Anger and Prayer

This afternoon anger has driven me to prayer and I am mainly praying for Revd Shona Boardman and Mr Donald Morrison.  This letter in the Hebrides News is why:

The pulpit is no place for a woman       17/5/13

Sirs,
One cannot help but sadly see that the Church of Scotland continuing her downward spiral when she gleefully and shamefully supports bizarre unions and appointments that the Bible clearly opposes. The continuing appointments of women at skyscraping levels in the church is not just wrong but very wrong, just as it is unbiblical for a woman to be a minister in any church denomination or congregation. There are around 196 women which are now ministers in the Church of Scotland. This is 196 too many. There may be only a few women ministers in our Highlands and Islands church congregations, but these few are still a few too many. The very fact that they are women debars them from the Christian ministry.
The pulpit is no place for a woman minister, however elegant she may be in public speaking or proficient in her knowledge of Biblical theology. She may rise up and hold high office in a nation, just like Queen Elizabeth and as the late Mrs Margaret Thatcher did, but not the steps that lead up to any Church pulpit, whether in Inverness Ness Bank Church or St Peter’s Episcopal’s Church in Stornoway.
Yes, women are to remain silent in every church assembly, and that includes pulpit, presbytery and the annual General Assembly. It is best to hear what absolute truth has to clearly say: “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn anything, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church” (1 Corinthians 14v34-35).
The truth is that God has never ordained or anointed any woman to be a preacher or teacher. If it were God’s will that women should hold such a post in the Church, Jesus Christ would have shown an example by choosing one woman, at least, to be an apostle. But he did not, and even when he selected 70 disciples whom he sent out, two by two, no woman was included. Although Jesus had many women ‘disciples’ He certainly did not send any of them to go about preaching.
God has ordained that only men are to serve in positions of spiritual teaching authority in the church. This is not because men are necessarily better teachers, or because women are inferior or less intelligent (which is not the case). It is simply the way God designed the church to function. Men are to set the example in spiritual leadership—in their lives and through their words. Women are to take a less authoritative role. Certainly women are encouraged to teach other women (Titus 2:3-5). The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men.
Yes, a woman, by reason of her faith, knowledge and good understanding, can rise to a place of honour in the church but there are certain offices and privileges which God never assigned to women: no women apostles, no women bishops, no women elders, no women pastors, no women evangelists, no women deaconesses, no women priests, no women moderators. Clearly, the Bible has nothing to say in support of any of these appointments despite what many undiscerning women and unspiritual men may claim, whether in the church or out of her.

Mr Donald J Morrison
85 Old Edinburgh Road
Inverness

Now I could spend the rest of my life trying to make Mr Morrison see how he has misrepresented the Bible and Jesus’ teachings (I think it is a pretty safe bet to say that he was wearing mixed fibers with pen in hand) but I would be wasting my time, so I will not bother.

Shona is Rector of St Peter’s Stornaway, I know her only slightly having met her only once briefly on a train.  However as the SEC is so small I do know of her and respect her integrity and calling and know she has been doing wonderful things on our futhermost part of God’s vineyard.

Mr Donald Morrison I do not know, but I have come across people who hold his views.  He might be a very nice man, however I find it near impossible to respect his integrity but maybe that is a fault in me rather than him.  I struggle to understand why anyone would want to spew forth hate against anyone but I know it happens, worse still I know it happens in the name of religion and in name of the Church.  That does not make it right, that does not make it acceptable and it certainly does not mean we should be silent.  Over on here on her Blog Ruth has already written a post about what has been going on.  Unlike her I still experience what Shona is up against although thankfully in a less public way, indeed in recent years I would say such views are being expressed more often and even, it saddens me to say, by recognised authority figures in the Church.

This is a personal attack nothing more, nothing less, and should be named as such.  However unfortunately this is not an isolated instance.  No person should be allowed to hide their prejudices be they against women, or ethnicity, or gender, or culture, or sexual orientation, or race, or education, or age, or wealth, or any other difference that you care to name behind anything least of all religion.  The Christian faith is about love and acceptance, about acknowledging all are special and precious in God’s sight, that no one is unworthy and that God doesn’t do partiality in any way shape or form.

So today I pray that God will grant Shona and all those who find themselves in a similar situation to hers, strength and grace to stand firm in their calling.  That they will know God’s peace and feel the support of all those who are upholding them in prayer with love, and that the Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak whenever they are faced with such comments.

And I also pray for Mr Morrison and all those who would like to see a narrow minded church, where only those and such as those are welcome.  I pray that they will also know God’s peace, and that God will grant them the strength and grace to live what they say they believe that the will of God should reign.

My prayer is that it may reign in all its fullness.

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2 thoughts on “Anger and Prayer

  1. What a shocking letter. If Mr Morrison knew his Bible as well as he claims, he would be aware that the New Testament records that women were most certainly called by God to serve as evangelists, pastors and deacons in the early church. Paul did not exclude women from ministry but on the contrary encouraged them to take active leadership roles (Rom. 16:1, e.g., where he commends “Phoebe, a minister in the church at Cenchreae”). This early Christian egalitarianism was evidently too much for a male-dominated world and two thousand years of ignorance and prejudice eclipsed the tradition until mercifully, in our time, women are once again allowed to claim their rightful places in the leadership of the Church. It is pitiful that such prejudice should be expressed in Scotland in the 21st century.

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  2. Pingback: The pulpit is no place for women

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