Archive for March, 2012

Rebellion in the PCA

PCA Teaching Elder David Wegener has written a powerful piece against evangelical feminism that recently was posted on the Aquila Report. In it, he takes to task PCA church officers who continually violate the norms of the Scripture and the PCA’s BCO in order to push for women deacons.

One interesting observation Wegener makes is that the conflict over women in the deaconate is not an exegetical issue, but rather a cultural one. Wegener writes,

“Does anyone really think this issue is about what Scripture actually says? Would that it were true. Why is it that men all over the PCA are bringing up this topic at this particular moment in history? Might it have something to do with the air we breathe every day?

Women run for president and vice-president; they serve as CEOs and they are our supervisors and bosses, our teachers and principals and cell group leaders and spiritual directors.”

I’m not sure if I would go so far as to say that there is no doubt about what the Scriptures say on the subject of women deacons. The irrationalism that is so popular even in supposedly conservative circles has engendered a great deal of confusion in the churches about simple, basic doctrines. But on the other hand, Evangelical churches long ago ceased to heed Paul’s warning against conforming to the world and have instead pursued a policy of echoing the secular culture, just thirty or forty years late. Arguing for women deacons is simply another example of this trend.

I especially liked Wegener’s implication that the Bible’s teaching on the role of women extends beyond matters of church government, but instead speaks about their role in family and society as well. I’ve read articles by men who strongly oppose women ministers and deacons while at the same time thinking that Sarah Palin or Michelle Bachmann would make a great president. You’d think they’d notice the contradiction, but then again, nonsense has come.

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Because it presents problems that we cannot ignore, history is a good place to start the study of philosophy. For example, in the aftermath of World War II different groups advanced radically different ideas about how to handle Germany. Some advocated severe sanctions, others held that a prosperous Germany was necessary for European stability. Both sides claimed that the lessons of history supported them. Who was right? How do we know? This leads us to the general problem of history: what law of history will allow us to understand the past and make some reasonable guess about the course of future events? In light of the stakes involved, this is not a small question.

It may seem odd to some people to think that philosophy has anything to do with history. Isn’t history simply a matter of accurately recording events that took place in a “Just the facts, ma’am” sort of way? At first blush this sounds plausible, at least until we consider the problem of recording all the information about even a single event. A witness recounting the events of a bank robbery to the police may report what the robber or robbers looked like, the time of day the robbery took place, whether they used a gun, the license plate of the getaway car etc., but even the best eyewitness possessed of a photographic memory would not report everything about the scene of the robbery. While he would report those things pertinent to catching the robbers, he likely would omit mentioning the color of the bank’s wallpaper or the brand of chewing gum he was using at the time. In short, the eyewitness would select the information he reports to the police. And just as a witness must select the details he reports to the police, so too must a historian choose what events to discuss and what events to omit. John Robbins made this point in his forward to Clark’s Historiography, Secular and Religious when he wrote,

“Every historian must make a selection and construct a narrative based on many principles, some of which he may not even be aware.” (p. ix)

Even the writers of inspired Scripture were not immune from the necessity of selection. In his Gospel account the Apostle John wrote, “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the would itself could not contain the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

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