Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thursday in Orlando

Yesterday ended well. I attended the "Great Debate" between Ligon Duncan and Tim Keller on the role of women in Diaconate ministry. Keller did not argue for ordination, acknowledging that our standards are clear on that and that the proper means of discussing it is through the process of Constitutional Amendment. Instead, he argued for the place of women in a visible and recognized role in diaconate ministry (Commissioning, which our standards allow). I was a bit dissapointed that the practice of not ordaining men to the diaconate (a practice observed in a few of our churches which serves to establish equality between the men and women in diaconate know: "If you can't bring the women up, put the men down") was not much addressed. But both men did well and Keller (surprise surprise) was very persuasive.

Thursday has started off well. I've just come from a seminar on Calvin's Doctrine of Creation by Sean Michael Lucas that was excellent. Between there and my seat here on the Assembly floor I ran into several folks who were either old friends or people I've followed through their blogs. In a few moments the Assembly will open with the singing of a psalm and then we'll get down to business. Today will be less informational type reports and more action related. In particular the Assembly will be voting on the recommendations of the Overtures Committee. As I said below, I'll be posting as often as I can today to update you on the outcome of the votes.

I would like to reiterate something said by both Duncan and Keller yesterday. In case you aren't aware, the issue before us today with regard to women is not actually (immediately) about the diaconate. The overture(s) is simply to establish a study committee on the role of women in the church. However, because of the various issues related to the deacon question, there are many motives behind voting for or against the study committee. So as Keller said, regardless of how the vote goes, let's avoid reading too much into it. Such a study committee may result in tightening our standards, for example. So let's not overreact. (Either with joy or fear!)

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