Just to Reiterate: My Thoughts on Women in Ministry, and About Being a Snob

I received an intriguing comment from Desmond on my 1662 Book of Common Prayer page.  He was taking issue with my comments about women in ministry, but he did so in a odd way.  Since he hit on subjects that I have talked about before and probably need repeating for newer visitors, I’ll take his comments as opportunity to do so.

First: his gratitude at my posting the 1662 Book is welcome, as I’ve said before, gratitude is a scare commodity these days.  But then he makes the following statement:

I believe that women and men have different roles as God sees it.
However those of us who, as President Barak Obama stated, “cling to their Bibles and their guns,” have an outlook on life that is considered in ill-favor with those of power, well we look at the world as it is and as it is becoming and we ask, is this what you wanted?

Barack Obama’s comment along these lines is the most important (but not the only) reason why this website is the online perch of an elitist snob.  There was a time when anyone making a high-handed remark like this would have been hooted out of the public square as having insulted the American people, but same American people have so little pride in themselves anymore (in large measure due to so many of them becoming clients of a patron state) that they take insults like this and still vote him into office.  It is this phenomenon which is why it will be difficult to unseat him from his own elitist perch.

In the meanwhile, however, it hit me: if same American people, who used to bristle at such characterisations, don’t do this anymore, why not come out of the closet on this?  Why not just proclaim to the world that you were raised in Palm Beach to stick your nose up at everyone else with comments like “…you’re not on this earth to conform to the conventional wisdom of the unwashed.”  So, Americans, if this angers you, don’t just sit there, do something: quit voting people in who really think you’re dirt, and quit taking their money so freely.  As I like to say, it’s your move, make it…

But getting back to Desmond, he goes on as follows:

Truly we have come so very far from this:

First, It was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.

Secondly, It was ordained for a remedy against sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s body.

Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity. Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. Therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

I realize that I speak in antiquated terms of extinct values, please indulge me.

This–which comes from the 1662 Book’s rite of Holy Matrimony–is as succinct statement as one could want of the purpose of Christian marriage.  It’s interesting to note, however, that it takes a broader view of marriage than we see in other Christian “traditions.”  For example, in Roman Catholicism procreation and what follows is the sole end game in marriage.  (That’s true of evolutionists as well, and it extends to sex in general, but most haven’t thought their own philosophy through well enough to realise it.)

What that has to do with women in ministry is hard for me to understand, but having considered this issue at length, there are three necessary prerequisites for women to be in Christian ministry.

The first is that the Pentecostal gifts be operational in the church.  This is because, as Peter repeated Joel’s prophecy, “‘It shall come about in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour out my Spirit on all mankind; your sons and your daughters shall become Prophets, your young men shall see visions, and your old men dream dreams;” (Acts 2:17.)  Prophecy is a high gift, but if it and the other charismatic gifts are not working in the church, then the daughters are in trouble.

The second is that the church abrogates the whole idea of its magisterial authority.  That leaves out Roman Catholicism, which is based on that magisterial authority.  It’s amusing, however, that Evangelicals, who object to the whole idea of women in ministry on the basis of headship and authority, have themselves abrogated the authority of the church through their own institutionalised rebellion, as I discuss in Authority and Evangelical Churches.

And the third is like unto the second: the ministers of the church must renounce careerism.  It can be shown the Jesus Christ came to abolish, amongst other things, careerism.  If there’s one thing that I learned the hard way in my 13 1/2 years of working for the Church of God, it’s that too many of the actions of our ministers are driven by their careerist ambitions, and that they rationalise same ambitions–and the need of others to support same–as of divine origin.  And, sad to say, we see some women going down the same road, i.e., the whole rationale behind their ordination as a necessary prerequisite to their career.  You want to lead?  Do it as a servant.  That’s the example Jesus Christ left us, and both men and women would do well to emulate Our Lord’s example.

If we do that, the church will be more Christlike.  And isn’t that the point for everyone?

2 Replies to “Just to Reiterate: My Thoughts on Women in Ministry, and About Being a Snob”

  1. Thanks for posting the Prayer Book, which is how we refer to the 1662, since that is all that my family and congregation use. Why so many Americans insist that the American 1928 is the same thing is beyond me. There are now, in England, so few parishes which actually use the Prayer Book that I fear it may completely disappear in my lifetime. The Continuing/Alternative Episcopal Churches do not help the problem by insisting that the Prayer Book is their basis for worship and yet none use it at all. Others perpetuate the mythos that it must be transposed into some form of “Contemporary” English, to which I say ‘balderdash’!


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