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Lee Theology Department Statement on...
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Post Old Time Country Preacher
Eddie Robbins wrote:
How can the COG allow women to even speak in a church when the Word is clear...let the women remain silent! My point is, that gets laughed off as some sort of culture thing. Yet, whatever verse they want to use, is not. It's pick and choose whatever suits your fancy.


Eddie is spot on here. If the "supposedly prohibitive" verses regarding women in ministry are taken literally, a woman may not speak, cough, sneeze, testify, teach a children's class, sing in the choir, traverse near and far to serve as a missionary.............SHE MUST REMAIN SILENT IN CHURCH.

All the fellers what rail/roar agin women in ministry and rise on the GA floor to talk about cigars, chairs on the floor, dresses/bras/panties to placate the wife, demeaning Greek exegesis while exalting your KJV Bible...........be biblical brethren.............GO HOME, AND KEEP YOUR WOMEN SILENT IN CHURCH.
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4/9/16 8:49 am


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Post A few thoughts about the Statement... Christopher Stephenson
Before I begin, I want to stress that the following comments are my own. I make no attempt to speak on behalf of any of my departmental colleagues. The Statement speaks for the Department; I now speak only for myself.

Thank you to everyone who read the statement. That is the sole reason that I shared it--for it to be read. I see little value in crafting a statement like this if no one knows that it exists.

The Statement was adopted by the Department of Theology--not any other department(s), not the entire School of Religion, not Lee as an institution. If the Statement frustrates you, please do not spread your frustration around to others unnecessarily. : ) It is a Department of Theology Statement. This is a theological issue.

The Statement neither mentions by name nor is directed to any single denomination or church tradition, including the Church of God. To assume that the statement relates only to the Church of God is to assume that the Church of God is the only church tradition with which the Department is concerned. That would be to assume too much. Such restrictions are undesirable in every church tradition in which they exist, not only the Church of God.

At the same time, I choose to believe that the leaders of the Church of God value the insights of the professional theologians at one of its premier academic institutions. While the Statement is not directed to these leaders, I hope that it can somehow be of benefit to them. Perhaps it could encourage those who agree with it and give those who do not agree something to consider further.

The Statement speaks about the Department, its stance on this issue, and its commitment to try to bring change. It neither makes demands of anyone else nor calls upon anyone else to do anything nor criticizes anyone for anything done or not done on this front to this point.

To the extent that the Statement does apply to the Church of God--for it is one of the churches with such restrictions--the Statement is not a stance against the Church of God but a stance *from within it.* There are twelve full-time members of the Department. By my count:

--Ten regularly attend a local Church of God congregation--I am one of them.
--Nine are members of the Church of God--I am one of them.
--Six are credentialed Church of God ministers--I am one of them. (And my monthly reports are up to date. : )
--Five are ordained bishops--I am one of them. (There would be one more if she were eligible!)
--One is a career missionary, married to a Church of God national/regional overseer.

"Renounce"--to reject something publicly--is the right word. I publicly reject the idea that these restrictions are adequate or desirable.

With respect to the Church of God, the primary restriction in question is a matter of *polity,* not *doctrine.* It does not occur in the Declaration of Faith, Doctrinal Commitments, or Practical Commitments, but rather in the descriptions of the ministerial rank "ordained bishop."

The International Executive Council, International General Council, and International General Assembly "renounce" aspects of Church of God polity every two years by proposing changes to it. Implicit in the mere creation of an agenda for the International General Council is a rejection of the idea that the polity is already perfect and that revisions do not need to be considered.

The Statement renounces restrictions, not persons. It says nothing about the intellect, character, or sincerity of persons who support such restrictions. It refers only to the restrictions themselves.

The Statement does not indicate a refusal to abide by the restrictions as long as they are in place--as if anyone had the ability to "ordain women as bishops anyway" in spite of the restrictions. Of course, I abide by the restrictions. Yet, in the same breath I immediately say that I want the restrictions to disappear completely because they are not funded by what I consider to be the best theological insights on the matter. Remember from the 2014 General Assembly that I am required only to "adhere to" not necessarily "agree with" all matters of polity. : )

Anyone who might feel that renouncing this small set of restrictions amounts to renouncing the Church of God as a movement per se has a significantly narrower view than my own of the essence and significance of the Church of God, which could not possibly be exhausted by any single matter of polity such as this.

I do not assume that my own experiences are universal, but most of the young people among the best and brightest in the Church of God with whom I have contact see these kinds of restrictions as an incentive to leave rather than an incentive to stay. Just one more reason that I want the restrictions to disappear yesterday.

