The General Synod of the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) in June adopted a position paper entitled “Women in the Life of the Church” which clarified where the denomination stands regarding issues such as the ordination of women.
Another denomination has spoken clearly regarding its position on the role of women in the church.
The General Synod of the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARPC) in June adopted a position paper entitled “Women in the Life of the Church” which clarified where the denomination stands regarding issues such as the ordination of women. The ARPC position articulates in detail the position of historic Christianity regarding the roles of men and women in the church.
In so doing, the ARPC believes it has chosen the teaching of Scripture over capitulation to the mores of a postmodern culture.
“We have…seen that the arguments for women’s ordination to all offices tend to undermine, both explicitly and implicitly, the doctrine of the full authority of Scripture, and that a persistent connection has been drawn between the gender issue and the doctrine of the Trinity,” the paper reads.
“These factors compel us to recognize that the theological integrity of the church is at stake. But there are practical implications as well—most notably having to do with the unity of the church and the integrity of the family structure.”
The paper rejects as unbiblical the ordination of women to the office of elder but also sets forth the many roles which women may fulfill within the church. The paper states the denomination’s desire to walk in step with Scripture regarding gender roles in the home and church, going as far as Scripture, but no farther, in establishing gender roles.
“On the one hand, those favoring women’s ordination to all offices are clearly more permissive than Scripture allows,” the paper reads. “On the other hand, those opposed to women’s ordination often face the temptation, out of reaction to the excesses of the contemporary situation, to be more restrictive than Scripture requires.
“We believe that a principle of generosity should prevail, and that clear and compelling Scriptural warrant must be required if women are to be excluded from functions in the church. Moreover, we believe that the church should encourage and support the ministry of women to the greatest extent permitted by Scripture.”
On women serving as teachers and leaders in the church, the statement affirms the principles of the Danvers Statement issued in 1988 by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).
“…we conclude that Paul’s prohibition on women teaching men and leading (in 1 Tim. 2:12, 1 Cor. 11:5 and Acts 18:26) is not absolute, but rather that certain types of teaching and leadership functions are proscribed for women. More specifically, we believe that those activities of teaching and leadership which are closely associated with the principle of male headship in the church (e.g., the offices of elder and minister) are inappropriate for women.”
The ARPC traces its roots to Scotland, springing from the preaching of John Knox in the sixteenth century. The ARPC officially came ashore to the New World with the establishment of the first synod in Philadelphia in 1782. The ARPC now numbers 10 Presbyteries in North America.
The denomination adopted its confession of faith—the Standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church—in 1799 at Greecastle which may be viewed at http://www.arpsynod.org/standards.html.
The ARPC’s position paper on women in the ministry may also be viewed in its entirety at http://www.arpsynod.org/position.html.
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