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R.C.A. and Women in Office

Most of the main line denominations in this land have accepted women as elders and deacons and ministers of the gospel. As the emphasis upon the infallibility of the Bible declines, so also grow practices which clearly are condemned in Scripture. The Reformed Church in America has been undergoing a struggle in this regard too. Officially, the church does not allow women in the office of ministry—though they have served as elders and deacons for some time already. However, the R.C.A. does have a few ordained women in spite of the official position of the church. This situation has created a measure of tension in the R.C.A.—understandably so. An article appeared on the church page of the Grand RapidsPress last July 22, quoting Rev. Dr. Arie R. Brouwer, the “new chief executive of the denomination.” The article states:

A long-smouldering conflict in .the Reformed Church in America over the ordination of women has veered suddenly into some unprecedented initiatives on the home fronts. 

In some cases, they’re ordaining women without specific denominational authorization.

They claim they don’t need it. Opponents insist it’s required, and are launching a battle to enforce it. The confrontation has headed the drawn-out, sometimes hairbreadth issue toward a possibly splintering climax. 

“It could mean a split for us,” says the Rev; Dr. Arie R. Brouwer. . . . 

“That doesn’t mean a big schism,” he added in an interview. “But if the denomination’s governing synod eventually upholds the local, custom-breaking ordinations as legal, “some people possibly may leave the church because of it.” 

This is what happened in the Episcopal Church after it began ordaining women this year, even though such ordinations were officially authorized—a step that has repeatedly, and narrowly, lost out in the Reformed Church. 

“Some people simply got tired of waiting, and are not about to wait any more,” Brouwer said. “So they’re just going ahead. They argue that the book of church order doesn’t have to be amended. But opinion about that is divided.” 

Although the denomination’s governing synod declared in 1958 that there was no theological or Biblical reason not to ordain women, subsequent, repeated synod actions specifically to authorize it have regularly failed to gain ratification by regional units, sometimes by a single vote. 

Six times, over the years, the measure cleared the top governing body, only to fall short of the required two-thirds ratification by regional “classes”—a necessary 30 out of the 45 of them. Twice, it got 29, each time failing to get the 30th because of a tie vote, in California in 1975 and in the Seattle area in 1976. 

In each instance, the measure lost because of a single person’s vote. . . . . 

Already, one woman, Valerie De-marinus, was ordained June 25 by the Brooklyn “classis”, and another, L’Anni Hill-Alto of Fairlawn, N.J., wife of a pastor there, was scheduled for ordination this month. 

Opponents have filed judicial complaints, challenging the ecclesiastical validity of the ordinations without specific authorization. The protests go first to the area “particular” synods before hitting the national general synod, probably next year.

And so it goes. Clearly the majority in the R.C.A., and almost unanimously in the East, favor the ordination of women in the office of ministry. It is but a matter of a short time before it is officially accepted in that church too. It remains to be seen how much of a “schism” will be created by such action. The synod of the R.C.A. has taken other anti-scriptural positions in the past without generating any sort of schism—as union with the W.C.C. and N.C.C. and approval of lodge membership. There seems to be little reason to believe that this further departure would generate the “schism” mentioned by Brouwer.

On Television

In the Herald of the Covenant, Aug. 25, 1978, appears an interesting article concerning television viewing.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

With these words, Paul warns us clearly to separate ourselves from those who do not believe. Scripture is clear, the ultimate line of demarcation in this life is between belief and unbelief. Most Christians are aware of this, and perhaps many try to follow this admonition in their daily lives. It would be instructive if we could number the marriages that are broken because of failure to heed this warning. Yet, the purpose of this present article seeks to deal with a very subtle from of the unequal yoke.

If given the outright choice, few, if any, parents would place the children in the hands of a babysitter who had a twelve year record of over 100,000 acts of violence, with thousands of murders and rapes, as well as drug abuse, acts of blasphemy against God while worshipping Satan, and whose understanding of sex was only immoral. Yet, many Christian homes go so far as to have several of these “babysitters” in almost constant service. You guessed it, we are talking about your television….

What’s a Christian to do? Burn their television? Some would say yes, while others say we should bring our television times under the control and authority of God. Use

Philippians 4:8, Galatians 5:22-23,

and

I Corinthians 10:31

as standards to evaluate what you will or will not watch.

It is helpful to answer this question, “Will this show instill in my child the qualities of honesty, responsibility, respect for authority, the love of God, decency, purity, chastity, charity, and kindness?”

Finally, beware those shows that teach you and your children to laugh at those things which God hates, by cleverly presenting them as innocent humor.

We thank Robert S. hays, author of the article, for some thought-provoking remarks. The same magazine, published by Covenant Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America (in Mississippi), contains a continuation of the series of articles on our own churches, written by Prof. H. Hanko. A brief article also appears giving a general description of the Christian Reformed Church, written by Rev. John Vander Ploeg. This church paper is making an obvious and commendable attempt to become acquainted with other churches in their area and in our country.

World Council of Churches and Revolution

The W.C.C. is constantly embroiled in controversy concerning grants made to revolutionary groups in third-world countries. Most recently a grant of $85,000 to a Rhodesian liberation movement has stirred opposition even from some of the liberal camp in that organization. The Christian News reports in its issue of Sept. 18, 1978:

An $85,000 grant to a Rhodesian liberation movement by the World Council of Churches’ Program to Combat Racism has stirred widespread criticism, even from individuals and organizations that have traditionally supported the program in the past.

The grant to the Patriotic Front of Zimbabwe, made up of two groups headed respectively.by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe, has produced dismay among many “liberal” church people because it is seen as a political decision. Since the Rhodesian Executive Council, formed as part of the “internal settlement” announced in March, includes three black leaders, many observers feel the W.C.C. has made a political decision to side with one group against another. 

Grants from the anti-racism program to liberation movements have drawn fire over the years from more conservative Christians who claim they are actually used to support terrorism. Some supporters of the program. who have rejected this argument in the past are now expressing doubts about the recent grant to the Patriotic Front in light of its alleged involvement in the murders of missionaries in late June. 

In announcing the allocation in early August, the W.C.C. expressed its belief that the “internal settlement” in Rhodesia “leaves the illegal white-minority regime still ineffective control and gives it a veto over real change for the next decade.”

Now, of course, there are many facets to this whole question. The group now financially supported by the W.C.C. appears to be communistic in philosophy and. seems supported by communist countries. And there is the awful fact that this organization, W.C.C., is giving support to violence and revolution. It goes to show what happens when those who claim to be of the church become involved in the political activities of nations. When churches refuse to preach Christ crucified, and make their mission in the world to reform society, there can be nothing else than the establishment finally of that antichristian church and kingdom.