My wife and I just returned from a family wedding in Southern California. I was surprised the officiating pastor was a woman, because the parents of the bride graduated from Biola College, what I remembered as being a fundamentalist Christian college. (Fundamentalist believe in the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, virgin birth of Christ, atonement for sin through Christ's death, bodily resurrection of Christ, and the reality of Christ's miracles). I told the woman pastor I was fundamentalist Christian and did not believe ordination of women was Biblical, but I believed she did and excellent job officiating, and the wedding seemed Christ centered.
Several days later I got a phone call from the parents of the bride. They said some people at the wedding heard my comments to the woman pastor and were offended. I said I was sorry if I offended anyone. I meant the comment as a complement. After the phone call I used a Bible concordance and looked up the word woman. I was surprised how definite the Bible was against ordination of woman. I Timothy 2:12 says, " I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man, rather, she is to remain quiet." 1 Timothy 3:2 "Therefore an elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach." I Corinthians 14:33 "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but they are to be submissive, as the law also says." Church Fathers rejected ordination of women on biblical grounds. Tertullian, Hippolytus, Didascalia, Council of Nicaea I, Council of Laodicea, and John Chrysostom, all rejected the ordination of women, on biblical grounds.
I knew that liberal churches such as the Methodist, Episcopal , and the Presbyterian Church ordained women. What I forgot was that New Evangelicalism took over many fundamentalist denominations and colleges in the 1950s. New Evangelicals differed from fundamentalists on several issues such as: 1. More tolerance 2. "Scholarship" and acceptance of the secular academic community. 3. Toning down of insistence on seven days of creation, young earth, and universal flood at the time of Noah. 4. Softening on biblical inerrancy of the Bible. 5. Softening on moral and sexual issues such as ordination of women and same sex marriage.
Formerly fundamentalist colleges such as Biola, Wheaton and Westmont have all been influenced by New Evangelicalism and are no longer fundamentalist colleges. As an example Biola University has an officially approved campus group for same-sex attracted Christians called "Sustinere," which is designed to be a "safe space" for gays and lesbians.
Many of the children of New Evangelicalists have morphed into the Emergent Church movement. This movement does not begin with any theological ideas or belief. Their "missional" idea is that any works that make the world a better place bring us toward the ideal future. The Emergent Church movement is a postmodern worldview which rejects absolute truth or the idea there is only one way. Several central features of Eastern mysticism and postmodern Emergent Church thinking are similar.
In the Emergent Church intolerance has come to mean simply disagreeing with anyone else's beliefs, which is off-limits or "arrogant." This is because no one can know the truth with certainty. Postmodern thinkers argue that those they label fundamentalists are unacceptable because they subscribe to universal truth claims, which must not be tolerated. They believe the height of arrogance is to attempt to show people the errors in the religion of their choice.
The Emergent Church movement is an association of individuals linked by one very important, key idea: that God is bringing history toward a glorious kingdom of God on earth without future judgment. They loathe dispensationalism, because it claims just the opposite, that the world is getting ever more sinful and is sliding towered cataclysmic judgment.
Liberalism and the Emergent Church movement grew up from Darwin's theory of evolution and Marx's theory of communism. The Emergent Church believes a God without wrath will bring men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through a social gospel of Christ without a cross. This wedding showed me how old I am. Today's world is far different from the world of my youth. "Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15)