Present at this year's General Assembly of the Church of Scotland was Roy Sanderson, our oldest surviving General Assembly moderator. When I asked this sprightly 93-year-old what he was doing these days, he told me he was taking a computer class at a college in East Lothian. I was full of admiration.
Christology -- the church's doctrine of the person and work of Jesus Christ -- underlies many, if not most, of the controversies facing the church today. That was the claim made last week in this column.
The English word, "apology" has two quite distinct meanings. The first involves the defense of a foundational conviction; the second is an expression of regret for it. The urgent question before the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) today is whether to defend the historic Christian faith in Jesus Christ or apologize to the world that Christians ever believed that he was the real and only Lord and Savior of the world.
Over my ministry I've been called a conservative, a Communist, a secularist, an evangelical, a liberal, a Congregationalist and now lately a centrist. I'm getting calls from people saying, "You represent the center. Do something." A person cozies up to me at a meeting and asks, "What are those of us in the center going to do when the denomination splits?" I am hearing a plea that the ill-defined, nebulous center will miraculously rise up to hold our denomination together.
I am writing in response to the recent article, "Women's Ministries program area review to go beyond survey responses." Having served as Associate Director of Women's Ministries Program Area [WMPA] for the past three years, and having until May 15, 2000, before my term is officially ended, it is time for me to speak out and resist the continuing abusive words and violent actions directed toward my colleagues in women's ministries, and ultimately, directed toward all women.
The 212th General Assembly affirmed the fragile unity of our denomination by rejecting one of the Beaver-Butler overtures and by delaying for one more year consideration of the overtures dealing with sexuality and ordination. One can infer from their decisions the belief that Presbyterians are neither ready to divide the denomination nor to continue debating the issues surrounding sexuality and ordination.
Long time pal Phil is retiring. I write, inviting him to join me in forming a senior step ball team. We were champs in seminary -- in the game where the batter throws a tennis ball against the Alexander Hall steps at Princeton and the fielders have to catch it before it bounces.
A professor friend at Union-PSCE some time ago sent me a tape recording of one of his classes. The visitor for the day was a Methodist bishop whose assignment was director of worldwide evangelism for the United Methodist Church. He described in detail his experience in his first parish in a small church in a poor neighborhood in Sydney, Australia: