Episcopal Theologian Blasts Action of Toronto Anglican Bishops’ proposal to Affirm same-sex relationships

Bumped from Feb 2009, please see #36 below (and DFTT).

And no, I don’t know what happened to the comment numbering. [a victim of one of the software upgrades, unfortunately - David]
From VOL

By Ephraim Radner
February 1, 2008
I remain at a loss as to why this is being proposed NOW, and being made public NOW, just as the Primates meet. I am grateful for the openness and desire for discussion around the concrete proposals (unlike some dioceses with which I am familiar). And in the spirit of such discussion, I included the following in a letter I sent yesterday to two of the Toronto bishops.

It is hard to escape the fact that the process you have now set in motion-one that involves public proposals, discussions, synodical actions, and all dealing with a way of ordering a particular “pastoral response” that involves episcopal oversight and particular permissions, following directives that involve the nature of prayers – cannot avoid being seen as one of ecclesial “authorization” of liturgical matters surrounding same-sex unions. The following words of the Archbishop of Canterbury were given at the end of the recent Lambeth Conference:

One of the problems around this is that people in different parts of the world clearly define ‘public’ and ‘rites’ and ‘blessing’ in rather different ways. I’d refer I think to what I said in the address this afternoon. As soon as there is a liturgical form it gives the impression: this has the Church’s stamp on it. As soon as that happens I think you’ve moved to another level of apparent commitment, and that I think is nowhere near where the Anglican Communion generally is. In the meeting of Primates at Gramado in Brazil some years ago, the phrase ‘A variety of pastoral response’ was used as an attempt to recognise that there were places where private prayers were said and, although there’s a lot of unease about that, there wasn’t quite the same strength of feeling about that as about public liturgies. But again ‘pastoral response’ has been interpreted very differently and there are those in the USA who would say: ‘Well, pastoral response means rites of blessing’, and I’m not very happy about that. (Final Press Conference, August 3, 2008)

I would underline two things in this response by Archbishop Williams. First, the key character of putting the “Church’s stamp” on same-sex unions somehow, simply by there being a publically permitted or authorized form of prayer (“liturgical form” – which is a deliberately vague phrase), is crucial. Second, the fact that “pastoral response” was always understood among the Primates at least – and even here with a great deal of trepidation – as involving no more than “private prayers”. Although you and your colleagues may feel that you are proposing something that would fall within this realm of only informal acknowledgments of private prayer, the very process you are following will make this very difficult to sustain in the judgments of many others around the Communion. The fact is that, among other things, your proposal includes the following:

* Episcopal permission be given to a limited number of parishes, based on Episcopal discernment, to offer prayers and blessing (but not the nuptial blessing) to same-sex couples in stable, long-term, committed relationships, as an extension of the current pastoral norms. * Episcopal guidelines on the nature of the prayers/blessing will be established. A particular rite will not be authorized. * Episcopal permission for blessings will be required. * Evaluation of this pastoral response will be undertaken after one year. * No parish or clergy will be required to participate. * A Bishop’s Commission will be formed to create the guidelines, monitor activity and review.

All of this represents formal, episcopal, diocesan, public, liturgical prayers of blessing. And while it is true that the Archbishop’s remarks above do not carry any kind of formal authority in determining how the Church of Canada and her bishops will define “pastoral response”, I think it fair to say that his rather moderate definitions will be shared by, and even defined more strictly by, many others among our Communion partners. I believe, in short, that it will be very difficult indeed to make the case and persuade others of the fact that the Diocese of Toronto is not moving forward with a contravention of the informal moratorium articulated at Lambeth (and before), not to mention moving in a way that simply does not defer to the general concerns of many Anglicans around the world.

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88 Responses to Episcopal Theologian Blasts Action of Toronto Anglican Bishops’ proposal to Affirm same-sex relationships

  1. Charles says:

    I’m not sure why Radner’s tone is so shocked and surprised by this development. I wonder how long “Standing, not Staying” will appear courageous and committed rather than cowardly and complicit while the church continues to follow the leading of the spirit(s).

  2. Jim Muirhead says:

    No one has ever questioned The Rev. Dr. Radner’s intelligence or his magnificent writing ability but what I’m left with at the end of this piece is -so what are you going to do about it?
    I’m just a beat-up retired Blacksmith but it has been clear to me for several years that TEC and the ACoC were going down this road at ever increasing speed.
    Come on Dr. Radner, it’s time to choose the faith or “the new thing”.
    Peace,
    Jim

  3. Ellie M. says:

    “As soon as there is a liturgical form it gives the impression: this has the Church’s stamp on it. As soon as that happens I think you’ve moved to another level of apparent commitment”

    Or to put it more succinctly: Camel. Nose. Tent.

  4. I’m the first to call the ACI irrelevent, but come on people! This business of ANiC or hell is just absolute garbage and completely uncharitable to those who remain in the ACC to ‘stand, stay and fight like hell.’

    I’m the first to admit that I am under an Kenyan Bishop…BUT…our brethren who remain in the ACC continue to need your support, not nay-saying.

    Absolute horse-hockey! Grow up.

  5. Kate says:

    I cannot support a decision to remain in the ACoC, because I think it is the wrong decision. Nobody here is saying “ANiC or hell”, Mike. You have inferred that. At what point does one say, enough is enough? Every word that comes from Bishop Hiltz or his office simply offers more confirmation that the ACoC is past saving.

  6. Peter says:

    Let’s tone it down people. Don’t want to get out the red pen, but will if I have to. Let’s cut Dr Radner some slack, he’s making a lot of good points and deserves support for that. At the same time, it’s an entirely valid opinion IMHO to suggest that remaining in the ACoC isn’t going to work.

  7. Jim Muirhead says:

    [4] Michael,
    Although I recollect posts from you in the distant past, your recent posts are quite new. There are several threads discussing our ANIC obligations to pray for and support our bretheren in the ACoC -on which we are all in agreement. You may have missed them.
    I assure you I am quite grown up and also quite capable of forming and expressing adult opinions. Please don’t demean our National Sport by using it as a clever invective.
    Let’s debate.
    Jim

  8. Gordon Arthur says:

    Others have said before that some of us who remain in the ACoC feel called to do so by God, but really don’t understand why He wants us there.

  9. joseph says:

    Gordon [8] – I think sometimes all God is looking for is mere obedience to whatever call he has given. Some may be called to do this, and some to do that. I suspect we can get caught up into the curiosity of St Peter – “What about him Lord? What’s your plan for him?” And Jesus simply tells Peter not to worry about his plan for others.
    “Follow me.”

  10. Charles says:

    #8 What evidence do people have that they are called to stay in the ACoC? God’s Word clearly teaches that we must expell the unrepentant and wicked from the church or leave ourselves. I think that that we should use God’s Word to determine what God might call us to do, for there are other forces that present very convincing “calls” to us which are not of God. If people feel “called” to do anything, they should be able to demonstrate that it is agreeable to the Scriptures.
    Michael, I think your bluster is rather excessive. How many people who are staying have considered the actual state of the church? How many more are still paying their tithes which support the whole structure? Most of the Christian Anglicans I know have not really even thought about the problems in the church for more than a moment or two, but are staying because that’s what they’ve always done.

    -I am still attending a ACoC parish, but no longer support anything other than local outreach. I joined ANiC as an “Anglican Orphan” this fall after I went to hear The Ven. Charlie Masters in Moncton. I am attending university, so could “grow up” I’m sure, and I will in due time … I hope I never “grow up” out of my conviction that the Bible is God’s Word, however.

  11. Charles says:

    Also, Michael,
    As you seem, from your blog, to have been thoroughly provoked by my phrase “cowardly and complicit”, perhaps I may explain it. If you knew me in person, you would not be so incensed; for, I did not choose those words to insult (tho’ I admit it may be insulting), but because my two previous adjectives began with ‘c’ and those fit nicely for the alliteration. Banal perhaps, but I don’t mean it as mere rhetoric, since I do think that the distinction between “Standing” and “Staying” is a false one, as both actions are the same and have the same effect. I also think that supporting the ACoC financially is to make oneself complicit with the organization. Whether to do so is an act of cowardice, or ignorance is another matter. I would remo

  12. Warren says:

    Gordon (#8), I’m in no position to question the validity of your calling – you truly may be where the Lord wants you at this time. I am interested, however, in how one makes sure their calling. I suspect that, for virtually every action taken by the ACoC, there is someone who will claim it was as a result of God’s calling, the leading of the Holy Spirit, etc. I appreciate that Anglicanism never fully accepted the idea of sola Scriptura as did the rest of Protestantism, but I believe that Scripture must be the primary compass for Canadian Anglicans given the current state of the ACoC leadership. Please note that I am not advocating solo Scriptura.

  13. Kate says:

    Hey Warren – for those of us who don’t know Latin, the difference between sola and solo is?

  14. Warren says:

    Kate (#13), we just covered this in the latest course I’m taking from The Theology Program, so I’m able to answer. :)

    Here are the definitions we were given:

    Sola Scriptura is the belief that Scripture is the final and only infallible authority for the Christian in all matters of faith and practice. Reason and tradition are still highly regarded, but do not “trump” Scripture.

    Solo Scriptura in the belief that Scripture is the sole basis and authority in the life of the Christian. Tradition is useless and misleading, and creeds and confessions are the result of man-made traditions. Very fundamentalist denominations who derive from the Restoration Movement started by Alexander Campbell in the early 1800s are in this camp.

    I’m sure there are others who post here that could give a much more authoritative definition.

