Friday, March 14, 2008

Biblical Truth or Hidden Agenda?



The Grass Withers And The Flower Fades

But the word of the Lord will stand forever



I used to love that verse. To me it meant that the things that we fuss over throughout our lifetime i.e. the riches, pursuit of careers, anything that didn't stand the test of time post death is not only meaningless but a distracting and fruitless pursuit. The shiny nuggets of gold and all things that sparkle that pass when we move from earth and cross the divide into heaven, will all pass. The flower in all its fragrence and beauty lives its dawn to dusk, it's seed to flower if you will, will too, succumb to death.

However the Word of God Himself, like an immovable mountain, the truth, will continue to live, strong regardless of earthly tides.

So, what happened you say. Perhaps it was the repetitive mantra from Rev. Harry Frielink before each service. Perhaps it is the not so subtle hint from an ultra right wing conservative pastor that dimmed my love for that text. It is unfortunate that a man's thoughts could inject hate like the venom of a snake, into a sacred text and change it's very meaning. It is of no wonder that, as one reader mentioned earlier in a comment, that she just couldn't bear the words coming out of Frielink's mouth, that it has taken on a whole new life of it's own. That the words seem to no longer come from God but rather from man.

From one's perspective the new meaning is this:

The word of God is unchangeable and the very idea that any view that changes the status quo is of Satan. It is "of" the world and "worldly" driven. I just cringe when he says parrots that verse now which has taken on a mocking form. It seems, especially at this time of turmoil in our congregation and the pastor's diabolical seed planting of misogyny, that it is an abuse of biblical text. It heralds the proclamation at the beginning of each sermon that I am right and you (referring to the 40 % of our congregation that wished to have women in the office of elder and minister) are wrong.


I guess perception IS everything.


Joan of Ark



31 comments:

Annette said...

what a load of crap!

Do you even know Pastor Harry? Do you even know the love that this man has for the people under his care, the people that he meets ...MALE OR FEMALE along the way?

To say that he is injecting hate into his words....wow...what a load of crap. You said: "It is unfortunate that a man's thoughts could inject hate like the venom of a snake, into a sacred text and change it's very meaning." Pastor Harry DOES NOT change the meaning of those words. He does NOT inject hate. He simply states the word of God. If I read them...even if I did so every Sunday... would that mean I would injecting "hate" into the words of the bible? Especially since I agree with his stated stance of women have a strong role within the church just not as elders and pastors?

Do you ever stop to think that perhaps that "one reader who mentioned earlier in a comment, that she just couldn't bear the words coming out of Frielink's mouth, that it has taken on a whole new life of it's own. That the words seem to no longer come from God but rather from man." That just perhaps that reader is putting her (or his) own perspective on things. Has that reader stopped and said...Pastor Harry, when you say thus and such...are you meaning that you hate me as a women and for me wanting to have women in spiritual leadership positions over men? has your reader done so?

If not...hmmmm....a bit gossipy isn't it? Hmm...a bit judgmental isn't it? Hmmm... perhaps one's own heart needs to be thoroughly examined first.

You simply don't really know the man. You don't...and this post is SO deeply offensive to me as a woman, and as a person who knows the man. Just so very offensive. You attack a man you don't know ...and you assume that he hates women ... and you assume that he's being a pawn of Satan and doing so deliberately.

Offensive, just absolutely offensive.

Jonathan said...

Putting your vitriol aside, could you elaborate on these "strong roles" for women you mentioned in your post? What are they?

Anonymous said...

Dear Annette.

It doesn't surprise me that two birds of a feather flock together.

I think women that agree with this type of rhetoric may be victims of Stockholm Syndrome. I understand that you or other marginalized women may feel this way.

If you read a blog about critique of the way women are being treated in the Exeter Christian Reformed church you may expect to find some critiques.

I think at times people behave in ways that they think are honourable but later find that they were absolutely wrong. I hope this is the case.

For a young minister at his first church he has created more turmoil in our church in three years as any other minister has caused in all the years that I have been here.

You can think what you want but perceptions are real. I have heard many people make this same complaint. So, perhaps you need to leave your church and come and be part of ours. You will feel right at home.

AS for crap. I have heard more "crap" from elders, deacons and Pastor Harry in the past few years that I can assure you that the pile of crap here is much bigger than yours there.

