Ordain Women Priests and Pastors

Ordain Women Priests and Pastors January 16, 2024

Ordain Women Priests and Pastors

Woman Preacher in Pulpit
RDNE Stock project

Watching an episode of The Great, I was intrigued by Katherine the Great’s insistence that women be treated with equality in an age when women were objects not persons. When she was introduced to one of the candidates for the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, she was instructed not to look him in the eye and told that he would not speak to her. As she knelt before the old, long-bearded archbishop, he gave her a blessing that consisted of swatting her in the face twice with some sort of utensil.

My mind couldn’t help but see the present potentates of the Roman Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention. I think Albert Mohler would look completely at home in the ecclesiastical garb of a patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.

When all the world has accepted the gifts, wisdom, talents, and contributions of women, in all the disciplines, in politics, and in the military, the Catholics and the Southern Baptists remain stuck in the 18th century. They are the most well-known of the holdouts, but the Missouri Synod shouldn’t be left out.

Women can and have been prime ministers, governors, senators, members of the House of Representatives, lawyers, surgeons, academic scholars, architects, military officers, chefs, and practically anything else once thought to be the domain of men only. Why then are they not ministers and priests in the Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist churches?

The first-century church or New Testament church gave larger roles to women than the current batch of Catholic and Baptist leaders. The trouble seems to have started in the second century as the politics of the church moved to label the priesthood “MALE ONLY.”

The church made other strategic moves without any biblical mandate or primary texts for justification. Why then would the church stop having women prophets, deaconesses, and preachers? The church changed the primary day of worship to Sunday. Yet there is not biblical command for such a move. The church incorporated the Hebrew Scripture into the Christian Bible without divine instruction to do so. The church changed the rite of initiation from circumcision (for males only, of course) to baptism (for boys and girls) without clear instruction for such a drastic change.

It seems that if baptism possesses the power that the church claims, baptizing infant girls would have opened the door to ordained ministry to women. Baptism is a sort of ordination into the kingdom of God.

The church has created a plethora of secondary, tertiary, fourth-level, fifth-level doctrines that require a much greater stretch of imagination than the ordaining of women. For instance, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary seems clearly false, especially given the fact that the New Testament says Jesus had siblings. But if the Catholics want to hang on to the tertiary doctrine of perpetual virginity, they should be open to women ordained as priests.

When tertiary doctrines, which are demonstrably false, are presented as primary doctrines, we are involved in serious distortions of faith. When fundamentalists in America decided the belief din the virgin birth was a primary doctrine, an essential doctrine, they treated it as more important than the actual primary doctrines that God loves us all and wants us to treat one another with compassion. In reality, the church would have been far more blessed over the centuries with women as priests and pastors than for the church to cling to secondary doctrines that distort Christian faith.

I would much rather the church have ordained women than embrace St Augustine’s doctrine of sin – according to which all babies are born in a state of sin, inheriting it from their parents.

Untold damage has been done to faith by the emergence of the doctrine of creatio ex nihilo. The opening verses of Genesis do not support the doctrine of “creation from nothing.” Genesis 1:1 -2, as now translated by most scholars of the Hebrew Bible, reads, “When God began to create the heaven and the earth, the world was without form and voice.” In other words, God created the world out of primeval chaos. There is no suggestion that the waters and the darkness were created, suggesting they belonged to the primeval chaos.

The church would have been far better served to ordain women than to engage in endless philosophical debates about creation, a literal Adam and Eve, original sin, and a plethora of theological flotsam washing ashore in American Christianity. This unwieldly doctrine has evolved into Ken Ham and creationism washing up on our shores and finding a home in Kentucky.


I would trade the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter for thousands of women priests and pastors over the centuries. And call it a great deal!

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