What a slippery slope the EPC has started down.

In the latest edition of The Layman, Carmen Fowler, who is an ordained female teaching elder in the PCUSA, wrote an article about the General Assembly of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church approving language for its Book of Government that will allow women to be ordained as teaching elders in that denomination, a practice that apparently heretofore has not been allowed.  The proposed amendment still must be ratified by the presbyteries.  The language of the amendment is as follows:

The officers of the Church as set forth in Scripture are: Teaching elders (designated by many titles in Scripture, including ministers and pastors), ruling elders and deacons. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church believes that the issue of the ordination of women is not an essential of the faith. Since people of good faith who equally love the Lord and hold to the infallibility of Scripture differ on this issue, and since uniformity of view and practice is not essential to the existence of the visible church, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church has chosen to leave this decision to the Spirit-guided consciences of particular congregations concerning the ordination of women as elders and deacons, and to the presbyteries concerning the ordination of women as teaching elders.  (emphasis, mine)

While I will concede the fact that “people of good faith who equally love the Lord” differ on this matter, I am not convinced that these same differing groups “equally love God’s word” and its authority, especially when it differs from their personal points of view.  Is there really any doubt, apart from all sorts of parsing of the plain language of scripture that women are prohibited from assuming the role of teaching elder, thus having authority over a man?  While I will acknowledge that Paul’s teaching on this matter clearly had historic and cultural considerations, to simply dismiss those teachings as prescriptive only for the first century and not so for a timeless audience is dangerous stuff.  The EPC will pursue this sort of policy to its own peril.  All they need to do is look at what has happened in terms of the apostasy of the PCUSA to see what this sort of careless treatment of scripture produces.

But perhaps the even more slippery slope that the EPC will experience is the same one the PCUSA is currently descending.  Once the EPC sets as it norm the cultural interpretation of scripture, selecting the authoritative texts for its own purposes and dismissing those that seem out of phase in our contemporary setting, a future amendment to their Book of Government will look something like this:

The officers of the Church as set forth in Scripture are: Teaching elders (designated by many titles in Scripture, including ministers and pastors), ruling elders and deacons. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church believes that the issue of the ordination of unrepentant, practicing homosexuals is not an essential of the faith. Since people of good faith who equally love the Lord and hold to the infallibility of Scripture differ on this issue, and since uniformity of view and practice is not essential to the existence of the visible church, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church has chosen to leave this decision to the Spirit-guided consciences of particular congregations concerning the ordination of unrepentant, practicing homosexuals as elders and deacons, and to the presbyteries concerning the ordination of unrepentant, practicing homosexuals as teaching elders. (emphasis, mine)

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