JofA

Anonymous said...

I confess I have the same problem with Harry Frielink - I can not see God's message for the man and I will not call him Pastor because his actions have been less than pastoral - quite exclusive actually. The minister did not have a vote on this issue within council and rightfully so - his position needs to be neutral regardless of his personal convictions. He should have held himself totally outside the debate. If Harry seeks council/advice it needs to be on how to balance his personal viewpoints with his ability to serve everyone in the congregation. His lack of objectivity on the issue and his inability to appreciate the other viewpoint is what causes his words to be suspect. He is very adamant and unyielding and He is in a position to influence and promote his own agenda. I know that following various conversations with Harry wherein he communicated his superiority as a man and the lesser value of women - a number of our brothers and sisters have chosen to leave the congregation. I would suggest that should be discussed in council as contrary to his mandate in this church. Who is leading who?

Annette said...

Funny how people can see a man of God so differently.

Strong role of women... depends on what you see as a strong role of women. Do you only see it as being in a spiritual leadership position (aka elder or pastor)? Strong roles of women are women who are active within the church... whether that be as teachers, mentors, advisors etc. Just as not all men aren't called to elders... but can still have a strong role within the church. Everyone has a role within the church, some in the more obvious roles and others in less obvious roles but still prominent. AND still strong and still important.

Women can choose to be used of God in the manner in which he scripturally calls them.

If the men don't step up to the plate...that's a whole different ball game. But that's not what we are talking about here.

As to Pastor Harry's actions. I have never found him to be a misogynist. He doesn't have a hatred toward women. What he does dislike is people making God's word say something that in truth it does not. If you call that hatred, then so be it, I won't be able to change your mind on that.

As to the comment of "two birds flocking together" not sure what you mean by that as you don't exactly know my history do you?

Not knowing what the "stockholm syndrome is" I had to look it up. Wow...demeaning me aren't you? Interesting that.

I do find it interesting that you are blaming Pastor Harry for "all the turmoil" in the church. I've heard of SEVERAL CRC churches that are undergoing a decision regarding women in office. I wonder if all those pastors are too blame as well? In which case.... shouldn't they, if they are going to be blamed, be putting forth the word of God...and pastors ARE supposed to do that. They are to rightly lead the people of God according to the bible. According to God's word. And if God's word says that women are NOT to be elders then so be it. That's the pastors job...to ensure that the people under his care know God's word.

Hmmmm.... I just find this whole thing interesting.

Jon of Arcadia said...

I was doing a little research on this, and found that very similar arguments had been made in the 18&1900's to justify slavery. Below is an excerpt written by Richard Furman, the President of the Baptist State Convention, in 1822. (For more information about this gentleman, google "richard furman" slavery)

It is rather wordy, but please push through it, as I think you will find it quite relevant. The text in its entirety can be found at: http://forum.cygnus-study.com/showthread.php?t=3518


On the lawfulness of holding slaves, considering it in a moral and religious view, the Convention think it their duty to exhibit their sentiments, on the present occasion, before your Excellency, because they consider their duty to God, the peace of the State, the satisfaction of scrupulous consciences, and the welfare of the slaves themselves, as intimately connected with a right view of the subject.

The rather, because certain writers on politics, morals and religion, and some of them highly respectable, have advanced positions, and inculcated sentiments, very unfriendly to the principle and practice of holding slaves; and by some these sentiments have been advanced among us, tending in their nature, directly to disturb the domestic peace of the State, to produce insubordination and rebellion among the slaves, and to infringe the rights of our citizens; and indirectly, to deprive the slaves of religious privileges, by awakening in the minds of their masters a fear, that acquaintance with the Scriptures, and the enjoyment of these privileges would naturally produce the aforementioned effects; because the sentiments in opposition to the holding of slaves have been attributed, by their advocates, to the Holy Scriptures, and to the genius of Christianity.

These sentiments, the Convention, on whose behalf I address your Excellency, cannot think just, or well founded; for the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites were directed to purchase their bond-men and bond-maids of the Heathen nations; except they were of the Canaanites, for these were to be destroyed. And it is declared, that the persons purchased were to be their bond-men forever;" and an "inheritance for them and their children."