  15. Kate says:

    Nice to “see” you again Warren. So, when are you moving back to Ottawa? ;-)

  16. Gordon Arthur says:

    ## 9-12

    In my case it’s a little more than just inertia. I grew up in Britain, and was more or less happy there until in 2003 it became clear through a variety of signals that God wanted me to move to Canada. It was my conclusion that Vancouver was the natural place, as I didn’t fancy the rigours of a full-scale Canadian winter in my first year, and I have a number of friends in the US, all in the Pacific North West. However, I was severely dismayed when I found out that the diocese here was New Westminster, of which I was highly suspicious.

    The clinchers began on my pre-immigration trip, when I had a week to find somewhere to live, sort out my bank accounts here and generally get things organised at this end. At that stage I was not aware of having any fall-back position. Everything fell straight into place: I had all the business done within a day and a half of arriving, and I spent most of the week as a tourist. That made me sit up and take notice.

    I had been looking for places to live on the Internet before I came here, and I ended up living in not just the area I’d been looking at, but the building I’d been looking at. That also made me sit up and take notice.

    When I arrived permanently, six weeks later, I started looking for a Church. The first Church I visited was the nearest, and it was obvious to me within five minutes that this was the right Church. I still visited the other local Church, and had long talks with both clergy to find out where they stood on SSBs before committing myself, however (the rector supports them, the congregation has more mixed views).

    There are still indications that I am in the right place, despite my reservations about the ACoC. There have been two incidents recently in which people have needed help or counselling that only a handful of people could possibly have given them. In both cases, I had the requisite experience. The focus of both incidents was my local parish Church.

    I would be much more comfortable in an ANiC parish, and I wouldn’t trust the diocese further than I can throw it, but I can’t ignore where God seems to be leading me.

  17. Peter says:

    Sounds like my story Gordon. I arrived in 2003, pretty much had the same experience as you, only in Calgary. :-)

  18. Gordon Arthur says:

    I actually arrived in 2006 (it took a while to get a visa). Apologies for this omission.

  19. Peter says:

    It does take a while, yes!

  20. Noli Aemulari says:

    #1 Charles wrote:
    “I wonder how long ‘Standing, not Staying’ will appear courageous and committed rather than cowardly and complicit while the church continues to follow the leading of the spirit(s).”

    Is that how we appear? Courageous and committed? Shucks. Git along.

    I do sadly agree that my parish tithe makes me complicit with heresy because our diocesan allotment goes to support any number of ungodly initiatives. However, ACoC also has worthwhile programs that I’m proud to support like PWRDF, grants to Council of the North, and so on, just as my conservative parish has some programs that I feel are a waste of time, yet still I donate.

    Offerings aside, I suppose I’m also complicit in ACoC’s collective waywardness simply by virtue of my denominational affiliation. But if I shunned all Anglicans guilty of theological error, I’d be a conflicted denomination of one confounded by the metaphysics of shunning myself.

    As for “cowardice,” that’s rather harsh. For many of us, Charles, there is no uncompromised church option. Even if an ANiC congregation did open up in my area, I wonder how insufferably happy-clappy its worship would be. Plus ANiC is in gross theological error already regarding the ordination of women, and ACNA is complicit with its waffle-fudge on the issue. Somebody on this blog suggested once that I should join an Ango-Catholic group on account of my views regarding WO. That would be fine… except I’m not Anglo-Catholic!

  21. Charles:

    “Michael, I think your bluster is rather excessive. How many people who are staying have considered the actual state of the church? How many more are still paying their tithes which support the whole structure? Most of the Christian Anglicans I know have not really even thought about the problems in the church for more than a moment or two, but are staying because that’s what they’ve always done.”

    Precisely my point, here, old man.

    MGD

  22. Jim:

    “I assure you I am quite grown up and also quite capable of forming and expressing adult opinions. Please don’t demean our National Sport by using it as a clever invective.”

    I thought we were. Have I missed something? Perhaps it’s the indigestion, but clever invective and rhetoric are often useful means by which to communicate a point.

    MGD

  23. Noli:

    “As for “cowardice,” that’s rather harsh. For many of us, Charles, there is no uncompromised church option. Even if an ANiC congregation did open up in my area, I wonder how insufferably happy-clappy its worship would be. Plus ANiC is in gross theological error already regarding the ordination of women, and ACNA is complicit with its waffle-fudge on the issue. Somebody on this blog suggested once that I should join an Ango-Catholic group on account of my views regarding WO. That would be fine… except I’m not Anglo-Catholic!”

    This is precisely what concerns me about ANiC. It seems to be a matter of popular opinion, which no one has – for whatever reason (cowardice or ‘just being nice’ perhaps) – called them on.

    And, from my dear friend Kate: “Every word that comes from Bishop Hiltz or his office simply offers more confirmation that the ACoC is past saving.”

    Yes, quite. I agree. Which is one reason I don’t generally bother him all that much. How many times can one write articles telling the blogosphere the man is an idiot?

    However, I would like to add to this that the BAS is equally guilty of leading people down the garden path. From the preface right through to the Lectionary it uses. Unfortunately, many of the people presently using the BAS are friends, whom I care for a great deal, and I cannot sit and watch them go down the same drain as the ACC.

    Further to this, merely iterating that the ACC is past saving is not a Gospel sentence. It is not for us to judge what is and what is not salvagable by the grace of our Lord. Even now, the House of Bishops is becoming populated with more and more conservative (evil Anglo-Catholic types) men.

    I don’t think the sun has set, just yet. Nor is it for us to say when it has.

    MGD

  24. I wish I could edit posts.

    Here’s a link regarding my BAS Lectionary comment, from comment #23, here on the AEC blog.

    You must understand that my arguments are well-intended. I have many friends in ANiC. We disagree on a lot of things. But they’re still my friends (at least they agree to be, provided my cheques don’t bounce). ;)

    Good night from London.

    MGD

  25. Kate says:

    This is precisely what concerns me about ANiC. It seems to be a matter of popular opinion, which no one has – for whatever reason (cowardice or ‘just being nice’ perhaps) – called them on.

    Not really – the WO issue has come up ad nauseaum. It is just something that Christians can agree to disagree on in good conscience. Common Cause is working, despite the individual groups in it disagreeing on the issue. Quite frankly, I don’t understand why anyone who is so strongly against WO has stuck around the ACoC, which has been ordaining women for decades.

    Further to this, merely iterating that the ACC is past saving is not a Gospel sentence. It is not for us to judge what is and what is not salvagable by the grace of our Lord. Even now, the House of Bishops is becoming populated with more and more conservative (evil Anglo-Catholic types) men.

    Evil Anglo Catholic types? Please. Don’t try to manufacture division where none exists. I have to wonder why these conservative Bishops have been so silent?

    Of course the Lord could work a miracle in the ACoC. So far, He has chosen not to, and all the evidence suggests to me that the national church is beyond saving, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t voice that opinion. Leaving is not a decision my parish (or I ) took lightly or quickly.

  26. Noli Aemulari says:

    #25 “It [WO] is just something that Christians can agree to disagree on in good conscience.”

    How do we distinguish between those issues which are communion-breaking, and those we can agree to disagree upon in good conscience?

  27. Kate says:

    Well, I can only tell you how I did it. Partially it was through talking to my priest about it, and discussing the issue with people who are more knowledgeable than I. Partly it was doing a lot of reading. I realize that the ordination of women was begun in North America in a bad way (ie it was framed as a social justice issue and the bible was basically ignored). However, and this is critical for me, I have read convincing scripturally based arguments that support the ordination of women. I have yet to come across anything similar regarding the blessing of committed homosexual partnerships.

    I suppose the short answer is, that if convincing arguments can be made on either side of issue x, then it is an issue on which Christians in good conscience can agree to disagree. There are scriptural arguments against WO – I think that the scriptural arguments for it are stronger, but I can understand how one could come to a different conclusion.

    Clear as mud? Probably. Note that I said I have read convincing arguments pro and con, I have not said that I am capable of constructing same.

  28. Dearest Kate:

    You are taking me a little too seriously, sister.

    “Evil Anglo Catholic types? Please. Don’t try to manufacture division where none exists. I have to wonder why these conservative Bishops have been so silent?”

    Surely by now you know me well enough to recognize that this was said ‘tongue-in-cheek.’

    I also wonder why these conservative Bishops have been so silent. And yet, the ANiC has received into their midst one of those very bishops who has – in fact – remained silent (apart from speaking at the odd conference), even in his own diocese of Algoma.

    However, this can be forgiven. Bishops need to be cautious. They have in their care the souls of all stripes of people on ‘The Walk.’ Unfortunately, the name ‘Essentials’ has become so tied to a broad church paradigm, that many people are reluctant to put their full support behind it.

    The Federation’s move to drop this from their name is – in fact – a good one, in my opinion. However, I continue to have serious doubts about how effective they will be.

    It’s still the same leadership. You can change names as often as you like, even restructure, but at the end of the day it remains an organization that has been silent for so long – following General Synod – that they may have already lapsed into irrelevance.

    It may be time for something to move afresh across the ACC, with renewed life and renewed commitment to the classic, tried and true formularies of our ancient faith.

    This doesn’t mean an organization that is on the warpath, full of rhetoric and polemic, but it does mean an organization that actually will take the lead.

    MGD

  29. Jim Muirhead says:

    [22] Michael
    “Absolute horse-hockey! Grow up.”
    When you post onto a thread and dismiss others opinions as “Absolute horse hockey and tell them to “Grow up” and then cross post on your own web site the same tenor of remarks , I would suggest it’s more than indigestion.
    Secondly, the ACI is far from “irrelevant” as you so blithely assert. It is a critical bastion of orthodox theology that has worldwide stature. That’s why it is so important what they say.
    Their incisive criticism of both TEC and the ACoC is some of the best written in the debate. The problem is their proposed solutions (Lambeth will solve it, The Covenant will solve it) are patently unworkable. However, I am optimistic that there is movement there, which I believe is partially a result of the blogosphere.
    And finally, my home ANIC parish says prayers for the ACOC every service and continue to support long established missions into the community sponsored by the ACOC.
    Peace,
    Jim

  30. Jim Muirhead says:

    [26] Noli
    I have to confess that WO has not been an issue for me.
    If you get a chance, would you mind referencing some of the passages that have impacted your thinking?
    Peace,
    Jim

  31. Kate says:

    Hi all,

    Please keep the WO discussion, if it happens, to this thread, and please behave as if you were sitting in my living room having a coffee. The subject is a touchy one for many people.

