Episcopalians choose a second gay bishop

The Episcopal Church in the USA, despite opposition from worldwide Anglicanism, has consecrated yet another homosexual bishop.  This one is a lesbian.

A majority of bishops and dioceses of the Episcopal Church have approved the election of the church’s second openly gay bishop, the Rev. Mary D. Glasspool, a decision likely to increase the tension with fellow Anglican churches around the world that do not approve of homosexuality. . . .

Bishop Glasspool, 56, is to be consecrated as one of two new assistant bishops, known as suffragan bishops, in Los Angeles on May 15. Both elected suffragan bishops are women — the first ever to serve in the diocese.

Both were elected at a convention of the diocese in December, but according to church rules had to win the approval of a majority of the bishops and standing committees (made up of clergy and laypeople) of the church’s 110 dioceses. Bishop Glasspool’s confirmation was never certain.

via Episcopalians Confirm Mary Glasspool as a Second Openly Gay Bishop – NYTimes.com.

So this is not just the action of one diocese. The whole church body, in effect, had to vote to approve it, and did.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Jonathan

    The larger error here is the ordination of a woman. Once you have that, the door is open to the other errors.

  • Jonathan

    The larger error here is the ordination of a woman. Once you have that, the door is open to the other errors.

  • http://www.stellarcross.org Father Robert Lyons

    Indeed, Jonathan, you are right… and, I might add, this is the reason I cannot support the new ACNA. The ACNA has attempted to recreate the Episcopal Church as it existed prior to the Robinson Consecration – at least, from what I can tell. They have retained their defective edition of the Prayer Book, and the Ordination of Women – claiming that both are up for discussion and debate.

    Now, the Prayer Book may be a neither here nor there matter, but the Ordination of Women debate is ultimately a debate on Biblical Authority. Either the Bible has regulative authority on who is ordianed, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, than ACNA proves itself hypocritical by ordaining women but not ordaining practicing homosexuals.

    Biblically the Presbyterate and Episcopate of the Church are male. There is no other possible view. This was the view of the ancient Church, the Mideavel Church, the Reformation Church (well, most of them, anyway!) right up to the 19th century. As Biblical Criticism entered the picture, more and more was ‘up for grabs’ and, alas, now we see the fruits of that movement in ecclesiastical bodies all over the planet.

    Rob+

  • http://www.stellarcross.org Father Robert Lyons

    Indeed, Jonathan, you are right… and, I might add, this is the reason I cannot support the new ACNA. The ACNA has attempted to recreate the Episcopal Church as it existed prior to the Robinson Consecration – at least, from what I can tell. They have retained their defective edition of the Prayer Book, and the Ordination of Women – claiming that both are up for discussion and debate.

    Now, the Prayer Book may be a neither here nor there matter, but the Ordination of Women debate is ultimately a debate on Biblical Authority. Either the Bible has regulative authority on who is ordianed, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, than ACNA proves itself hypocritical by ordaining women but not ordaining practicing homosexuals.

    Biblically the Presbyterate and Episcopate of the Church are male. There is no other possible view. This was the view of the ancient Church, the Mideavel Church, the Reformation Church (well, most of them, anyway!) right up to the 19th century. As Biblical Criticism entered the picture, more and more was ‘up for grabs’ and, alas, now we see the fruits of that movement in ecclesiastical bodies all over the planet.

    Rob+

  • Bryan Lindemood

    But Rob and Jonathan, don’t you know, the age of Aquarius has already dawned. Duh!

  • Bryan Lindemood

    But Rob and Jonathan, don’t you know, the age of Aquarius has already dawned. Duh!

  • CRB

    I recall an observation made by Dr. Louis Brighton, retired professor of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis to the point of
    ordaining women: when this becomes the norm, it’s an indication that the (organized) church is dying.

  • CRB

    I recall an observation made by Dr. Louis Brighton, retired professor of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis to the point of
    ordaining women: when this becomes the norm, it’s an indication that the (organized) church is dying.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Father Lyons has a good point. Homosexual and women’s ordination is merely a symptom and we are wasting our breath addressing them. The root of the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Scripture is and how to approach its interpretation. Until we address this issue the symptoms are going to be progressively worse. I came to this realization when my circuit brothers and I met with a group of local ELCA pastors who public protested their conventions decision and we couldn’t even get them to agree that the Bible is God’s word.

    It is largely because of this realization I have stopped supporting the various district and synodical resolutions condemning the ELCA concerning their position on homosexuality. They are a waste of paper seeking to treat the symptom rather than the disease. Don’t get me wrong, homosexuality and women’s ordination is sinful, but if we have true concern for our brothers and sisters we need to be addressing the problem of how they understand God’s revealed will.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    Father Lyons has a good point. Homosexual and women’s ordination is merely a symptom and we are wasting our breath addressing them. The root of the problem is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Scripture is and how to approach its interpretation. Until we address this issue the symptoms are going to be progressively worse. I came to this realization when my circuit brothers and I met with a group of local ELCA pastors who public protested their conventions decision and we couldn’t even get them to agree that the Bible is God’s word.

    It is largely because of this realization I have stopped supporting the various district and synodical resolutions condemning the ELCA concerning their position on homosexuality. They are a waste of paper seeking to treat the symptom rather than the disease. Don’t get me wrong, homosexuality and women’s ordination is sinful, but if we have true concern for our brothers and sisters we need to be addressing the problem of how they understand God’s revealed will.

  • http://thejcalebjones.tumblr.com The Jones

    I’m starting to put Episcopalians in the same category that I put Mormans.

    Biblical authority is the key. If the Episcopal church doesn’t believe that the Bible has authority, are they Christian at all? Should we be evangelizing Episcopalians as unchurched? (Or in light of the other post today: “Un-Bibled”)

    At least the Mormans have SOMETHING that they treat as authoritative other than the shifting sands of political correctness.

