Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Second Order Issue; First Order Consequences

One of my Evangelical Anglican friends in the UK used to describe the ordination of women to the priesthood as a "second order issue with first order consequences," which I interpret as meaning, "no-one s going to hell for this, but it is unscriptural and tells you a lot about where this church is headed."

Now let's get a couple of things straight before we go any further.
(1) According to the New Testament, women do undertake ministries in the Church, but
(2) they were not ordained to the major orders of deacon, priest/presbyter, or bishop, neither do they rule over men. That remained the pattern until very recently - 1943/1972 in the case of Anglicanism.

The trouble with the ordination of women as deacons/priest/bishops is that it involves the Church setting aside the clear witness of the New Testament and the Early Fathers. This is not the way in which Anglicans have traditionally done theology. We have occasionally given direction where Scripture is all but silent - for example, the 1930 Lambeth Conferences limited permission for the use of Contraception, but until the 1970s the Church did not go again the clear witness of the Bible and the Early Fathers on any issue.

The indirect message that is given by practices such as the Ordination of Women, and the very permissive attitude of some Anglicans when it come to divorce and remarriage is that the Bible contains the Word of God and that we are free to pick and choose what we like. The tradition position is that the Bible is the Word of God and that we interpret it according to the tradition handed down to us by the Early Fathers.

The trouble is that if you start picking which Scriptural doctrines you uphold what is there to stop you embracing the whole Revisionist agenda should that become convenient for you? That is a question that the new ACNA is going to have to ask itself time and again.

1 comment:

  1. Amen to the post! A Calvinist who is more High than Central. Charles