    Thanks.

  32. Warren says:

    NA (#26), you’ve already concluded that WO is a “gross theological error” (#20), so you presumably already have criteria that you apply in determining whether or not an issue is communion breaking. Care to share?

    Also, while Kate is busy constructing her Biblical defence for WO, perhaps you could do the same for why you think “happy-clappy worship” (and presumably those who enjoy it) is an abomination to the Lord?

    Or maybe you should ignore the above and I should stop being a smart*ss.

  33. Kate says:

    Warren, if you ever did, I would be very worried about you!

    Also, I wrote:

    Clear as mud? Probably. Note that I said I have read convincing arguments pro and con, I have not said that I am capable of constructing same.

    I can send you off to what I have read, but I am not going to wade into the discussion any more than that.

  34. “Or maybe you should ignore the above and I should stop being a smart*ss.”

    LOL. I’ve been accused of this many times, Warren. Welcome to the club!

  35. Noli Aemulari says:

    #32:
    “NA (#26), you’ve already concluded that WO is a “gross theological error” (#20), so you presumably already have criteria that you apply in determining whether or not an issue is communion breaking. Care to share?”

    You presume that all gross theological errors are communion-breaking, but that is not always the case. For example, we’ve tolerated prayers to the BVM and veneration of the host in Anglo-Catholic parishes for a hundred years.

    I honestly don’t know which disagreements should be communion-breaking. That’s why I asked the question. Kate’s answer is unsatisfactory: “that if convincing arguments can be made on either side of issue x, then it is an issue on which Christians in good conscience can agree to disagree.” If that were true, we could be in communion with evangelical churches which deny the validity our infant baptisms, because surely they have plausible arguments based upon Scripture to back up their views. For that matter, we could fall in with unitarians who deny the Holy Trinity based upon plausible arguments drawn from the Bible.

    Certainly the defining creedal features of Christianity must be preserved and defended: the Trinity, the incarnation of Christ, his sacrificial death, his glorious resurrection, and the good news of salvation found in the Bible, which is the word of God. Baptism. The resurrection of the dead. The life everlasting. Amen.

    Being “in communion” necessarily implies a common respect and regard for the sacramental table, too. After that, though, where do you draw the line?

    Warren added:
    “Also, while Kate is busy constructing her Biblical defence for WO, perhaps you could do the same for why you think “happy-clappy worship” (and presumably those who enjoy it) is an abomination to the Lord?”

    I did NOT describe happy-clappy worship as an abomination to the Lord. I called it “insufferable.”

    Finally, for the record: the role of women in the church should conform to the clear teaching of St. Paul:

    “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says… what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord” (1 Cor.14:33–34,37).

    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent”(1 Tim.2:11–12).

    As a general principle, we must let Scripture interpret Scripture. Therefore, ambiguous passages elsewhere regarding the role of women in the church should be interpreted in light of these clearer ones.

  36. Kate says:

    I know I am going to regret this.

    So, Noli, in light of the scripture you quoted, would you also forbid women from being lay readers or teaching Sunday school? If they aren’t allowed to speak, then obviously they can’t be Sunday school teachers, can they? Can women speak in the church hall but not the sanctuary?

    Romans 16:1
    [ Personal Greetings ] I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae.

    1 Corinthians 16:19
    [ Final Greetings ] The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.

    It is also pretty clear that Pricilla led a house church with her husband, and that Phoebe was a deacon. Why not interpret the scriptures you quote in light of that, rather than the other way around?

    FWIW, the argument for WO that convinced me was from a book called Why Not Women?, written from an evangelical Christian perspective. The book talks about the scriptures that Noli quoted – it dealt with translation from the Greek, and I really can’t reconstruct the argument here.

    If that were true, we could be in communion with evangelical churches which deny the validity our infant baptisms, because surely they have plausible arguments based upon Scripture to back up their views.

    I actually wouldn’t have a problem with that, although such might not accept me as baptized.

    For that matter, we could fall in with unitarians who deny the Holy Trinity based upon plausible arguments drawn from the Bible.

    I suppose, if you thought their arguments were plausible, and were to take my comments to a silly extreme. I don’t think the unitarian arguments are plausible, and I suspect you don’t either.

  37. Charles says:

    Noli,
    Another passage that connects male headship in the home to the church as well is in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 [on head coverings and women in church]. In v.3 Paul writes, “But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.” This does not imply a difference in value between men and women, let alone between the Son and the Father, but that in marriage, as in the Trinity, there is equality in being and value but difference in roles. Paul concludes this passage: “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.”
    Kate: “So, Noli, in light of the scripture you quoted, would you also forbid women from being lay readers or teaching Sunday school?” If the Scripture forbids women speaking in church, then we should submit to it, even though our culture would think it outlandish. Also, “If they aren’t allowed to speak, then obviously they can’t be Sunday school teachers, can they?” Paul teaches in Titus 2:3-5 that women should teach other women, but to submit to their own husbands “… that the word of God may not be reviled.”
    Noli on 1 Cor.14:33–34, it is problematic to take this a prohibition against women ever speaking in church as in the passage in 1 Cor. 11 which I referenced the Apostle writes that women can “prophesy” once their heads are covered. The prohibition which Paul is issuing in ch.14 is probably against women judging prophesy as that would usurp male headship. I’m not sure what “prophesying” actually means, but traditionally it has been interpreted as preaching, but I think that would usurp headship as well if the texts are interpreted strictly as they appear.
    +++ It may seem that I oppose WO, but I haven’t yet come to a complete conclusion. In contributing here I want to make sure that the case against WO is as strong as possible, before it’s critiqued.

  38. Warren says:

    NA (#35), I will strive to be more respectful than I was in my earlier comment. Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by “communion breaking”. I am very familiar with denominations/churches that deny the validity of paedo baptism, but none that I have been part of would question someone’s salvation on that basis, deny them a place at the Lord’s table, or be anything but welcoming if they wished to enter into fellowship. Some churches would refuse membership unless the candidate was rebaptized (by immersion), but that is a far cry from “communion breaking”. I am again being presumptuous, but methinks you might have advised the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15) to add a few more items to the list they made in their letter to the Church in Antioch.

    Defining the essentials of the faith is an interesting and important question, and one that I’ve only considered seriously in the last few years. The list of what I consider essential today probably doesn’t extend much beyond what is contained in the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed. I don’t think I could have reached this point, though, without an understanding of the essential doctrines of the Bible – an understanding that I wish I would have had much earlier in my Christian walk. There is also a vast difference between outwardly claiming to believe what the Creeds say and living your life as though you believed it with every fibre of your being. I know this is judgmental, but I think there are many in the ACoC who recite the Creeds but live in a manner that denies their words. The same hypocrisy can be found in all churches, but it is more “institutionalized” in the ACoC than in other churches I am familiar with.

    I don’t personally find the arguments for WO convincing (Kate, I’ve had “Why Not Women” on my bookshelf for several years), but, for me, the issue is in an entirely different category than are the issues over which the ANiC-ACoC split occurred. I have confidence that the leaders of the ANiC have a high view of Scripture and desire to subordinate themselves to it rather than making God’s Word subordinate to their own ideas and agendas.

    It is quite true that you did not say that happy-clappy worship is an abomination to the Lord, and I apologize for inferring that you did. I doubt I would be exaggerating if I said that I have forgotten more happy-clappy songs than you have heard in your life, and I too grow weary when that form of worship predominates over all others. However, if the words are Scriptural (and many modern worship songs do have quality lyrics – although some don’t), and the people around me are clearly finding them a true expression of worship, then I accept that God is calling me to “suffer”. I think this is a necessary part of “body life” and of sanctification. You have reminded me of a friend from a city I lived in a few years ago – a godly man – who said he would run for the door rather than listen to organ music.

  39. David says:

    Noli [#35],

    There are moderately convincing arguments on both sides of the WO issue. You have quoted some biblical references to support the position against and Kate has given you some reasons for. C. S. Lewis had the best argument against imho – not that I am saying I agree with him.

    If you are that interested in the issue, you should do some more intensive reading on it: I guarantee it isn’t going to be settled here.

    For my part, I am happy to accept those who agree or disagree with WO as Christian brothers and sisters; just as I would Anglo-Catholics, happy-clappy Charismatics (among whose number I count myself) Roman Catholics, Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and so on. I am very inclusive. If a particular aspect of the church I belong to doesn’t live up to utopian standards of pure Anglicanism, I don’t really care as long as it is still Christian.

    ANiC’s position is that WO is a secondary issue; if you disagree, don’t join an ANiC parish.

  40. Kate says:

    Charles, you are right, of course. The point I was trying to make is that to quote that scripture against WO and not have a problem with women teaching Sunday school is inconsistent.

  41. Kate says:

    The Stand Firm thread on WO has been found and pointed out to me – I draw your attention to Dr. Turner’s posts, here:

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/19154

  42. Kate says:

    With permission, here is Dr. Turner’s comment from Stand Firm. I don’t think she is following this thread, bear that in mind when you comment. –Kate

    The ordained ministry, the ordained ministry of women and I Tim. 2 are subjects on which many fathoms of ink have been spilled.

    This means in my book that discussion of any or all of these, like matrimony, “is not to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in fear of God”. Our reading, thinking and writing need to be characterized by an appropriate tone and level.