As far as the timing of the Statement, the Department finalized it about a month ago. I did not investigate whether it had been publicized elsewhere before I shared it here, but I waited to share it here as long as I did because, frankly, I did not want to prompt some of the kinds of responses in the thread during Lent. I know that this is a contentious issue for some, and there are better ways to prepare to celebrate the Paschal Mystery than contention. I recall no mention whatsoever in our departmental conversations of any attempt to influence anything that may or may not be discussed at the 2016 General Assembly. As for myself, I submitted a formal request for the removal of the ordained bishop restriction to be placed on the 2016 agenda, in response to the International Executive Council's invitation to make such requests. I hope that we have the opportunity to consider it in Nashville.

While I was typing most of these words, my older daughter (age four) awoke from sleep and came to where I was typing because she had not seen me all day due to my teaching responsibilities. As I hugged her tightly, I cried and prayed that she would have the strength to be faithful to the Church of God and that she would not grow up in a church that keeps her at arm's length as it currently does her mother, who, along with me, has found the strength to be faithful to the Church of God anyway. I am a fifth-generation member of the Church of God, and I want both of my daughters to be the sixth.

Again, thank you to everyone who took the time to read the Statement.

Please remember that this post is my own thoughts. To the extent that they pertain to the Church of God, they are grounded in my commitment to the Church of God. The fact that I want to see change is a sign of my engagement with and concern for the Church of God. I believe that critical commitment is more valuable than apathy or complacency.

The Church of God and the Department of Theology need each other, and both are better together than they could ever be if they were apart.
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4/9/16 9:46 am


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Post Old Time Country Preacher
Thank you, Dr. Chris. Acts-pert Poster
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4/9/16 11:28 am


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Post Cojak
Eddie Robbins wrote:
How can the COG allow women to even speak in a church when the Word is clear...let the women remain silent! My point is, that gets laughed off as some sort of culture thing. Yet, whatever verse they want to use, is not. It's pick and choose whatever suits your fancy.


We usually do! Cool
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4/9/16 12:26 pm


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Post Eddie Robbins
Post from the Chair:

Thanks to everyone who has read the Department of Theology’s (DoT) recently posted statement on women in ministry; I have appreciated reading the responses on the board.

That statement, which was crafted over a month ago during a department meeting wherein all full-time, ranked faculty of the DoT were present, was a revised version of a statement the DoT had adopted back in the fall of 2007. This revision was approved by the DoT on March 03, 2016—without dissenting voice—and it comes at the END of an intentional, three semester engagement with this issue among ourselves, our students and leaders in the Church of God, Lee’s sponsoring denomination. It started with a three part symposium on Women and Authority in the Church back in the Fall 2014. The first symposium investigated the role of women in the New Testament church, the church after the apostles and the medieval church. What we found was an ebb and flow within the history of the church regarding the ministerial freedom or restriction placed on women; that is, in some periods and in some places there were women who had official positions like men. In other places, not so much. The second symposium considered the question for the contemporary church, but was not limited to the Church of God because (a) the student constituency of Lee University spans multiple denominations and (b) the students being trained in the School of Religion are not solely from the Church of God (take, for instance, our Pentecostal students from the Assemblies of God: their denomination has NO restrictions on the ordination of women nor the positions they might hold in the denomination. In fact, a woman sits on the committee that is similar to the COG’s Council of 18!) Our third symposium that semester was specific to the Church of God, and the panel that night consisted of two denominational leaders and a full professor from the COG’s Pentecostal Theological Seminary.

I think that I need to spend a moment to talk about that third symposium because the panel spoke about the ebb and flow of women’s authority, position and credentialing in the COG. A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer. Around 1940, the COG changed the wording of its levels of credentialing so that only men could be called “licensed ministers,” and only licensed and ordained ministers could perform the sacerdotal functions. It remained this way until 1990, when women were permitted to attain the level of “licensed minister,” and thus once again were authorized by the church to perform the ordinances and officiate weddings, but they could not become an “ordained minister.” What did not come out in that symposium or the Q&A following it was this: a) 1992, women were granted the right to speak on the GA floor; (b) 2000, a call was made “from the field” to alter the wording of the credentials such that the second level, licensed minister, became an ordained minister and the third level became ordained bishop, this latter level women were not permitted to attain; (c) 2006, women began to be officially appointed as missionaries rather than simply acting under the “covering” of a husband; (d) 2010, the GA decided women could serve on Pastor’s Councils, which since the 1960s had been limited to only males; (e) and finally, in 2011, Emma Sue Web was appointed as a district overseer in California by the state overseer!

