I stopped in at a local real estate office yesterday. They had a big sign out saying they were "foreclosure specialists" and that I could get a free foreclosure list. So I suckered on in. The agent came out, and as usual, tried to engage me in a long conversation where he wowed me with his knowledge:
"Market's down but I think its hit the bottom...its a great time to buy."
So I asked him, "How do you know its a bottom?" His answer, "Experienced guess." I responded, "Case-Shiller is showing a lot more downside." He looked at me blankly. I asked him, " Do you know what the Case-Shiller index is?" He said, "no." Hmmmm...
So I asked him what are other reasons why its a good time to buy and he responded, "rents are high and it makes more sense to own." I asked him what he based this on and he said, "just a gut feeling." I asked him if he took a rent multiplier into account....a blank stare. "Okay" I said, "how many payments do you multiply the mortgage payment by to give you an idea if its a good time to buy?" His answer, "Well, that doesn't matter much right now." Doesn't matter much right now?!? And you want me to pay you money for your expert opinion?
Okay, now you may surmise something of what I believe about women in ordained clergy (I believe men alone should be ministers of Word and Sacrament). But what about women in ministry in general?
Apparently, the PCA is struggling through the issue of what to do with women in the church and is considering studying the issue of women deaconesses. Without getting into the exegetical issues, its obvious that conservative Presbyterians haven't known quite what to do with women since the great split with the PCUSA occurred. But why should this be so problematic?
Women are uniquely made to minister to other women and many conservative denominations have deaconesses. In fact, the most stable and long-lived of the conservative Presbyterian denominations (and a member of NAPARC) the ARP, has long had deaconesses. In addition, the RPCES, which was received into the PCA in 1983, also had deaconesses. So, rather than necessarily being problematic, having women flesh out their gifts in an official capacity in the church seems to free men to do those things they have been called to do without having to feminize their ministry.
They make a note of the departure of the OPC under JG Machen in 1936 but don't note the departure of the far larger and more significant PCA in 1973 from the PCUS.
All that is noted as significant for the last 41 years is that a woman became moderator of GA, they became the biggest Presbyterian denomination in 1983 (they don't mark that they've shrunk dramatically since then) and finally, and of huge significance to the Presbyterian world...Drum roll please: In 1986 Holly Haile Smith is ordained as the first Native American woman in the PC(USA).
City Church, San Francisco, they ended up ordaining a female pastor after joining the RCA and it will be interesting to see what City Presbyterian, Denver does after entering the RCA. But all this has got me thinking about the recent unpleasantness in the PCA over FV/NPP. In connection with this, some questions:
What causes churches to move to female pastoral ordination in a supposedly Reformed and conservative denomination like the PCA?
Why are churches leaving the PCA for the RCA (a Continental Reformed denomination) instead of joining the PCUSA (which is equally liberal but still “Presbyterian”) or the more moderate EPC?
Did the energy spent on hunting down non-existent FV deniers of Justification by Faith leave a gap in the line somewhere that has allowed in more liberal theological views on ordination (amongst other things)?
The irony of this situation is that many assumed that FVers were liberal when in reality they were some of the most conservative men in their denominations. Now, many of them are gone and those left are so exhausted with being labeled as “heretics” they have little desire to assist any defense that may be mounted by the Southern TR wing. This, in the face of true liberalism. Discuss.