    I therefore feel bound to say that I am surprised to read so many remarks which draw a parallel between the ordination of members of my own sex and that of practising same-sex-attracted people. Sometimes the language used is intemperate to the point of offensiveness. I have been known to tease some of my ‘spikier’ friends for thinking about sex all the time; but seriously, isn’t the attempted parallel pretty insulting to exemplary Christian women? There is a parallel only politically; and none of us should be getting ordained as a political act. If the parallel is conceded, it leads straight to the familiar, sickening male homosexual ‘Me Too’ campaign (so deeply ironical in view of the essentially sexist nature of homosexual attraction).

    Some of the opposition to female ordination is and always has been frankly misogynist, provoking an equally pathological reaction. Some of it thinks of Our Lord’s sex as more significant than His full humanity. Some of it represents the attitudes of a ‘closed shop’ sacerdotalism, often bolstered with half-baked psychology. Some of it reflects a mistaken reliance on Old Testament ideas of priesthood, and expresses itself in horror at the idea of a female in the “sanctuary”, at the ”altar” or getting her paws on the Elements to consecrate them. Some of it is founded on an extremely weak pneumatology, reckoning neither with the deafening silence in the New Testament from Pentecost on as to whether a female can be a Christian (and so receive the Bread and Cup), nor the distribution of spiritual gifts ‘to each one’ (m. for c. gender), nor Paul’s rejection of circumcision as the badge of Church membership. Some of it extrapolates from New Testament teaching about marriage, or worse still from one particular marriage, usually that of the thinker. Some of it says that all that is not permitted is forbidden. And some of it confuses what may have been apostolic assumption with apostolic conviction. We simply do not know, for instance, who presided over the Eucharist in the early years; though we may suppose that it was normally an elder, and normally the host of “the church in thy house”. Might Lydia have done so in her own house, sometimes when she was not on the road? Perhaps not; but if not perhaps for reasons of convention, not doctrine.

    I am not at all doctrinaire about female ordination, but on the contrary desire disciplined theological thinking to be applied to the question, even thus late in the day. There was far too little thought applied to ECUSA’s decision, and what there was represented a failure to grow out of an immature ‘Silly old St. Paul’ attitude characteristic of new converts. That that won’t do has been clear to me since the late 1950s. (By the time I was married in 1962 I was determined for instance to try to obey the word about subjection, however little I understood it.) Some extraordinarily stupid things go on being said about it. Typology, for instance, rules out a feminine Redeemer and a feminine Twelve. We desperately need to disentangle ideas of equality (to my mind ontological and eternal) from ideas of headship and subjection (relational and temporary, like sex-difference itself). I am bound, however, to say that after long study, and an even longer period of several decades when I believed firmly that women cannot be presbyters because we make presbyters teach with authority, I am sure now that the character and gifting are all, the sex immaterial. As a Hellenist I believe that where, as in I Tim. 2, the man/husband and woman/wife words are found close together in a context, the presumption should be that the stress is on the marriage-relation and its central importance as an acted parable before the unbelieving world. The love of God and our response are the point, and that we should not, by our marriages, mar the image of that covenant-relation. Above all the Gospel must be commended. I cannot find it taught in the New Testament that either the world or the Church are supposed to be organised in terms of a layer of men on top of a layer of women; rather all sheep are called to turn into shepherds with all deliberate speed.

    What MUST be avoided is a married woman’s being more prominent in church than her husband; the right relation, with his being obviously the senior partner, must be preserved; but there is nothing at all the matter, indeed it is in practice, where it comes about, both admirable and fruitful, when the two form a presbyteral team, or a part of one. That Stott was prepared to admit women to ordained team ministry under male direction surprised me very much years ago, but so to speak softened me up for the idea that female ordination might be right. I did reflect at the time that if priesting of women came about, sooner or later a female, single, widowed, or otherwise not answerable to a man, would necessarily rise to be a senior presbyter or bishop. That is a difficult thing only if you think that the famous authentein andros has something to do with men in general, and that didaskein means all authoritative churchly instruction. I am pretty certain now that Paul, with marriage never far from his mind, means that he is opposed to a MARRIED woman’s trying to function as an itinerant teacher (a use of didaskein which is I think implied in connection with the Lord a couple of times in the Synoptics), and ‘ganging up on’ her husband (i.e. with other women as in the cult of Diana). That fits well with one of the documented senses of the (extremely rare and difficult) authentein, i.e. “conspire to murder”. That he wanted women, or more probably wives, to be instructed represents a dignifying of women in the Faith, for nobody else would have thought that women should enjoy instruction beyond the domestic sphere. His exhortation that they are to live a peaceful and quiet life (the Greek has nothing to do with not speaking in public) is as much a concession to the extremely strenuous nature of the childbearing years as any kind of limitation. That the gynaecological burden was almost insupportable everybody knew. In other words he wants them to live creatively, not kill themselves or their husbands in any sense, and to avoid discrediting the Gospel with behaviour which is outré.

    It cannot be irrelevant that there appear to be only two New Testament contexts where limitations are placed on the activities of Christian women, and that is where, in Corinth and Ephesus, the pagan culture was dominated by the cults of two powerful female deities enjoining respectively sexual enmeshment and sexual detachment. The women had been freed in Christ, and some had taken the bit of their new-found freedom between their teeth and had to be reined in. But nobody was starting with the assumption that a main task of Christian leadership was to keep the women down. It was rather to see that all glorified the Lord. If there was an assumption about the relations between the sexes, it was that outside marriage those must be completely asexual at all times.

    I have myself passed through many stages in my Christian thinking, in this as in other matters. I have come a very long way since my first year at Cambridge (1957-8), when a certain well-known ‘liberal’ English bishop and I were officers together in the SCM. I had to grow up plenty as an ambitious, combative, fluent new convert. Unchecked I might have turned into something really poisonous, an ecclesiastical animal with all the skills and none of what I really needed. I argued hotly with my father, who was from 1937 until the early 70s a parochial clergyman, about ordination and why I couldn’t have it. I was reading, first the Classical Tripos, then two parts of the Theological Tripos, with much more success than the average ordinand. I was becoming much more like my father, as I am to my spouse, than to most of my own sex. The ache to follow in his footsteps professionally as I had reproduced the pattern of his studies was only assuaged by marriage to an already distinguished layman. Since then there has almost never been a time when my not being in orders has stopped me from doing anything for God that I really felt obliged to do. Ordination for me has not mattered at all for well over half my life now: the only impulse towards it has come from wholly unspiritual reactions on my part to certain instances of clerical pride and encroachment quite as insulting to my spouse’s lay priesthood, and to his priesthood in our home, as to me. His priesthood as a Christian husband is a wholly positive thing for me, protecting me like a firewall from the sometimes inordinate demands of other women’s husbands, not to mention other women. Without it a zealous Christian woman like me would frequently feel herself to be torn into as many pieces as there were (older) males in her church circle. I say “older” advisedly, having reached that age when the clergy like the policemen get younger all the time. It is liberating to understand that while I must of course practise normal mutual respect, and respect for respectable leaders, according to the New Testament I have to please only one man. I recognise however that for numbers of women, married or single, their ordination is or has been a central concern. I cannot dismiss all these women as unspiritual, unscriptural, ambitious or perverted. Incidentally in the Canadian diocese which I know best, as in many dioceses, parishes greatly prefer at least certain ordained females to many of the men keen to draw church salaries. In June at the Essentials Conference in Toronto, such women received a public pledge that there would be a role as well as a place for them in a renewed Anglicanism.

    My father was an old-style ‘one-man-band’ kind of clergyman in the Church of England; yet I think that given time and experience, for instance an encounter with someone like our Bishop Victoria Matthews, an old-fashioned Anglo-Catholic of whom many of her clergy say that she’s the best bishop they’ve ever had, he would have moved to accept and rejoice in female colleagues in orders. Certainly my mother (for they were, together, much more than the sum of their parts) worked as a presbyter in practice alongside him all their joint life. It seems to me now an anomaly that she was not at least deaconed after their marriage; although in the 1930s it never crossed either of their minds, she could well have gone to Ridley Hall and been priested too.

  43. Charles says:

    #42: “I cannot find it taught in the New Testament that either the world or the Church are supposed to be organised in terms of a layer of men on top of a layer of women; rather all sheep are called to turn into shepherds with all deliberate speed.”

    This presents a charicature of biblical teaching on the roles of men and women in the home and in the church. The Scripture clearly teaches that both sexes are of equal value, but have different roles (so the argument goes). The Scripture doesn’t teach that men and woman should always have different roles in the world; we know from the Old Testament that women can fill important roles in the political world (e.g. Deborah and others).

    “That is a difficult thing only if you think that the famous “authentein andros” has something to do with men in general, and that “didaskein” means all authoritative churchly instruction. I am pretty certain now that Paul, with marriage never far from his mind, means that he is opposed to a MARRIED woman’s trying to function as an itinerant teacher …”

    I’m not sure why anyone would argue that except to escape the meaning of the text, since itinerant preachers have nothing to do with 1 Tim. 2. I looked at the Greek text to check that this is the right passage, since it wasn’t clear to me when I read the article.

    “I recognise however that for numbers of women, married or single, their ordination is or has been a central concern. I cannot dismiss all these women as unspiritual, unscriptural, ambitious or perverted.”

    I also know women who are practicing as priests who do not seem to be “unspiritual, unscriptural, ambitious or perverted”, however, this is the old Argument from Experience again. We can’t allow Experience to trump Scripture or we’re as bad as the other lot. I humbly submit that if the Scriptures teach that women should not teach (didaskein) or exercise authority (authentein) over men (andros) then we must assume that our sisters who are practicing as priests must somehow be deceived in their callings. I think that it is important to note that while it may seem to us that our sisters are practicing as priests for the “right reasons” and seem to be “spiritual” (whatever this means), we still are under the sway of our sinful natures. Therefore whatever we do that appears good and righteous is never really so at a fundemental level, which is of course why we must rely on Christ’s righteousness and his sacrifice for us.