Now, back to the main narrative of the DoT’s three semester engagement on this issue. In November 2015, the SOR invited Sandra Kay Williams to be the keynote speaker at our Homecoming Alum breakfast. In that speech, she told her story (and those of other women she knows) of ministerial marginalization because of womanhood, and she pleaded for a revisiting of the polity that restricts women to full credentialing in the COG. Not 30 minutes later, after a lengthy Skype interview with Margaret Gaines, a long-time COG missionary and this year’s recipient of the SOR’s Alum of the Year award, I—along with over 100 other people—watched as the General Overseer of the COG publicly apologized to Margaret for the way the denomination treated her (and at times hampered her ability to minister). It was a righteous moment, and one that I will never forget—it was when I knew that this denomination was being led by a holy person, Mark Williams.

The construction of the statement was placed on the DoT’s agenda in January 2016, but was tabled until March because of other, institutional responsibilities that took the entirety of the January and February meetings. The delay in its posting to the DoT’s FB page was a miscommunication between me and the department secretary—there was no other reason for its tardiness, nor was there some strategic plan for its posting “on that day.” Now, some responses to the statement see us as “drawing battle lines,” or “being at odds” with the denomination, or even as “renouncing the bible.” Truthfully, those kinds of posts surprised me. First, while I admit that the word “renounce” may sound harsh, we meant it in the strictest, grammatical sense of the word, namely, to reject something publicly. Since statements of the type we posted are often formulated with concise wording, we chose a word (renounce) that could be elongated to this idea: “we announce in public that the DoT rejects, as biblically or theologically necessary, the restrictions still placed on women’s credentialing or judicial functions.” Chris Thomas, an ordained bishop in the COG and a professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary, published an essay in the book, Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Preaching (chp 6), in which he explored the biblical texts surrounding this topic, determining that restrictions on women are not biblically necessary. My own colleague in the DoT wrote an essay in that same book wherein she argued that being “Made in the Image of God (Gen 1:26-27),” coupled with Acts 2 and the Day of Pentecost, provide a theological justification for women preachers and the removal of all credentialing restrictions. Thus, our “renouncing” of restrictions is not a rejection of the bible nor its authority in our lives or its foundational place in our theology.

Secondly, we posted a “statement,” not a declaration or a resolution. So, rather than imagine ourselves as “drawing battle lines” for war, we were engaging in a conversation. Think about this: a true conversation between people only occurs when a series of statements are made that illicit response and dialogue. The DoT is talking, we are discussing; we publicized this to invite more conversation partners and to move our talking outside the “ivory tower” of the academic environment. What surprised me the most was the supposition from some respondents that GA decisions are inviolable and unalterable, and therefore undiscussable. But this is not the impression that I get when I read the Minutes of the first few GAs. They did not see themselves as setting up laws that were timelessly binding because only Christ was the Law Giver who had such authority. Rather, they gathered to interpret and apply scriptures in their current, historical setting under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. In fact, a motto of those first GAs was, “Walk in the Light as Light is shed on our path.” Early on, Tomlinson would say things like, “This is what we have done in the past, now let’s see if there is new light from the Holy Spirit for our present.” The idea was this: it is the church’s responsibility to continually return to its judicial or governing decisions to make sure that the Holy Spirit did not have something “new” to say to the Body.

Thirdly, insofar as the above is correct, the DoT does not see itself as “at odds” with the denomination. Our loyalty to the COG does not prohibit us from discussing issues. The faculty of the DoT are indeed loyal to the COG—the Statement is not a stance against the Church of God but a stance from within it. There are twelve full-time members of the Department, ten of whom regularly attend a local Church of God congregation—I am one of them. Nine are members of the Church of God—I am one of them. Six are credentialed Church of God ministers (I am not one of those because the TN board required my wife to be interviewed before I could be credentialed, but she refused to be interviewed because she was not going to subject herself to interrogation by a board that would not ordain her). Five are ordained bishops, and one of us is a career missionary, married to a Church of God national/regional overseer. We love this church, and we work to train students to minister within this church we so dearly love.

I am a fourth generation COG Pentecostal. My great-grandMOTHER was a founding member and first pastor of the Sandy Valley COG in Ohio (she was removed from the position when a man wanted the job, even though the church wanted her to remain pastor!). My great-grandfather was one of 13 charter members of the Canton Temple COG, in which church I was dedicated as a baby by Raymond Crowley—former General Overseer of the COG, and by which church I was sent off into ministry in April 1990. I went to Duke Divinity school after graduating Lee in 1994. At Duke I was forced to intellectually defend my Pentecostal heritage and practice (at least one time receiving a lower grade because of my refusal to recant my belief in the Holy Spirit’s continuing empowerment and present revelation to the church and Christians). And now I spend my days teaching, defending and modeling my Pentecostal spirituality and theology to hundreds of men and women in my classes each week at Lee University. And my DoT colleagues are no different than me, even if their personal stories are not identical to mine. Further, our disagreement over this polity issue is certainly not the same as a rejection of the theological commitments contained in the COG’s declaration of faith, which each of us subscribe to. In fact, 2.5 years ago the DoT sponsored a special service on Baptism in the Spirit where over 90 students came forward for prayer to receive the baptism (view the service at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE7oNKaVR98 ), 2 years ago we had a special healing service (view the service at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWKCsjXHcP0 ), last semester we had a special service on the end times (view at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJoU25AazOE ); plus, in the summer of 2015 we had a special service dedicated to sanctification and the pursuit of holiness, and this semester we had a breakfast and prayer service for those seeking spiritual gifts (over 50 students were present, at least half of them were NOT COG).

