Tag Archives: Dr Karen Bloomquist

Ordaining Women Goes to the Heart of the Gospel – Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Dr Karen Bloomquist - Director of the Department for Theology and Studies of The Lutheran World Federation, Geneva, Switzerland.

An extract from a presentation given by Dr. Karen Bloomquist for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cameroon taken from the Journal for Lutheran Ethics, 2009.  Dr. Karen Bloomquist is the director of the Department for Theology and Studies, The Lutheran World Federation, Geneva Switzerland.


[1] Since 1984 the clear official position of the Lutheran World Federation has been in favor of the ordination of women. Now, approximately 63 million, out of a total of 68 million members, belong to LWF member churches that do ordain women. Some Lutheran churches have been doing so for as far back as 80, 50 or 40 years, but many have only begun doing so in the past 20 years.

[2] Now there are several thousand Lutheran women who are ordained pastors (the estimated total in just Germany and the USA is over 10,000), including about 30 who serve as bishops or church presidents. In many Lutheran-related theological institutions today, about half of the students are women. The increasing number of women in the ordained ministry is one of the most dramatic shifts globally in Lutheran churches in the past few decades. It no longer is an abstract issue but a living reality throughout the Lutheran communion, which is the starting point for the communiqué affirmed earlier this year by the LWF Council: “The Ongoing Reformation of the Church: The Witness of Ordained Women Today.”

[3] Where there is hesitation or opposition to ordaining women, four factors typically are involved:

1. HISTORICAL LEGACIES from churches and mission societies that first established and continue to support churches here in Africa. This especially includes interpretations of the Bible and ways of being church that they have passed on, sometimes in opposition to positions of their own churches. Such interpretations deeply affect how we read Scripture to legitimize positions that may have been arrived on other grounds. As Dr. Musimbi Kanyoro has written:

Whether or not to ordain woman has depended largely on the practices, visions and wish of the ‘mother church,’ as well as the local perception of leadership in society, access to theological education, and interpretation of received traditions.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in theology


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