Evans' event is supposed to be a lighthearted get-together in spite of our disagreement over non-essentials. But, as a respondent of hers noted, we still haven't decided what is and is not essential. I have made the case on this blog and elsewhere that religious feminism is something we must divide over. To most Protestants it should look as wide as the division between Rome and Geneva and Antioch.While it may initially appear to involve a nonessential, it rapidly ramifies into essential doctrine and practice. Marriage means something and spiritual authority in the church means something - neither one are to be divvied up according to merit. Being a pastor is not something anyone has a right to, regardless of talents and gifts exhibited.
Marriage and spiritual leadership in the church mean something because they are supposed to show us something, they are aids to teaching. They picture for us the relationship between God and Israel in the Old Testament and Christ and His Bride in the New Testament. The Scriptures start with a wedding - where woman is taken from man. She is made from the man, for the man, and brought to the man. And God's written revelation ends with a wedding feast - the marriage supper of the Lamb.
When we disagree about what marriage is, we disagree about the meaning of these foundational images. We do disagree on essentials and thus, cannot participate in a lighthearted pretence that these foundational disagreements do not exist. No amount of banter will combat what will likely be seen as vitriol. And yes, sometimes the kindest thing of all is to name heresy for what it is.
Here then, is the quote:
The Church is intolerant in principle because she believes;
she is tolerant in practice because she loves.
The enemies of the Church are tolerant in principle because they do not believe;
they are intolerant in practice because they do not love.
--Rev. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P