christian Curmudgeon about the negative attitudes and actions of people, including friends, because our campus ministry group at the University of Southern Mississippi was integrated. Happily such experiences are mostly behind us. 

Then there is the challenge of patriarchy and the scorn people such as Tim Bayly and his cultish followers have for  those who do disagree with their advocacy of patriarchy. Opposition to patriarchy allows Tim gleefully to fire his big guns, accusing men of attacking God's fatherhood, of rejecting God's creation order, and being afraid of their wives and too weak to rule enforce "father rule" on them. But we bravely soldier on answering Dorothy Sayers's question, "Are women human?" with "Yes." 

We say no to segregation and no to patriarchy. But there are two things now trending that need to hear, "No" from the churches and their leaders: (1) Application of the concepts of critical race theory to the definition and practice of racial reconciliation in the body of Christ. (2) Description of the different callings of men and women within the church and home as gender apartheid. 

The church needs to say, "Black people are not the Israelites, white people are not the Egyptians, and Jesus is not saying, 'Let my people go from the land white privilege and the house of micro-aggressions.'" This may be the way the Roman Catholic liberation theologians and liberal denominations talk, but it is not the language of the Bible, the gospel, or the church. If that's the language you want to speak, its the language of another country, not of the Israel of God. 

The church needs also to say, "Women are not the blacks of South Africa forced into their own segregated areas by male Afrikaners who save the best of the land for themselves." We want husbands to live with their wives as fellow heirs of the grace of life. We want our churches to listen to women and to affirm and use their gifts. Most of us are rather mild complementarians, the kind that the Bayly boys scorn. But the Bible does not allow us to be sufficiently egalitarian to culturally relativize Ephesians 5, 1 Peter 3, or 1 Timothy 2. And, no, we don't want to hear about "penis shaped microphones" so you can preach.

I am not optimistic the church will find the courage to do it. The church is too easily intimidated by people ready to accuse of racism and sexism. But the church needs to just say no to these two strange doctrines. If it doesn't find the wherewithal to say it and mean it soon, it will be too late.  






4 comments:

  1. I agree with what you are saying. I believe you have correctly identified a problem. But can you provide more advice on what a layman can actually DO?

    You're saying that the Church must "say" certain things. I agree. How does a layman make that happen? What, exactly, can a layman -- or even a RE or TE -- do? To whom do we talk? What do you recommend we actually say? Are you talking about overtures at GA? Something else?

    I believe the time for concrete action has come. I just don't know what form that concrete action should take. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Jenny, I wish I had more I could offer you in terms of the practical methods for doing something. I don't know what church you are in, or who your pastor is, or what Presbytery you are (and do not want to). But what is needed, in my view, is something along the lines of what happened before and when the PCA came into existence. Some ministers of influence and some ruling elders led a movement of reform in the PCUS and later of forming the PCA (and I am not saying a new denomination should be begun). The problem is that it is hard to see how such a coalition of teaching and ruling elders can come together. Men are very afraid of being accused of being racists if they confront the influence of CRT (if they know what it is and how it has influenced racial reconciliation). As long as CRT is allowed to be influential the further the church will be from any real reconciliation. There will always be a set a new things that must be confessed and repented. Another thing that would need to happen is for the two seminaries that feed ministers into the PCA were willing to say, "No we are not going there." I have in mind CTS and RTS. But the truth is they both have within them proponents of CRT - and apparently with the support of the administrations. This is one reason I am not very hopeful. The difficulty with confronting "gender apartheid" is two fold: The accusation of racism. And the accusation that women are being devalued and put into second class citizen status. There has to be a willingness to say clearly and decisively: "We are not going to have female REs and/or TEs.

      Delete
  2. A little nugget of recent news that may prove useful: https://www.nas.org/articles/the_pseudo_science_of_microaggressions

    ReplyDelete

Comments are welcome, but anonymous comments are not. You must register (simple process) to comment, and, other than your name, no personal information is ever revealed. The owner of this Blog does not remove comments, including those critical of him and what he writes, unless they show signs of serious mental disorder, violate accepted standards of Christian morality, or attack individuals rather than their views.