I have appreciated reading the various postings and uploads to OWL. They have expanded my learning of the Church and clarified my own thinking on the issue of Women’s Ordination. Yet, as observed on this Forum, there are two distinct perspectives still in play.
One, conservative, to leave things as they are; as reflected in the historical writings. If we go to the two key verses from 1 Corinthians (14:26-40) and 1 Timothy (2:8-15) God spoke through St Paul, to this effect. The other essentially a liberal approach that picks up the theme of spiritual emancipation that Jesus introduced into the World, taking the Word and His Way, into the wider Roman East and West. It is that dual heritage that survives in the LCA.
As Luther observed, the New Testament is the new Covenant with the Gentiles, as we were once described by the Jewish people; Jesus’ first followers and Disciples.
The Sadducees (150BCE to 70AD) and their spiritual successors, the Pharisees, respectively the Jewish Temple and Priestly class, were incapable of making the leap of faith that Jesus preached – that God is the God of all. Not a mountain God, nor a Thunder God, or an unknowable God, who communicated only occasionally with his Chosen People or whenever the Temple Priests and their mandated rituals dictated.
No, God is our God.
In taking that message to the ordinary Jewish people and through His Disciples, into the wider World, Jesus was damned and sacrificed on the Cross. To kill a man and immortalise the message Christ pronounced.
Can the conservative element of the Lutheran Church not have the insight to discern that they are replicating the approach of the Sadducees and the Pharisees, by locking the preaching of the faith to one gender? That they have placed an artificial restriction on the transmission of God’s message of hope, peace and love to those who yearn to receive it?
Those men, priestly men, holy men, acting alone, are naturally, inherently, limited by their own gender in reaching out to those places where only women know and can go.
When I was baptised into the Church, I was presented with a reading from Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV)
– Spiritual Fullness in Christ – (6) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, (7) rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
The decision before Synod is not to further interpret the meaning of Scripture. The Scripture speaks for itself. Some will see it as placing an eternal restriction on women from ever taking a leadership role in the Church. Others will see it as something applying to its time and its place. St Paul was a Roman of the Empire, an Empire of repression and fear.
The question for Synod is how will the LCA maintain its spiritual relevance in this, a changing World? This is the same question that St Paul and the infant Churches, established outside Jerusalem, grappled with.