Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Inconclusive. . .

The Anglican Church in North America has published its final report on the status of the priesthood and the ordination of women.  And, while disappointing, the conclusion is predictable.  The evidence is inconclusive.  The status quo, women may be ordained, remains.

Arguments pro and con (including the one found here) all carry some weight, but at the end of the day they are, taken as a whole, inconclusive because they are associated with conflicting and inconclusive ecclesiologies [already resident and accepted in the ACNA]. On that account, for the sake of unity, no departure from the status quo, that is, the denominational acceptance of women’s ordination, can be urged. There you have it.
 So. . . apparently the minority decision of the few is so deep and profound as to render nearly 2,000 years of unbroken practice not all that important or conclusive. . . or that the fear of inciting the wrath of the feminist wing of Christianity makes this an impossible topic to address outside that fear. . . or that the weight of modern arguments pro the ordination of women carry as much weight as the 2,000 years of argument and practice against the same practice. . .
 The Task Force is aware that there is a great deal of anxiety for many in our Province on both sides, who hold this issue to be of great importance. Some may be tempted to act on this anxiety, if their desired outcome is not realized in this report or in the College’s use of it.  We encourage the College of Bishops to be aware of the extent to which anxiety can be a powerful motivator toward detrimental, reactionary behavior and to be a model of peace and stability to each other and the dioceses we serve . . . . Both positions on this issue cannot be right, but both positions are held by good and godly people. Work toward a resolution of this issue must move forward, but it should be done with patience and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  (pp. 316, 318)
So good and godly people disagree and no one knows who is correct?  So the Holy Spirit will lead us to. . ahhhh restore catholic practice?  or adopt modernity without looking back?  Patience. . . Hmmmm. . . that means more time for more women to be ordained and the hope that those against will go away, die off, or disappear.

Sorry.  I am rather snarky today.  But it is so dang predictable that the report would shrink from the decision to honor the ancient practice of not ordaining women and move, ever so slowly and deliberately, toward adopting the modern position on this issue (no matter what Scripture and tradition weigh in on the question).

In the end, those in favor will continue to study the issue until they turn the tide toward the ordination of women and nobody is left to look back. . . as it seems the Lutherans in Australia are doing.  Never mind the the chief ecumenical partner of the Western Christianity shows no real sign of even giving the ordination of women a snowball's chance in hell.  Oh, well, the pro folks can always fall back on their prophetic voice and role as agents of the new thing the Spirit is doing.  It worked for most of mainline Protestantism, after all.  In this respect, the ACNA is not proving all that much different than the PECUSA.


Anonymous said...

Meh, who needs to be taught about the doctrines of original sin and the order of creation anyway?

Anonymous said...

Lutheran Hour speaker, Walter A. Maier, wrote in the November, 1933 Walther League Messenger on the 450th birthday of Martin Luther:
“We repeat, the appeal to American Protestantism is: ‘BACK TO LUTHER!’ And if this be a battle cry that is to summon the latent forces of a complacent laity to action; if it be the rallying summons to a spiritual crusade for Christ; if it means the splitting of the church into two groups, one liberal and unbelieving, and the other conservative and faithful unto death; if it requires the breaking of conventionalities, the banishment of pulpit Judases, then we still repeat the cry: ‘BACK TO LUTHER!’”

Anonymous said...

The ACNA is NO DIFFERENT from ECUSA. Most of the ACNA parishes have left ECUSA only relatively recently, and they brought the ECUSA virus with them. TThere is very little hope for ACNA.

Let it be noted that all of the actual Continuing Anglican jurisdictions (ACC, DHC, APCK, UECNA, ACA) do uphold catholic order. None of them even discusses the ordination of women or the host of modern heresies that infect ECUSA and ACNA.

Fr. D+
ACC Priest

Carl Vehse said...

At the February 8-9, 2016, meeting of representatives from the LCMS, LCC, and ACNA, LCMS President Rev. "Dr." Matthew C. Harrison stated:

"It’s always a pleasure meeting sincere Christians who take the Bible very seriously and also take the creeds and historic positions of the church seriously. We have much in common. We need each other as we go forward and face the challenges that Christians face in this world today."

Later President Harrison noted:

"In these trying times for global Christianity, we were joyously surprised and deeply heartened to learn of ACNA and its struggle to be faithful to the New Testament and historic Christian faith. By God’s grace we have found real friends who have encouraged us deeply. We have been inspired by the journey of these men and women out of a church body which had abandoned the New Testament. They have sacrificed greatly, virtually all of them losing the properties of their respective congregations due to the structure of the Episcopal Church. I pray that we would be so courageous facing such difficulties."

Refer to LCMS Bureaucratese for Dummies for help in translating.

Carl Vehse said...

The ACNA/LCC/LCMS threesome released a 13-page interim report, On Closer Acquaintance," which stated:

"Rather than describe ACNA and LCMS–LCC as sister churches, we should acknowledge each other as ecclesial first cousins, closely related indeed, but not yet partaking publicly of the same Lord’s Table."

"At this stage we walk the middle path of what our RC friends call 'imperfect communion'."

"LCMS–LCC understand the instituting words and deeds of Christ, authoritatively interpreted by the apostles, to preclude the ordination of women to the office of pastor (presbyter/bishop). The majority within ACNA holds this position, while being engaged at the present time in a consensus-seeking discussion with the minority within its midst that takes the opposite view."

"The remarkable convergence of our two confessions on this point of doctrine [justification] on which Luther comments, 'When this article stands, the Church stands; when it falls, the Church falls' (WA 40 III. 352, 3), gives a strong impetus to our churches to implore the Lord’s assistance toward our achieving the degree of consensus that would make full church fellowship possible."

Wait. What?!?

The LCMS signatories confirm here that the church bodies have only to achieve some unspecified (Is it the magic 85%?) "degree of consensus", rather than full agreement in all articles of doctrine, for altar and pulpit fellowship between the LCMS and a small (112K) church body that permits the ordination of female pastrixes, and shows no significant desire to recant such heterodoxy.

Yet in an October 2015, Issues, Etc. interview (1:10:00), when asked about how a possible vote by the LCA to ordain women would affect the LCMS pursuit of fellowship with the LCA, President Harrison responded, "It would be over."