They were nor to go out free in the year of jubilee, as the Hebrews, who had been purchased, were; the line being clearly drawn between them. In example, they are presented to our view as existing in the families of the Hebrews as servants, or slaves, born in the house, or bought with money: so that the children born of slaves are here considered slaves as well as their parents.

And to this well known state of things, as to its reason and order, as well as to special privileges, St. Paul appears to refer, when he says, "But I was free born."

In the New Testament, the Gospel History, or representation of facts, presents us with a view correspondent with that, which is furnished by other authentic ancient histories of the state of the world at the commencement of Christianity. The powerful Romans, had succeeded in empire, the polished Greeks; and, under both empires, the countries they possessed and governed were full of slaves.

Many of these with their masters, were converted to the Christian Faith, and received, together with them into the Christian Church, while it was yet under the ministry of the inspired Apostles. In things purely spiritual, they appear to have enjoyed equal privileges; but their relationship, as masters and slaves, were not dissolved. Their respective duties are strictly enjoined.

The masters are nor required to emancipate their slaves; but to give them the things that are just and equal, forbearing threatening; and to remember, they also have a master in Heaven. The "servants under the yoke" (bond-servants or slaves) mentioned by Paul to Timothy, as having "believing masters," are not authorized by him to demand of them emancipation, or to employ violent means to obtain it; but are directed to "account their masters worthy of all honour," and "not to despise them, because they were brethren" in religion; "but the rather to do them service, because they were faithful and beloved partakers of the Christian benefit."

Similar directions are given by him in other places, and by other Apostles. And it gives great weight to the argument, that in this place, Paul follows his directions concerning servants with a charge to Timothy, as an Evangelist, to teach and exhort men to observe this doctrine.

Had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed, that the inspired Apostles, who feared not the faces of men, and were ready to lay down their lives in the cause of their God, would have tolerated it, for a moment, in the Christian Church.

If they had done so on a principle of accommodation, in cases where the masters remained heathen, to avoid offences and civil commotion; yet, surely, where both master and servant were Christian, as in the case before us, they would have enforced the law of Christ, and required, that the master should liberate his slave in the first instance. But, instead of this, they let the relationship remain untouched, as being lawful and right, and insist on the relative duties.

In proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority, its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions.
---------------------
Annette, here is a man who was likely more schooled than you and I put together, whose final belief was that this abhorrence was entirely justifiable by Scripture! Judging by his tone, I wouldn't say that he "hates" coloured people (the majority of people enslaved at the time), but you would have to agree that there was a kind of passive racial hate towards them, which enabled such terrible things to be done to them through the course of a mere 5 centuries.

Can you see how we then are so careful of people who say, as you did regarding pastors:
"They are to rightly lead the people of God according to the bible. According to God's word. And if God's word says that women are NOT to be elders then so be it. That's the pastors job...to ensure that the people under his care know God's word."

God's word simply cannot be read so...simply.

jonathan said...

Laugh. Out. Loud! That was great, anonymous.

One little nitpick though. Does a good Calvinist really believe in "innocent flesh"? You may want to refer to Heidelberg Catachism Q & A 7.

What impresses me, though, is that while stomping your feet and waving your fists you managed to throw some typing in there! Congrats!

But seriously, why don't you save your diatribe for the playground? This here is for the grown-ups.

Annette said...

I find it interesting how you can bring this up as a slavery issues when the same arguements you use to promote women in office, are also used to promote gay and lesbians in office...and yet we're not supposed to do that. Yet with impunity you can say that since I disagree with women in office...that being elder and pastor...that therefore somehow I must agree with slavery. Interesting that.

And this is NOT an issue of slavery so I'm just not getting your angle on that.

I was lead to this articleby another individual that I find sums up quite nicely why I believe as I do. Why I believe that Scripture (aka GOD's word) teaches the equality of men and women WHILST giving them differing tasks.

Do have to ask though...why is this all Pastor Harry's fault? Does not Exeter CRC have a board of elders and deacons? And on such an important decision...would this not be put to the congregation for discussion and vote? I'm fairly sure I heard rumours to that affect. So...why again is this all Pastor Harry's fault? Seems to me if the overwhelming majority of the consistory said no women in office and these would be men that the congregation prayed about being in office, and thus were called of God, and thus were duly installed, wouldn't this all be "God's fault?" Which to me of course begs the question.... what about God has made you so angry at him?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Jonathan, I know you pride yourself with your intellect. But why do you stoop to 'playground' talk and teasing? If you believe anonymous was stomping his/her feet while typing, then what does your JofA do on a regular basis?

