February 23, 2002
Rev. Freehling's response to my Viewpoint article [Rosik's Paradox] illustrates my point about trust within our denomination. He accurately quotes me as saying, "It [G-6.0106B] ignores a person's talents, their faithfulness, their dedication, and their call to serve because we have prioritized sex over the spirit as our lowest common denominator." He then, quite correctly, adds that "ordination is a call, not an honorary degree. Many people of talent, faithfulness, and dedication are not called -- even when they seek to enter the process of ordination -- and that applies to men and women of heterosexual orientation." He also agrees that the circumstances that I described regarding G-6.0106B genuinely do pose, "...a truly sad and sorrowful situation, indeed." At this point, it appears that we are close to a dialog among the faithful, between people who just happen to hold different views on this issue. At this point, we are close to the mutual forbearance on which our denomination has rested for centuries.
Rev. Freehling then seems to go from total agreement to outrage, saying:
"We disagree precisely about scriptural authority! Where have you been?... This debate has everything to do with an exaggerated difference between trust in scriptural authority and a compulsion to "improve" (revise) it."
I have no compulsion to improve or revise the scripture, nor do other faithful Presbyterians that I know, including those with whom I respectfully disagree. I will include Rev. Freehling among these people, presuming that he has faithfully expressed his own understanding of scripture after much prayerful reflection and an openness to discerning God's will. I, like him, have no reason to mistrust scripture, nor to mistrust the will of God working through His people. I, like him, see no reason to deny my faith. I stated the issue according to my faith, beliefs and traditions as a Presbyterian.
Our differences are not about scriptural authority. Rev. Freehling does not accept the very possibility that a person may be truly called to serve Christ unless that person first complies with his (Freehling's) own understanding of the correct application of scripture. This is, if you forgive my own lapse into moral absolutism, against scripture, against Christ and just plain wrong. However, I also recognize the extent to which Rev. Freehling's perceptions mirror my own. I suspect that we both believe that it is our own understanding that is the genuinely Reformed one.
Rev. Freehling claims that my Viewpoint is " . . . just another sad attempt to reframe the debate," yet to me, it's the only frame the debate has ever had. Rev. Freehling can't believe that I am being truthful.
So I return to my original point: How do we regain our lost trust?Yours in Christ,
Craig E. Tenke
Center Moriches, NY
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