  • http://thejcalebjones.tumblr.com The Jones

    I’m starting to put Episcopalians in the same category that I put Mormans.

    Biblical authority is the key. If the Episcopal church doesn’t believe that the Bible has authority, are they Christian at all? Should we be evangelizing Episcopalians as unchurched? (Or in light of the other post today: “Un-Bibled”)

    At least the Mormans have SOMETHING that they treat as authoritative other than the shifting sands of political correctness.

  • fws

    The Jones at 6

    Oh My!

    Mormons believe that God the Father is literally a father having sex with his multiple wives and jesus and satan are his literal sons. and they also believe that you will become a god and create your own planet if you become a faithful mormon.

    the authority is the living prophet and what he writes in their magazine the “ensign”. if what the current prophet says varies from previous writings (bible, book of mormon, etc) then what he says is what goes.

    In contrast:

    the episcopalians have christian baptism. they read the scriptures every sunday. they recite the historic creeds. I can be certain there are christians there. I can be not so certain with the mormons.

    wow. I hope you were being flippant.

  • fws

    The Jones at 6

    Oh My!

    Mormons believe that God the Father is literally a father having sex with his multiple wives and jesus and satan are his literal sons. and they also believe that you will become a god and create your own planet if you become a faithful mormon.

    the authority is the living prophet and what he writes in their magazine the “ensign”. if what the current prophet says varies from previous writings (bible, book of mormon, etc) then what he says is what goes.

    In contrast:

    the episcopalians have christian baptism. they read the scriptures every sunday. they recite the historic creeds. I can be certain there are christians there. I can be not so certain with the mormons.

    wow. I hope you were being flippant.

  • fws

    no. the issue is not womens ordination or gays or morality or anything about visible morality.

    this is fruit. the root is faith or lack thereof.

    this is not even to say that those who are homosexual or support it or women´s ordination should be identified and considered to be pagan and without faith. that would be contrary to Jesus command to not tear up weeds and so risk tearing up wheat.

    Faith is created by faith in the Holy Gospel: this is only and precisely the forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ. alone. without works.

    If this is taught clearly and we are not distracted by the grave errors and sins that we see, then all will be well and we will be focussing on the only task God has created his church to be about.

    Preaching the forgiveness of sins assumes that people know they are sinners. we should take care that this fact does not lead us to make our primary message and goal one of condemnation.

    at the time of the reformation, all recognized and realized the abuses in the church. whore houses for priests, etc etc. many attempts at reform failed because the symptoms were attacked rather than the root error.

    Luther preached the gospel. then while he was having his beers and talking about the weather, the holy spirit used that word he preached to do mighty things.

  • fws

    no. the issue is not womens ordination or gays or morality or anything about visible morality.

    this is fruit. the root is faith or lack thereof.

    this is not even to say that those who are homosexual or support it or women´s ordination should be identified and considered to be pagan and without faith. that would be contrary to Jesus command to not tear up weeds and so risk tearing up wheat.

    Faith is created by faith in the Holy Gospel: this is only and precisely the forgiveness of sins found in Jesus Christ. alone. without works.

    If this is taught clearly and we are not distracted by the grave errors and sins that we see, then all will be well and we will be focussing on the only task God has created his church to be about.

    Preaching the forgiveness of sins assumes that people know they are sinners. we should take care that this fact does not lead us to make our primary message and goal one of condemnation.

    at the time of the reformation, all recognized and realized the abuses in the church. whore houses for priests, etc etc. many attempts at reform failed because the symptoms were attacked rather than the root error.

    Luther preached the gospel. then while he was having his beers and talking about the weather, the holy spirit used that word he preached to do mighty things.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    FWS – at some point you can still hold a Bible in your hands and stop trusting in the Word of the Lord. It happened to Israel. It can also happen to you and I. It has happened to the Episcopalians and I’m afraid also the ELCA. To the question “Are they Christian churches anymore?” There are individual congregations that certainly yes is the answer, but regarding the public profession of the faith as a Church body, the question marks their decisions (and especially their non-stance on the authority of the Word of God itself) are destroying peoples’ faith and burdening (perhaps enslaving) people’s consciences unnecessarily. The exact opposite of what the true church is called by her Lord to do. I think the Jones says something here that is necessary to say in our day.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    FWS – at some point you can still hold a Bible in your hands and stop trusting in the Word of the Lord. It happened to Israel. It can also happen to you and I. It has happened to the Episcopalians and I’m afraid also the ELCA. To the question “Are they Christian churches anymore?” There are individual congregations that certainly yes is the answer, but regarding the public profession of the faith as a Church body, the question marks their decisions (and especially their non-stance on the authority of the Word of God itself) are destroying peoples’ faith and burdening (perhaps enslaving) people’s consciences unnecessarily. The exact opposite of what the true church is called by her Lord to do. I think the Jones says something here that is necessary to say in our day.

  • Don

    LCMS logic? If ordaining women inexorably leads to the ordination of lesbians, then the ordination of men should just as surely lead to the ordination of homosexuals.

  • Don

    LCMS logic? If ordaining women inexorably leads to the ordination of lesbians, then the ordination of men should just as surely lead to the ordination of homosexuals.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mary Eberstadt in a recent First Things article, Christianity Lite shows how the sexual revolution in the Episcopal Church has led some of its leaders into heterodox Christianity. She writes:

    The same is true of the theological journey of one more prominent Episcopalian whose religious journey began—but did not end—with lightening up Christian sexual morality: Bishop John Shelby Spong of Newark. Time magazine called his Living in Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality (1988) “probably the most radical pronouncement on sex ever issued by a bishop.” It advocated the by-now familiar list of sexual selections from the contemporary cafeteria menu—from blessing homosexual unions to all the rest of “freeing the Bible from literalistic imprisonment.”