Was there a speck in someone else's eye?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

In response to your comment Annette:

We obviously do see Harry differently. Of course there are many, that believe that Pastor Ted Haggard as a man of God. I just see him as another man, human and not above reproach.

There are many women being used in many important roles in this church. That is not the point. The point IS to use women in all areas and fully utilizing them. If you don’t understand the importance of women in the role of elder or pastor you are missing the authority of the position.

I really don’t understand your point. How can you subscribe to women being used as teachers, mentors and advisors when your very position is that the teaching of the scriptures should be done by men? Does not “women keeping silent in the church” include the catechism class and the Sunday school class? Or is this a literal reading that excludes the classrooms, Sunday school rooms or the gym. Where does it stop? How can you possibly support the position of silent women in the church when you suggest that they should teach them instead? I would suggest that you go back to your bible and decide where you want to draw the line in the sand.

This position makes as much sense as Tim DeWeerd’s position against women keeping silent in the church while [permitting] his wife, Joy teach catechism. Talk about hypocrisy!

I suppose the RCA is not that different than the CRC when it comes to sending missionaries to third world countries. For some reason though, the whole issue of sending female’s into these positions didn’t raise the ire of the conservative right wing. These women are being tasked to fulfill the exact same role as minister, by teaching, preaching and setting up churches.

I would suggest that it is because of the historical view of African’s as barbaric animals, lower human beings or equal yet distinct or whatever flavour or spin you would like to put on it. The bottom line is that all God’s children need to have and feel the same net worth and need to be seen and utilized as such.

You say that women can choose to be used of God in the manner in which he scripturally calls them is even more puzzling. Now there is a load of crap, to use your words. Do you believe that of all the women who have been called to the office of elder or minister have misinterpreted God’s calling? How quaint your view.

If men don’t step up to the plate, women should step in you say? Please show me where this is written? If you believe what you say you should DEMAND (in a subservient way of course) that men do their job. Why would it be permissible now? A mere failure to step up to the plate negates this text? Is that all that is required? I would suggest to you that at this very moment the men running our council are not stepping up to the plate. Would it be the men who decide when they are not stepping up to the plate?

Although one meaning of misogyny is a “hate” of women it also is defined as a dominant prejudice and/or bias. Not always do people understand or appreciate their bias. Good people can and often do have bias’. It does not necessarily mean that they have made the conscious decision to behave this way. People are the sum of their experiences and thus there needn’t be an element of cognitive acknowledgement.

The Stockholm syndrome refers to the 1976 Sweden bank robbery where the captors sympathized with their hostage takers. It has since been commonly been referred to in psychology as a syndrome where the abused sympathizes with the abuser. There again, needn’t be an element of cognitive knowledge. I quite honestly view women in the present issue a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome. I am not demeaning you, I am calling you a victim.

As for the comment of two birds flocking together refers to you, your husband Jim, Marianne’s and Harry’s dogma, profession and apparent affiliation. You and Jim have provided your history.

I don’t blame Harry for the turmoil in our congregation any more than I blame Alexander Stephens for postulating the idea that “the cornerstone of US slavery rests upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery – subordination to the superior race – is his natural and normal condition.” An overly dramatic use but I suspect you get the point. Only men with so narrow a viewpoint could make this stuff up. Even slavery at that time was viewed by liberal Christians as the second great awakening.

The pastor of a church is in fact a leader of the church. Harry Frielink has taken the position of chief instigator which means that he has to take responsibility for his actions. When the Council is being lead by the nose to slaughter he, Harry, the leader needs to be held to a higher account than his followers. Perhaps this isn’t the case with other churches but I can assure you that it is in the Exeter CRC’s case.

Pastor’s have no place at the church level to promote their own kind of religion. Perhaps his time could be better spent at making some attempt to heal those whom have been injured in the fray. I would suggest that he stop politicking and put his efforts into being a pastor and not a lobbyist. A pastor’s time with any one congregation can usually be measured in months, not years.

