Archive for the ‘Feminism, Ordination of Women, etc.’ Category

Receiving the Gifts of Christ with Thankfulness and Faithfulness

July 1st, 2011 Comments off

When I posted some remarks that Pastor Weedon made recently about women’s ordination on my Facebook page, I received some interesting reactions. Here are Pastor Weedon’s remarks:

“The impossibility of women’s ordination to the office of presbyter or pastor is simply there in the Apostle Paul’s prohibitions in 1 Tim 2 and 1 Cor. 14. Not once has anyone ever showed a woman placed into that office in the pages of the NT (while the service of women in other arenas is copious in the Scripture).  Not once has anyone ever showed that the Universal Church accepted women to such an office – for even the Pope knows that the Church is simply not authorized to do so.  Take it up with the Lord Jesus!  This is not about a lack of clarity in translation; this is not about a dubious practice that was imposed on the Church through false patriarchal assumptions.  This is about “thus says the Lord” and not listening when another voice asks, ever so intelligently, “Did God REALLY say?”

The one that intrigued me the most came from a friend who reacted very negatively toward Pastor Weedon’s remarks. She said: “My comment was with regard to the standard ham-handed law-heavy (practically Reformed) approach to “discussion” on the issue of women’s ordination. This sort of retreat to the Law is often followed by the backhanded “Gospel” that “women are still honorable creatures too.” I think we, as Lutherans, can do better than that.”

It is her strong feeling that Pastor Weedon’s remarks were all law and will only turn off people who were uncertain or unconvinced about the issue of the ordination of women to the pastoral office. I think that what she is driving at, but not quite arriving there, is that while when we present these issues, we must do so in such a way that the Word of God is taught very clearly and allowed simply to stand on its own merits, we must also take care not simply to present the Bible’s prohibitions against women as pastors without providing discussion of reasons why God has chosen, in His wisdom, not to give the pastoral office to women. And, where I agree with her the most, is when she asserts that simply telling women, “No, you can’t be a pastor. God’s Word says no, now go away” is a rather legalistic and negative approach. The better way is reflect the Bible’s teaching on this issue in such a way that we speak to the positive reasons why only certain men are called to this office and the positive opportunities God gives to women that he does not give to any man. In other words, embracing a holistic approach to the issue is the most helpful one.

At any rate, this conversation called to mind a paper I gave quite some time ago, in the 1990s. It was published as an article in LOGIA journal in 2001. The title of the presentation was Receiving the Gifts of Christ with Thankfulness and Faithfulness. I think in that paper I captured some of these nuances and I’d like simply here to offer it again for your consideration. I welcome your comments and feedback.

By the way, here are a couple different formats of this paper, in case you want to use it: Receiving the gifts of Christ

Receiving the Gifts of Christ with Thankfulness and Faithfulness
Thoughts on the Bride of Christ’s Royal Priesthood and Holy Ministry

Rev. Paul T. McCain

St. Paul paints a beautiful picture of the church in the Epistle to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 5 Paul describes the holy Christian church as the Bride of Christ. It is noteworthy that according to St. Paul the Christian family, a man and woman, in their calling as husband and father, and as wife and mother, are to be images of the truth that the church is the Bride of Christ. As God’s creation through the blood of Christ, the church dare never begrudge the gifts that God has given to her. She dare not sneer at God’s gift of the royal priesthood, nor dare she denigrate God’s gift of the office of the holy ministry. She receives both with thanksgiving and praise to God for his wisdom in giving these gifts. How tragic it is when the divine equilibrium between the priesthood of all believers and the office of the holy ministry devolves into a sort of civil war in the church! The church is known, according to Luther, only as “a little flock of those who accept the Word of the Lord and who teach and confess true doctrine against those who persecute them, even though they must suffer for it.”[1]

At the heart of these issues, in addition to whatever else might be said, and even must be said, is the question of remaining thankful for and faithful to the gifts the Lord has given, in the manner in which he has chosen to give them. This brief study presents some thoughts on the royal priesthood, the office of the holy ministry, the Lutheran concept of vocation and station in life, and then applies these understandings to some contemporary questions about these important gifts that Christ has given to us. One of Luther’s great rediscoveries at the time of the Reformation was the scriptural truth that all the baptized people of God are called to be the “royal priesthood,” as St. Peter describes it in 1 Peter 2:9. We turn to Luther in light of the fact that our Lutheran Confessions make it clear that “We wish to be regarded as appealing to further extensive statements in his [Luther’s] doctrinal and polemical writings” (FC SD RN, 9; Tappert, 505; BSLK, 837), and that Martin Luther is the “chief teacher of the Augsburg Confession” (FC SD VII, 34; Tappert, 575; BSLK, 983). In Luther’s struggle against the medieval conception of the church as a structure that connected the lowly layperson to the heavenly realms through a system of meritorious works mediated by an ordained priest, Luther held high the centrality of Christ and his gospel by which each baptized person is completely free and liberated from all of his sin and set free to serve in whatever station in life to which he had been called by God. For Luther, the church is not defined by a papal hierarchy or by priestly orders, but by the gospel of the forgiveness of sins for the sake of Jesus Christ. Luther’s views demolished the Roman Catholic belief that life was to be separated into two distinct realms, the sacred and the secular. Even as Christ humbled himself to be born of a lowly virgin, so now the Christian is set free to serve in whatever status in life he is placed.

