Recently, I posted a series of three ‘Ask The Pastor’ Posts. What I didn’t say in those posts is that these were the questions that I would be asked during my Colloquium Doctum interview for transfer of ordination into the Christian Reformed Church.
Today I underwent examination and passed unanimously and so I am now officially what I have been unofficially for the past 13 years, to wit, an ordained minister in good standing in the Christian Reformed Church. It seems the only minor issue was my strong rejection of open theism. I think I said that it was heresy and a canker that needed to be ripped out of the Church. I never would have imagined that sentiment could have been controversial in the least. There were also some questions about my rejection of women to hold ordained positions but apparently I convinced them that such a position isn’t akin to being a knuckle scraping troglodyte who habitually grabs and drags stray women by their hair. I probably should have worked harder to convince people that my position is the position that esteems women and reflects godly compassion for women while the contrary position in reality does just the opposite but I think most of the people in Classis’s position on that is pretty much set in concrete and not even my eloquence could have changed that.
I have mixed thoughts and emotions about my newly minted status with the CRC. First, I realize that the CRC is not a perfect denomination and has some challenges before it but as I map out the Reformed denominational landscape I do not see a denomination that isn’t without its substantial issues. In the end I think all of us, who are trying to be epistemologically self conscious about being Reformed, are, in many respects, in the same boat together, and together, regardless of what Reformed denomination we are in, we are either going to survive together or we are going to capsize together. I honestly believe I can help all genuinely Reformed people, regardless of their Reformed denominational stripe, by working for Reformation and awakening in the CRC. Second, I am relieved to have this behind me. I have been operating 20 years as a Reformed minister with independent Baptist credentials. It is satisfying to finally be a Reformed minister with Reformed credentials. Third, I feel conflicted. I have not pushed this credential issue over the years because I was never absolutely confident that Bret McAtee and the CRCNA was a good fit. As long as Classis was willing to ignore me, I was willing to let them ignore me. Now I am CRC. Have I made the right decision? I believe I have but only time will tell. Fourth, as contradictory as it might sound, compared to what I’ve just said about being conflicted, I am confident. When pressed with decisions that result in being conflicted I have always trusted Augustine’s motto of ‘love God and do as you please.’ By God’s grace I do love God and I have done as I pleased and now I am confident that God will work to glorify His name in this decision and the consequences that will be subsequent to it.
So, I am a CRC minister. Next time you see me you can address me as ‘Dominee.’
Failing that, ‘Your Holiness’ will be sufficient.
p.s. – Regarding the last part, in the famous words of Foghorn Leghorn,
“That’s a joke… I say, that’s a joke, son, don’t you get it?”