Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Roy Donkin Responds to DD Blog on Ethics

This comment from Roy Donkin was posted in response to my previous blog:

Glenn, let me reply - "how does the region take action?" Through it's board and elected officers. Staff are breaking the code of ethics by leading the action.

Should an officer in the military obey an illegal order? No. Should a pastor stay in a denomination with which he or she disagrees on substantive theological grounds? No. And the code of ethics gives a remedy - resign.

What does one do when the national body goes off a cliff? Get off the bus. But the code of ethics each pastor has signed says that he or she will not use their influence to alienate the congregation to leave the denomination. Nowhere in the code does it speak of "abusing one's influence," it speaks only of "using one's influence." The document is clear. Presumably all of the ordained leaders have signed it. I still don't see how one can come to any other conclusion but resignation or at least an acknowledgement that they are breaking the code which they have signed.

Comment: Roy, I appreciate your evident desire to do and to advocate for what's right. I hope you appreciate my desire to do the same.

OK, bottom line, I should resign. Dale Salico should resign. Ross Chenot should resign. About 250 pastors in the PSW should resign, walk away from their calling, the churches they care about deeply and to whom they are shepherds. Would that advance the Kingdom? Really? Isn't this a fractured filibuster instead?

What you envision are pastors muzzled--controlled--put under the thumb of Valley Forge, by the Code of Ethics--owned, body and soul, by the ABC.
Sorry, last I checked I am owned by Another.

That is where the analogy of the military officer is relevant. The pledge I made is superceded by a another pledge. If I were in the Marines in Iraq and I was told to shot an unarmed captive, I would disobey even though I had pledged to obey my commander. I have a conscience, and I have a higher Commander. We do not come to this point willy-nilly, but in sorrow. The greatest sorrow of all may be the realization that the human "commander"--the ABC as exemplified in the Code of Ethics--has left the circle of orthopraxis.

There is an interesting pattern you will find in Paul's writings. He consistently refers to as a slave (doulos) of Christ Jesus, but a servant (diakonos) of the churches he serves. Slave to Jesus--servant of the church. That's the right order.

In Acts 20, we read these words, words to the Ephesians elders from the apostle Paul:

28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

How can we pastors shepherd flocks subject to wolvish attack in silence? How can we be guardians of truth if only "the board and the elected officers" speak, and act?

I take no joy in this. Here I stand, I can do no other. My conscience is held captive by the word of God.

1 comment:

Gary Karas said...


Excellent point! I agree 100%. Until all of this controversy came up, I didn't realize how self-serving and institutional-preserving this particular point was in the Code of Ethics.
With 20-20 hindsight, I wonder if I should have signed it all. However, at the time I trusted our leadership. Things certainly have changed.
Keep up the great work on your blog. Especially since the ABE site has shut down, this one of the few places that I can get the real story as to what is happening in our denomination.
God bless,