I enjoy being a woman according to the example outlined in Scripture, in part, just so that I can see my husband being a man as defined by Scripture. I am fulfilled as a woman with my beautiful submissive, nurturing role that provides opportunities to bring out the leadership role of my husband….Nevertheless, my culture tells me otherwise. It tells me I ought to grasp for rights that will make me indistinguishable from men. But I like being a woman and I want to stay that way.
As a woman in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), I am concerned about what I witnessed at the PCA’s General Assembly last week, not just because I strongly disagree with some of the overtures that were passed, but because of the presence of a cultural morality guiding the arguments and votes of commissioners.
We live in an age of moral evolution. Gone are the days of a powerful state church dictating the action of a king with the threat of excommunication or withdrawal of funds. In this new age, characterized by a generally valuable separation of church and state, the weight of moral responsibility has fallen into the hands of our lawmakers and politicians and, for the most part, whoever makes the loudest noise and garners the largest following.
Faced with moral ambiguity, our nation, among so many others, has turned to a morality of the majority. (I’m pulling this straight from Francis Schaeffer) Whichever law, movement, or organization can get the will of at least 51% of the population shapes the morality of the day. Morality evolves as the bloggers and Facebook posters make their views heard.
This moral evolution reflects a sort of humanism that ever seeks out the next “problem” to root out or allows the next minority to hurl itself into the face of the public. Americans see this evolution as bringing progress. Change is good. Seek what is next. Yes we can. Americans worship anything perceived as progress.
It is not so with God, however. Christian morality is based in God’s word, which endures forever. God’s word is unmovable because God is immutable and unchangeable. The nature of His Word reflects who He is and as followers of Christ, we ought to feel a rub between the moral evolution of our culture and the changeless of our faith.
When I showed up to GA last week, I expected to, in the best possible way, run into a bunch of sticks-in-the-mud. I expected to feel like I had traveled to a new land where everyone and everything would feel a bit alien from the bombardment of American culture I experience every time I log onto Facebook. I expected to feel at home in the midst of men and women who are just a bit “other” than the world.
My experience could not have been more different. Instead, all I could see and hear as I bumped into yellow-lanyard-wearing, hipster, bearded PCA men in the conference center and crowding the restaurants surrounding it was this cultural morality. This glorification of progress through change littered their conversations as well as their arguments on the floor. My jaw fell to the floor when I overheard one commissioner comment to another, “These other denominations have done it; isn’t it time we caught up?” Isn’t it time we caught up?!? Does not the Scripture make it clear to us that when other churches are changing with the times, we ought to hold strong? Should we not see these shifts and hold tighter to our doctrine? Are not these changes a red flag? Have we learned nothing from church history?
When it comes to the issue of women in the church, my earlier questions still remain. Given that we have no new revelation from God and there has been no breakthrough theological paper on the issue, why is this coming up at GA? My answer: because of American cultural morality. Moral progress in the United State right now is currently focused upon equality and I believe our commissioners, for the most part, fell prey to this cultural pressure.