I am glad that you find this whole thing “interesting.” There is however a whole lot more at stake than a fleeting interest.

As an aside, I notice that your blog profile has one of your favourite movies as “Pretty Woman.” I do find it particularly odd that you would find this as a favourite movie when so publicly professing the role of subjugated women and you position as the pastor’s wife. So if I could put this all in perspective for you, here it is.

It like when Richard Gere picks up the hooker Julia Roberts and takes her home. Julia wants to gussy herself up on Rodeo (pronounced Row-day-oh) Drive but nobody gives her any respect because she is like a hooker and everybody knows it. So Richard Gere, kinda like the people who think that women should be in office, doesn’t want to have sex with her but just pay $3,000 for friendship. She is all like freaked out that he doesn’t just want to have sex with her like all of the other johns so she goes out and tries to better herself by buying some swanky clothes and all. So, like I say, she goes out to Rodeo Drive and all of the swankies (including the women that were suffering from Stockholm SyNdrom) were getting all “up in her grill” and making her feel like a hoar so she gets some pissed.

Well to make a long story shorter the congregation realizes that even hoars can be good people and he, the congregation, falls in love with her and they live happily ever after.

I always appreciate good fodder Annette.

Thanks. JofA

Annette said...

Not wanting to get into all this as it's late at night.

1. not a victim. A biblically informed woman of God. Calling me a victim IS demeaning. Perhaps I should call you a victim of radical feminism?

2. not all areas of my life are sanctified. Yes. I like Pretty Woman simply because it makes me laugh and smile. Should I as a Christian like it? probably not, it's morals stink in many ways, but I still like the movie.

Are you willing to open your life up to such scrutiny?

3. Positions of leadership and teaching over men, is different than teaching Sunday school, being a speaker, being a whole whack of things within the church. It's different. YES I get it (just not the whole slavery connection thing). But that doesn't change anything. It doesn't mean that you or I are any less because we are not to fill those positions, it just means that we are different positions of authority within the church.

4. I get the impression you didn't read the article that I linked to, so why not go do that, and I'll go get some much needed shut eye.

Cheers! (from...not a victim) :)

Anonymous said...

I think Jonathan is a professor of philosophy working on his doctorate. Any you? What better forum than this. You go Jonathan!!!!! We love you.

Anonymous said...

I felt fear when I read the comments,anonymous wrote about JOA and Jonathan.This is exactly the kind of christian man,women in the church need to fear.This could be an abusive man sitting beside me or you in the pew on sunday morning!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Re: You are a thorn in the flesh of any last bit of good in the Exeter CRC. I agree with you that there is very little good at Exeter CRC, that's why we don't give up. We know that it will return to the less turbulent times when Harry and the current council leaves.

Thank you. That was the second comment we have heard from Council. I personally could forgive you but it requires repentance on your part for your sins and those of you father and your father's father. Maybe that is the test for you?

I personally wouldn't damn anyone let alone those praising God. But that is your angry man uncontrolled prerogative.

I will say to you however. God bless you. We don't agree. Nor can I talk freely being a woman in Exeter CRC without undue hardship but that is the price Council has to pay for it's unwillingness to speak openly.

I appreciate the venom I receive as much as I dispense it. I sleep oh, so good now that I can get my feelings off my chest.

JofA

Anonymous said...
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the Samaritan said...