    Yet Bishop Spong’s radicalism, though obviously jumpstarted by sex, did not end there any more than Bishop Pike’s or Reverend Fletcher’s did. It, too, has broadened to include wide-ranging dissent over practically everything else. Spong says he believes in God but is not a theist, for example, and he also denies that Jesus either performed miracles or rose from the dead. So consistent is his record that Albert Mohler, the traditionalist president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, once remarked of Spong that “heretics are rarely excommunicated these days. Instead, they go on book tours.”

  • Peter Leavitt

    Mary Eberstadt in a recent First Things article, Christianity Lite shows how the sexual revolution in the Episcopal Church has led some of its leaders into heterodox Christianity. She writes:

    The same is true of the theological journey of one more prominent Episcopalian whose religious journey began—but did not end—with lightening up Christian sexual morality: Bishop John Shelby Spong of Newark. Time magazine called his Living in Sin: A Bishop Rethinks Human Sexuality (1988) “probably the most radical pronouncement on sex ever issued by a bishop.” It advocated the by-now familiar list of sexual selections from the contemporary cafeteria menu—from blessing homosexual unions to all the rest of “freeing the Bible from literalistic imprisonment.”

    Yet Bishop Spong’s radicalism, though obviously jumpstarted by sex, did not end there any more than Bishop Pike’s or Reverend Fletcher’s did. It, too, has broadened to include wide-ranging dissent over practically everything else. Spong says he believes in God but is not a theist, for example, and he also denies that Jesus either performed miracles or rose from the dead. So consistent is his record that Albert Mohler, the traditionalist president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, once remarked of Spong that “heretics are rarely excommunicated these days. Instead, they go on book tours.”

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What are you talking about Don? We have a clear word from God on the ordination of women and it is: “don’t.” When the church can decide to overturn the words that it doesn’t like, then, where does that stop? Evidently it doesn’t. Case in point: The Episcopal church in the U.S. and the ELCA. It is what it is.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    What are you talking about Don? We have a clear word from God on the ordination of women and it is: “don’t.” When the church can decide to overturn the words that it doesn’t like, then, where does that stop? Evidently it doesn’t. Case in point: The Episcopal church in the U.S. and the ELCA. It is what it is.

  • Don

    Bryan,
    The Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women;
    the decision not to do so rests largely on tradition, history, and inferences from the Word. But my point was to reject to the assertion that ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians.

  • Don

    Bryan,
    The Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women;
    the decision not to do so rests largely on tradition, history, and inferences from the Word. But my point was to reject to the assertion that ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), it’s not, as such, that “ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians”. It’s that, as I believe has been made clear already, rejecting the Bible as God’s Word — as authoritative and normative for our lives today — leads to both ordaining women and ordaining lesbians. Usually in that order.

    Also, I know you know the passage, but go ahead and tell me why 1 Timothy 2:12 is not clear.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), it’s not, as such, that “ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians”. It’s that, as I believe has been made clear already, rejecting the Bible as God’s Word — as authoritative and normative for our lives today — leads to both ordaining women and ordaining lesbians. Usually in that order.

    Also, I know you know the passage, but go ahead and tell me why 1 Timothy 2:12 is not clear.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    If you don’t like those words, then yes, you’re right: God’s Word (minus those words in the pastoral epistles especially, that make clear the pastorate) is unclear on the matter. Too bad so many churches have decided to burden women’s consciences in this way.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    If you don’t like those words, then yes, you’re right: God’s Word (minus those words in the pastoral epistles especially, that make clear the pastorate) is unclear on the matter. Too bad so many churches have decided to burden women’s consciences in this way.

  • Don

    tODD, I’m no Bible scholar, but 2 Tim 2:12 does not seem to forbid ordaining women outright. The verse remains strictly intact if a woman were ordained and limited to minister to only other women, for example. Further, the verse commands women to be silent in the church. I’ve never been in a Lutheran church where, say, women could not raise their voice in song. You’ll say that’s not what the verse forbids, and I would agree. Nonetheless, it commands women to be silent without the common-sense exceptions we routinely read into it today. (I’m limiting myself to the one verse you say is clear.)

    But the larger question is, why does rejecting the Bible leads to ordaining women? Why just that? Why not to the ordination of children? Or to the abandonment of ordination altogether? I suspect that those who ordain women struggle with Paul’s comment that in Christ there is no male or female. That verse, taken in isolation like 2 Tim 2:12, would seem to justify ordaining women.

  • Don

    tODD, I’m no Bible scholar, but 2 Tim 2:12 does not seem to forbid ordaining women outright. The verse remains strictly intact if a woman were ordained and limited to minister to only other women, for example. Further, the verse commands women to be silent in the church. I’ve never been in a Lutheran church where, say, women could not raise their voice in song. You’ll say that’s not what the verse forbids, and I would agree. Nonetheless, it commands women to be silent without the common-sense exceptions we routinely read into it today. (I’m limiting myself to the one verse you say is clear.)

    But the larger question is, why does rejecting the Bible leads to ordaining women? Why just that? Why not to the ordination of children? Or to the abandonment of ordination altogether? I suspect that those who ordain women struggle with Paul’s comment that in Christ there is no male or female. That verse, taken in isolation like 2 Tim 2:12, would seem to justify ordaining women.

  • http://www.stellarcross.org Father Robert Lyons

    Don (Post 16) – Rejecting the Word of God leads to far more than ordaining women, homosexuals, etc. Rejecting the Bible leads us to ever damnable heresy that has plagued the Christian Church in her history.

    Scripture must first be understood in light of itself in all things, with that self-revealed interpretation cemented by later traditions which witness to the same thing. That is why we can claim some things to be adiaphora and not others (or, as a psudeo-Augustine would have it, “Unity in essentials, diversity in non-essentials, and Love in all things.”)

