Magazine article The Christian Century

CRC Rejects Women's Ordination

Magazine article The Christian Century

CRC Rejects Women's Ordination

Article excerpt

Less than 24 hours after voting that women cannot be ordained ministers, the Christian Reformed Church told local congregations June 22 to remove from office any women currently ordained to the lesser office of elder. In a tangle of procedural maneuverings, emotional protests and sharp debates, the 184 male delegates to the 300,000-member Calvinist denomination's annual synod - its highest policy-making body - spent the better part of two days wrestling with the issue of the role of women in the CRC. For the most part, women lost. But also on June 22, synod delegates voted against invalidating a 1992 decision allowing women to "expound the Word of God," which is tantamount to preaching without ordination.

The key vote on the women's issue, which has gone back and forth like a ping-pong ball for the past four years, came on June 21 when delegates narrowly voted not to ratify a 1993 synod decision that opened ordained offices - minister, elder and evangelist - to women.

The next day delegates rejected three separate efforts to rescind the earlier vote. They then went on to adopt a resolution calling on churches that have already ordained women as elders to "release them from office" by June 1, 1995, and "not to ordain any additional women elders, evangelists or ministers." An estimated 15 churches have already ordained women as elders in the past several years as expectations have mounted that all offices of the ordained ministry would be open to women. …

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