I realize that the comment regarding past entries on another blog years ago from Jonathan has been deleted by JofA, however the writer has deemed that his/her plum be put on all the posts so as to crown their triumph. The thought seems to be, "I can't really argue with what you have to say but I sure can get you!" How sad that there is perceived victory through pain.
I personally do not hate or disdain Pastor Frielink. Is he a good Shepard with his world of silence and proper order? I doubt it. Does he "hate" women. I really don't think so. Does he patronize them? Probably. Is he sincere and think he's doing the Lords will. I believe so. When I had made the earlier comment about Harry's opening to scripture it was not so much in anger as in sadness. Scripture is a source of revelation of who our Savior is and how we are to please him. To say that the Word endures forever? Sorry to disappoint many but I don't think that the Bible will be available for scrutiny when when heaven and earth are joined.
Yes, I have spoken with Pastor Harry regarding the authority of scripture and have no real issue. The problem is that the authority of the Spirit is often placed aside. When Christians are in turmoil, are they told to study scripture or are they encouraged to pray? Pray to whom? And who does the Father say will intercede for us and comfort us? Sometimes there is a fear in the organized church over what the Spirit can do. Sometimes he can really screw things up. Things don't go as planned, budgets can fall apart, people have to get out of their pews, have to speak out, etc etc.
I think those scribes and pharisees were not so much afraid of Jesus because he was right as they were afraid of the changes in their lives should they follow.
The Exeter CRC yearns to be back in a time when there were no issues. Everyone was happy doing their thing. Council met once a month and discussed the business of running the church programs, the congregation sat for an hour plus in the morning, had coffee in their select "corners" afterward and went home. During the week they brought their children faithfully to cadets or catechism and SOMETIMES they even joined a bible study. We worshiped the Lord "quietly" and comforted ourselves that the world would would be won over by our faithfulness and pious living.
WAKE UP PEOPLE! THE LORD IS COMING!He wants us to harvest the crops and not necessarily where we've been sowing the seed.
A while back, my partner and I also attended the Toronto church of which Jonathan spoke. What became very relevant was the number of young people attending that had been from churches in the rural Reformed areas. Did they want to worship their Lord? Probably. Would they be able to come to our church? probably not. I'm sure that if Jesus was here for "a visit", he wouldn't come near that church that was filled with so many sinners...
Can we stay focused on what this is all about? That all Christians are relevant? That all men and women are equal in Gods eyes and only we, through sin have perverted it.
This blog has obtained its desired effect. For the first time, the Exeter CRC is discussing and listening to perspectives and thoughts from Christians from different viewpoints. Whether we will all agree or not doesn't matter as much as " where do we go from here". Do we remain silent and hope it'll all go away, or do we really try to heal and continue in the good work.
Council, its time to talk with each other. Its always safe to be silent and let only one or two speak, (hey, I've been there). But we have an opportunity become really relevant in the community God has placed us...

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am ashamed to call you Christians- followers of Christ. I havent been to your church in awhile, but after reading this. I dont think I will ever go back. You dont show the love of Christ, you show hatred for each other. This website is a tool of evangilism and no one will know the true message of Christ from reading this. If whoever is writing this website has such an issue, find another church, you are destroying peoples relationship with God and each other! I will pray that you figure out what God's will is in this situation before you destroy the whole church. You have a chance to participate in the Lord's Supper this week, but God says if you have an issue with a fellow brother or sister, you should take care of it first, or you will drink judgement upon yourself. Please consider my words. This website is not pleasing to God, or serving him in any way. It is an abuse of the Bible to attack it like this and to attack Pastor Frelink.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I never thought anyone would be capable of accusing pastor Harry to be a 'women hater', let alone hate anything at all.

This man is not capable of such things. This is a true case of putting motive before any truth or reason.

Truly sad.

c

Jon of Arcadia said...

Re: "This website is a tool of evangelism"

I am sorry to hear that you are ashamed- too many people hold the belief that Christians need to hold a united front up to the world, make them believe that, no matter what they might hear, we never fight, we never disagree, we never have problems with each other, and we never question.

Granted, the tones of various commenters and JofA might be a little hot, but you must realize that this is because of so much hardship and misery in the history of this church. People have tried going through "proper" channels to solve these problems, and have time and again come up against an immovable wall.

You suggest that they/we simply leave and find a new church? I submit to you that I love the Exeter CRC, and its denomination. I love its unique outlook on our Creator, and the people and families that unite regularly in close community to worship him. And the reason that I partake in this discussion is that it hurts to see this small portion of the body of Christ to be thus maligned.

This website is not a tool of evangelism. This website is a tool of God's children, crying out in frustration and anger to their siblings in Christ, for change, repentance and renewal.

Anonymous said...

Right on Jon of Arcadia. What do people expect with church counsel like this.

When someone says that so and so is not capable of (insert behaviour) they ignore the bible that says that all men are capable and do in fact sin. When you can't realize this anymore you have truly been sucked into the fairy tale that all Christians are good people.

How many times have we said this when someone is accused of a mental, sexual or physical abuse. Look at our own history. Didn't we have a former chair of counsel convicted of sexual abuse. Oh, how soon we forget.

