On Trump and Repentance


Here is the simple, disturbing, and depressing fact that we must lead with: Evangelicals aided and abetted in the election of a man whose sympathies with neo-Nazis can no longer be in doubt—and, honestly, should not have been in doubt prior to last weekend anyway.

We need to be clear that what the neo-Nazis at this rally were promoting is very near to the heart of Trumpism and that point has always been very clear to anyone with the eyes to see it. The entire Trump campaign was filled with dog whistles that signaled his support for white nationalist groups and leaned heavily on well-established racist tropes.

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Confederate Statues


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I’d love to see complementarian CRC churches figure out the challenge of authority in women’s ministry in and beyond our walls


Necessity is the Mother of Invention

I teach in a little classical program called “Sierra Leadership Network” which usually attracts gifted and interested individuals who either aren’t quite ready for formal ministry training through a seminary or for one reason or another seminary or Bible college doesn’t work or fit. This draws a variety of participants including a number of women.

There are two women in this program who recently were accepted to the Calvin Seminary (my alma mater) distance program. One is the wife of a pastor from a culture that doesn’t (and won’t in the near future) support the idea of women ministers and the other is a writer/blogger/speaker who also attends a complementarian CRC church.

Both came to me independently wanting to explore whether the CTS distance program would be right for them and I encouraged them both. They are both strong, mature Christian leaders whose developed gifts and abilities the church needs.

Funding Women’s Training from Complementarian Churches

In the CRCNA we currently have the “two voices” position on women’s ordination. CRC churches and classes may support women’s ordination or they may oppose it. If these women were from congregations and communities that supported women-in-office there wouldn’t be much to write about. I personally have supported women-in-office from the church of my youth (my parents did) but I respect the complementarian position and very much want to see the CRC continue to make space for those churches and their perspective.

Part of the difference between some non-formal training that I do and the formal structure of a seminary is funding. In the CRC if you are a member in good standing pursuing ordination through CTS in most cases funding from your classis is available. When these women started this process I assumed that wouldn’t be a problem. This is where things get complicated.

Generally speaking classical funding is a sort of loan arrangement. As a student classis loans you money for your tuition, etc. and that loan is forgiven if you fulfill your years of ordained service in the denomination as a Minister of the Word. The local council of these women’s churches oppose women being ordained under Article 6 in the CRC church order which makes them ineligible for classical funding for their education.

I suspect that the local councils are enthusiastic about these women getting more training because they are already recognized and valued as devoted servants to the work of their local church. In the case of one of these women who is a speaker at women’s conferences, blogger and who regularly writes for Christianity Today and other major publishers that development of her gifts is important. Not being able to receive classical support for their training is in the interest of no one.

The Dama Misionera

Before I pastored in Sacramento I was missionary in the Dominican Republic. In most of the churches there, which were conservative on women’s issues by anyone’s standard, they had a position called the “Dama Misionera” which basically meant “woman’s missionary”. This was a recognized position within the congregation, under the authority of the church’s authority structure, who ministered to women in the church and in the community. The church there saw the importance of women ministering to women. I’m sure this is an outgrowth of passages like these.

Titus 2:3–5 (NIV)

3 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

These was no controversy in the Dominican Republic over women serving the Lord in this fashion. It was always done under the authority of the structure of the church.

Evangelical Freelance Ministry Continue reading

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Is Trump really the biggest threat a free press has?


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Earl James on Racism as Sin

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Alister McGrath on Creation


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Activism for its own sake

Things are so chaotic and moving so fast I need some sort of scorecard to keep up with all the activism all the different sides want to promote. It’s not completely clear in my mind what or who the “alt-right” exactly is referring to (of who self-identifies as that) and now there is an “alt-left”?!?!

So if people protest at Google what exactly are they protesting? 1. Do they speak in alignment with the concerns Damore raised? 2. Do the speak in protest for the wage gap at Google for female employees that Google is in trouble with with the Feds?
3. Do they protest the massive amount of private information that Google (and other “big data” companies) have? The irony of the Damore flap is that they hire programmers to in fact profile all of us according to every demographic aspect imaginable (sex, age, zip code…) so as to predict our wants and our behavior, consumer and otherwise…

On a pedestrian bridge over I-80 on the way to Oakland-SF there are statues of protestors. They are not signs showing what exactly they are protesting, it is a monument to protesting alone. Perhaps this is the image of our times. We are “against”! and our practice/sacrament is yelling “you’re wrong!”

I can hardly see how such a sacrament can build communities or institutions from which people can act and live and love. If you yell “you’re wrong” at someone the most common response from them will be “no, you’re wrong!” and both sides get hardened in their positions basically because of biology.

Christians should ponder on the fact that the first sign of the maturing of our faith begins with the phrase “I’m wrong and I need someone who is perfectly right to save me from myself.”

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