Women’s Ordination — Getting Lost in Hypotheticals
by Deaconess Mary Moerbe
Deaconess Mary wrote this article for the web site “Steadfast Lutherans.” I thought it was excellent and am passing it along here.
Those who are pro-women’s ordination got sidetracked and lost in hypotheticals:
- What if Paul were a chauvinist?
- What if a few cultural concessions slipped into Scripture?
- What if the entire history of the church got something wrong!
- What if we feel called in our hearts toward change?
- What if God is just waiting for us to right this wrong?
- What if we just ordain women now?
So let’s briefly address these. If Paul were a chauvinist God was wrong to choose Paul to write Scripture. The next one, “maybe a few cultural concessions slipped into Scripture” also insinuates that God is neither careful with His Word or us. They blame God for shortcomings while touting modern man as superior.
“What if we feel called in our hearts toward change? What if every other age got it wrong but this is finally our chance to set things right?!” Then read Scripture and remember that even the church can whore after other gods. Hearts betray all the time. Unless we are also to cut from ScriptureMatthew 14:18-19, Mark 7:21, Luke 6:45, etc, and all the other places that speak of our sinfulness and corruption coming precisely from within.
Of all the lists that refer to what come from the heart, Scripture certainly does not list church reform or doctrinal refinement. Instead we are warned to guard ourselves! The church is not to trust herself over her husband Christ.
“What if we simply ordain women” presumes that people are the ones who choose and create. It is an affirmation and institutionalizing of confusion and emphasis on humanity over God. It entices uncertainty for those who read Scripture, scoffs at those who believe in God’s work in the past, and once again seems to place the holy ministry as a special class of people apart from ordinary people.
People only participate so far in ordination. God does not call women to be pastors and so there are no female pastors. The ministry is not a way to get closer to God, but a life of self-sacrifice as all Christian lives must be. Christ does not call us to confusion or emphasis on what we can gain for ourselves, especially not in the name of the church. Instead only a small number of men are placed into the Ministry to ensure that the flock gets fed, freed and bound when necessary.
By all means, let us be sensitive to people, merciful, and active toward justice! But God is not waiting for us to right a great social wrong, before He acts powerfully through His church. God is not waiting for us to get His church in order so that He can come again and finally be proud. God is not finally getting around to editing His Word so that it can finally say what He meant two thousand+ years ago.
The pro-women’s ordination thought pattern is not one about gender at all. At best it is infidelity and a lack of submission within marriage. Ephesians 5 is absolutely clear that it is Christ who prepares and sanctifies His church, not “do-gooders” pushing women’s ordination. It is Christ who sacrifices and the church who receives, not men or women purifying the church by demanding equal representation and judging her based on supposed rights.
Who is the Church and who is her Husband? Couching the ordination of women in terms of gender does not make this more relevant or personal to me. It doesn’t make me as a woman more in “touch” with women’s ordination as an issue. All it tells me is that the individual is spouting political rhetoric I already associate more with social experimentation than with actual real and daily life. I associate it with representation of the people and certainly not representation of Jesus Christ, born a male child, circumcised on the ninth day.
These false teachers and petty speculators do not see what they are doing. They do not see that Galatians 3:28, the beautiful passage that teaches we are all incorporated in Christ, that in Him all believers are the firstborn male inheritor, gets cruelly twisted in their efforts to undermine gender. They’ve gotten lost in another hypothetical, abstracting gender! (Ahem, how are babies made again? Genders are still involved.)
Let this passage speak of Christ, not physical distinctions! Let us teach the full revelation of the Gospel and not get sidetracked and lost in “what ifs.”
I have been blessed with a wonderful husband. If I were to listen to third party accounts of what he’d like from me, I could get in a lot of trouble. As his wife, the least I can do is wait to hear from him before I run off and do something drastic.
The church is the bride of Christ. When Christ comes and shows us His hands and His feet, and then tells us in concrete terms that He ordains women, we as His bride the church will listen. But when someone else comes, whispering what Christ as husband really wants from us, our radar should go off! It’s skuzzy! It’s inappropriate and sowing discontent. It undermines the church and our marriage to Christ. Often it even tries to pit the Holy Spirit against Christ and the Word of God! Awful!
Christ has faithful in different denominations. I am not trying to suggest that He doesn’t, but it seems to me that some denominations are objectively trying to make a sexier, more vibrant church to compete with Christ’s ordinary, aging wife.
Then they come to sell tricks to that church that has stayed at home, tempting her saying she is not already enough. As though enticing the wife makes the mistress more acceptable.
Thanks be to God that nothing they can do can replace the blood-bought martyrs with a more modern mistress! We may get self-conscious and have feelings of insecurity at times, but Christ is faithful to His bride. We do not need to woo our Lord with petty attempts to please desires He has never spoken. We remain who He has made us as He comes to us in Word and Sacrament. We rest in His care, even as we boldly teach our children the ways of the Lord.
God’s revelations are much more amazing than hypothetical speculations. God does so much more than we often realize! The concrete reality is that Christ gathers His Church. He is the Head. He says His piece and we hold His Word in our hands. He loves us, gave Himself up for us, sanctifies us, cleanses us by the washing of water with the word, and He Himself presents the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle in any such thing, that we might be holy and without blemish!
The emphasis is on Christ! Martin Luther taught that the Gospel of Jesus Christ—justification by grace through faith in the atoning work of Christ—is at the center of every facet of Christian teaching and every facet of Christian life. The least we can do is listen to Him and hold Him to His Word. Anyone who says the church must first do this or that is an anti-Christ. Anyone who says first we must ordain women is an anti-Christ, expecting (if not calling for) punishment that has already been poured out on Christ.
Those who presume that women can be ordained fail to recognize the blessedness of the Church. Those who are not content as the bride of Christ to receive … what more could possibly be given to them? The victory is still ours: Christ has saved His people since the dawn of time. Christ has given the holy ministry to continually bring His Word to His world.
Being the Church is the most blessed thing in the world! Let’s recognize that women’s ordination is a matter of adultery and faithlessness. Let us prayerfully guard ourselves and rest in Christ, who is the head of His Bride!