    If you reject the authority of the Word of God:
    Abortion is OK.
    Murder is OK.
    Animalism is OK.
    Spiritualism is OK.
    Slander is OK.
    Blaspheming and rejecting God is OK.
    And the list goes on, and on, and on…

    Are the contents of the Holy Bible the real, authoratitive, authentic Word of God, or are they nice, moralistic and potentially educational stories with little contemporary relevance? If they are the former, then we shall seek to live our life within the constraints of Godly behavior that we learn of from the Word, and we shall not put the Word to the test by attempting to expand it through our own (fallen) human intuition. If they are the latter, well, then indeed may God help us all.

    Rob+

  • http://www.stellarcross.org Father Robert Lyons

    Don (Post 16) – Rejecting the Word of God leads to far more than ordaining women, homosexuals, etc. Rejecting the Bible leads us to ever damnable heresy that has plagued the Christian Church in her history.

    Scripture must first be understood in light of itself in all things, with that self-revealed interpretation cemented by later traditions which witness to the same thing. That is why we can claim some things to be adiaphora and not others (or, as a psudeo-Augustine would have it, “Unity in essentials, diversity in non-essentials, and Love in all things.”)

    If you reject the authority of the Word of God:
    Abortion is OK.
    Murder is OK.
    Animalism is OK.
    Spiritualism is OK.
    Slander is OK.
    Blaspheming and rejecting God is OK.
    And the list goes on, and on, and on…

    Are the contents of the Holy Bible the real, authoratitive, authentic Word of God, or are they nice, moralistic and potentially educational stories with little contemporary relevance? If they are the former, then we shall seek to live our life within the constraints of Godly behavior that we learn of from the Word, and we shall not put the Word to the test by attempting to expand it through our own (fallen) human intuition. If they are the latter, well, then indeed may God help us all.

    Rob+

  • http://thejcalebjones.tumblr.com The Jones

    fws,

    What I meant by “in the same category” is “not a Christian.” In that sense, I was not being flippant.

    No, I didn’t align each church’s transgressions up and compare them to each other. What I meant by “at least they believe something” is the fact that at least something holds authoritative weight (even if it is a prophet writing in a magazine), instead of living in a relativistic and politically correct world where words themselves (including the Word of God) have no meaning in themselves.

    Was my comparison exact? Of course not. But was it flippant? No, not really. Just because the Episcopal church as we see it now happens to keep baptism and creeds doesn’t mean that they actually believe, and it doesn’t mean that they’ll have them tomorrow, based on their ignorance of certain biblical passages. (For the record, the bigger deal for me is the lesbian part, although I also don’t like the woman part.) Like others have pointed out, too, the issue is the authority of scripture.

  • http://thejcalebjones.tumblr.com The Jones

    fws,

    What I meant by “in the same category” is “not a Christian.” In that sense, I was not being flippant.

    No, I didn’t align each church’s transgressions up and compare them to each other. What I meant by “at least they believe something” is the fact that at least something holds authoritative weight (even if it is a prophet writing in a magazine), instead of living in a relativistic and politically correct world where words themselves (including the Word of God) have no meaning in themselves.

    Was my comparison exact? Of course not. But was it flippant? No, not really. Just because the Episcopal church as we see it now happens to keep baptism and creeds doesn’t mean that they actually believe, and it doesn’t mean that they’ll have them tomorrow, based on their ignorance of certain biblical passages. (For the record, the bigger deal for me is the lesbian part, although I also don’t like the woman part.) Like others have pointed out, too, the issue is the authority of scripture.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    DonS, I’m assuming it is DonS and not another Don?
    You should maybe then just leave it alone if you are not a Bible Scholar. I just love it when someone caveats that way, and then tries to teach others about what they admit they know nothing about.
    Pastors are called to teach, and be in authority, both men and women. Yes women can teach other women, and children according to this verse, they make great Sunday school teachers, and the bringing back of the office of deaconess is a great thing. But When we talk of a pastor we are talking of one called by God through the church to publicly proclaim the good news and administer the sacraments according to Christ’s institution.
    I realize you are a lawyer, and so it is a natural tendency to look for loopholes, and try to redefine terms, but if we allow you to do that here, we won’t have any pastors left.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    DonS, I’m assuming it is DonS and not another Don?
    You should maybe then just leave it alone if you are not a Bible Scholar. I just love it when someone caveats that way, and then tries to teach others about what they admit they know nothing about.
    Pastors are called to teach, and be in authority, both men and women. Yes women can teach other women, and children according to this verse, they make great Sunday school teachers, and the bringing back of the office of deaconess is a great thing. But When we talk of a pastor we are talking of one called by God through the church to publicly proclaim the good news and administer the sacraments according to Christ’s institution.
    I realize you are a lawyer, and so it is a natural tendency to look for loopholes, and try to redefine terms, but if we allow you to do that here, we won’t have any pastors left.

  • fws

    bryan at 9 and the jones at 18.

    The same charges can be leveled at you and me. we show by our lives that we really don´t believe we can fear, love, and trust in God above all things. What makes us christian is something wholy invisible.

    It is true that good works will follow a living faith. It would be wrong to then reverse that and say that their visible lack proves that there is no faith. If what I say is not true, then feel free to separate wheat from weed and sheep from goat. You then are able to do that.

    Your charges can also be leveled against the roman church, calvinists, etc all, and even orthodox lutherans equally. Sometimes it is hard to believe someone is christian or some organization contains them.

    We believe that wherever the Word is preached God has his believers.

    We are all (fortunately) inconsistent . Faith is always inconsistent with sin. Calvinists denying clear words (eg Christ died for ALL, this IS my body) can be inconsistent. as can persons who believe there is nothing contrary to scripture but rather tradition only with women´s ordination, or with homosexuals who might be orthodox and still believe it is ok to have sex in a monogamous relationship, having been convinced by scripture, or divorcees convinced it is ok to remarry, or fat people who don´t see themselves as gluttons contrary to clear words of scripture calling that one of the 7 deadly sins., etc etc.