    I’m afraid I don’t find this article very helpful, Kate, as I found it poorly organized and more interested in arguing from “experience” than from what Scripture teaches. I think that we all need to remember that just because faithful Christians make arguments allegedly from Scripture, we can’t take them seriously if their arguments do not stand up to reasoned criticism. I think that anyone who is women practising as a priest has a huge bias against any suggestion that she may be an imposter (so to speak), which would surely cloud any argument she might make.

    Charles, I changed your quotation marks to block quotes to make your comment easier to read. –Kate

  44. Kate says:

    She isn’t a priest, she is a PhD. I think she is reasoning from scripture and experience – for instance:

    That he wanted women, or more probably wives, to be instructed represents a dignifying of women in the Faith, for nobody else would have thought that women should enjoy instruction beyond the domestic sphere. His exhortation that they are to live a peaceful and quiet life (the Greek has nothing to do with not speaking in public) is as much a concession to the extremely strenuous nature of the childbearing years as any kind of limitation.

    This article was lifted from the comments at Stand Firm – we aren’t always as organized in comments as we are when writing for publication.

    Unfortunately, my Greek is at the “see spot run” level, so I can’t check it out for myself – I have to rely on secondary sources.

    One of the advantages of being a moderator is that I can edit my own comments! I should have said above, that I think she is looking at experience through the lens of scripture – which is what we all have to do in daily life, after all. Furthermore, I would hope that any woman who presented herself for ordination would have settled the WO issue, scripturally, for herself before she even began – so I don’t see why the opinion of ordained women on the issue should be dismissed simply because they are ordained.

  45. Maya says:

    If the proof of the pudding is in the eating then, “by their fruit we will know them”, who amongst us would dare stand before God and say that the many souls who have been brought to the saving knowledge of Christ by these godly and faithful women (set apart and ordained priests in His service), have produced tainted fruit.

    Gal.3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ.” Is this oneness beside the point when it comes to WO ?
    Besides, we the “Church” (men and women), the “Bride”, await Christ our “Groom” in anticipation of the marriage that is to take place in heaven; in the ultimate analysis we are all just “spirit” without gender, made in the image of our God who is Spirit .
    Blessings,
    Maya

  46. Ellie M. says:

    Kate is right imho. The problem with banning WO for scriptural reasons (aside from the fact that scripture never explicitly mentions WO) is that to be logically consistent you must also ban women from teaching Sunday school, reading the lesson, and asking questions in adult study sessions. And women should be required to wear, not hats, but full head veils in church.

    Since not even the strictest Christian denominations require these things and haven’t for centuries, it is clear that women’s role in the church is a minor, non-salvific issue. So why revisit it now?

  47. Warren says:

    Ellie (#46), why would you suggest that women teaching children is inconsistent with Scripture?

    My wife and I attended a church several years ago – branded as an independent evangelical church – where most women wore head coverings (when my wife wore a hat it was purely for fashion reasons), and, although it took us a while to figure this out, women were not supposed to ask questions (they were supposed to nudge their husband and get him to ask the question). Although we ended up leaving because of this, I would far rather attend this church than most ACoC churches (and I believe my wife would say the same thing).

    At another church we attended there were a couple of families whose children (there were about 20 between the two families) were not permitted to attend Sunday School because the fathers believed that it was their role to provide religious instruction.

    My wife grew up in a church where the men sat on one side and the women on the other, and it was considered sinful for women to wear pants.

    I grew up in the PAOC – a denomination that ordained women far earlier than most (going back to the 20s and 30s). I’ve kind of lost touch with the PAOC in the last 20 years (although I have many relatives who attend), but I think it still rare to find a woman who is a senior pastor.

    We aren’t as far removed from some of the more literal interpretations of Scriptural injunctions as you have suggested; especially if you look beyond the the North American context.

  48. Kate says:

    #47 – I think her point was that it isn’t – but, if you use the scripture passages from Corinthians and Timothy to defend banning WO, then to be logically consistent you would also have to ban them from teaching boys in Sunday school. You would then have to decide at what age you would have to ban them – is it ok for a woman to teach a ten year old boy but not a 12 year old boy? A 12 year old but not a 16 year old?

  49. Warren says:

    Kate (#47), the age idea has some warrant in Scripture, but, with a couple of exceptions (circumcision comes to mind and possibly there was a significance to Jesus being 12 when he first taught in the temple), there aren’t any hard and fast rules. Do you think there is any validity to using age (or something else) as a criteria for when a child should first partake in the Lord’s Supper?

  50. Kate says:

    Well, modern Jewish boys are bar mitzvahed at 12.

    I don’t know about communion. When I was a child we couldn’t take communion until we were confirmed, which meant, in theory, we knew what we were doing. I didn’t -I was ten or eleven, and I have a crystal clear memory of our priest telling us (at the end of our last confirmation class) that he didn’t think any of us were ready for confirmation, but our parents expected us to be confirmed so he was going to lie to the bishop and say that we were ready! Now only baptism is required. I think my older two were in grade two when I allowed them to start taking communion, after Bill and I had taught them what it was all about (I think there was a class for my eldest, but when the second child was ready there weren’t enough kids for a class). Anyway, I think that was a mistake. My next son is only six, so I have a while to think about it. I am inclined to make him wait until he is confirmed. I don’t really think that there is any clear scriptural teaching on it, especially since our celebration of the Lord’s Supper has changed so much in form since NT times.

  51. Noli Aemulari says:

    I am very impressed by the tone and quality of this conversation as it evolves. I will do my best to live up to those standards in my comments.

    #36
    Kate cites the Biblical examples of Phoebe (deaconess) and Priscilla & Aquila (house church owners) as evidence that New Testament women occupied leadership positions in the early church. However, this does not contradict Paul’s direction that women should not have authoritative teaching roles. Deacons in the early Church had practical pastoral roles. Likewise, there’s no Biblical evidence suggesting that Priscilla preached. She and her husband are described in the Bible as Jewish Christians close to St. Paul (like him they were tentmakers by trade). There’s an interesting passage where Priscilla and her husband correct Apollos’s theology, but in doing so they speak to him together privately, apart from the congregation.

    1 Cor 11 isn’t “problematic.” Like Charles (#37) I don’t exactly know what “prophey” looked like in early Church worship. Ecstatic utterings? Weather prediction? Whatever it was, women were allowed to do it and apparently it’s different than the religious teaching role described by St. Paul in 1 Tim 2 and 1 Cor 14. Unless you prefer going out of your way to twist Paul’s teaching in one place to unnecessarily contradict his teaching elsewhere.

    Yes, Dr. Turner’s article from Stand Firm is a bit personal and convoluted, but I found it interesting and useful, as where she points out that the early Church’s practice of instructing women in the faith – at all – enlarged upon their role in synagogues at the time.

    Charles: regarding “didaskein” in 1 Tim 2, check your Greek NT again:
    “Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach [didaskein] or to have authority [literally: "to be domineering"] over men [authentein andron]; she is to keep silent” (1 Tim.2:11–12).

    Dr. Turner imposes a narrow construction upon that passage, arguing that it applies strictly to the authority of husbands over their wives. However, “andron” means men generally – there’s another more specific Greek word for “husband.” And while “gune” (as in “gynecology”) might be validly translated either “woman” or “wife,” there’s nothing in the Scriptural context to suggest the narrower interpretation. As always, we must interpret Scripture in the light of Scripture, so the passage in 1 Tim 2 must needs be considered alongside I Cor 14, which applies more clearly to women in “the church” [ekklesia]. It’s also worth noting that Paul’s argument is based upon the general order of creation in BOTH passages.

    Dr. Turner suggests that the prohibitions against women preachers in I Tim and I Cor are culture-bound by their social context because both Corinth and Ephesus (where Timothy was residing when St. Paul addressed the letter to him) were heavily into female pagan deities. This strikes me as historical-critical revision of the worst sort, more worthy of the Jesus Seminar than orthodox Anglicanism.

    However, Warren’s comments [#38] were of greatest interest to me because they addressed the question I’m most fascinated by right now: is WO a primary issue, or is it secondary? What issues are communion-breaking, i.e. worth leaving the Anglican Church of Canada over? And why?

  52. Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach [didaskein] or to have authority [literally: “to be domineering”] over men [authentein andron]; she is to keep silent” (1 Tim.2:11–12).

    The infinitive may be rendered literally in several different ways. Not all those renderings can be accurate, but that is a different point.

    Dr. Turner imposes a narrow construction upon that passage, arguing that it applies strictly to the authority of husbands over their wives. However, “andron” means men generally – there’s another more specific Greek word for “husband.”

    ” Confusion here: (1) the Greek is ἀνδρός and singular. (2) there is NO more specific Greek word for ‘husband’ than ἀνήρ, unless you count some rather more specialised vocabulary which St. Paul never uses.

    And while “gune” (as in “gynecology”) might be validly translated either “woman” or “wife,” there’s nothing in the Scriptural context to suggest the narrower interpretation.

    I’m sorry, but how do you get around the change in number to singulars at this point? And the lack of any ‘generalising’ article? Many weighty commentators have thought the marital reference the more obvious in this place.

    As always, we must interpret Scripture in the light of Scripture, so the passage in 1 Tim 2 must needs be considered alongside I Cor 14, which applies more clearly to women in “the church” [ekklesia].

    Yes, indeed; and what must that passage mean, or not mean, in the light of I Cor. 11:3-17?

    It’s also worth noting that Paul’s argument is based upon the general order of creation in BOTH passages.

    No, you have conflated the I Cor. 14 passage with that in I Cor. 11.

