Women's Ordination in the LCMS

Started by Buckeye Deaconess, June 10, 2011, 03:02:18 PM

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James Gustafson

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 05:47:21 PM
Quote from: David Garner on July 21, 2011, 01:54:09 PM
Exactly, and this can be seen when people insist that the matter should be judged "by the Church as a whole" (meaning -- we're included in that and we ordain women, so you should listen to us) instead of the Church historically.  What the Church did for roughly 1900 years is thus rendered immaterial -- we must look at the last roughly 70 years, and particularly today, and that is the normative.  I reject that view of the Church.  Those who deviate do so at the risk that the Church rejects the deviation.  You don't get to make up the rules and then tell us we have to consider your opinion as that of "the Church as a whole."

Put more simply, I will point to the Church's 1900 year prior history and say, as the lead singer in my band is fond of saying about songs we are writing, "if we deviate, we deviate from this."  And unlike writing a rock and roll song, the burden of proof to deviate from 1900 years of united Church practice is quite high.


However, there is some evidence that the first century church women had positions of authority, e.g., Phoebe in Rome; women prophesying and praying in Corinth, Paul's statement about baptismal equality between males and females. Perhaps the church erred in the early years when they began setting apart leaders through ordination by only selecting males. It is argued that the move to ordain women is returning to what was practiced in the earliest church; rather than starting something new. The same is said about allowing for the marriage of priests. It wasn't something new the Luther allowed, but returning to the more ancient practice -- before Rome made celibacy a requirement.

Perhaps the apostles erred in the book of acts when they only nominated men for the available slot?  And when they only assigned men to positions of authority and responsibility in managing the congregation?

If it is being argued that they we should return to the earliest church practices, then I'm all for it.  Let's pull out the Didache and start condemning abortion again.  I suspect that the people arguing that perhaps women were pastors in the first century don't really know much about the first century, but still, I'm all for the move to first century practices.

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: James Gustafson on July 21, 2011, 06:02:32 PM
Perhaps the apostles erred in the book of acts when they only nominated men for the available slot?  And when they only assigned men to positions of authority and responsibility in managing the congregation?


I've dealt with that before.


God only assigned a woman to be the first to proclaim to the mean about the resurrection. (Do we really think that she was silent about this experience after telling the eleven?)

QuoteIf it is being argued that they we should return to the earliest church practices, then I'm all for it.  Let's pull out the Didache and start condemning abortion again.  I suspect that the people arguing that perhaps women were pastors in the first century don't really know much about the first century, but still, I'm all for the move to first century practices.


We could look to Hippolytus and remove all the military from our churches who do not agree never to kill a human being -- and remove all the teachers.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

James Gustafson

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 05:58:44 PM
True, nothing clearly to point to female leaders, but texts that can be interpreted that way -- as I've already mentioned. In addition, there are extra-biblical accounts of churches being led by women. Elaine Pagels argues that those texts were labeled heretical by the church "Fathers" to protect their positions in the church. Were they acting and speaking for God, or to protect themselves? That becomes a matter of one's own beliefs. We can't prove motives.

And perhaps the early Church labeled those texts heretical because they are heretical.  And the church fathers did so to protect the teachings of the historical and apostolic faith as it was handed down to them.  Perhaps those texts with accounts of women leading churches were influenced by pagan and Roman religious cults that favored women priestesses and those women converted to the Christian religion only to keep their followers beneath them when the old pagan practices were being abandoned.

James Gustafson

#1128
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 06:06:32 PM
Quote from: James Gustafson on July 21, 2011, 06:02:32 PM
Perhaps the apostles erred in the book of acts when they only nominated men for the available slot?  And when they only assigned men to positions of authority and responsibility in managing the congregation?


I've dealt with that before.


God only assigned a woman to be the first to proclaim to the mean about the resurrection. (Do we really think that she was silent about this experience after telling the eleven?)

Nope, I don't think she was called to be silent at all, I don't see that she was called to baptize or serve the lords supper either though.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 06:06:32 PM
QuoteIf it is being argued that they we should return to the earliest church practices, then I'm all for it.  Let's pull out the Didache and start condemning abortion again.  I suspect that the people arguing that perhaps women were pastors in the first century don't really know much about the first century, but still, I'm all for the move to first century practices.


We could look to Hippolytus and remove all the military from our churches who do not agree never to kill a human being -- and remove all the teachers.

And, I've dealt with that before.

The translation is that military would be removed if they did not agree to never kill a prisoner...

Brian Stoffregen

Quote from: James Gustafson on July 21, 2011, 06:12:30 PM
The translation is that military would be removed if they did not agree to never kill a prisoner...