We are a faithful bunch who love the Lord, are dedicated to prayer and searching the scriptures, and who seek the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit each day for ourselves, our students and our denomination. Come and meet us; let us meet you, and let’s see what the Holy Spirit will do among us!

Skip Jenkins, PhD
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4/9/16 1:42 pm


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Post Assemblies after 1923 Mat
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat
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4/9/16 2:14 pm


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Old Time Country Preacher
Mat wrote:
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat


Mat, are you COG?
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4/9/16 3:33 pm


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Post Carolyn Smith
Tom Sterbens wrote:
Both posts by Skip and Crip (sorry, couldn't resist), are amazing!

Thanks to both!!


Agreed! I appreciate their dialogue with us.
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4/9/16 3:48 pm


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Mat
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
Mat wrote:
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat


Mat, are you COG?


I am COGOP. However, my great grandfather was COG, very early on, as was my grandfather. Many friends in COG and much fellowship over the years (I was born in Cleveland and lived across the street from TL, Steve and I were friends). As I said, I am not expressing an opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry. Rather, I can't tell if Tomlinson is being "blamed" for the reduced status of women in ministry (especially after 1923) or is he being sighted as a proponent of their full participation in ministry. It just seems out of step with the events of 1923 that Tomlinson would have an effect on the General Assembly polity up to 1925.

I would like more information.

Mat
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4/9/16 4:03 pm


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Post I appreciate the responses clevelandgrad
But...... The release of this statement was still improper in it's delivery. If I may, I have some questions:
- Where was this statement posted?
- Who was able to see this statement?
- What response was expected by those making this statement public?
- Did those posting this statement know it was in opposition to the COG?
- If they did know, was the posting of this statement intentional to try and overturn what the GA has voted down in the past?

Not sure who will answer these questions but we have to know that in our present political environment there is a level of distrust for all those in leadership. With that said, I find it hard to believe that these intelligent people did not know how this would look to pastors and lay people.

If our denomination and it's educational systems are not speaking with the same voice especially when addressing the body - what unintentional consequences will there be. Will departments taking it upon themselves to approach the body without going through proper channels create some of what we have witnessed in other denominations. Will we now have sections of the COG who say, "what's wrong with homosexuals being in ministry?" "Is scripture really divinely inspired by God?" "Why do I have to follow authority if I don't agree with it?"

Personally, I have been influenced greatly by women ministers so I am not comparing women being bishops to those things that I mentioned above but, we have to know that communicating opinions without going through the proper chain of command can be very destructive.

I could only imagine how this would be handled in corporate America. These people would no longer be employed.
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4/11/16 3:14 pm


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Post Eddie Robbins
You certainly have the name of the chairperson. Call or email him. But, use your real name instead of a pen name. 😬

Yeah, don't compare women ministers with homosexual ministers.
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Post Nature Boy Florida
My only concern was the dept posting something contrary to the teachings.

However, I stand corrected.

Both of the faculty commenting on this correctly pointed out there was no way to have this conversation academically without posting it for discussion.

Thank you.

I concur.
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Post post from J David Stephens(Dr Paul Conn) wayne
In light of recent statements coming from certain entities at Lee University concerning women in ministry, including expressions posted on social media, I feel it is appropriate for me to share a personal informal statement.

I was not aware of, neither was I present during discussions concerning women in ministry issues with the School of Religion and/or Department of Theology, nor would I support any statement contrary to the Church of God General Assembly.

Furthermore, I am not speaking for ( or even by permission) of the executive committee. However, as the executive committee liaison for education, I did talk personally with Dr. Paul Conn last Friday concerning this matter. We thoroughly discussed the statement posted on FB.

Dr. Conn expressed regret, and stated that he did not know in advance about the post.
Further, he readily acknowledged that when he read the post, he immediately recognized it
did not support the position stated in the Church of God Minutes.

He believes the faculty to be well-intended to be a part of an on-going conversation about an important issue. But, felt the topic would have been better addressed as individuals rather than a departmental position.