    Dr. Turner suggests that the prohibitions against women preachers in I Tim and I Cor are culture-bound by their social context because both Corinth and Ephesus (where Timothy was residing when St. Paul addressed the letter to him) were heavily into female pagan deities. This strikes me as historical-critical revision of the worst sort, more worthy of the Jesus Seminar than orthodox Anglicanism.

    I find that both impolite, to put it mildly, and inaccurate in the light of all that I have written. If you would do me the courtesy of studying the SF thread to which Kate has supplied a reference above, and including in your study the further reading to which I have directed contributors, you would modify your view very considerably. Meanwhile I am surprised that you thought it appropriate to post this remark. I am not any kind of revisionist.

    –Quotation marks changed to block quotes to make comment easier to read. –Admin

  53. Noli Aemulari says:

    #52
    I withdraw the offending remark, but your culture-bound argument regarding the context of goddess worship in Corinth and Ephesus DOES project historical-critical conjecture upon the text. I also apologize for conflating 1 Cor 14 and 1 Cor 11.

    Dr. Turner wrote:
    “Yes, indeed; and what must that passage mean, or not mean, in the light of I Cor. 11:3-17?”

    Please expand. To which passage are you referring?

  54. Kate says:

    Deacons in the early Church had practical pastoral roles.

    Please provide evidence from scripture for this statement. Further, “practical pastors” are what we want in the ordained ministry, are they not?

    Likewise, there’s no Biblical evidence suggesting that Priscilla preached.

    Neither is there any evidence that she did not. It seems improbable that a house church leader would not teach.

  55. Noli Aemulari, there is a whole article, with Greek text, translation and commentary at:–

    http://www.nwnet.org/~prisca/ntwotexts.htm

    In it I explain why the I Cor. 14 passage must mean something consistent with I Cor. 11. Some people are not bothered by any inconsistency, dismissing the second passage as a gloss. I am too conservative for that, and think instead that when we understand the Greek better the apparent inconsistency melts away. So I have written in part:

    “My suggestions for vv. 34-35 attempt to come to terms with meaning in context. That is why I have quoted so much more. Assuming as I do that this is Paul writing, we have to understand this in a way which does not contradict what he says in ch. 11 about suitable attire for women as they pray and prophesy. He cannot be saying that the women, or married women, may not utter at all. This is to say nothing of the fact that numbers of the charismata, which are stated in ch. 12 to be dispensed to individual believers as the Spirit chooses, involve some form of vocalisation. There is no indication that any of the charismata were limited to one sex or the other. The larger context in this Epistle is instruction about the ordering of public worship. Paul is concerned about audibility, intelligibility and a converting/upbuilding effect on all those present.

    Men and women would almost certainly have been seated not by families but by sex. The female of the species, being naturally more vocal than the male (a characteristic which I suspect, being genetic, is not fundamentally altered by education), may have offended by being noisy on her side of church, or perhaps even shouting across to the other side.

    Was marriage ever far from Paul’s mind? I don’t think so: it forms the yet larger context, as earthly fact or spiritual metaphor, of so much else in Scripture. I am not prepared to exclude from the passage some reference to the women’s disorderly behaviour as reflecting badly on their husbands. We have seen in I Cor. 11 that that is a factor there.”

    Both passages have a context, both in I Cor. and beyond it. It is not an evasion of the task of obedience to attempt to discern what this was, so that we may understand what obedience means for us. Sometimes we can’t be sure exactly of the meaning, e.g. of the headcoverings in ch. 11; but we can attempt to get at the principle, and obey that. To use an historical example, the then-modern Anglican reformed stipulation that the language of worship must be “understanded of the people” was surely based at least in part on the principle established in the centre portion of I Cor.

    The same kind of difficulty arises in the case of the I Tim. 2 passage. Hence I have written in the same article:–

    “If we read the prohibition in v. 12 of a wife/woman’s teaching as absolute, then we must conclude that the instruction at this point is of local or temporary application only. The weight of the New Testament evidence is that women, married or single, were exhorted to teach, at least in some sense or senses, and did teach. Worship was by no means the only, or the chief, context, for such work. See these articles:–
    http://www.semanticbible.com/hyperconc/T/Teach.html
    http://www.semanticbible.com/hyperconc/T/Teacher.html
    Furthermore, there is no sign that the Apostle thought of the teaching gift, or indeed any of the gifts, as confined to one sex. We cannot assume that what he means here is the teaching of men, as opposed to women and children: no object, either of the person or the thing taught, is expressed. If the instruction is more than local and temporary, we need to find some sense which all believers could, perhaps still can, understand and obey. I am wholly committed to the view that what the Apostle wrote was both sensible and consistent with what he wrote elsewhere. I have suggested ‘be teaching with authority’ as one such sense. Possibly, if this is right, we have not had anybody who has taught in exactly that sense since the death of all the Apostles. It has certainly not been apparent to me that ordination or consecration in itself confers on either sex either the ability or the authority to teach like that.

    For a long time I asked myself whether Paul was addressing the very well-known fact that a man must be quite advanced spiritually before he is ready to learn from a woman, whether his wife or another. Wise and spiritually fruitful women will I think consider that possibility before they agree to preach publicly in certain settings, that the Word be not hindered.”

    Again, I do not think of the Pastorals as non-Pauline; and even if they are, they are still canonical Scripture. We have to obey this, working on the catholic and Anglican assumption that we may not play off one text against another.

    This comment was held in moderation because of the number of links it contains. Some of the comments below were written before this comment appeared. –admin.

  56. Warren says:

    Dr. Turner (#52), I’ve not gotten anyone to take the bait on this question previously, but maybe you will humour me. I first must lay out a few assumptions as I construct an hypothetical situation:

    1. Let’s say we live in a secular society that is very patriarchal – far beyond anything suggested in the Old Testament – and virtually all non-believing women are in complete agreement with the subservient role they play. The laws of this secular society also restrict women from holding positions of power.

    2. The Christian Church in this society treat women as they have historically – let’s say a hundred years ago and earlier for the sake of argument.

    3. Members of this society, especially women, who are not followers of Christ, view the Church with deep suspicion and mock it tirelessly when women are granted even a modicum of authority. They argue vehemently that the Church is violating basic human rights and natural moral law by so doing.

    Given this hypothetical situation, my question is this. Do you believe that there would be an enthusiastic element within the Church strongly motivated to carefully exegete Scripture with a view to building a Biblical case for why women should be given even greater authority – even though they understand that by so doing they will bring persecution upon themselves and their brothers and sisters in Christ? Their motivation would simply be to do what is right in the eyes of God regardless of the cost.

  57. Yes, with that right motivation, there ought to be. But I think that consistent Christian living before the world would be the real catalyst for change in society in general. Historically speaking, monasticism, which gave women freedom not to marry, and authority within their own communities, enlarged our sphere beyond the fulfilment of our biological functions. The real falsehood involved in the failure to give women their proper space is that while men may come in all shapes and sizes, and in obedience to their call aspire to become civilised and fully human in addition to their biological function, women have no such calling. It all comes down to obeying one’s call in the end. And making that obedience possible in the case of one’s children and other people’s.

    It has been pointed out that when the Lord and His Apostles addressed commands to slaves, women and children, they dignified them as free people with choices, who could choose to obey.

    Only where the Gospel has taken firm and deep root will any of the weak have rights in any meaningful sense of the term. If males were physically weaker and more vulnerable, history would surely have been much the same, but with the boot on the other foot. A hypothetical parallel might be a world in which ‘white’ people were considered obviously inferior and routinely enslaved. I do observe that much of the world is currently voting with its feet in favour of those societies where the weak do have rights. They do not always understand that those rights are the fruit of the fact that people have believed on Christian grounds in the absolute value of each person. Under Islam, for instance, very many people are beginning to see that that doctrine is true, and to attempt to change both Islamic image and Islamic reality so as to reflect it.

  58. Warren, is your hypothetical situation all that hypothetical, mutatis mutandis? In Hindu India Christians are despised and persecuted for not despising untouchables.

  59. Warren says:

    Dr Turner (#57), thank you for indulging me. Perhaps a few others here would be willing to engage in this line of discussion?

    I believe in being forthright, and want to say a couple of things about myself. Although my view of WO has softened over the years, and I have been part of churches where women have occupied subordinate pastoral positions, it is unlikely that I will ever be part of a church where the senior pastor is a woman. I hold to the complimentarian view and believe that women are fully equal to men but not called to all of the same roles. In my military career I have, on occasion, worked for women who were both brighter and more capable than I, and did so without any qualms. I have no difficulty in sitting under a woman teacher in the secular realm. I believe that women have spiritual insights and gifting that equal those of men and would have no objection to women filling all positions of spiritual leadership were it not my belief that the plain teaching of Scripture (no parsing of Greek required) states otherwise.

    There is a time in church history, where I think the Church led the way in terms of how women were treated and regarded (this is where I would draw a parallel with #57). In recent decades, however, secular society began moving quickly in directions the Church had not previously gone. Instead of standing against culture (or trying to redeem it depending on your view of the two kingdoms), some in the church began chasing the views of those in the society around them and trying to accommodate God’s Word to those views.

    I hope I am consistent enough that, were I to find myself in a position where, in my human nature, I felt that I was being treated unfairly, I would meekly accept my lot if I believe the Bible clearly taught I should do so. Knowing something about my natural self, I’m sure I could only do so in the power and grace of God.

  60. Kate says:

    not my belief that the plain teaching of Scripture (no parsing of Greek required) states otherwise.

    Warren, without an accurate interpretation of the Greek, no plain reading of scripture is possible for someone who doesn’t read NT Greek.

