The ordination of women was not the end of the road—not by any means. Those who had stood up for adherence to biblical standards knew all too well that the push for compromise was merely a prelude to a long hidden agenda: extreme feminism, abortion rights, homosexual advocacy, and the tolerance of all sorts of unsavory practices within the church.
The evangelical church is under constant threat to compromise its reliance on biblical truth. The human desire to be accepted, to not be seen as “outside the mainstream,” can be overwhelming. But that desire is our weakness, our downfall. It does not always immediately destroy the dam we build to protect the waters of truth, but instead it leads to tiny fissures that grow until destruction is inevitable.
Twenty years ago, I experienced the painful demise of the Episcopal Church, who once was a bastion of biblical truth. It was not a pretty picture. It was a picture painted in the primary colors of relentlessness and deception.
The combination of those elements inevitably led some sincere folks to weariness, and willingness to compromise, and yes, ultimately to surrender. For those who sought peace at any price, conformity over conviction, and popularity over principle, capitulation seemed the easier way out.
The initial compromise, which caused the first cracks in the dike, seemed innocent enough at the time: the ordination of women.
But to truly understand how that initial compromise caused a wave of liberalism to overcome biblical boundaries within the Episcopal Church (and soon by the rest of the mainline denominations), we have to understand the different groups involved.
Sincere followers of Christ made up the first group. They believed in Jesus and the scriptures. To them, the effort to ordain women seemed genuine. But they ultimately bought into the secular argument that the ordination of women was merely an issue of equality, sharing power, responding to new realities, and gaining relevancy with modern culture. Those believers were most troublesome of all. Although they adhered to the secular perspective, no one could accuse them of having “departed the faith once delivered.”
Michael Youssef is an Egyptian-born American and founding rector of The Church of The Apostles. He holds a PhD from Emory University in Social Anthropology