    I am not sure it is wise or useful to try to determine who is in and who is out. it would be far better for us to be clear about what we do believe and proclaim that. We LCMS lutherans often teach John Calvin and not Luther or Paul on what is sanctification and repentence. This is probably exactly why we find ourselves needed some visible tangible line between who is in the kingdom and who is not.

    truth is: the line you are looking for runs right down the middle of each of us.

    what we see is a call for our own repentance and mortification. It is not possible or called for us to work out the mortification of others. We can only be faithful witnesses to the truth. But first we must ourselves be clear on what that truth is. We should not quickly assume that we are clear.

  • fws

    bryan at 9 and the jones at 18.

    The same charges can be leveled at you and me. we show by our lives that we really don´t believe we can fear, love, and trust in God above all things. What makes us christian is something wholy invisible.

    It is true that good works will follow a living faith. It would be wrong to then reverse that and say that their visible lack proves that there is no faith. If what I say is not true, then feel free to separate wheat from weed and sheep from goat. You then are able to do that.

    Your charges can also be leveled against the roman church, calvinists, etc all, and even orthodox lutherans equally. Sometimes it is hard to believe someone is christian or some organization contains them.

    We believe that wherever the Word is preached God has his believers.

    We are all (fortunately) inconsistent . Faith is always inconsistent with sin. Calvinists denying clear words (eg Christ died for ALL, this IS my body) can be inconsistent. as can persons who believe there is nothing contrary to scripture but rather tradition only with women´s ordination, or with homosexuals who might be orthodox and still believe it is ok to have sex in a monogamous relationship, having been convinced by scripture, or divorcees convinced it is ok to remarry, or fat people who don´t see themselves as gluttons contrary to clear words of scripture calling that one of the 7 deadly sins., etc etc.

    I am not sure it is wise or useful to try to determine who is in and who is out. it would be far better for us to be clear about what we do believe and proclaim that. We LCMS lutherans often teach John Calvin and not Luther or Paul on what is sanctification and repentence. This is probably exactly why we find ourselves needed some visible tangible line between who is in the kingdom and who is not.

    truth is: the line you are looking for runs right down the middle of each of us.

    what we see is a call for our own repentance and mortification. It is not possible or called for us to work out the mortification of others. We can only be faithful witnesses to the truth. But first we must ourselves be clear on what that truth is. We should not quickly assume that we are clear.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Whoa there, Bror (@19). You and I may have differences with DonS, but I’m pretty sure this is not he. This is Don. Of course one or both can correct us here, but this really doesn’t sound like DonS.

    Anyhow Don (@16), as Bror correctly noted, 1 Tim. 2 (and it is 1st Timothy we’re talking about here) doesn’t prohibit women having authority over other women, or children. But then, when we talk about “women’s ordination”, we’re almost never talking about such things. We’re talking about women serving as the head of congregations that include adult men.

    Furthermore, we should always read things in context. Yes, verse 12 does say (in the NIV) “she must be silent”, but that is merely expounding upon what it had previously said: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man”. There are not two different teachings here, but one. Women singing in churches would not contradict this teaching on authority.

    And you’re right that women’s ordination isn’t the only thing that comes from rejecting the Bible, nor does it solely lead to ordaining those unrepentantly engaging in homosexual activity. Once you reject the Bible’s authority, all manner of error creeps in — or floods in.

    And with due respect to Robert (@17), his list doesn’t even cover the worst error, which is the loss of the Gospel. Sure, plenty of sins get soft-pedaled, but there’s still a notion of right and wrong. But losing the Gospel is always the worst effect of ignoring the Bible, because it leaves those people in their sins.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Whoa there, Bror (@19). You and I may have differences with DonS, but I’m pretty sure this is not he. This is Don. Of course one or both can correct us here, but this really doesn’t sound like DonS.

    Anyhow Don (@16), as Bror correctly noted, 1 Tim. 2 (and it is 1st Timothy we’re talking about here) doesn’t prohibit women having authority over other women, or children. But then, when we talk about “women’s ordination”, we’re almost never talking about such things. We’re talking about women serving as the head of congregations that include adult men.

    Furthermore, we should always read things in context. Yes, verse 12 does say (in the NIV) “she must be silent”, but that is merely expounding upon what it had previously said: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man”. There are not two different teachings here, but one. Women singing in churches would not contradict this teaching on authority.

    And you’re right that women’s ordination isn’t the only thing that comes from rejecting the Bible, nor does it solely lead to ordaining those unrepentantly engaging in homosexual activity. Once you reject the Bible’s authority, all manner of error creeps in — or floods in.

    And with due respect to Robert (@17), his list doesn’t even cover the worst error, which is the loss of the Gospel. Sure, plenty of sins get soft-pedaled, but there’s still a notion of right and wrong. But losing the Gospel is always the worst effect of ignoring the Bible, because it leaves those people in their sins.

  • Don

    @19
    Give me a bit more Christian charity. You well know that I was not trying to teach anyone. I was anwering tODD’s challenge about the clarity (or lack of same) in one verse. It appears that the verse got under your skin. I am not “DonS”.

    @17
    I’m not LCMS. So I suppose I could conclude that rejecting the authority of scripture leads to believing the LCMS is OK. Otherwise, we’d all be in the synod.

  • Don

    @19
    Give me a bit more Christian charity. You well know that I was not trying to teach anyone. I was anwering tODD’s challenge about the clarity (or lack of same) in one verse. It appears that the verse got under your skin. I am not “DonS”.

    @17
    I’m not LCMS. So I suppose I could conclude that rejecting the authority of scripture leads to believing the LCMS is OK. Otherwise, we’d all be in the synod.

  • Don

    tODD, sure, context matters; but as I said to Bror, I was working with one verse from 1 Tim.

    Is the verse limited to a church service? Do Lutherans allow women to teach in seminaries? Could I, an adult man, take music lessons from a female?

  • Don

    tODD, sure, context matters; but as I said to Bror, I was working with one verse from 1 Tim.

    Is the verse limited to a church service? Do Lutherans allow women to teach in seminaries? Could I, an adult man, take music lessons from a female?

