I want to share this article with the readers here for their input and comment. I would like some scholarly comments on what I am going to share with you. And before I ask the question Is any church safe?, let me set up the plot from my very own church in Apache Junction. This is from 2 Sabbaths ago.
Imagine this very typical Sabbath morning. Congregants are moving into the church sanctuary for the morning worship service. This is a weekly event that many have been doing for over 50 years. It is a place they have for sanctuary from the world, their “safe place” in a troubled land. For some it is a relatively new experience, something they are just starting to do but to them, too, it is a sanctuary, a “safe” place. On the platform the announcements are made. Then after a pause, the Pastor and elder enter, and kneel for prayer while the congregation sings a hymn of consecration. The Elder and Pastor then rise and sing the opening hymn and the entire worship body is now entering into the morning service innocently believing they are about to hear God speak to them through His Word and the pastor. It is just another Sabbath morning at church.
The offering, children’s story, and music pass by. The minister, God’s instrument for teaching righteousness to His people, steps forward. Before he begins, he has the deacons pass out copies of the 28 Fundamental beliefs to everyone in the congregation. And then he goes into “his” sermon.
I was not there for his presentation. But this is from an eyewitness who was. She wrote:
“The pastor gave a sermon a few weeks ago which seemed to be a sneaky way to plant the seed about WO. His sermon was about what the 28 fundamental beliefs are--and that those are the points which church membership is based, and not other matters. He gave a quiz asking people Yes or No if various things were part of the fundamental beliefs and of course WO was one. It was very tricky way to get people to say "No, WO is not a point of membership." It was obvious enough that Eddy Dancy (local member with discernment) literally asked out loud during the sermon if he was saying WO is ok?”
You get the idea of the service. The pastor wanted to introduce the topic and promote WO in our local church under cover of our very own 28 Fundamental Beliefs. This pastor once told me after a church board meeting that he favored WO. I guess now is his time to begin to push the matter.
I am sure discerning readers here on Fulcrum 7 recognize the subtle ploy used by the pastor to entice a desired response from his listeners. Since the 28 Fundamental beliefs don’t prohibit the ordination of women it must therefore be ok. This is the same pastor who can ignore Fundamental belief #22, section 5a, page 320-321 about jewelry and baptize a mother/daughter who both wore prominent earrings at their baptism and yet use the Fundamental beliefs as a cover for promoting the unbiblical practice of WO. This baptism could have happened on the same Sabbath as the sermon here in question.
Ignoring the question about church being a safe place any more, I want to ask another question. One that bags a thoughtful response to the pastor’s subtle but deceptive use of the 28 Fundamental beliefs to promote Women’s Ordination. How would you respond to this Sabbath sermon and the pastor’s argument that what isn’t prohibited in the 28 Fundamentals is permissible?
I am writing his article to solicit your reaction to the pastor’s approach to promoting WO in our local church.
I eagerly look forward to what you have to say. I am already working on my response but I want to hear what you have to say here. I think more and more we are going to have to approach church as a defensive experience and we must be on our guard at all times and in all places. There are no more “safe” places.
By Douglas Carlson, retired SDA pastor, Michigan Conference