That's one translation. The one I have (from Lucien Deiss) says:
     
A soldier who is in a position of authority is not to be allowed to put anyone to death; if he is ordered to, he is not to do it, he is not to be allowed to take an oath. If he does not accept these conditions, he is to be sent away.

Perhaps one's opinion about the military taints the way it is translated.
I flunked retirement. Serving as a part-time interim in Ferndale, WA.

PTMcCain

Has Carol posted any new arguments for the ordination of women yet?

Dan Fienen

I really doubt that you mean this Brian, but in your recent posts here I get the impression that every text needs to be interpreted and you simply choose the interpretation that fits best with what you are trying to prove from that text.  Some early documents speak of women pastors but they were never accepted as orthodox or canonical, well perhaps (perhaps) that was the men protecting their positions so lets take those texts as authoritative, at least for the question of women's ordination.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 05:58:44 PM
Quote from: David Garner on July 21, 2011, 05:53:17 PM
Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 05:47:21 PMHowever, there is some evidence that the first century church women had positions of authority, e.g., Phoebe in Rome; women prophesying and praying in Corinth, Paul's statement about baptismal equality between males and females. Perhaps the church erred in the early years when they began setting apart leaders through ordination by only selecting males. It is argued that the move to ordain women is returning to what was practiced in the earliest church; rather than starting something new. The same is said about allowing for the marriage of priests. It wasn't something new the Luther allowed, but returning to the more ancient practice -- before Rome made celibacy a requirement.

Except everyone agrees the ancient practice was to allow marriage of priests, as has always been allowed in the East and as Rome readily admits and as Scripture teaches.

None of that is true of ordination of women.  There is no Scriptural warrant -- in fact, the opposite is true -- and the historic Churches disagree that it was ever done.  It is, plain and simple, a novelty, and the burden of proof in introducing a novelty (which is to say, the burden of proving ordination of women as presbyters was, in fact, the practice of the ancient Church) is on those making that claim.  When it comes to meeting a burden of proof, "perhaps" doesn't get you there.


True, nothing clearly to point to female leaders, but texts that can be interpreted that way -- as I've already mentioned. In addition, there are extra-biblical accounts of churches being led by women. Elaine Pagels argues that those texts were labeled heretical by the church "Fathers" to protect their positions in the church. Were they acting and speaking for God, or to protect themselves? That becomes a matter of one's own beliefs. We can't prove motives.

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 05:47:21 PM
Quote from: David Garner on July 21, 2011, 01:54:09 PM
Exactly, and this can be seen when people insist that the matter should be judged "by the Church as a whole" (meaning -- we're included in that and we ordain women, so you should listen to us) instead of the Church historically.  What the Church did for roughly 1900 years is thus rendered immaterial -- we must look at the last roughly 70 years, and particularly today, and that is the normative.  I reject that view of the Church.  Those who deviate do so at the risk that the Church rejects the deviation.  You don't get to make up the rules and then tell us we have to consider your opinion as that of "the Church as a whole."

Put more simply, I will point to the Church's 1900 year prior history and say, as the lead singer in my band is fond of saying about songs we are writing, "if we deviate, we deviate from this."  And unlike writing a rock and roll song, the burden of proof to deviate from 1900 years of united Church practice is quite high.


However, there is some evidence that the first century church women had positions of authority, e.g., Phoebe in Rome; women prophesying and praying in Corinth, Paul's statement about baptismal equality between males and females. Perhaps the church erred in the early years when they began setting apart leaders through ordination by only selecting males. It is argued that the move to ordain women is returning to what was practiced in the earliest church; rather than starting something new. The same is said about allowing for the marriage of priests. It wasn't something new the Luther allowed, but returning to the more ancient practice -- before Rome made celibacy a requirement.



We really don't know if women were put in those positions, but some (who are infavor of WO think they might have) so lets just allow that as evidence that we should do so now.

Is it really a rule of interpretation that even flimsy arguments are to accepted if they advance what I think should happen?  Surely not, but you do sound that way at times.  Or is it just that if you like some evidence, then the rest of us are honor bound to accept it because you do?

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

George Erdner

Quote from: PTMcCain on July 21, 2011, 07:21:20 PM
Has Carol posted any new arguments for the ordination of women yet?

I haven't seen a new argument nor a new rebuttal on this issue in over three years. But I suppose that even though everything has been said, not everyone has said it, so the "discussion" will continue ad nauseum.

Daniel L. Gard

#1133
Quote from: George Erdner on July 21, 2011, 07:51:02 PM
Quote from: PTMcCain on July 21, 2011, 07:21:20 PM
Has Carol posted any new arguments for the ordination of women yet?

