Thursday, October 19, 2006

Should Women Be Ordained?

One of my main goals for this blog is to refute three mainline liberal ideas that are rearing their perverted heads in modern Christianity (in no particular order): ordination of women, condoning of same sex marriage, and the permission of abortion.

However, I am currently building a foundation on which to begin laying out my case against these ideals so I have been relatively quiet on these three issues since my arguments will rest largely on apostolic succession (not that this is the only angle by which to attack these weak positions as protestants often do it and do it well using other angles). However, on a recent business trip to Atlanta, I rode home in a van with several other co-workers who were all (but 2 of us) mainline denomination Protestants. While trying to hold my tongue on the conversation that sprung up concerning ordination of women so as not to offend, I found them nearly making fun of another co-worker (not present) who was openly opposed to ordination of women since he was from a conservative Protestant denomination.

I could no longer hold my tongue. After the short and suprisingly not too terribly heated debate, we observed a short period of akwardness and then moved on. Later I felt compelled to write an email to several of the participants explaining my viewpoint and his and trying to open up a little more dialogue on the subject. While you may have to guess at some of the missing context, the email follows (names changed to protect anonymity):

I hope I didn’t come across too strong in our conversation in the van regarding ordination of women in the van. Initially I wasn’t trying to argue one way or the other I was just trying to defend Joe Bob’s view point when it was brought up. I'm Catholic so my belief on women in the priesthood is obvious but I never intended to imply at all that women have no place in leadership roles or in ministry in the Church. Of course Catholicism has always had a strong role for women in ministry as well as men long before Protestants ever started allowing this. Of course Catholicism also teaches that the greatest Saint and most blessed of all creation was a woman.

I guess what really upset me about that was the kind of attitude some people (not you and I wont mention names) seem to have towards Joe Bob and his theological beliefs or beliefs like his. The only point I really intended to make was that his belief (maybe its wrong, maybe you don’t agree with it) but the fact is that his belief is orthodox.

Of course, just because a belief is old doesn’t make it right. Arianism is a very old belief but its wrong. The point I was making about the early church believing and teaching such (I didn’t finish it) was that it is known what the early church believed on many contemporary issues (such as this one, homosexuality and abortion etc…). Some mainline evangelicals would like to brush it off as a mistake due to influence from a culture which was in the wrong (I.E. a culture that suppressed women). Despite the fact that Christianity grew and replaced many pagan religions in that very time & culture which featured prominent existence of female deities as well as female priestesses (take the Roman worship of Isis for example) which certainly casts at least doubt on the theory that it was for mere cultural reasons; the main point I was trying to make was that evangelicals accept without question the authority and inspiration of the canonization of the Bible. This gradual process didn’t even have any notable beginnings until a couple hundred years after what we consider the ‘early church’ but it was conducted by the same bishops and saints of the early church as the ones who propagated the views above which some evangelicals like to brush off. How can the selection of the bible be so unquestionable while the other unanimous teachings not be?

Im not trying to convince you to change your opinion. I just want to say that it is a very reasonable view that Joe Bob and the overwhelming majority of Christianity today and for the last 2000 years hold to.

One of the recipients declined to comment but the other approached me and thanked me for the email. She said she would like to have further dialogue on the subject. So lesson learned: Protestants shouldn't make fun of Orthodoxy!

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