Why the LCMS Will Ordain Women in My Lifetime

Just keep telling yourself, “It can’t happen here. It can’t happen here. I can’t hear you! I can’t hear you!”

After 40 years of chipping away at, the pro-OW forces practically have the victory in hand. It may not seem like it. Those pushing for it may not even realize how close they are (unless they read this post, of course).

There are only so many Jenga pieces you can remove before the whole thing falls with a roar. You’ll notice that in Jenga you do not have to remove every piece to make sure it will fall. In fact, the majority of the pieces remain in the tower. It’s anybody’s guess which piece will be the last.

What will be our final Jenga piece? Could it be that making women the Presidents/Vice-Presidents of our congregations will finally topple the whole edifice? Let me say this: when I first read and heard about that resolution in 2004, I said, what could be so bad about this? It’s only polity, right? Jesus never mandated any polity in the Bible, so whoever wants the job can have it. As long as we protect our sacred proof-texts (1 Corinthians 14:33-38; 1 Timothy 2:9-15), it’s all good.

You know that final battle scene in The Return of the King? The one where the small band of good guys is surrounded by a seemingly endless number of bad guys? The only problem is, we don’t have any hobbits headed for Mount Doom. We’ve allowed the anti-family, anti-headship forces to surround the small piece of ground we’re still holding: women can’t be pastors. Is that what the Bible says? We all know it says women cannot be pastors in the Church of God. Is that it?

What about Genesis 1-3; 1 Corinthians 11:1-16; Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; 1 Timothy 5:9-16; 2 Timothy 2:3-5? All culturally conditioned? Let’s just be honest: these passages–other than Genesis (which is the foundation for Paul’s teaching)–represent the teaching of the apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul of Tarsus. If he truly is the apostle of Jesus, then his authority is Jesus’ authority. And if it is Jesus’ authority, it is the authority of the Triune God. If it is the authority of God revealed after the redemption worked by Christ, then it was also His will prior to redemption, that is, built into creation.

What follows? I realize I’m sounding prehistoric–wait, that’s exactly what it is: pre-historic. This headship of man over woman was God’s will for His creation. That means it does not apply only in the Church, and it especially means it does apply only insofar as the pastoral office is concerned. It applies everywhere, because God is the creator and ruler of all things. You work out the implications.

Why has the ELCA been so effective at getting EVERYONE in that denomination to buy OW? Part of the problem is Law and Gospel. Not those concepts in themselves, but a certain polarization of them. Law=Bad; Gospel=Good. So, if the will of God for creation is not Gospel (i.e., forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ), then it must be Law. If it is Law, then it must be bad. This is simply a misapplication of Law and Gospel to every tiny thing. Frankly, God’s will for creation is Law, and it is good, because God ordained it. If you or I can’t handle it, that’s because we’re not good. Christ redeemed God’s order, He did not annul it.

There is more to be said, but this is probably enough to generate the hate-mail. This is not a popular position; but when has God’s position ever been popular? But unless we begin to teach the creative will of God for His creation, we will lose this battle. We cannot continue to give away the ground that is the foundation for our position on the ordination of women. Otherwise we run the risk of making our opponents correct: it’s just a silly little rule to keep women down and cement the control of men.

[Chris at ORT has good comments here; he makes note of something I neglected to say: this has nothing to do with ability, emotional tendency or anything else. Those arguments get you nowhere. Glen at Territorial Bloggings has good comments here as well–and with more wit than I!]