The administrators are certainly within their rights to ban whoever they wish. Even on a blog like this I have the same rights and powers. However, watching this play out over the last couple of months has brought a few observations from the Seelsorger:
- A topic such as ordaining women does not lend itself to dispassionate discussion, despite the fact that the administrators indicate a desire for civil and respectful discourse (as they define it). The administrators of the OWN site have indicated by the very title of their site that they are interested in but one outcome: the eventual ordination of women in the LCMS. The imperative in the name speaks volumes of their intent. How can one begin a 'dialog' when the premise is a demand?
- The call for an open and balanced dialogue in the Synod on this topic is fraught with all kinds of difficulties. First of all, do we determine doctrine by dialogue and discussion with no regard to the previous history of the Synod? Can we ignore that for well over 100 years our fathers in the faith rejected this based on a careful study of God's Word? Some will be willing to do so. They point to the fact that the Synod changed its stance on such issues as women's suffrage and insurance. If they changed on this, they argue, what is to say they are not wrong on WO? However, such argumentation is flawed. We do not argue our point by pointing out previous mistakes. We argue it based on a careful study of the sources, biblical and confessional, and then form our conclusions. To date the original argument on this issue is still sound to which several scholars have testified, past and present.
- As Dr. Gard pointed out elsewhere, this issue has been decided and only a minority seem to keep the call for change alive. I have no doubt that there are both men and women in the Synod today who want to see the LCMS ordain women. The question is do these people represent a growing group as claimed; a group significant enough in size and influence to indicate a shift in the rank-and-file thinking of the denomination? My sense is that it does not.
- The administrators of OWN have banned those they identified as rude and disrespectful, and yet I can't help but thinking that even the definition of this is in question. Take my previous post regarding whether this site is 'McCarthy-like." One person decided that since I disagreed with Dr. Becker and felt his views to be contrary to the way we 'believe, teach and confess' as a Synod, I was on some sort of unfair witch hunt for heretics. If I disagree with those who promote WO and believe that their views are contrary to scripture and God's will, am I rude for saying so? We live in a time when disagreeing is defined as rude. We are called to avoid conflict at all costs. Admittedly, how one disagrees can be labeled as rude. Yet the act of calling one to repentance is not rude in and of itself. I fear that the administrators of OWN are a bit confused on this. They want a discussion in which all views are embraced as equally valid. Yet when truth is at stake, such an approach is simply not possible.