So there is a response in Warnock’s response to my response (42: Me lambasted for hypocrisy) to the response (Warnock’s women) to my original post (42: When did the practice of ordaining women begin?) which was critical of More Salt in the Episcopalian Wound and The Episcopalian Issue. Meanwhile a comment by Pam (see bottom of this post – why does typepad not give a link for each comment?) has also attracted attention in Was Paul For Slavery?
Hope that is clear
Before going onto the issue of tolerance, just a couple of comments.
First, sofyst = Nathaniel Adam King, nice to meet you Nathaniel.
Second, sofyst wondered why I write posts rather than comments. Three reasons.
- I forget to go back and read responses to comments (unless I subscribe to the comment feed).
- I prefer the post user interface, especially for longer comments.
- I can update and correct posts whereas comments cannot be edited.
- Many blogs require some kind of authentication for writing comments. Adrian Warnock uses that which is why I started responding with posts.
- I guess I think it is politer to disagree with someone on my own space rather than theirs.
Oh and by the way, I can’t count.
Now for this tolerance thing. I want to be a little careful here as I don’t want to turn this into a response to article III of the Together for the Gospel Statement (pdf) and at least in my mind claims about truth are very relevant to a discussion on tolerance.
But back to tolerance. sofyst ends with
We should just assume, keeping with Warnock’s very tolerant
position, that both views are true; the idea that women can serve as
ordained ministers (his view) and Driscoll’s opinion that women cannot
serve as ordained ministers. We should not deny either, as none of us
are in possession of complete truth. And to deny the other position is
to have the total unwillingness to recognize that we do not have a
complete monopoly on truth.
We wouldn’t want that would we? We should all hug.
Giving each other a hug sounds a fantastic idea. What a good way to celebrate and live the commandment to love our neighbour as ourself. What a good way to recognise God in each other, to celebrate our common humanity, our common failing to live up to the challenges of our Lord and Saviour. Sofyst, please consider this a virtual hug.
It must be pointed out that the idea that I am very tolerant would be met with hoots or derision in this house.
Let us consider this matter of the ordination of women. For the record I trained as a minister in an institution that has women as permanent staff, women as lecturers, has a majority of women as ordinands and trains for three denominations (CoE, URC and Methodist) all of which ordain women. Yet some of those being trained belong to churches affiliated with the "Forward in Faith" movement in the Church of England which is against the ordination of women.
Here we have an issue (and there have been many over the centuries) where the worldwide Church cannot agree. In the future this impasse may be resolved, but for the moment we have to live with the fact that there is a significant difference in understanding the truth. Obviously it is tempting to launch into a discussion on the nature of truth (and in earlier drafts I kept doing that), but that is really a side issue here.
If we do not agree and cannot come to an agreement on an issue then we have a spectrum of possible responses. These range from total and aggressive denial of the other position (this can and has included denial of the authenticity of their faith) to being totally accepting of the difference.
I see nothing in the life of my Lord and Saviour, in his teaching or elsewhere in scripture that says the Kingdom of God will be helped by my denying the faith of those who do not believe in the ordination of women. However, that in no way means I do not believe the truth of my own position or that I am willing to give it up for them. So I believe that they are wrong. I will argue against them. I will pick holes in their arguments – especially when they misquote history But I will not deny that they believe this to be the truth.
Lets take some of sofyst’s comments one by one.
I would begin to argue against Warnock’s rebuttal, but I cannot.
For a moment I thought that sofyst’s post was going to be very short
we would be safe in assuming that Warnock does not view himself as having the complete truth
Absolutely. I am not God. There are many things that I do not understand. There are many issues on which I have changed my understanding over the years. I guess there will be more.
and Warnock would NEVER deny other view points.
I suppose I have to add some caveats here. For example I have denied the view that scripture supports the British National Party, I have clearly stated that I do not believe a Christian can support them in an election. However, I do believe that I have to allow someone else to support the BNP even though I detest all that they stand for.
Within the much narrower debate that we were talking about I do tolerate that other Christians will not accept the ordination of women. I do accept that this is the historical position of the Church and that many interpret scripture to support this.
However, I find the lack of reciprocity a big problem. For example the claim that those of us, who do our best to faithfully interpret scripture but disagree on this issue, are damaging the witness to the gospel is not loving and in my opinion is not what Jesus would do, it is not worthy of name Christian. The denial of the ministry of women is frequently done in a very unloving and unchristian way.
Therefore, the other view point of women not being allowed to be
ordained would be a position that Warnock would not deny.
Absolutely, for example I attended the ordination of a friend in a Forward in Faith Church in order that he would have some support from someone from the course we were both on. He is wrong on this issue, but I believe God has called him to the ministry and I will support him in that, even while telling him he is wrong on this issue.
Warnock does not claim to have possession of the whole truth.
may be that this other viewpoint is correct.
Clearly I do not believe that to be the case. But I do not see that the gospel gives me any other choice but to show love and respect to others.
We should just assume, keeping with Warnock’s very tolerant position,
that both views are true; the idea that women can serve as ordained
ministers (his view) and Driscoll’s opinion that women cannot serve as
ordained ministers. We should not deny either, as none of us are in
possession of complete truth. And to deny the other position is to have
the total unwillingness to recognize that we do not have a complete
monopoly on truth.
We could just as well assume both views are false. I am saying that truth is not the key issue here. The issue is how we respond to those that we disagree with. The T4G leaders disagree on Baptism but they can work together, that would not have been possible a few years ago. I give thanks for that. In my own ministry I work closely with a Baptist Pastor and we have a shared Baptism/Methodist Church. That is great and we benefit greatly from each others gifts, experience and calling.
In the same way we should be able to work together across the different understandings on issues such as gender and sexuality. Compared to all that Jesus did for us these are as nothing. Simply shouting "I am right, you are wrong" or "I have the truth and you do not" does nothing for the Gospel.
- I will still argue against the complementarian position.
- I will still pick holes when complementarians get their facts wrong or resort to logical fallacies.
- I will still argue that complementarianism is an invalid interpretation of scripture.
- I will respect those whose interpretatiojn of scripture leads them to a complementarian view
- I will demand that complementarists respect those who disagree with them and in particular I will expect them to respect women who have a calling to ministry and who exercise that within a Church that accepts them.
H’mm after all that I can see why intolerance is so popular, it must be just so much easier to say "nah, nah, you suck, I’m right, you are wrong, go to hell" pity Jesus didn’t teach that don’t you think.