Dr. Conn shared that he will intentionally meet with the theology faculty this week, explaining that the post was not helpful, and asking them to replace the post with one that will readdress the issue in a more conversational tone without being in opposition to the Church of God.

Dr. Conn told me to feel free to share our discussion with whomever I feel it to be appropriate.

I trust this clarifies my involvement and Dr. Conn’s position regarding the original statement.
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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Methocostal
Mat:
I have a similar background to yours as I was raised COGOP (my father and brother were pastors) and my father's family was COG. I haven't regularly attended the COGOP for almost 25 years so my memory has faded to an extent. However, I thought women were allowed to Pastor in the COGOP? Is that correct?

Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee yet, but my reading of your quote would seem to support that the COGOP (technically COG between 1909 to around 1923), but I called it COGOP as Brother Tomlinson was GO. In either case, the quote from Dr. Jenkins indicated women were allowed "sacerdotal" functions until 1925. That would seem to support that AJ was supportive of women ministers (though the quote didn't address pastoring per se). Then, in 1925 (after AJ), the COG removed those functions. To me, that sounds like they rejected AJ's (liberalism on this matter), rather than indicating AJ influenced the 1925 ruling. To the contrary, perhaps the only "influence" was of a negative variety in that they rejected what was likely AJ's view, given he was GO during the period women had more rights.

However, I would certainly agree with your comment that it doesn't seem logical that the 1925 Assembly would be supportive of AJ's view.

What am I missing that would support that the 1925 Assembly would be influenced by AJ. I guess I'm being dense (and unfortunately that has been more common to me recently in my advanced age of 60, which is a serious concern of mine, but that is a different topic isn't it Smile ) .

This is an edit of the original post above, DUH, I just noticed the last sentence from Dr. Jenkins. Now I understand where you are coming from! And yes, I do agree, why would the COG be supportive of AJ's view. It does seem contradictory to me though that AJ likely supported "Sacerdotal" functions, but then wanted them removed as he considered himself as pastor. The only way I can reconcile those two views is if AJ was in fact opposed to functions from the onset regardless of what the GA allowed. Though, from what I know, I would have been surprised if the GA would have gone against AJ's personal views during that period. But, then again, perhaps my view is tainted as it seemed the COGOP during the 70's and 80's (the period of time I am most aware) pretty much did what MA wanted. For example, rumour was an additional floor was added to what I think was the VOS building because MA casually made a comment that an additional floor would be nice and lo and behold it got done without a strong push from MA. He just made a casual comment. That was the extent of his influence as I know it and I guess I assumed it was the same under AJ, until 1923.


Mat wrote:
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
Mat wrote:
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat


Mat, are you COG?


I am COGOP. However, my great grandfather was COG, very early on, as was my grandfather. Many friends in COG and much fellowship over the years (I was born in Cleveland and lived across the street from TL, Steve and I were friends). As I said, I am not expressing an opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry. Rather, I can't tell if Tomlinson is being "blamed" for the reduced status of women in ministry (especially after 1923) or is he being sighted as a proponent of their full participation in ministry. It just seems out of step with the events of 1923 that Tomlinson would have an effect on the General Assembly polity up to 1925.

I would like more information.

Mat
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Post Sacerdotal Methocostal
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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Mat
Methocostal wrote:
Mat:
I have a similar background to yours as I was raised COGOP (my father and brother were pastors) and my father's family was COG. I haven't regularly attended the COGOP for almost 25 years so my memory has faded to an extent. However, I thought women were allowed to Pastor in the COGOP? Is that correct?

Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee yet, but my reading of your quote would seem to support that the COGOP (technically COG between 1909 to around 1923), but I called it COGOP as Brother Tomlinson was GO. In either case, the quote from Dr. Jenkins indicated women were allowed "sacerdotal" functions until 1925. That would seem to support that AJ was supportive of women ministers (though the quote didn't address pastoring per se). Then, in 1925 (after AJ), the COG removed those functions. To me, that sounds like they rejected AJ's (liberalism on this matter), rather than indicating AJ influenced the 1925 ruling. To the contrary, perhaps the only "influence" was of a negative variety in that they rejected what was likely AJ's view, given he was GO during the period women had more rights.

However, I would certainly agree with your comment that it doesn't seem logical that the 1925 Assembly would be supportive of AJ's view.

What am I missing that would support that the 1925 Assembly would be influenced by AJ. I guess I'm being dense (and unfortunately that has been more common to me recently in my advanced age of 60, which is a serious concern of mine, but that is a different topic isn't it Smile ) .

