The ugly truth is that the refusal by many former cultural conservatives to ordain females to special ecclesiastical was never principled or biblical in the first place. Eventually that refusal became just an embarrassment. Without any basis in biblical revelation opposition to the ordination of females was truly only bigotry.
As I have gone on in the Christian Reformed Church the sticky issue surrounding female ordination has always seemed to be essentially a conversation between those who want men to know the world is flat and those who want women to know their place. In other words, it’s a thinly veiled cultural conversation. Needless to say, the confessionalist is hard-pressed to find a seat at the table.
It has been said that the CRC is on a trajectory toward broad evangelicalism, that she is leaving behind her sideline status and stopping over in the status of a borderline denomination as she quests for the more socially respectable mainline designation. I think this is quite true. The Reformed tradition and the Christian Reformed denomination seem to be at relative loggerheads. Many point to this particular issue as proof. Perhaps. But the logic seems to be that if the tide of egalitarianism were overturned tomorrow all would be well. My sense is that the CRC would simply then be on a male trajectory toward broad evangelicalism, going from borderline to mainline with a hairy chest instead of shaved legs. This is another example of how the values of conservativism pale in comparison to the ethics of confessionalism.
The mere patriarchialism of the past simply was never even close to enough to maintain the scriptural teaching with regard to the criteria of ecclesiastical office. And it was simply a matter of time before top-down authoritarianism must give way to egalitarianism. Evangelicals accuse the Reformed and confessional tradition of placing too high a view on the confessional standards to the point of infallibility, a status reserved for Scripture alone. This is mainly folly, of course. But there may be a point here: if the CRC cannot see the clear biblical case against female ordination then, whatever else it signals, it may be that she has indeed begun to loose vital touch to the enscripturated text. And to add insult to injury, the recent rumblings to castrate the Forms of Subscription from confessional standards into evangelical guidelines seem to suggest that between loss of touch with the enscripturated text and a disdain for confessional formulation there won’t be much left to keep the CRC from being a laughing stock. Though, this member isn’t exactly feeling jocular.