I haven't seen a new argument nor a new rebuttal on this issue in over three years. But I suppose that even though everything has been said, not everyone has said it, so the "discussion" will continue ad nauseum.

No one has posted anything new on either side. People just rehash the same stuff over and over. Our ELCA friends so it. Missourians do it. The issue is settled - if you believe in women's ordination, the ELCA, NALC etc are homes for you. If you believe that Scripture limits the Office to men, the LCMS is the place to be.

Another thing that never changes are a few voices who keep insisting that Missouri has not talked about this or seriously considered it. That is particularly annoying because it ignores 30 years (at least) of discussion and assumes it never happened.

Is there an emoticon for "bored"?

Dan Fienen

Ah, but, if we had really considered it, thought about it, or discussed it, we would have come to a different conclusion.   :o

Dan
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

James Gustafson

Quote from: Brian Stoffregen on July 21, 2011, 06:47:40 PM
Quote from: James Gustafson on July 21, 2011, 06:12:30 PM
The translation is that military would be removed if they did not agree to never kill a prisoner...


That's one translation. The one I have (from Lucien Deiss) says:
     
A soldier who is in a position of authority is not to be allowed to put anyone to death; if he is ordered to, he is not to do it, he is not to be allowed to take an oath. If he does not accept these conditions, he is to be sent away.

Perhaps one's opinion about the military taints the way it is translated.

Rather, historical examples should taint the way it is translated.  There are several examples of Christian Roman soldiers who refused to execute prisoners (in the arena an elsewhere, and especially Christian prisoners) and were summarily executed themselves for refusing to obey.  There are no stories that I am aware of where Christian Roman soldiers refuse to face the enemy or abandon their posts.  One translation fits the context of the historical record around it, another translation not so much.

TravisW

Maybe somebody can print out this thread so that whenever anybody says "we never discuss this!!", you can just have them read through it. 

Charles_Austin

ScottG writes:
Most of us young LCMS pastors are beyond this issue as Pastor Weedon recently expressed earlier on this thread.  It's just not an issue nor is it on our radar.  The debate is played out.

I ask:
Does it bother you that nearly half the youth polled at your last national youth gathering disagree with the Synod's stand on ordination for women? The Synod reported that here.
The steadfast folks over on that other site don't think the issue is played out either.
Just asking.

David Garner

#1138
That's been addressed upstream, Pastor Austin.  The LCMS Youth Gathering of the last 5-10 years is not representative of the youths of the Synod as a whole, due to the fact that a good number of the more traditional parishes send their kids to the Higher Things conference instead.

What you are implying is like saying we should take a poll on what Americans think of the debt ceiling negotiations, but only using the responses of one party to extrapolate the public's view.  It's not exactly like that, since certainly some more traditional parishes send their kids to both conferences, but it's an awful lot like that.

Also, I disagree with your characterization that "nearly half" of the kids polled disagree with the Synod's position on ordination of women.  Rather, "nearly half" AGREED with it, while roughly a third EITHER disagreed or wanted more study (the latter representing only 12.2 percent of those polled).  My assumption is the rest were undecided or did not have an opinion.  From the article you linked to.

QuoteOnly 45.2 percent of poll participants said that they agree with the LCMS position on women's ordination, with 22.8 percent calling for more study, and 12.2 percent supporting women's ordination.

http://classic.lcms.org/pages/rpage.asp?NavID=17830

I also love how the article phrases it -- "ONLY 45.2 percent agree....oh, and by the way, less than a quarter want more study, and a whopping 12.2 percent actually support women's ordination."
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

Dave Benke

"That's been addressed upstream, Pastor Austin.  The LCMS Youth Gathering of the last 5-10 years is not representative of the youths of the Synod as a whole, due to the fact that a good number of the more traditional parishes send their kids to the Higher Things conference instead." 

I don't agree with that as an overall statement, David, having been to eight or nine of the national gatherings, including a couple in the last ten years.  I would say the LCMS Youth Gathering along with the annual LCEF conference and the Women's Missionary League and Layman's League conferences are events that most accurately represent the Missouri Synod.  The Higher Things attendance at all of its events is maybe 10-15% that of the national youth gathering's.  So if you did the math, the total might still be around 40% who would be OK with women's ordination.  I don't know that the survey means all that much in either direction, frankly.   The statistic I read in this arena is just that there are far less children, youth and young adults in LUtheran churches than there used to be.  The last time that was pointed out to me, it was down almost two-thirds from the 90s, from a quarter million eligible youth in the Missouri Synod to well under 100000.  Not a hopeful sign.

Dave Benke   
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