June 22, 2007

A Harbinger Of Things To Come?

And it's official! First Baptist Church-Decatur GA has officially called a female to be it's senior pastor. As you read the article, you'll notice the facts and some commentary related to the event but I would like to focus on two things:

1 - Is It Biblical?
Based on Scripture, it most definitely is NOT. If you would like to explore to that issue more deeply and more fully, the best exegesis and treatment of the subject is found in John Piper & Wayne Grudem’s book “Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood”. But the bottom line is that based on God’s model of both creation and the family, He designed both man and woman with distinct and complementary roles. To flaunt those roles, or change those roles, especially in the local church flies in the face of God’s intended design of male and female. I recently had someone respond to FBC’s decision with the words “that is awesome”. It most certainly is NOT awesome. It’s terrible. And it ignores very clear instructions and guidelines given in the Bible in 1 & 2 Timothy & Titus.

2 - What Are The Ramifications For Both Local Church And Para-Church?
Increasingly the Bible is being supplanted by both churches and para-churches and being replaced with emotion and human reasoning. If we were to use our “common” sense and our “feelings” then Paul would have no need to write Romans 12. But let’s be clear, this issue is not akin to “immersion vs. sprinkling” or “contemporary vs. traditional”. This issue is clearly dealt with in the Bible. CLEARLY. And a local church who completely ignores Scripture is setting a tremendously bad precedent. And when Scripture is voluntarily ignored in one area, voluntarily ignoring it in all areas is sure to follow and you will drift towards a Bible of your own making and a relativistic and moralistic Christian life completely devoid of the Gospel.

Para-Church ministries are at particular risk. Because para-church ministries usually define themselves theologically in broad terms in order to gain a wider audience, when issues like this arise, they are faced with tough decisions to make. They serve church bases who most certainly have differing viewpoints on critical issues such as these and sooner or later will have to make a choice. When that choice is made, they will most certainly alienate the opposing side. Such is the life of a para-church and why I believe it is impossible for a para-church ministry to define itself theologically in a meaningful way. And not being able to define who you are, and who you aren’t is a bad place to be and renders you impotent to be effective in the Great Commission. This is a thorny issue for a para-church and one they will not be able to escape. Sadly, many para-churches are ignorant of or voluntarily choosing NOT TO worry about these kinds of issues being interested instead with growing their own ministries. But to grow a para-church ministry while ignoring the Biblical faithfulness of its DNA is short sighted and contradictory to the commands of Jesus. A small but Biblically faithful ministry is more pleasing to God than a large but Scripturally ignorant one.

In the immortal words of Yoda “Once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny”. Once you willingly choose to ignore Scripture in one area, your rebellion will most certainly start and grow in others.

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