Ethics: Complementarian Pastor Invited to Mother’s Pastoral Ordination

What would you do Wednesday!

Today’s scenario is difficult. The dilemma puts a Christian pastor in a situation where he must decide in favor of his family or his biblical convictions.

Is today’s post based on a true story? That’s for me to know and you to guess.

A pastor gets a formal invite from his father in the mail. The invite is for the pastor to bring his family to his mother’s ordination; her pastoral ordination.

He closes his eyes and prays for wisdom. Chills sweep across his body.

The problem is this pastor is a strong complementarian. He believes the pastorate is only for biblically qualified men. He has preached this for years. He raised his two boys and two girls to believe the same. He knew his parents attended an egalitarian church. He even knew his mother taught Sunday School, but he has no idea his mother was going to be ordained as a pastor in their church.

The pastor’s parents wanted to keep it quiet until they knew for sure. They wanted to surprise their son and they succeeded.

The ordination is in two months and the parents only live two and a half hours away. Even if he wanted make up an excuse there are not many that would be believable.

Does he honor his parents and go to the ordination? Or does he honor God through his biblical convictions that he’s been teaching his church and family for years and decline?

What would you do?

  • Go, say nothing and honor your parents/mother.
  • Go, but explain how uncomfortable you are, etc.
  • Decline explaining that God is to be honored and you can’t condone this sin.
  • Decline and say as little as possible.
  • Show up with some church members and picket the event outside with big signs.
  • Or…
Let's connect!

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 eric March 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Go and honor your parents everything else is temporal. Who knows, when you meet The Lord face to face you might find out that you were wrong on the complementarian thing, it’s hard to be wrong about honoring your parents

2 Chris Roberts March 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm


Honoring parents often means honoring them with the truth. Since the Bible is already abundantly clear on the complementarian issue, honor to both God and parents demands absence from a service designed to sanctify a sinful position.

So I would decline while showing up at their house afterward for a cup of coffee and a chat.

3 Mark March 27, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Interesting thought, Chris. I would imagine a professing Christian parent might understand.

4 Michael Devaney March 27, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Don’t go, explain as patiently (for the 100th time) as you can why you will not be there. Obviously celebrating the milestone after the event is not kosher. The parents have their minds made up…address it as needed.

5 Truth Unites... and Divdes March 28, 2013 at 12:45 am

I’m guessing it’s a phony story.

6 Mark March 28, 2013 at 9:31 am

TUaD, I already answered you, but why does it matter? Just trying to stir it up a little? 🙂

7 C Dickie (@CDickie2) March 28, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Since they decided to keep you out of the loop, it seems clear that they already know where you stand. They would probably be understanding, if you said you couldn’t go.

I think you probably can go to the reception, if it would not cause scandal.


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