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don,
    Sorry for confusing you with DonS on this one.
    The overall biblical implication is that this really confines itself to the pastoral office, and quite frankly the teaching in mind here is that which goes on within the Divine Service.
    1 Timothy 2:12 is not the only verse from which we derive our doctrine of the ministry nor our reason for denying them the pastoral office. There is also 1 Corinthians 14 which keeps the conversation grounded in what goes on during the divine service. And isn’t talking about them singing or confessing creeds, etc. but is talking of what goes on during the sermon, that part of the Divine service when people are being taught.
    Well I have to head to the airport.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Don,
    Sorry for confusing you with DonS on this one.
    The overall biblical implication is that this really confines itself to the pastoral office, and quite frankly the teaching in mind here is that which goes on within the Divine Service.
    1 Timothy 2:12 is not the only verse from which we derive our doctrine of the ministry nor our reason for denying them the pastoral office. There is also 1 Corinthians 14 which keeps the conversation grounded in what goes on during the divine service. And isn’t talking about them singing or confessing creeds, etc. but is talking of what goes on during the sermon, that part of the Divine service when people are being taught.
    Well I have to head to the airport.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@23), your reply that “context matters; but as I said to Bror, I was working with one verse from 1 Tim” makes no sense. I pointed to one verse, but I assumed you would read it in context. That’s how one reads things. I just thought that was the shortest, clearest summation in the Bible against ordaining women. It’s far from the only verse that deals with the topic, of course. By all means, do go on to read all of 1 Timothy — and all of the pastoral letters. You’ll find more that makes clear that those in authority in the church are to be men (e.g. all the pronouns in 1 Timothy 3, in addition to the rule that “overseers” be “the husband of but one wife” — a difficult rule for women to fulfill).

    You go on to ask, “Is the verse limited to a church service? Do Lutherans allow women to teach in seminaries? Could I, an adult man, take music lessons from a female?” The latter question seems intended to be ridiculous. So let me ask you: Do you think Paul is referring to music lessons? Do you think that is the context in which he says this? Or do you think that Paul is talking about the church? I think a proper understanding of the context answers all your questions. What do you think?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@23), your reply that “context matters; but as I said to Bror, I was working with one verse from 1 Tim” makes no sense. I pointed to one verse, but I assumed you would read it in context. That’s how one reads things. I just thought that was the shortest, clearest summation in the Bible against ordaining women. It’s far from the only verse that deals with the topic, of course. By all means, do go on to read all of 1 Timothy — and all of the pastoral letters. You’ll find more that makes clear that those in authority in the church are to be men (e.g. all the pronouns in 1 Timothy 3, in addition to the rule that “overseers” be “the husband of but one wife” — a difficult rule for women to fulfill).

    You go on to ask, “Is the verse limited to a church service? Do Lutherans allow women to teach in seminaries? Could I, an adult man, take music lessons from a female?” The latter question seems intended to be ridiculous. So let me ask you: Do you think Paul is referring to music lessons? Do you think that is the context in which he says this? Or do you think that Paul is talking about the church? I think a proper understanding of the context answers all your questions. What do you think?

  • Don

    tODD, you presented one verse from 1 Tim, saying it clearly forbade the ordination of women. I replied that, in my view, the one verse did not clearly say that. Now, you contend that what you meant was, I should have read the verse in context. Fair enough; I previously said that context matters.

    Was Paul referring to music lessons? I doubt it, but he is referring to women teaching men, not to the subject matter of the teaching. Is the teaching limited to the four walls of the church building? To the divine service only? Which parts of the divine service? Only to the Word of God? Or is ‘the church’ a synonym here, as elsewhere. for ‘the body of Christ,’ thus forbidding a Christian woman from ever teaching a man? You find the questions ridiculous because, I suggest, you read them in the context of your circumstances. Nothing ususual about that. But I think, frankly, that these epistles are difficult to rightly interpret outside of their 1st century context. 1 Tim was sent to Timothy, who then taught the church, establishing, I submit, both the value of what’s called tradition and apostolic succession. We’re dependent not on 1 Tim, but on Timothy’s teaching of what he learned from Paul’s letter to him.

  • Don

    tODD, you presented one verse from 1 Tim, saying it clearly forbade the ordination of women. I replied that, in my view, the one verse did not clearly say that. Now, you contend that what you meant was, I should have read the verse in context. Fair enough; I previously said that context matters.

    Was Paul referring to music lessons? I doubt it, but he is referring to women teaching men, not to the subject matter of the teaching. Is the teaching limited to the four walls of the church building? To the divine service only? Which parts of the divine service? Only to the Word of God? Or is ‘the church’ a synonym here, as elsewhere. for ‘the body of Christ,’ thus forbidding a Christian woman from ever teaching a man? You find the questions ridiculous because, I suggest, you read them in the context of your circumstances. Nothing ususual about that. But I think, frankly, that these epistles are difficult to rightly interpret outside of their 1st century context. 1 Tim was sent to Timothy, who then taught the church, establishing, I submit, both the value of what’s called tradition and apostolic succession. We’re dependent not on 1 Tim, but on Timothy’s teaching of what he learned from Paul’s letter to him.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fine, Don (@26), from here on out, I’ll just refer to the entire epistle, and you’ll have to guess what section I’m referring to. Wouldn’t want you to just read any verses I refer to out of context.

    And you’ll note that I only labeled as “ridiculous” your one question about “music lessons”, not all of them. No offense intended if you honestly are unsure whether Paul was writing about music lessons — but if you are, I think a quick reading of 1 Timothy will clear that up for you.

    And while I realize that 1 Timothy is difficult to understand, it is not impossible to do so. The main difficulty, I will assert, is that we want to read our modern cultural understandings into it, in spite of what it says.

    As to your questions, again, I think a full reading of 1 Timothy will clear a lot of things up. Somewhere in there, Paul says “I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God”. And, as Bror noted (@24), Paul touches on women teaching in “the church” or “the congregations of the saints” in 1 Corinthians as well.