  61. Jim Muirhead says:

    58 Warren,
    It seems that you have distinguished the functions of ordained ministers into senior pastor and others. If I’m reading you correctly, you have accepted the role of ordained women in “subordinate” ministries but draw the line at accepting them as senior pastors.
    If that is indeed the case, then it’s not the fact of the ordination, but the specific role of the senior pastor that is critical for you.
    Peace,
    Jim

  62. Warren says:

    Jim (#60), I suppose that having spent most of my life in denominations less hierarchical than the Anglican Church has shaped my views. One thing I am certain of is that a woman in a position of spiritual leadership should normally be subject to the authority of a man. The vast majority of Christian women I know (and have known) share this view. For most of the churches I’ve been part of (and there have been many), the senior pastor was, for all intents and purposes, the most senior person in the spiritual hierarchy. There was a time, not so long ago, where I would have resisted women occupying any pastoral role, but am less certain of that position now. I also believe that, when men are unwilling or unable to “step up to the plate”, God will use women in roles they otherwise would not fill.

    Kate (#59), you are right, but I am generally trusting of the main Bible translations we have in this area. Although I’m not sure where to draw the line in all situations, I am certain that God’s Word does not teach an egalitarianism where men and women are fully interchangeable in all roles.

  63. Kate says:

    One thing I am certain of is that a woman in a position of spiritual leadership should normally be subject to the authority of a man.

    This problem could easily be solved by not consecrating women bishops.

  64. Jim Muirhead says:

    Warren,
    I find myself in the unusual position of not having a position. For a black and white guy like me, this is somewhat unsettling. I’ve kind of muddling along evaluating each situation discretely.
    From my perspective, the characteristics that make a person a good spiritual leader aren’t gender based. Although I am the last person to parse scripture, it seems to me that Christ looked way outside the box for his leadership team.
    Muddling along,
    Jim

  65. Kate says:

    I find myself in the unusual position of not having a position. For a black and white guy like me, this is somewhat unsettling.

    I feel that I ought to be able to find a way to razz you about that, but at the moment, can’t think of anything….

  66. Cathy says:

    I was just thinking, this is a good example of why women’s ordination is not considered a communion breaking issue, but same sex blessing is. Discussing WO here, people are honestly trying to examine scripture and are debating the issue based on what scripture says. With SSB one side is arguing from scripture the other side is arguing from a perspective of secular social equality.

  67. Jim Muirhead says:

    Kate,
    You are so mean!
    Peace,
    Jim

  68. Kate says:

    What, you are complaining because I didn’t razz you? 8-)

  69. Jim Muirhead says:

    Kate,
    The thought of the impending razz alone weakens my knees.
    Jim

  70. Kate says:

    Ahem – we now return to your regularly scheduled conversation…

  71. Daryle says:

    I, as a self-perceived guest on this blog, have eagerly sopped up all that has been said here. I am a childhood Anglican layman, and I have been ‘puzzling through’ the issue of WO for some time. I latched on to this thread today, because I have regularly attended ‘other blogs’ that have seemingly dealt with this issue at some time, and have moved on. I have rarely found a place of such respectful dialogue where hearty discussion is taking place. Discussion, that can be followed by by layman and scholar alike, and for this I thank all of you.

    My observations of the role of women and leadership, has been practical; a ‘hands-on’ or ‘ear to the ground’ kind of approach. I have been around long enough to plot the issue of WO linearly, and will begin my comments with the unorthodox situation out of St. Louis, (I believe), in or around 1977. I cannot get my noggin around the fact that those irregular ordinations were in fact a point of rebellion. The ecclesial authority of the time seemed determined to proceed with an action that would not be accepted within or across the whole Communion. The only other ordination that I can recall before that time was in the Province of Asia after the second world war – one Bishop Florence being ordained, as I recall.

    This issue had never been satisfactorily addressed by the church. Other provinces that have also gone this route, and have to my mind gone galloping off within the confines of their own autonomy to advance their practises (TEC probably being the greatest offender, with the UK somewhat trailing behind in actual numbers (of priests). Bishops are another matter.)

    The second troublesome spot for me is more along the lines of conventional practise rather than what is theologically sound. Assenting Synods had frequently allowed “conscience clauses” linked to votes that accept WO, but when political favour pushes for eventual removal of such clauses, then dissent becomes forbidden, at least among the clergy. Where I come from, the laity are joining in in ever increasing numbers. MY conscience is troubled.

    When I courageously whisper my point of view to determinedly Orthodox and to my mind trustworthy clergy in my immediate surroundings, I hear more and more frequently something like this: “I have diligently searched the scriptures and can find no reason not to support women clergy.” But I do have priestly friends who share my unease, and tell me so.

    I am also a committed conservative Anglican in a tirelessly liberal-minded diocese (tho’ that is thankfully changing… barely). Disagreeing with innovation, and more lately speaking out against such innovations as acceptance of same-sex issues, is a tiring and increasingly frustrating business. (Hence, I find myself blogging here!)

    My third objection, linked closely with the second, it that I have not always seen good fruit with WO. (Too many frustrated old hags with an axe to grind is all too pervasive. Comparatively, I can count perhaps 3 or 4 godly examples of women priests, in a veritable sea of counter-examples.)

    Coming with a background of both parish and diocesan leadership experience, I have difficulty with the “Windsorian” concept of “reception” with regards to innovation within the Communion. “Reception” is not a concluded issue, to my way of thinking, but the concept is seemingly being swept away in dialogue surfacing in revisionist provinces. (Waiting on General Convention and General Synod to back me up, here.) What is on the wind is more in keeping with the squashing of dissent and in planning to discipline the laity (same thing), than in the playing out of the concept of “reception” within the Communion.

    Lastly, I have read just two comments (thankfully) that link the issues of blessing same-sex unions and by extension the ordaining of non-celibate practising homosexuals to the priesthood, and the issue of WO. I would prefer to keep this thread more focused on WO, as Scripture ‘in no wise’ places homosexuality in a positive light: not in any circumstance in actuality or in inference. This is so from Genesis to Revelation. So in this regard these issues must, in my mind, be held separately.

    But links exist, as we well know. SSB is linked with a plethora of social justice issues – the platform of the revisionist.

    MY conscience is troubled. Again.

  72. Kate says:

    It is true that links have been made between WO and the ordination of non celibate gay clergy – that doesn’t mean that it is correct to link them. The issues are similar in the way they came about, as you have pointed out – however, that is where the similarity ends. Had the proponents wanted to present a scriptural basis for WO, they could have done so. I think they did a great disservice to the church by not doing so. I don’t believe that is possible to make a scriptural case for the ordination of practicing gay people to the priesthood.

    If society has linked SSB with a plethora of social justice issues, then we need to unlink them. There are scores of conservative parishes quietly working away helping the needy in their spheres of influence – they just aren’t tooting their own horns.

  73. Warren says:

    Kate (#72), I agree with you, but you may have oversimplified matters. It isn’t only “society” that has linked SSB with a plethora of social justice issues – there are those within the Church who seek to reinforce the linkage as well. It comes down to the heart. For the person seeking to be yielded to God’s will and sincerely desiring to be obedient to Scripture, the two issues will be approached on their own merits. “Religious” people who don’t understand grace, who are caught up in law, and who see the church as a vehicle for “fixing” the problems around them, will more likely see a linkage. These are people who are more concerned with isogesis than exegesis – who seek to impose their views on Scripture rather than allowing Scripture to shape their views.

    To be fair, I think there are also those with a conservative agenda who want to keep the two issues linked (for very different reasons).

  74. Noli Aemulari says:

    #52
    “Confusion here: (1) the Greek is ἀνδρός and singular. (2) there is NO more specific Greek word for ‘husband’ than ἀνήρ, unless you count some rather more specialised vocabulary which St. Paul never uses.”

    You’re right, Dr. Turner: I confused “andros” with “anthropos.” Then I checked my lexicon and found that the more general word for man, “anthropos,” can also mean husband, so I was doubly wrong. Your point regarding the change to singulars also strengthens your argument that 1 Tim 2 could be constructed as applying to husbands and wives in particular, rather than more generally to men and women. I double-checked 1 Cor 14:34, though, and it seems “women” are definitely plural there.

    Regretfully, your article as posted online is impenetrably-formatted and the Stand Firm thread was over 300 posts long as of this morning. I just don’t have time to wade through all of that material. The gist of your argument seems to be, though, that the Pauline prohibitions of female preachers in 1 Tim and 1 Cor should apply only to those specific congregations because women in those communities, influenced by the local goddess culture, were hen-pecking their husbands and talking too much in church?

    #66 Cathy
    “I was just thinking, this is a good example of why women’s ordination is not considered a communion breaking issue, but same sex blessing is. Discussing WO here, people are honestly trying to examine scripture and are debating the issue based on what scripture says. With SSB one side is arguing from scripture the other side is arguing from a perspective of secular social equality.”

    Actually, I’ve heard arguments similar to those employed by Dr. Turner, but used to discount Pauline prohibitions against homosexual behaviour. Based upon peculiarities of the Greek text that aren’t apparent in most English translations, they narrowly reconstruct certain passages so that they apply only to their specific historical context: “malakoi” being “male prostitutes,” “arsenokoites” being “johns,” “andrapodistai” being “procurers,” and so on. Observing that modern consensual gay partnerships bear no resemblance to the Hellenistic sex trade in boys, they plausibly argue that NT prohibitions don’t apply today. Ignoring the rest of the Bible’s teaching on sex and gender roles, they go on to conclude: that which is not forbidden is allowed.

  75. I have injured my right foot, care for a Parkinson’s-disabled husband and am at nearly 71 very tired in myself. I do think that this discussion would be better served if the SF thread linked above were carefully read, and all the references followed up. There really isn’t any important point which that thread failed to take up. My postings in particular give access to word-searches, and discussion of Scripture itself. English translations, like all translations from an original, are interpretation by definition.