This is an edit of the original post above, DUH, I just noticed the last sentence from Dr. Jenkins. Now I understand where you are coming from! And yes, I do agree, why would the COG be supportive of AJ's view. It does seem contradictory to me though that AJ likely supported "Sacerdotal" functions, but then wanted them removed as he considered himself as pastor. The only way I can reconcile those two views is if AJ was in fact opposed to functions from the onset regardless of what the GA allowed. Though, from what I know, I would have been surprised if the GA would have gone against AJ's personal views during that period. But, then again, perhaps my view is tainted as it seemed the COGOP during the 70's and 80's (the period of time I am most aware) pretty much did what MA wanted. For example, rumour was an additional floor was added to what I think was the VOS building because MA casually made a comment that an additional floor would be nice and lo and behold it got done without a strong push from MA. He just made a casual comment. That was the extent of his influence as I know it and I guess I assumed it was the same under AJ, until 1923.


Mat wrote:
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
Mat wrote:
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat


Mat, are you COG?


I am COGOP. However, my great grandfather was COG, very early on, as was my grandfather. Many friends in COG and much fellowship over the years (I was born in Cleveland and lived across the street from TL, Steve and I were friends). As I said, I am not expressing an opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry. Rather, I can't tell if Tomlinson is being "blamed" for the reduced status of women in ministry (especially after 1923) or is he being sighted as a proponent of their full participation in ministry. It just seems out of step with the events of 1923 that Tomlinson would have an effect on the General Assembly polity up to 1925.

I would like more information.

Mat



Methocostal,
Sorry for the delay in my response. The influence of AJT in early COG development, and both AJT and MAT in COGOP are clearly evident. The time frame you refer to for MAT (1970s and 1980s) and his influence/power in the COGOP is correct. However, at that point he had been in office since 1943 and had been able to "survive" the "old guard" that served under his father, which by then he had replaced with young men and women whom he had developed in leadership roles. He also expanded ministries in such areas as media (radio and TV), publishing (including bookstores and the press which became profitable) and established a college in the 1960s when there was still an "anti-education" strain in the organization. The COGOP expanded during that era, including the building of many new churches, campgrounds and the new HQ facilities (offices, tabernacle, communications building, etc).

So the time you refer to is when MATs influence was at its peak, but you did not see his early years when he battle those who wanted to "teach" women not to cut their hair or wear pants, or wanted the church to teach against TV (which he won) or wanted to "teach" against wearing any jewelry, including the wedding band, which he lost. MAT's influence was "hard won" within the organization.

The influence AJT had in the development of COG came at a price as well. The full commitment to ministry, the time away from family, the travel, the use of his personal money to underwrite the ministry of the church (how many current leaders take out personal loans to keep the church open), and everything else were polar opposites of what we think of when we see obtaining position as power and prestige. An example of this can be seen during the Cleveland Revival that established the COG in that town. AJT's mother died in Indiana and he felt he could not interrupt the revival to travel to his mother's funeral, so he kept preaching. How many early COG leaders, including Lee, came to the COG in that revival? Many examples could be pointed to, but his influence had a great price.

It seems now that the COG is committed to not letting anyone have that kind of influence again, nor, from what I read on Acts-celerate, is having the position associated with personal cost, at least not once you "arrive". Today whenever there is a discussion of visionary leadership that could influence the denomination to adopt new and emerging models of ministry, the "old guard" reminds everybody of the "cautionary tell" of emporium AJT and his lascivious abuse of power. The COG power-brokers push AJT out in 1923, but they still like to keep his "ghost" around 100 years later less someone anointed leaders should try to "rise-up and jump the line" so well established. So the "leader" is elected to position with the warning don't use the power.

I don't think that women voting in the counsel (I know they vote in the assembly, as all women members can) is the issues and it does not matter what AJT believed over 100 years ago. No, its a matter of the numbers - 5 and 18 (positions) - 2, 4 and 8 (term limits and elections) - 10 (percent of the tithes of the local churches). Its the numbers that matter in this process, not AJT. From my reading of the various post is seems the one position that is allowed to have vision is that of Missions, but then with a declining budget thanks to the math, you have to to succeed.

I would not venture this opinion about the COG, since I am not part of it, but I do love the movement and I do get tired of the use of the "ghost" of AJT to justify the status quo.

Mat
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5/19/16 7:31 am


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Methocostal
Thank you Mat. I wasn't quite sure what you meant about the wedding band. Are you saying MA wanted the wedding band and was rejected while he was GO. Or, that he was ultimately rejected in that the COGOP later approved the wedding band? I'm assuming the latter, but perhaps there is some history along the line that I missed.

I always thought MA tried to do precisely what AJ would have wanted and he was always in AJ's shadow.