    And while I appreciate that there are many nuanced questions to be asked about this teaching — some of which you’ve touched on — let’s not lose sight of the topic we’re discussing here, which was your primary assertion that “The Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women.” It may be true that you are unclear on what the Word says about this, but it is not true that the Word itself is unclear.

    The only passage from the Bible you have offered to the contrary is one that is often quoted in such discussions, but just as often taken completely out of context: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” To read this as a statement that there is no difference between genders, or in the roles that members of different genders play, is to mutilate that passage (and forgive me, but I’m not quoting the whole of Galatians just to put it in full context).

    Furthermore, your subsequent point was, as you said, “to reject to the assertion that ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians.” To which my question would be: to what woman-ordaining churches would you point as your proof? I have much empirical evidence to the contrary.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Fine, Don (@26), from here on out, I’ll just refer to the entire epistle, and you’ll have to guess what section I’m referring to. Wouldn’t want you to just read any verses I refer to out of context.

    And you’ll note that I only labeled as “ridiculous” your one question about “music lessons”, not all of them. No offense intended if you honestly are unsure whether Paul was writing about music lessons — but if you are, I think a quick reading of 1 Timothy will clear that up for you.

    And while I realize that 1 Timothy is difficult to understand, it is not impossible to do so. The main difficulty, I will assert, is that we want to read our modern cultural understandings into it, in spite of what it says.

    As to your questions, again, I think a full reading of 1 Timothy will clear a lot of things up. Somewhere in there, Paul says “I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God”. And, as Bror noted (@24), Paul touches on women teaching in “the church” or “the congregations of the saints” in 1 Corinthians as well.

    And while I appreciate that there are many nuanced questions to be asked about this teaching — some of which you’ve touched on — let’s not lose sight of the topic we’re discussing here, which was your primary assertion that “The Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women.” It may be true that you are unclear on what the Word says about this, but it is not true that the Word itself is unclear.

    The only passage from the Bible you have offered to the contrary is one that is often quoted in such discussions, but just as often taken completely out of context: “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” To read this as a statement that there is no difference between genders, or in the roles that members of different genders play, is to mutilate that passage (and forgive me, but I’m not quoting the whole of Galatians just to put it in full context).

    Furthermore, your subsequent point was, as you said, “to reject to the assertion that ordaining women leads to ordaining lesbians.” To which my question would be: to what woman-ordaining churches would you point as your proof? I have much empirical evidence to the contrary.

  • Don

    Yes, tODD, but it’s the nuanced questions that are worth answering.
    Does 1 Tim prevent a woman in all times and places from ever teaching a man the Word of God? I can’t say.
    In Acts, we find Apollos getting his theology updated by a woman, and women prophesied, but perhaps by the time Timothy rec’d his epistle, things were cooling down. Then again, maybe 1 Tim applies only to where Timothy was when he rec’d it. Like how I Corin. treats of specific problems in Corinth, not really anywhere else. (Then why don’t Lutheran women wear head coverings? Cultural item, I suggest, like, perhaps, the prohibition of teaching, though maybe not of ordination.)
    As for the ordination of women (can an unordained woman teach?), empirical evidence is what it is, but I still don’t see how ordaining women must lead to the ordination of lesbians, which was earlier posts seem to say.

  • Don

    Yes, tODD, but it’s the nuanced questions that are worth answering.
    Does 1 Tim prevent a woman in all times and places from ever teaching a man the Word of God? I can’t say.
    In Acts, we find Apollos getting his theology updated by a woman, and women prophesied, but perhaps by the time Timothy rec’d his epistle, things were cooling down. Then again, maybe 1 Tim applies only to where Timothy was when he rec’d it. Like how I Corin. treats of specific problems in Corinth, not really anywhere else. (Then why don’t Lutheran women wear head coverings? Cultural item, I suggest, like, perhaps, the prohibition of teaching, though maybe not of ordination.)
    As for the ordination of women (can an unordained woman teach?), empirical evidence is what it is, but I still don’t see how ordaining women must lead to the ordination of lesbians, which was earlier posts seem to say.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@28), you appear to be changing what we’re discussing. Sorry, but I’m still trying to discuss your assertion that “the Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women.” As you are no doubt aware, the story of Apollos does not involve women teaching in the churches, but rather private instruction.

    You say that you “can’t say” if a Bible passage applies in all places and all times. I say that, with that attitude, you can’t even say if forgiveness of sins applies in all times and places — there’s nothing you can’t say was limited in scope. We must find reasons read things as culturally contextual … within the text itself.

    As an example of this, there is the place in 1 Corinthians where Paul says, regarding head coverings, “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God” (which verse the NIV mistranslates, you will note, though the ESV, quoted here, and the KJV, among others, get right). Paul says that this head covering is not the practice of the entire church; instead, he is merely appealing to Corinthian culture.

    And, of course, empirical evidence does not tell us the “how”, but merely the “what”. Find me a church that ordains women but not lesbians, and I will ask you to get back to me in ten years.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@28), you appear to be changing what we’re discussing. Sorry, but I’m still trying to discuss your assertion that “the Word is hardly clear on whether to ordain women.” As you are no doubt aware, the story of Apollos does not involve women teaching in the churches, but rather private instruction.

    You say that you “can’t say” if a Bible passage applies in all places and all times. I say that, with that attitude, you can’t even say if forgiveness of sins applies in all times and places — there’s nothing you can’t say was limited in scope. We must find reasons read things as culturally contextual … within the text itself.

    As an example of this, there is the place in 1 Corinthians where Paul says, regarding head coverings, “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God” (which verse the NIV mistranslates, you will note, though the ESV, quoted here, and the KJV, among others, get right). Paul says that this head covering is not the practice of the entire church; instead, he is merely appealing to Corinthian culture.

