Dear Brothers, Friends, Lurkers,
The reason I write on the subject of women voting has several facets to it.
1. The constitution is our official position on things to which it speaks, and statements contrary to it are not "official" no matter what name is attached to them. We cannot amend the constitution by resolutions. Resolutions by Synod are certainly official judicial advice and are not to be set aside lightly, but if they differ from the constitution, synod is put into the novel position of advising people and judicatories to that which is not constitutional.
2. I greatly admire St. Augustine who lived long enough to publish his retractions. I was wrong for many years on the women voting thing, because of the influence of the one-covenant theology and theonomy, and my disgust with the congregationalism I was familiar with. I suspect I was not the only one. My response was an ill-advised and immoderate reaction. I am glad that my family has an opportunity to hear my confessions. I did not have my ideas firmed until the last year, when the elders at Trinity did an study on the subject. But I have been uncomfortable with the position papers on women voting for years—and I must not be the only one, for no implementation of them has ever been successful, and they were adopted more than forty years ago. How much longer must they divide our church?
3. Because my extreme statements were made often and in public, I desire now to place my repentance on the modern equivalent of the door of the Castle Church, on the RCUS forum.
4. I do not want my children to wonder someday, how could Dad have been so foolish about such a thing. In 40 years of ministry I have become married to the RCUS, and I am not ashamed of the RCUS, but I must not be blind to what I think are wrongs done to a whole class of Christians.
I would suggest that the blessedness of the Three Forms of Unity is their emphasis upon our Lord Jesus Christ and His obedience, both active and passive, which secure the predestined end of the saints to be conformed to the image of Christ. Our only comfort in life and in death is that we belong to Christ. Nothing else.
The good can become the enemy of the best. People come to Christ when we preach His blood and righteousness. Nobody was ever saved by putting a woman into subjection, as admirable and worthy as the individual case might be. Solomon recognized that the rod is for the fool’s back, and there was a day when thrashings of both men and women were regular events, but I suspect the thrash-master was not sanctified by it. It is more likely that the one thrashed will see the eternal glory. Such things still exist in Islam, but hardly the work of God’s Spirit.
There is nothing concerning Christ and our salvation in Him that is not clearly expressed and confessed in the creeds. How much glorious Scripture they confess! relevant for every age. When we elevate position papers on things that may be good [or not so good], and attempt to bind the consciences of people on these things, the things become the center of attention and the energy and strength of the church is used up defending these distinctions rather than the Gospel which is the power of God to salvation.
What is the Reformed Faith? that which is expressed in the creeds. I am not a minimalist, but after 50 years in the ministry, I have not preached Christ nearly enough or exhaustively enough. There is enough in the Scriptural support of the Three Forms to occupy the time and effort of every gospel minister. I regret I chased rabbits a good bit. Women are only mentioned three times in the Belgic Confession, and that is in connection with the last judgment, giving account of themselves, just like the men and children; the other two in reference to Christ being born of a woman, hardly a denigration.
Your comfort is that you are perfectly free to drop these efforts into your electronic Trash, but if so then I do not write for you, but for those who will read.
"Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ…." Phil. 1:11
"But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (Ga 6:14)
"Those who would be great in the kingdom of God, let him become the servant of all."
Pastor C. W. Powell, Colorado Springs
Trinity Covenant Reformed Church. RCUS