Carmen Fowler LaBerge is the president of the Presbyterian Lay Committee. PLC was, at one time, a rather conservative voice, analyst, and commentator on the sidelines of the Presbyterian Church USA. Through their publication The Layman, they could be depended upon to cry foul when funny business reared it ugly head within the church. That was then, this is now. Their conservatism seems to have gone the way of the PCUSA at large, even though they still cry foul from the sidelines. Sort of a toothless tiger I suppose you might say. And at least mildly hypocritical.
In the July 2011 issue of The Layman, Mrs. LaBerge writes an article indicating that she is setting aside her ordination in the PCUSA. She does so because she finds herself at odds with the recent decision by the PCUSA, democratically arrived at, to allow for the ordination of practicing, unrepentant homosexuals to the office of elder. As the title of her article indicates, it is “an act of conscience.” The entire article can be read HERE. In the article she says:
I know not what else to do but to set aside my ordination until my denomination repents of its corporate sin and returns to a shared standard of ordination aligned with the Scriptures. (emphasis, mine)
Sounds good. Right?
Wrong. The first question to ask is not how the PCUSA got to the point of deciding it can/should ordain practicing unrepentant homosexuals, although it is an important question. But instead, how is it that Carmen Fowler LaBerge has an ordination to be set aside? Particularly in light of the fact that she seems to be quite set upon insisting that her denomination use “standards of ordination that are aligned with the Scriptures.” While I acknowledge that a number of denominations do ordain women, I would be thrilled to be directed to the verses in scripture, properly exegeted, and in their proper context that provide for such ordination. 1 Timothy 2 and 3 and Titus 1 clearly teach that women should not be ordained, so I look forward to hearing about those references that undo these clear teachings.
Uhhhh. Still waiting.
Several years ago, Al Mohler, president of Southern Seminary wrote an article that contained great wisdom on this subject. In that article he said:
The feminization of the ministry is one of the most significant trends of this generation. Acceptance of women in the pastoral role reverses centuries of Christian conviction and practice. It also leads to a redefinition of the church and its ministry. Once women begin to fill and represent roles of pastoral leadership men withdraw. This is true, not only in the pulpit, but in the pews. The evacuation of male worshippers from liberal churches is a noticeable phenomenon.
Furthermore, the issues of women’s ordination and the normalization of homosexuality are closely linked. It is no accident that those churches that most eagerly embraced the ordination of women now either embrace the ordination of homosexuals or are seriously considering such a move.
The reason for this is quite simple. The interpretive games one must play in order to get around the Bible’s proscription of women in congregational preaching and teaching roles are precisely the games one must play in order to get around the Bible’s clear condemnation of homosexuality. (emphasis, mine)
We all have our blind spots. I am certain that I have many. And would not presume that Carmen Fowler LaBerge’s are any more grievous than mine. Clearly the matter of ordination standards needing to be in alignment with scripture, is a blind spot for her. While she is entitled to set aside her ordination for this or any other cause, I have to laugh that she does so as a matter of conscience, because the Scriptures were not used as the source of authority for ordaining homosexuals. Mrs. LaBerge, I have news for you, since you seem to have missed the point back in 1993 and ever since, they were not used as the source of authority for your’s either.
Oh. BTW, I’m still waiting.