One of the more maligned political statements of the past century is Neville Chamberlain’s summation of the 1938 Munich Conference, “… peace with honour. I believe it is peace in our time”.
Following generations label his action as accommodation or appeasement, an accommodation – as most are, that proved to be ineffective. The question about whether Chamberlain was naïve or shrewdly buying some time to rearm aside, time has shown his statement paralleled the prophetic utterance from Jeremiah, “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say when there is no peace.” (Jeremiah 6:14)
I am reminded of the above as I hear rumours of a proposed accommodation for The PCC (often referred to as the “local option”) which seeks to maintain denominational unity around various issues gathered under the LGBTQ acronym.
At first blush, any option that could reduce acrimony within the denomination and allow us to focus on other gospel priorities sounds attractive and appealing. Chamberlain’s summation I suspect sounded equally as good in 1938.
Regrettably it was a false statement. Doubtless there are many reasons why widespread hostilities erupted less than 12 months later, but one fact is the reality there is no path of accommodation with that which is evil or sinful that is able to sustain peace.
Thus, I believe that regardless of the best motivations of any “local option” initiative, if it does not affirm the position of the 1994 Report on Human Sexuality, the sought-for peace and unity within The PCC will be at best short-lived and the results will, in the end, be even more destructive than developing a good “gracious withdrawal” option.
Kerry S. Dooley [retired PCC minister]