Monday, June 4, 2018

Pope, councils, and the ordination of women. . . time ago, John Paul II made it clear that the ordination of women was not a question of if or when but of ability.  He insisted that the Church does not have the ability to ordain women -- it is beyond the purview of the Church to do so (habet facultatem).  In other words, this cannot be discussed on the basis of what the Church should do but on the basis of what the Church can or cannot do.  There are things simply beyond the purview of pope or council.  This is, then, not simply a matter of Church discipline but of doctrineYet there are those in Rome who are now agitating for a decision from the pope or from a council to do just that.  They frame the issue of the ordination of women to the priestly office as a matter of priestly discipline -- similar to the issue of celibacy.  

Lutherans against the ordination of women have similarly insisted that the ordination of women is not simply a matter of choice or decision but of ability.  The Church does not have the choice to violate the Scriptural warrant, the apostolic tradition, and the divine order.  While Rome may have the structures of a papacy capable of ex cathedra doctrinal definition or conciliar authority to adjust things from time to time, Lutheranism has no such facility.  If only the Confessions had simply written such prohibition in black and white without any wiggle room, then perhaps the whole question would be irrelevant.  But because it was not a question even conceived of at the time of the Reformation, Lutherans have come to different decisions about the immutability of the prohibition of female clergy.  Though the Confessions do not give ground to the argument for the ordination of women, Lutherans have framed the issue more on social justice terms then on Biblical warrant.  Like those who promoted the GLBTQ decisions of late, the justification for ordaining women has sprung from a gospel principle which allows and even encourages choices that contradict the Biblical Word and the apostolic tradition. 

In the end, tinkering with such things as who may or may not be ordained, is a rather slippery slope in which one choice may have more consequences than what anyone could have imagined.  We face trouble beyond trouble when we depart from the Biblical truth and apostolic tradition because they find tough going amid the modern mood or are deemed offensive by the cultural moment.  It is no slight to women that the Church cannot ordain them and it is no slight to men that a woman was deemed favorable in the Lord's sight and from that woman was born the Savior of all.  It does not show love or compassion or even justice to approve of things condemned or to change the order God has established to give equal place to all.  In fact, it does just the opposite.  The change presumes that they have suffered in an inferior place when God has not intended such at all and that the order God has intended is unjust and the best course for the Church is to undo God's injustice.  Where this leads is not simply a dead end but a wrong destination. 


Carl Vehse said...

And "tinkering" (with "more consequences than what anyone could have imagined") includes a Missouri Synod university collaborating with a North American Baptist Conference Sioux Falls Seminary's Luther House of Study and Emmanuel Academies, affiliated with Emmanuel Lufauxran Church (XXXA), in a five-year pastoral leadership development program in which male and female students "called to serve the church and congregations" will earn both a BA and MDiv.

In providing an 11-point "bit of explanation," Concordia University-Chicago President Daniel Gard stated that CU's involvement in the pastoral leadership development program is in providing students a 100% on-line Accelerated Degree Program (ADP) in various listed secular majors, such as:

• BA, Animation - NEW
• BA, Game Art and Design - NEW
• BA, Organizational Management
• BA, Sports and Recreation Management
• BA to MA, Leadership Studies (Dual Degree)

Pres. Gard stated, "Concordia Chicago has no role in their admission to any further study or candidacy for ministry in any Church body except the LCMS in those offices authorized by the Synod."

Earlier in his statement Pres. Gard noted that "we execute the educational mission of the Church in multiple contexts and multiple nations" in the "innovative delivery of quality, faith based higher education" (e.g., Women's and Gender Studies).

Surprisingly, CU-Chicago doesn't offer a BA in tapdancing.

Anonymous said...

The ordination of women in the LCMS will never happen.
This issue is kept alive by the small and aging remnant
of the Seminex fiasco. There is no clarion call from the
average LCMS parish for women pastors. The New Testament
makes it clear that the Pastor should be the husband of
one wife and know how to manage his own family if he hopes
to manage a church.

Anonymous said...

Either our conservative, confessional approach to the Scriptures will rub off on these students coming from a more liberal faith tradition and they will see the error of their churches' ways or.... In the meantime, there's tuition money to be made out there! Institutions must grow by any and all means. It is easy to overrule institutional purity and exclusivity when educational institutions usually justify their existence with claims of hearing diverse opinions and points of view. Surely, CU-Chicago is immune to the viruses of heteropraxy, heresy, and apostasy. Surely the camel's nose will be batted away and pure doctrine and practice will prevail... right?

Joseph Bragg said...

All the same was once said about allowing women to vote. It was contrary to scriptures until new insights were found that allowed it. Shazam! Just like when Bishop Stephan fell and Shazam! it was discovered that bishops are not required.

Anonymous said...

Comparing women suffrage and women's ordination is like comparing
football rules to baseball rules. It is not possible.

joseph bragg said...

Forbidding women to vote as once based on clear scripture - now not so clear. Same will happen with ordination.

David Gray said...

The scriptural authority for preventing women from voting is quite clear. That it is no longer fashionable does not make it any less clear.

Carl Vehse said...

David Gray: "The scriptural authority for preventing women from voting is quite clear."

Mr. Anony Mous on June 4, 2018 at 10:15 AM: "Surely, CU-Chicago is immune to the viruses of heteropraxy, heresy, and apostasy."

No doubt the scriptural authority for preventing women from voting (and from ordination) is emphasized in CU-Chicago's quality, faith based Women's and Gender Studies...

... right?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Gard, to any who have met him, is a staunch, confessional Lutheran.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Wenthe too who is head of the CUS.

Carl Vehse said...

And yet a CUS university is in an admitted collaboration with a Baptist seminary and an XXXA-affiliated five-year pastoral leadership development program for men and women to obtain a combined BA/MDiv.

Jason said...

Some of this depends on the accuracy of the reporting, and if particular entities are talking up way more than is real. Drs. Gard and Wenthe are solid. But Wenthe is in that "synod is ONLY advisory" area, and Gard has been on the job only a few years. His long time predecessor was John Johnson, who also had a 10 year stint as President of St. Louis. Considering where the seminary has been going for a while and how Dr. Gard inherited River Forest, there is probably a lot of sloppiness that needs cleaning up. At the very least, no more damage to fidelity should be happening.

I personally am just suspicious of the truth to the information. Not that we should ever let our guard down, though.

Jason Kiefer

Carl Vehse said...

Substantiation of the collaborative CU-Chicago/Baptist seminary/XXXA affiliate BA/MDiv pastoral leadership development program is provided in the link to Pres. Gard's own statement. The collaboration did not begin when Johnson was CU president.

Anonymous said...

So what is the difference between what CUC is doing and admitting people of any race, religion, etc.? Half of the Concordias make their money on providing masters degrees to whoever will pay from 95% non-Lutherans generally teaching in public school systems. All CUC is doing is providing undergrad classes to people who are probably not Lutheran and this is what all the rest of the Concordias are doing every day. Sounds like a witch hunt to me.

Carl Vehse said...

The concern is whether CUC's collaboration with a Baptist seminary and an XXXA affiliate in a 5-year BA/MDiv pastoral leadership development program is a valid activity in executing "the educational mission of the Church in multiple contexts and multiple nations" for the "innovative delivery of quality, faith based higher education," or whether it is a violation of Article VI.