Two Reformed Presbyterian denominations severed ties with the 285,000-memberChristian Reformed Church (CRC) at their annual June generalassemblies over the issue of women's ordination.

The 278,000-member Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) votedJune 11 in Colorado Springs to immediately terminate recognition of theCRC "as a church in ecclesiastical fellowship." A dayearlier, the 22,000-member Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC),meeting in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, voted to break fraternal relationswith the CRC.

Both groups cited the CRC's 1995 decision to allow its 47regional bodies the option of ordaining women ministers, elders, and evangelistsas the main reason for the break.

"They are no longer being guided by Scripture in the ordination of women,"said Ric Perrin, the PCA's fraternal delegate to theCRC's June synod in Milwaukee. "Our concern, quite honestly,is that the Christian Reformed Church has begun to move away from its historicposition on the authority of Scripture."

OPC delegate Jeff Taylor said theCRC is on a slippery slope. "It would be naive for us to think the issue is women in office," Taylor said. "The issue isalso the authority of Scripture, homosexuality, and Creation and evolution."

Former CRC general secretary Leonard Hofman expressedregret at the separations, questioning how those outside the denominationcan judge whether the CRC is no longer guided by theBible. Hofman said the Reformed denominations still agree in "so many substantialmatters."

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