Saturday, October 3, 2015

A majority but not enough

The Lutheran Church in Australia has taken its vote on the ordination of women and, once again, there was a clear majority (269 of 423 delegates, 63.6%) but note enough -- by less than 4% or 17 delegates.  As you may recall, twice as many lay delegates vote as clergy.  I do not know the break down of the vote on the basis of clergy and lay.  What I do know is that this is a repeat of the majority but the majority is not enough to depart from the existing practice of the LCA -- a two-thirds majority is the threshhold for change.

So let us rejoice that the super majority was not met but let us not forget that this is one more majority and that this stance rests on the fragile foundation of a dozen and a half delegates who could change their vote the next time this is taken up (and, to be sure, there will be a next time).  Let us praise the Lord that the LCA held the line for now but let us not fail in our prayers for the future.  There will be another vote at some point in time but I expect it cannot be sooner than a few years and probably will not be soon unless the supporters of the ordination of women believe that there is a change in the complexion of the delegates to make the vote passable.

The LCA is not a huge church body but it has produced some exemplary confessional Lutherans who are international figures.  We have had a faithful partnership with the LCA for many years and it is our hope and prayer that this continues and that both the LCA and the LCMS remain confessional in doctrine and practice.  That is not an established fact but a choice and a battle which we fight each day in every parish as well as in the larger venues of district, synod, seminary, etc...

God bless our brothers and sisters in the LCA!

Update. . . 

I am told the breakdown for the vote was:
Pastors in favor of WO: 63
Pastors opposed to WO: 75
Laity in favor of WO: 206
Laity opposed to WO: 70
Abstentions: 9

As is clearly noted, the majority of pastors are NOT in favor of the ordination of women but the delegates are stacked 2/3 lay and 1/3 clergy and this is where the majority numbers for changing the LCA stance has come.

Not all was disappointing, a very fine confessional pastor, Andrew Pfeiffer,  was elected Assistant Bishop (and without much of any opposition!). 


Carl Vehse said...

In the meantime, LCMS continues to play spin-the bottle with a Lufauxran church body that has never given the slightest indication that it would seriously work to change from a quatenus to a quia subscription of the entire Book of Concord of 1580, or to reject the ordination of pastrixes, or sever its altar and pulpit fellowship with other pastrix-ordaining church bodies, or to be anything other than 'XXXA-lite.'

John Joseph Flanagan said...

I think the ordination of women pastors, even though it is unrelated to gay marriage, will be another step bringing this denomination closer to the post modernist and away from orthodoxy in the future. As you have stated, as the votes get closer, the few faithful delegates eventually die off or change their votes. You may see more of this in the future. Even the LCMS is not immune, because there are not just a few progressives waiting in the wings as we speak, and like professional card players, will not show their cards until they believe it is the right time. Pray that this does not happen, but prepare your heart for the possibility, and how you and I and others will respond.

Carl Vehse said...

Missouri Synod Lutherans need to be aware of what is being taught in their congregation's catechism classes for youth and adults.

Are the catechumens being taught liberal heretical crap, or are they being taught doctrines from the Lutheran confessions and how to oppose the unionistic, syncretistic, and schwärmerei heresies infesting Lutheran church organizations today?

ErnestO said...

I believe as a Lutheran we should accept God's will in the most Christian of all institutions the church and in order of importance right after that in the family.

Carl Vehse said...

In 2000, the LCA’s Commission on Theology and Interchurch relations (CTICR) voted that Scripture does not prohibit the ordination of women. The LCA's Commission on Theology and Interchurch Relations does appear to be predominately pastors, including, recently, Rev. Dr. Andrew Pfeiffer, who was the former Vice-Chair, and the Rev. Dr. Greg Lockwood.

The CTICR has also created a website, Ordination - We're Listening, with a "Message from the LCA Bishop" John Henderson, a pro-pastrix heretic.

Kirk Skeptic said...

Nur haben die Heiden Priesterinnen.

Anonymous said...

In the second paragraph, I sure hope you meant to type, "...let us NOT fail..."

Wally Schiller said...

I would really like to know where you got those "breakdown" figures? It is not possible! There was no determination of separate figures. It was one vote and there is no possible way of distinguishing between lay and pastor votes. We all voted in one block. I know - I was one of them!

Carl Vehse said...

According to Rev. Mark Burkholz, pastor at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church (LCMS), Oak Lawn, IL:

"If we assume that the vote at the Pastors' conference is representative of the pastoral delegates' vote at the General Synod, then this would be the approximate breakdown".

That "vote" can be found in the General Pastors Conference Advice to General Synod 2015, which states:

"After examination and discussion of the key biblical texts (1 Corinthians 14:34-35, 1 Timothy 2:11-14)
which of the following best describes your present view concerning these texts:
a) The texts clearly do not allow for, the ordination of women: Affirming 31%
b) The texts are not entirely clear, but would seem to not allow for the ordination of women: Affirming 23%
c) The texts are not entirely clear, but would seem to allow for the ordination of women:
Affirming 24%
d) There is nothing in these texts that would exclude the ordination of women: Affirming 21%

From the General Synod delegate makeup, for the 414 votes (9 others abstained), 138 (one-third) were from pastors and 276 (two-thirds) were from lay delegates. This assumes the same pastor/lay ratio for votes and abstentions.

Combining a) and b) gives 54%; combining c) and d) gives 46%. These percentages applied to the total pastoral vote at the LCA convention gives the indicated numbers, 75 (no) and 63 (yes). The LCA lay delegate vote split on the resolution can easily be calculated from this to be 206 (yes) and 70 (no), and 9 abstentions.

Wally Schiller said...

Once again, this is speculative maneuvering - the pastors at General Pastors Conference consisted of pastors from across the board.
The pastors at Synod were only a portion of the total.
If there is anything to be made out of these speculative figures it is the evil of the fact that there was no recommendation given by the General Pastors Conference and yet the Synod went ahead with a vote - unconstitutionally!
That issue will now undoubtedly receive much attention - I will certainly take it up as a member of the LCA's Constitutions Committee.

Carl Vehse said...

Wally Schiller: "If there is anything to be made out of these speculative figures it is the evil of the fact that there was no recommendation given by the General Pastors Conference and yet the Synod went ahead with a vote - unconstitutionally!"

The figures were calculated from the previously indicated assumption by an LCMS pastor. This assumption may appear to some as inadequate, resulting in erroneous vote tallies for the various groups. However, as Charles Babbage once noted, "Errors using inadequate data are much less than those using no data at all."

Also, as previously noted, the General Pastors Conference did give (albeit wishy-washy) advice to the 2015 General Synod, which was published in a document coincidentally entitled, "General Pastors Conference Advice to General Synod 2015."

That advice was also published in the Book of Reports, AGENDA 2.3.1 Ordination of Both Men and Women, Part 2, available to the delegates.

Until they repent, the General Synod delegates voting for the ordaining of pastrixes will have to carry the burden of that evil on themselves.