Read more…

The Ordination of Women: A Large Collection of Resources

February 18th, 2008 2 comments

Here is a large collection of resources gathered from across the Internet to help people and churches struggling with the issue of the ordination of women.

Women and the Catholic Priesthood

September 26th, 2007 4 comments

A very thought-provoking review article from FIRST THINGS:

Women and the Catholic Priesthood

By Monica Migliorino Miller

Wednesday, September 26, 2007,  6:56 AM

In May 1994, Pope John Paul II issued his apostolic letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
It is, as far as Vatican documents go, very short. It deals with one
specific issue, namely the Church’s ban on the admission of women to
the ministerial priesthood, a ban first articulated in the 1976 Vatican
declaration Inter Insigniores
and upheld by Pope John Paul II. He clearly stated: “Wherefore, in
order that all doubt be removed regarding a matter of great importance,
a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in
virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk. 22:32) I
declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly
ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held
by all the Church’s faithful.” With these words, the Holy Father
intended to end the debate regarding women priests.

In October 1995, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, then prefect for the
Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, made a response to a
question that was submitted to the Vatican on the doctrinal status of Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.
The official Vatican response, given through Ratzinger, was that the
ban on women priests was “taught infallibly by the Church.” While the
doctrine is settled, much debate, misunderstanding, and, in some
quarters, deep resentment continues over the Church’s insistence upon
an all-male priesthood. As a Catholic, theologian, and university
professor, I know that many Catholics continue to reject Catholic
teaching on the all-male priesthood and certainly cannot articulate the
Church’s reasons for the teaching, much less defend it.

The Catholic Priesthood and Women
is a defense and an interpretation of the Church’s doctrine. It
attempts to provide a new generation of young Catholics and, most
especially, seminarians with an understanding of the Church’s teaching
and give them a “theological orientation to the topic that engages the
chief objections.” It’s author, Sister Sara Butler, MSBT, is a
well-respected theologian who taught at Mundelein Seminary and
currently holds a position at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Dunwoodie, New
York. She openly confesses in the book’s introduction that for many
years she supported the ordination of women. She credits John Paul II’s
“theology of the body” and “his response to the feminist critique in
the apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (1988)” for her change of heart on this matter.

Read more…

Fraser Pearce’s Paper on Ordination of Women

October 7th, 2006 Comments off

A key event took place at the Lutheran Church of Australia’s general pastoral conference when Pastor Fraser Pearce delivered a paper supporting the LCA’s position against ordaining women to be pastors. I encourage you to read it.

Australian Lutherans Reject Women’s Ordination

October 6th, 2006 1 comment

The Lutheran Church of Australia has met in convention and again
failed to adopt the heterodox practice of ordaining women to the
pastoral office. A pastor friend from Australia sent the message below
to me. A 2/3 majority was required for adopting and the pro-women’s
ordination folks didn’t come close to it. The "pro" vote was lower this time than last time, in fact. This is the second time in
six years this effort has failed. Those agitating for women’s ordination here in the USA were hopeful it would pass.

Worldwide, liberal Lutheran Churches are strongly
pressuring emerging Lutheran churches into adopting women’s ordination,
and loosening up their attitudes about homosexuality and abortion.
Is The Lutheran
Church–Missouri Synod doing enough to speak out very openly and publicly rejecting the agenda of the LWF and women’s ordination?
            Greetings in Christ

You may have heard but if you
haven’t the vote at the Australian General Pastor’s conference (26th
-29th of September 2006) and General Synod (30th September – 5th
October 2006) , both in Toowoomba Queensland, re the ordination of
women in the Lutheran Church of Australia, did not get the two thirds
majority required.


The GPC vote was 111 for the
ordination of women, 99 against, and 8 abstained.  At General
Synod: 194 for, 169 against, 20 abstained, 1 informal, and 1 non


This is twice in six years that the GPC and GS of the LCA have landed with a near 50/50 vote.

Liberalism is on the brink of
collapse world-wide and the church catholic needs Christ-centred
pastors to fight the good fight. Many of us have weathered massive
attacks from our liberal brothers and sisters, we continue to pray for
them, and remain under the authority of our leaders.