There was only one man on earth that wasn't guilty of sin. It wasn't Paul.

F

Annette said...

Of course you come up against an immovable wall...it's called God's word. Which of course, if you don't believe in the infallibility of scripture can be a difficult pill to swallow, but God's word is just that. HIS WORD. not ours, not yours, not Paul's or John's or Jonah's...but GOD's. His alone. God is the one who put the rules in place.

I can understand the pain of feeling like you are hitting your head against a brick wall and the pain of feeling like you are not being listened to. The church CAN do better. That doesn't mean we have to go against God's word in order to do so. It just means that we have to do a better job of being family to you. Of helping you to see God's glory as most important. Of showing you the love of God. As a church we can do better....but it doesn't mean just doing things the way you want them to be done. You need to listen to us too.

Anonymous said...

From Ashamed
If you have all gone through the proper channels to deal with this, why are you hiding behind fake names?
Of course Christians are not perfect, I wasnt saying that. You are attacking each other and hurting each other. You admited Christians arent perfect, yet you blame the church coucil and Pastor Harry. They are people too, they are not perfect.

You can call me Rational

Anonymous said...

Smooth JofA. It is disappointing that you control this blog and delete the blogs that do actually make sense. Is is that these deleted blogs threaten you? You stand quite the vicious fight but cry victim when it comes back to you. Does this make sense JofA??? Does it? I will admit that this is a good idea because the sinful part of me wants to fight not your stance on scripture, but your way of voicing your damaging opinion.

Tonight I will pray for both of us. I plead to you to not continue to separate our church over this. There are other congregations that would embrace your gifts.
c

Jonathan said...

c,

If this blog is really so terrible, then why do you visit it? If it is such a damaging thing, then why does it draw such an impressive number of visitors each day? When you add your voice, you become a part of its strength, and you give it reason to continue. There is something that draws you here as well, don't forget. I think there is something here that both sides of this debate long to see. For those that support a woman's role in church authority, there is camaraderie, and voices of support and encouragement not heard in the halls of the church building. For those who fear the implications of women in leading positions, this is a real opportunity to -- not only hear the arguments from the other side -- but to see and read how such persons feel as members of Exeter CRC -- a real chance to see the frustration, and sometimes anger you might not otherwise detect during coffee fellowship.

The answer is not to encourage those you oppose to "go away". You wouldn't "go away" if you were asked. Exeter CRC is home for all members that attend, no matter what they feel about the role of women. You really have no right to ask someone to find a different spiritual home.

It may be better to listen to these voices, however repugnant they are to you, and see if there are ways that you yourself can bridge the separation that is clearly evident in the Exeter CRC congregation. I think you are on the right track with prayer, but it probably won't help things if you are praying for people to go away. Maybe you could pray for the wisdom to learn how to embrace JofA's gifts yourself -- seeing as you recognize them as such.

Peter Kikkert said...

Wow, are you really comparing the plight of Exeter CRC Women to that experienced by slaves? Wow. The majority of your arguments are based on fallacies. Pastor Harry is a loving and beautiful man who has always followed his convictions. Protests like this usually work better when the person leading them has the courage to step forward.
PS Let him who has no sin in his heart caste the first stone.
Peter Kikkert

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments Mr. Kikkert. The connection beween slavery is very real. At the time when slavery was permitted women were treated as possessions as well. He is the connection. Both didn't amount to a male. It was easier to hate, mistreat and withhold services to women. You could beat your wife, your child and your slave. Attitudes have changed for the most part in other area, but the one area that the church still condones is it's deliberate effort to continue to keep the glass ceiling part of our local church.

I appreciate you comments Peter.

God Bless.

F

Jon of Arcadia said...

Mr Kikkert,

I too thank you for your comments, however if your have read past comments and feel the need to participate, I ask that you not use blanket statements such as "The majority of your arguments are based on fallacies." Which are you referring to? What are the fallacies?

Also, the comparison between the plight of women in the church and the experience of slaves was not meant to be taken as a one-to-one comparison, but its theological arguments were. I have a feeling that you didn't read through the portion of the letter in my post, let alone the full text in the link.

For me, the danger we christians face is absolute confidence that we "know" what the bible is saying. The above slavery example is an excellent caveat against such surety.