A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


Quick post for what is supposed to be my break. The Church of England's synod has voted to remove the barriers for women's ordination as bishops. I wonder what rationale allows for women's ordination but not for the role of bishop? Conservatives are threatening to leave the church over this move and relations with the Anglican south could grow more frayed. It's not just gays but women who are taken to be a threat these days.

Some interesting articles I've come across include Karen Armstrong's piece on the double standard with the media and Islam when it comes to terrorism as opposed to other religions. Blogopotamus asks some questions about those who have a defensiveness and need for clear boundaries of who and what is in and what is out when it comes to religion. And a tragic story over the costs of anti-gay church teaching.

Religious Liberal has a birthday. I started this site on 7/11/2003 and the next day began posting about Gene Robinson. It's kind of fun to go back to see some amazing understatements about the controversy which would erupt over the affair. The religious connections the blog world creates has been amazing. But reading religious news has also been depressing, so it's hard to say if this site has been a good but we'll see what the future brings us.

9 Comments:

At 1:47 PM , Blogger Joe G. said...

Congralutions on the 2nd year anniversary, you old timer! :)

 
At 3:09 PM , Blogger Scott said...

God limits the role of women in the church in several places within the Scriptures. One of these passages is 1 Timothy 2. This passage was not written to a particular congregation but it was written to a minister. These were instructions that were to be followed by every congregation. In 1 Timothy 2 we are given instructions for men and women in the church. The men are told to do the praying in verse 8. The Greek word used here is the word aner which literally means male. The males are the ones who are supposed to lead in prayer. The women are then given several commands one of which is that they do not teach or have authority over a man (verse 12). This limits their leadership role in the church.

You also mentioned the issue of homosexuality. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 the apostle Paul clearly informs that "homosexuals...will not inherit the kingdom of heaven." Homosexuality is a sin and one must turn from that sin in order to be saved. Jesus informs is in Luke 13:3 that we all must repent or else we will perish.

 
At 3:26 PM , Anonymous Tim said...

> I wonder what rationale allows for women's ordination but not for the role of bishop? Conservatives are threatening to leave the church over this move

I wondered this as well. I continue to wonder what the motivation behind having a hierarchy in the anglican communion actually *is*, and only take comfort from a local case recently where it was actually approached rightly as "not a competition to get a job". The rest of the time, I very much wonder about that.

A friend and I had a jolly good look at Corinthians, Romans 16:7, 1 Tim et al, this morning, in a variety of translations including my favoured NETbible. Best of all, he suggested Galatians 3:28 - "in Christ there is no ... male or female", and I noted that Paul saying women could learn the law was actually a liberating stance compared to the cultural context of the day, that the emphasis is not so much on the silence side. Some new thoughts there, and I remain absolutely convinced that it should be fine for a female to be a priest or bishop or whatever God calls her to be.

It's a bit harder at the species level, though. If CoE "conservatives" or "traditionalists" leave, personally I won't mind; but it will only broaden the gulf that "the RCC is the place to be if you're conservative".

And I'm still trying to resolve this discrepancy of folks who don't see things the same way, in the light of 1 Cor.8:, the classic interaction between folks of "weak" v "strong" faiths. Which is which? Am I allowed to feel OK with letting conservatives trundle off? Is there a path that promotes unity and concord without expecting someone to give way altogether?

 
At 4:34 PM , Blogger Karen said...

The reason why the CofE allowed women to be ordained to the priesthood but not to the episcopate was due to a compromise with anti-WO conservatives that was hammered out when women's ordination was approved. Since a bishop ordains priests, the conservatives were concerned that men ordained to the priesthood by women would have invalid orders and, by extension, their celebration of sacramental rites would also be invalid. If a woman is "merely" a priest her ministry can be accepted or rejected by a local congregation, but the power and authority of a bishop is much more wide-reaching.

Last of all, despite Scott's biblical assertions to the contrary, the theological argument against the ordination of women in the Anglican Church is based more on issues of tradition than on such a close interpretation of Scripture. Scott is obviously unaware of the specifically Anglican issues that arise in any discussion of women's ordination.

 
At 5:59 PM , Anonymous Johnny said...

Karen wrote in part:

"the theological argument against the ordination of women in the Anglican Church is based more on issues of tradition than on such a close interpretation of Scripture."

=====

That is why it ceased to represent the church Jesus built almost 2k yrs. ago.

Scripture itself teaches that if a man speaks let he speak the very words of God (1 Pt. 4:11a)

Scripture is to be the standard for doctrine and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16-17).

Jesus rebuked the Jewish leaders for setting aside the Word of God for the sake of their traditions. That condemnation holds for anyone who does the same thing.

 
At 2:16 AM , Blogger Dwight said...

Beppe
Thanks..in some ways it's wierd to think time can fly so quickly :)
Scott
So do you favor women sunday school teachers? What do you make of the women leaders Paul thanks in Romans chapter 16?
Karen
Thanks...that makes some sense then on why the distinction would be made. Would the US churche's ordination of bishops ever figure into their thinking about Anglican Church's claim to apostolic succession?
Johnny
Would that be the OT? And if so, would that be the scriptures that Jesus recognized with the Pharisees as opposed to the Saducees? And isn't there a difference between the scripture being useful for teaching and reproof and say bible onlyism?

 
At 7:55 PM , Blogger Joshua Haley said...

Karen-
Does it matter what scott said if it came from the Bible? We can't dispute the inspired writings can we?

 
At 8:03 PM , Blogger Joshua Haley said...

Dwight-
The women mentioned in Romans 16 were important and faithful women. However, their mention in Paul's letter to the Romans does not prove that they were 'preachers' and 'teachers', ones having authority over men does it? Regardless of their mention, Paul states that a woman is not to usurp authority of man. Therefore, these women mentioned, although prominent and faithful, were not in positions of 'authority' as this would contradict Paul's commands and God's teaching of I Tim. 2:11-12.

We can not pit the Bible against itself, every scripture is interpreted in light of all the rest.

Women sunday school teachers are not usurping authority of men by teaching children. If they were to teach men, then they would be usurping authority. Therefore, to that question I would answer, A woman can teach anyone that is not a 'man', an adult male, according to I TIM. 2:11-12. She could teach children and adult women, just not men.

Does this help with this discussion? Perhaps I have overlooked some point.

 
At 7:49 AM , Anonymous Tim said...

I see several references to 1 Tim 2:9ff. Perhaps we should try to read it straight:

First, the passage seems to start around verse 9, talking about dress-sense ("modestly, nothing too fancy").

Second, v10, we see more context: the conduct of a woman must be good deeds, as befits someone who reveres God.

Third, the woman "must learn" in quietness. I read that as `must be receptive'. The fact that the imperative implies permission here is quite liberating for what females were(n't) used to at the time. How much more so these days when society doesn't impose any restriction at all on what females should be allowed to do?

In v12, the Greek verb means “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to” (cf. “tell a man what to do”). I would observe that if the role of preacher, priest or bishop involved such a thing, that role has got its knickers in a twist.

In v12b, the verb `remain in quiet' is used in Greek literature either of absolute silence *or* of a quiet demeanor. Well, what else do you expect if you're studying, regardless of your sex?

Note that there are plenty enough other injunctions on how everyone should behave, blokes included - see Ephesians 4:31-32, for example.

All said & done, that seems at *least* to permit women to be involved in the Church at least as much as blokes.

Now, Scott and Joshua, what translations were *you* reading from, to see 1Tim2: as *limiting* the role of women in the church?

 

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