Mat wrote:
Methocostal wrote:
Mat:
I have a similar background to yours as I was raised COGOP (my father and brother were pastors) and my father's family was COG. I haven't regularly attended the COGOP for almost 25 years so my memory has faded to an extent. However, I thought women were allowed to Pastor in the COGOP? Is that correct?

Perhaps I haven't had enough coffee yet, but my reading of your quote would seem to support that the COGOP (technically COG between 1909 to around 1923), but I called it COGOP as Brother Tomlinson was GO. In either case, the quote from Dr. Jenkins indicated women were allowed "sacerdotal" functions until 1925. That would seem to support that AJ was supportive of women ministers (though the quote didn't address pastoring per se). Then, in 1925 (after AJ), the COG removed those functions. To me, that sounds like they rejected AJ's (liberalism on this matter), rather than indicating AJ influenced the 1925 ruling. To the contrary, perhaps the only "influence" was of a negative variety in that they rejected what was likely AJ's view, given he was GO during the period women had more rights.

However, I would certainly agree with your comment that it doesn't seem logical that the 1925 Assembly would be supportive of AJ's view.

What am I missing that would support that the 1925 Assembly would be influenced by AJ. I guess I'm being dense (and unfortunately that has been more common to me recently in my advanced age of 60, which is a serious concern of mine, but that is a different topic isn't it Smile ) .

This is an edit of the original post above, DUH, I just noticed the last sentence from Dr. Jenkins. Now I understand where you are coming from! And yes, I do agree, why would the COG be supportive of AJ's view. It does seem contradictory to me though that AJ likely supported "Sacerdotal" functions, but then wanted them removed as he considered himself as pastor. The only way I can reconcile those two views is if AJ was in fact opposed to functions from the onset regardless of what the GA allowed. Though, from what I know, I would have been surprised if the GA would have gone against AJ's personal views during that period. But, then again, perhaps my view is tainted as it seemed the COGOP during the 70's and 80's (the period of time I am most aware) pretty much did what MA wanted. For example, rumour was an additional floor was added to what I think was the VOS building because MA casually made a comment that an additional floor would be nice and lo and behold it got done without a strong push from MA. He just made a casual comment. That was the extent of his influence as I know it and I guess I assumed it was the same under AJ, until 1923.


Mat wrote:
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
Mat wrote:
From the third paragraph - Skip Jenkins, PhD

"A series of decisions were made from 1909-1925 that increasingly circumscribed the role of women, delimiting their functions within the church, specifically in governance AND “sacerdotal” functions (that is, performance of baptisms, communion, marriages, etc). Prior to 1925 women were allowed to do water baptisms, communion, marriages, etc—even if it was not normative—but the 1925 General Assembly (GA) decided to remove “sacerdotal rights” from women’s ministerial duties. This decision was attributed to the influence of A.J. Tomlinson, who was considered the “pastor of the church” as the general overseer.

I wonder how A. J. Tomlinson influenced the General Assemblies of 1924 and 1925, when he have been forcefully removed in 1923 as General Overseer and was persona non grata in the Church of God. Church of God history points to reputation of many of Tomlinson views related to scripture, the nature of the Church and race relations during the years following his expulsion. It would seem odd that Tomlinson had influence in subsequent assemblies where he was not welcome, much less in a leadership role. It the position correctly understood is that it was the influence of Tomlinson that kept the door open for women ministers prior to his departure (in 1923) this would agree with the polity he established what would become the Church of God of Prophecy.

Just wondering about this conclusion. I know this is a Church of God matter and I offer no opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry.

Mat


Mat, are you COG?


I am COGOP. However, my great grandfather was COG, very early on, as was my grandfather. Many friends in COG and much fellowship over the years (I was born in Cleveland and lived across the street from TL, Steve and I were friends). As I said, I am not expressing an opinion as to the "right or wrong" of women in ministry. Rather, I can't tell if Tomlinson is being "blamed" for the reduced status of women in ministry (especially after 1923) or is he being sighted as a proponent of their full participation in ministry. It just seems out of step with the events of 1923 that Tomlinson would have an effect on the General Assembly polity up to 1925.

I would like more information.

Mat



Methocostal,
Sorry for the delay in my response. The influence of AJT in early COG development, and both AJT and MAT in COGOP are clearly evident. The time frame you refer to for MAT (1970s and 1980s) and his influence/power in the COGOP is correct. However, at that point he had been in office since 1943 and had been able to "survive" the "old guard" that served under his father, which by then he had replaced with young men and women whom he had developed in leadership roles. He also expanded ministries in such areas as media (radio and TV), publishing (including bookstores and the press which became profitable) and established a college in the 1960s when there was still an "anti-education" strain in the organization. The COGOP expanded during that era, including the building of many new churches, campgrounds and the new HQ facilities (offices, tabernacle, communications building, etc).

