Thursday, November 2, 2023

He was right. . .

Now well over a half-century ago, C.  S. Lewis wrote an essay on the impossibility of the Church [in particular the Church of England] ordaining women to holy orders (“Priestesses in the Church?” 1948).  In that essay, Lewis argued that if the church were to ordain women to holy orders, the same church would by its own act render that church no longer part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church of Jesus Christ. Sadly, the wisdom of Clive Staples Lewis was not observed by the Church of England nor of many other churches and, it would seem, has been rejected by a significant contingent of the Roman Catholic Church still in favor of such a move.

Even more regrettably, the wisdom of Lewis' observation has been proven over and over again by those churches who have done the unthinkable -- ordained women to be deacons, priests, and bishops!  Those churches insisted that it was about justice and a higher justice than the injustice of continuing to remain in solidarity with the apostles, prophets, evangelists, and Scripture.  They said that it was about women but it was not.  Those churches who have embraced the ordination of women have also moved on to the rejection of just about anything and everything Scripture says about men, women, sex, marriage, and family.  In so doing, they have betrayed the very Gospel itself and chosen to foster a new gospel which has nothing to do with Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of our sins and the gift of everlasting life.  They are known today less in terms of what Scripture they believe than the Scripture they reject and condemn as incompatible with their worldview.

I wish I could say that the Lutherans who reject the 2009 Churchwide Assembly of the ELCA or the Methodists who reject the liberalism of their own church body or the Anglicans who reject the Episcopal Church were really in favor of moving the borders of their communions to align with Scripture and tradition.  Instead, they are content to fashion a church body that is everything they were just prior to the adoption of the full range of LGBTQ+ sexual desires and invented genders.  What sits in judgment against these communions is not their condemnation by other churches but their own rejection of the Word of the Lord that endures forever.  They prove they are not faithful not by challenging those who are but by refusing to even consider changing what has become normative for them in the ordination of women.  The obvious is ignored in that if you refute and refuse the wisdom of Scripture and the historic practice of the Church you have by nature proven you have no claim to be that Church or even related to her.

The orthodox and catholic communions don't have to say anything. The actions of the pseudo-churches who insist that they are only interested in a partial reform of the egregious errors of the day stands in condemnation to their right to belong to or be part of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.  It is not the arrogance of the churches who admit this out loud that is the problem but the deafness of the communions who refused to give up the ordination of women even if that would substantiate their claim of catholicity.  Folks like the LCMS are routinely condemned as being arrogant and full of themselves for not playing nice in the sandbox of ecumenism and letting bygones be bygones.  We are surely arrogant and we ought to be called out for our hubris and pride but there is no arrogance more profound than to refuse Scripture over the voice of the moment and to treat the Gospel as if it were a merely a suggestion instead of the truth of the ages once and forever confessed.  

C. S. Lewis may not quite have had this in mind when he penned his famous line but it has proven more true than false.  The ordination of women is the start of a long slide away from Scripture and tradition and the first step of a betrayal of any claims of catholicity for those who do.  Women are not the same as the LGBTQ+ alphabet soup of desires and genders but what you do for women will eventually be done for every exception until finally it is not God whom you hear but the sound of your own voice.  Whenever that happens, the churches betray their claims of truth and show themselves for what they are -- faint echoes of the world and its values over the truth that is forever.

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