Respecting authority while disagreeing with those who hold it

Thanks for introducing this subject, Bronwyn!

You asked:

Is it really possible in practice to ask questions about men, women and authority in the church and “banish the ghost of the Usurper”, when deep in your heart you believe that anything other than your position actually would amount to usurping?

I think that it is important to remember that Wilkin’s remarks are particularly focused upon interactions with pastors and men in Church leadership. There is an asymmetry in such conversations that probably ought to be recognized at the outset: one party within the conversation has been formally charged with overseeing and giving account for the spiritual wellbeing of a congregation—a task for which the maintenance of orthodox teaching is a crucial dimension—while the other typically has not. The concern about usurpation primarily arises when this difference isn’t honoured in the way that questioning is handled.

In answering this question, perhaps we need to reflect more generally upon how we demonstrate respect for persons in authority over us and don’t undermine their office, while expressing disagreement with their positions.

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