So the time you refer to is when MATs influence was at its peak, but you did not see his early years when he battle those who wanted to "teach" women not to cut their hair or wear pants, or wanted the church to teach against TV (which he won) or wanted to "teach" against wearing any jewelry, including the wedding band, which he lost. MAT's influence was "hard won" within the organization.

The influence AJT had in the development of COG came at a price as well. The full commitment to ministry, the time away from family, the travel, the use of his personal money to underwrite the ministry of the church (how many current leaders take out personal loans to keep the church open), and everything else were polar opposites of what we think of when we see obtaining position as power and prestige. An example of this can be seen during the Cleveland Revival that established the COG in that town. AJT's mother died in Indiana and he felt he could not interrupt the revival to travel to his mother's funeral, so he kept preaching. How many early COG leaders, including Lee, came to the COG in that revival? Many examples could be pointed to, but his influence had a great price.

It seems now that the COG is committed to not letting anyone have that kind of influence again, nor, from what I read on Acts-celerate, is having the position associated with personal cost, at least not once you "arrive". Today whenever there is a discussion of visionary leadership that could influence the denomination to adopt new and emerging models of ministry, the "old guard" reminds everybody of the "cautionary tell" of emporium AJT and his lascivious abuse of power. The COG power-brokers push AJT out in 1923, but they still like to keep his "ghost" around 100 years later less someone anointed leaders should try to "rise-up and jump the line" so well established. So the "leader" is elected to position with the warning don't use the power.

I don't think that women voting in the counsel (I know they vote in the assembly, as all women members can) is the issues and it does not matter what AJT believed over 100 years ago. No, its a matter of the numbers - 5 and 18 (positions) - 2, 4 and 8 (term limits and elections) - 10 (percent of the tithes of the local churches). Its the numbers that matter in this process, not AJT. From my reading of the various post is seems the one position that is allowed to have vision is that of Missions, but then with a declining budget thanks to the math, you have to to succeed.

I would not venture this opinion about the COG, since I am not part of it, but I do love the movement and I do get tired of the use of the "ghost" of AJT to justify the status quo.

Mat
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5/25/16 10:04 am


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Mat
Methocostal said,
"Thank you Mat. I wasn't quite sure what you meant about the wedding band. Are you saying MA wanted the wedding band and was rejected while he was GO. Or, that he was ultimately rejected in that the COGOP later approved the wedding band? I'm assuming the latter, but perhaps there is some history along the line that I missed.

I always thought MA tried to do precisely what AJ would have wanted and he was always in AJ's shadow."

Before 1943 the wedding band was in common use in the COGOP. It was during the first or second assembly MA moderated that the committee proposed including a prohibition against the wedding band in the teaching on adornment. The point I was trying to make is MA being new in the office, and so young, faced some powerful forces from the older, long established State Overseers who wanted the COGOP to move to an even more restrictive position on many issues. MA also had to contend with the more "prophetic" branch of the church, which was led by his own brother Homer and the likes of Grady Kent. It was not until the old guard retired or died, combined with Homer (in 1944) and Kent (in 1957) leaving to form they own churches that MA was able to bring in younger leadership with a more progressive agenda.

With all that said, the subject line is about Ordained Women ministers in the COG voting in the General Counsel and the thesis that AJT could somehow influence the 1925 assembly to disenfranchise women ministers from their previous status still seems problematic to me. The term "Ghost of A. J. Tomlinson" and his "haunting" influence is a phrase and concept I learned form my COG friends, not one I made up. So everything from limiting women ministers authority/participation, to term limits for leaders are somehow being attributed to AJT. I would observe the propensity of the COG to take issues to court was embedded as a result of the manner in which the organization dealt with AJT. That said, AJT has not been a part of COG for 93 years, so maybe there should be a more introspective approach than the "he made us do it" excuse (IMHO).

Mat
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5/25/16 11:04 am


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Old Time Country Preacher
Mat wrote:
MA also had to contend with the more "prophetic" branch of the church, which was led by his own brother Homer.


I thought Homer was "King of the World" and "Theocratic Party Chairman."
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5/25/16 11:07 am


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Post Re: Assemblies after 1923 Mat
Old Time Country Preacher wrote:
Mat wrote:
MA also had to contend with the more "prophetic" branch of the church, which was led by his own brother Homer.


I thought Homer was "King of the World" and "Theocratic Party Chairman."


OTCP,

I guess that if Homer is the offspring of the COGOP, then in the same manner the COG gave birth to Archbishop Earl Paulk Jr. It gives rise to the age-old question, "whose your daddy"?

Mat

PS Of the two, give me Homer. This year I think I would vote for him.
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