We’re not convinced that the authority of Scripture is the sacred cow it is held up to be.
Lets just imagine that theologians and church hierarchy spoke with one voice around the globe, deciding that Scripture did not allow the ordination for women. In the context of a world where women are in virtually all work places and are increasingly in leadership, the response from many would be to find that Scripture was simply inadequate to deal with our experience of God, or our experience of the world of today. On the other hand the response may simply be to walk away from the church.
Returning from the theoretical to the actual – the LCA – and assume the same conditions (universal agreement by theologians and Church hierarchy that women’s ordination is disallowed by Scripture) we would have two options, division or death. On the one hand (division), under intolerable conditions, individuals and congregations would be forced to form other communities, while on the other hand (death), people would walk away from the LCA and perhaps faith. In either case, the Church as we know it would be gone, leaving it to another generation to attempt to rebuild a tradition from the ruins of a disconnected, inward-looking, pious Australian Lutheran Church.
For too long the church used the authority of Scripture in its support of slavery. Human compassion decreed a higher standard and calling.
Today, any discussion on whether slavery should be tolerated would be abhorent. Similarly, the time is past when there can be any consideration of that world view where women are somehow less than men in the sacred or secular context.
What about the potential for a split in the Church? Isn’t it right that unity should be preserved until a solution can be found? It is our view that through lack of pastoral leadership the damage has already been done. Objective, careful leadership would have allowed the LCA to discuss and find its course towards women’s ordination. As it stands today, however, the matter has been politicised, the discussion stymied, the debate manipulated, and women have been isolated and alienated. Pr Semmler has distanced the national Church from St Stephens’ sponsored Time to Soar conference on women’s ordination and he continues to attempt to control the debate rather than to facilitate it. Sad to say, but we don’t believe that continued unity is either possible or desirable. It is not possible to expect congregations to continue to suppress their women at official levels when women are already providing significant leadership. It is difficult to gauge but some would add that patience with poor national leadership is running low. In addition, it is not desirable to maintain unity when that unity requires the continual abuse of women in the LCA.
For those who support women’s ordination the debate is over. Scriptural passages supporting slavery or the subjugation of women are simply reverberations of history. They offer nothing for our future. Our future is in an ever-adapting Church that responds to an ever-changing society.
- Time to Soar (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- Getting along with each other (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- Time to Soar – registration information (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- Australian Women Continue to Press for Ordination (thepersistentvoice.wordpress.com)
- The President distances himself from St Stephen’s conference on women’s ordination (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- A woman’s story of leaving the LCA (katieandmartin.wordpress.com)
- Female priest says the Church is like ‘abusive husband’ (independent.co.uk)
- No Theological Explanation for Women Not Being Ordained into Catholic Priesthood (barefootbarn.wordpress.com)
- Female bishops legislation must not be compromised out of existence | Miranda Threlfall-Holmes (guardian.co.uk)