    And, of course, empirical evidence does not tell us the “how”, but merely the “what”. Find me a church that ordains women but not lesbians, and I will ask you to get back to me in ten years.

  • Jonathan

    I think it was Soren Kirkegaard who said something like, “People who say the Bible is hard to understand are wrong. The Bible is rather easy to understand, but people want to believe it is hard to understand because the moment they admit they understand it, then they are obliged to follow it.”

    So it goes with those who disregard the authority of the Bible, and it leads to all sorts of errors.

  • Jonathan

    I think it was Soren Kirkegaard who said something like, “People who say the Bible is hard to understand are wrong. The Bible is rather easy to understand, but people want to believe it is hard to understand because the moment they admit they understand it, then they are obliged to follow it.”

    So it goes with those who disregard the authority of the Bible, and it leads to all sorts of errors.

  • Anon

    You can’t have “I do not permit a woman to teach…men” without also teaching that Christian women (as opposed to men) are somehow still in transgression, and that they will be saved by and through the act of having children.

    Is this right?

  • Anon

    You can’t have “I do not permit a woman to teach…men” without also teaching that Christian women (as opposed to men) are somehow still in transgression, and that they will be saved by and through the act of having children.

    Is this right?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Why do you think you can’t teach it differently than that, Anon? Perhaps you can teach that God’s design is to have a male pastorate for His Church and also at the same time that God’s full and free gifts to the church of the full forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith apply equally to all people, male or female, slave or free. In fact upon further reading I think you will find this a very clear and consistent teaching of the Bible, even though some people seem to want to put both of those things in opposition to each other. I don’t see any New Testament (or Old Testament) passage or narrative doing that though.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Why do you think you can’t teach it differently than that, Anon? Perhaps you can teach that God’s design is to have a male pastorate for His Church and also at the same time that God’s full and free gifts to the church of the full forgiveness of sins and eternal life through faith apply equally to all people, male or female, slave or free. In fact upon further reading I think you will find this a very clear and consistent teaching of the Bible, even though some people seem to want to put both of those things in opposition to each other. I don’t see any New Testament (or Old Testament) passage or narrative doing that though.

  • Jonathan

    I heard a professor of NT Greek explain that the common translation about “woman saved by childbirth” is not all that accurate. Basically, there’s really a transitive verb at work in that sentence, and it is better translated to the effect, “she will be saved by the bearing of a child.” Hmm, saved by the bearing of a child…Jesus, that is. So, in other words, that verse is reminding men not to think less of women who don’t get divine permission to be pastors, because they are still saved just like men are.

  • Jonathan

    I heard a professor of NT Greek explain that the common translation about “woman saved by childbirth” is not all that accurate. Basically, there’s really a transitive verb at work in that sentence, and it is better translated to the effect, “she will be saved by the bearing of a child.” Hmm, saved by the bearing of a child…Jesus, that is. So, in other words, that verse is reminding men not to think less of women who don’t get divine permission to be pastors, because they are still saved just like men are.

  • Peter Leavitt

    One thing I’ve learned in recent years, after a long career of investment banking, community, and church affairs, is that there are some very bright, able, ambitious women out there who make valuable contributions. Many of these women, along with the men , are capable of working long hours with travel and still maintain a fine family and contribute t church and community.

    When selecting men and women for key positions, as a matter of vital company interest, it pays to be rigorously fair and sharp in making these decisions. I’ve observed not a few patriarchal oriented companies go down the tube on this issue. Although, I’m a traditional conservative on most issues, when it comes to the matter of women, I’m glad to promote the interests of truly able ones.

    In my own marriage, I should say that my wife and I manage to come to agreement on most family issues, though when we do differ my wife usually defers to my judgment, as she well knows the importance of decisiveness in family matters.

    Personally, I question the wisdom of rigid Jewish patriarchal norms. I’ve witnessed a fair number of mediocre men over the years foolishly and arrogantly standing for their patriarchal prerogatives. Personally, I don’t stand for this in either community, business, or church affairs, though on the other hand I abhor those weak men and women who ideologically promote the interests of women.

  • Peter Leavitt

    One thing I’ve learned in recent years, after a long career of investment banking, community, and church affairs, is that there are some very bright, able, ambitious women out there who make valuable contributions. Many of these women, along with the men , are capable of working long hours with travel and still maintain a fine family and contribute t church and community.

    When selecting men and women for key positions, as a matter of vital company interest, it pays to be rigorously fair and sharp in making these decisions. I’ve observed not a few patriarchal oriented companies go down the tube on this issue. Although, I’m a traditional conservative on most issues, when it comes to the matter of women, I’m glad to promote the interests of truly able ones.

    In my own marriage, I should say that my wife and I manage to come to agreement on most family issues, though when we do differ my wife usually defers to my judgment, as she well knows the importance of decisiveness in family matters.

    Personally, I question the wisdom of rigid Jewish patriarchal norms. I’ve witnessed a fair number of mediocre men over the years foolishly and arrogantly standing for their patriarchal prerogatives. Personally, I don’t stand for this in either community, business, or church affairs, though on the other hand I abhor those weak men and women who ideologically promote the interests of women.

  • Jonathan

    This is one of the questions I look forward to having answered in the world to come, “Lord, why not women?” (I think it is much more than just ancient Jewish misogyny.)

    If it were up to me in my modern, egalitarian way, I would say, “yes,” to women because clearly there are able ones who can preach, etc. Some others…um, not so much. But, anyway, my human understanding says women are/should be capable. Yet the Word is clear that they are not called to serve as overseer in public ministry.

  • Jonathan

    This is one of the questions I look forward to having answered in the world to come, “Lord, why not women?” (I think it is much more than just ancient Jewish misogyny.)

    If it were up to me in my modern, egalitarian way, I would say, “yes,” to women because clearly there are able ones who can preach, etc. Some others…um, not so much. But, anyway, my human understanding says women are/should be capable. Yet the Word is clear that they are not called to serve as overseer in public ministry.


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