  76. Regretfully, your article as posted online is impenetrably-formatted and the Stand Firm thread was over 300 posts long as of this morning. I just don’t have time to wade through all of that material. The gist of your argument seems to be, though, that the Pauline prohibitions of female preachers in 1 Tim and 1 Cor should apply only to those specific congregations because women in those communities, influenced by the local goddess culture, were hen-pecking their husbands and talking too much in church?

    All my material is very accessibly formatted in Arial Unicode MS. If you don’t have that, look on your system for another full Unicode font. Palatino Linotype will do all of Greek, plus unpointed Hebrew. Hebrew arises in connection with the I Cor. 11 passage.

    The SF thread has been closed for days. No more can be posted there. It is probably the last SF word on the subject, with many weighty contributions from real scholars. What would you say to a student of yours who insisted on writing before he had read? And as a consequence grossly over-simplified and caricatured what he hadn’t read?

    Yes, the women are plural in I Cor. 14. They are also exhorted to “ask their husbands when they get home”. Please again see my careful discussion. All of us must submit our minds to Scripture itself, not to some fancy, or some memory of a version.

    Please read Rob Gagnon for a full refutation of the idea that real biblical philology can possibly lead to an endorsation of homosex. Included in his comprehensive bibliography is reference to my pioneering article on the relevant texts at

    http://www.nwnet.org/~prisca/Spirit&Sex.htm

    where the material is also formatted in Unicode.

  77. Jim Muirhead says:

    Dr. Turner
    I would like to express sincere appreciation for your insight and teaching on this issue. We are much richer for your participation.
    Peace,
    Jim

  78. Kate says:

    . Based upon peculiarities of the Greek text that aren’t apparent in most English translations, they narrowly reconstruct certain passages so that they apply only to their specific historical context:

    So, do you mean that nothing in the Bible can possibly apply only to its own historical context, simply because one group of people used questionable means to try to justify SSB? That isn’t very logical.

  79. Noli Aemulari says:

    #55 Kate, regarding the role of NT deacons, see Acts 6 where the first are commissioned:

    “Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution [diakonia]. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables [diakonein]. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.”

    #76 Dr Turner
    “What would you say to a student of yours who insisted on writing before he had read? And as a consequence grossly over-simplified and caricatured what he hadn’t read?”

    This is not an academic tutorial, Dr. Turner, but a blog conversation where we’ve been encouraged by the moderator to “please behave as if you were sitting in my living room having a coffee.” Imagine yourself sitting around talking with a mixed group of academics, retired blacksmiths, lawyers, and civil servants. When challenged, referring the group to your scholarly articles wouldn’t be an option, nor would it be appropriate given that most of the group will find all that Greek text off-putting and the academic language inaccessible. Likewise, responding over coffee by referring the group to the lengthy transcript of a different coffee-table conversation would be gauche.

  80. Kate says:

    Really, Noli. I was referring to basic politeness. Dr. Turner has a point.

    Regarding the role of deacons – is it reasonable to assume that was the only thing they did? Servant leadership could encompass a broader role than the original commissioning, surely.

  81. Charles says:

    I am not sure how 1 Tim 2:12 can mean “wives” and “husbands” because immediate context of vv.8 & 9, which is clearly general i.e. meaning “men” and “women”.
    From the ESV Study Bible (Theo. Ed. Dr. J.I.Packer):
    Finally, some have claimed that this passage only prohibits a “wife” from teaching or exercising authority over her “husband,” since the Greek words gynē and anēr (translated “woman” and “man” in 1 Tim. 2:12) can also mean “wife” and “husband” in certain contexts. Given the immediate context of vv. 8–9, however, the most likely meaning of the Greek words gynē and anēr here in vv. 11–14 would seem to be “woman” and “man” (rather than “wife” and “husband”).

    I am glad also that we can have this discussion. Thanks for your responses earlier, Kate. I also hope that a woman who sought ordination would have looked critically at the Bible first, however, the practice is so widely accepted in the ACoC that I’m afraid it may happen only rarely.

    Also, whatever theological arguments have been concocted to support WO since the 60s and 70s, surely the previous 2000 years of church history against the practice count for something. If the church interpreted the Scriptures for almost all its history against the practice, maybe we should take notice. I have also heard that about 50 years ago in almost all Churches (Protestant and Catholic), women would always wear headscarves or hats– now only in Brethren churches is the widely the case. How many people earnestly seek to submit to Scripture on this point, or even care? I don’t know how anyone can ignore the way that the feminist movement et al. have completely changed the ways in which most Christians interpret Scripture.

  82. Kate says:

    I also hope that a woman who sought ordination would have looked critically at the Bible first, however, the practice is so widely accepted in the ACoC that I’m afraid it may happen only rarely.

    I was thinking of ANiC when I wrote that. I wouldn’t make the same assumption for the ACoC.

    Also, whatever theological arguments have been concocted to support WO since the 60s and 70s, surely the previous 2000 years of church history against the practice count for something.

    Thing is, though, nobody in past generations would have even thought to try to construct a theological case for WO. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t, or shouldn’t, be made.

    How many people earnestly seek to submit to Scripture on this point, [head coverings] or even care? I don’t know how anyone can ignore the way that the feminist movement et al. have completely changed the ways in which most Christians interpret Scripture.

    Probably not very many, and your last point deserves some serious thought. For my part, something like the issue of head coverings, mentioned only once (I think?) in passing, is of much smaller importance than church leadership or the definitions of sin.

  83. Cathy says:

    1 Cor 11: 5But any woman who talks to God or speaks words from God with her head not covered brings shame on her head. She is just the same as a woman who has cut off all her hair. 6If a woman does not cover her head, she might as well cut off her hair. But if it is a shame for a woman to cut off her hair, or to shave her head, then she should have her head covered.

    A woman who left her long hair loose and not covered could very quickly find herself accused of adultery. I respectable woman would find it very shameful to go about with her head uncovered or to have her hair cut off. That is not so in our culture today. To use a modern parallel, it would be entierly appropriate for a Christian woman to wear a head scarf in a muslim counrty and a woman who grew up muslim and converted to Christianity would be permitted to continue to wear the hijab even durring services.

  84. Noli Aemulari says:

    I have finally read the first 100 posts of the recent WO thread at Stand Firm
    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/19154

    The most persuasive, concise, and coherent defense of WO there was a link to this:
    http://menandwomenleaderstogether.blogspot.com/2008/06/basics-of-biblical-equality-belief_12.html

    “The submission texts do not speak of the authority of male over female as a timeless creational mandate, but rather of the biblical principle — emphasized especially in Christ’s teaching and the letters of Paul and Peter — that all believers should be submissive to one another rather than seeking to rule others, and should, as well, submit to the civil laws and cultural standards of the day to the extent that they do not require disobedience to God’s law. Thus women in the New Testament church, who were in many ways culturally and legally subordinate to men, were instructed to comply with their social role in a manner that brings glory to God — yet with the understanding that within the Body of Christ there will be a mutual sharing and edification through gifts and callings as determined by the Spirit and not by gender or race or any such old covenant classification.”

    Matt Kennedy begins the thread by describing the proposed ACNA settlement regarding WO as an ingenious but delicate compromise. The new province will allow constituent dioceses, networks, and clusters to ordain women if they wish. However, they will not be allowed to serve as bishops. He suggests that female bishops would be “suicidal,” dooming the new province to failure because that would drive Anglo-Catholics away and divide evangelicals.

    Some Stand Firm contributors argue that this compromise is illogical: if women are eligible to be presbyters, why not bishops? However, I can see some sense in it. From an evangelical perspective, the issue is headship and authoritative teaching. If those functions are reserved to the bishop, then perhaps female leadership of local congregations would be okay (but isn’t that headship, too? And authoritative teaching can hardly be avoided by the pastor of a parish…)

    #80 Kate
    “Regarding the role of deacons – is it reasonable to assume that was the only thing they did? Servant leadership could encompass a broader role than the original commissioning, surely.”

    Your assumption is supported by Acts 6. St. Stephen was both proto-deacon and proto-martyr. Full of grace and power, he performed wonders and miracles among the people and was a powerful witness to Jesus when arraigned before the Sanhedrin. And never forget: at Stephen’s stoning, young Saul worked coat check.

    I think the Stand Firm thread is probably worth more teasing through, but not tonight. Plus, this Essentials thread is already growing somewhat long and leggy so I think I’ll just drop this bone altogether for a few weeks and pick it up again some other day. God’s blessing to all.

  85. Kate says:

    #51 The Greek word is not deaconess, it is deacon.

  86. Dr. Priscilla Turner says:

    This thread is ages old, but since it refers to documents of mine which are now inaccessible on nwnet.org, perhaps I may be permitted to mention my new book with J.I. Packer on the whole question of same-sex physical relations:

    http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Homosex-Priscilla-D-M-Turner/dp/1482347865/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1366258469&sr=1-1&keywords=holy+homosex

    This represents all my substantial writing on the question.

    I will supply any number of copies at my cheap author’s price plus shipping to sincere people who will use them. Please write to me at priscilla dot turner at telus dot net .

    My sundry papers on WO are not [yet] published.

  87. Richard Smith says:

    I am sure you will supply any number of copies. I am guessing 500 were printed and 490 still remain. There is nothing like parsing the original Hebrew or Greek to find meaning in the modern world. It is pretty well all the “traditionalists” have left as they fight a losing battle to keep the sinners (who they love of course) out of the faith. It was no different with women priests (and now bishops – good heavens!!) 25 years ago. The battle will be lost but they will all be self-satisfied that they fought the good fight and their principles remain pure (and irrelevant).

  88. Peter says:

    Richard, that’s a pretty poor attempt at trolling. If you’ve got something serious to say, please say it, or I may exercise my editorial discretion.

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