Female Priests

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Elmo, Dec 20, 2023.

  1. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    What is the Anglican justification for female priests?

    I'm not asking whether you agree, just for the bare bones explanation the Church uses as to why it has female clergy.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I have a problem answering this question. Not because I don't personally have Biblical reasons for supporting a Christian Priesthood, which includes both male and female disciples of Christ, (discipleship has never been gender restricted in the New Testament church, though to some extent it was in the Old), but because the Church of England, when debating the issue, looked mostly at the reasons given historically, biblically and traditionally by the church, for continuing with an exclusively male Christian Priesthood, and dismissed by convincing majorities in all three houses of Synod, each and every objection it debated supporting the permanent exclusion of females), as being theologically and biblically inapplicable as being in any way 'binding' upon the church in perpetuity. The exclusion of women being seen as mostly an anachronism based upon historic male privilege within the church of Jesus Christ, an unfortunately divisive attitude carried over into Christianity from Judaism, which had never been completely eradicated, even at the reformation.
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  3. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Primarily on the basis that it is discriminatory to treat men and women different.

    Despite widely held misconceptions to the contrary those of us who do not accept the ordination of women are not misogynists.

    However, applying the excellent human standards of not discriminating against women God's Will in the matter was ignored. If God wills a male only priesthood that is not for us to question.

    I'm not a theologian and not expert in theology so will not debate the point as I lack the necessary knowledge and skills.

    I see you live in England. Forward in Faith has a book on the subject. It's called Fathers in Faith. I've not read it yet. It's on my slowly growing mountain of books to read. Something there seems to be enough of is time.
     
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  4. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    Yes, this is a weird misconception. My ex boyfriend is a Catholic and has well-articulated theological reasons for a male-only priesthood. I'm more Anglo-Catholic and don't accept a female priesthood, but I was discussing it with my ex and couldn't explain why the Church had decided to ordain women, since no-one ever seemed to have a theologically based explanation that responded to nearly 2000 years of the Church not ordaining them.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    For nearly two thousand years the church didn't drive cars, watch TV or eat candy floss but it always COULD if it could get them and decided to. The Amish still don't :laugh: they are traditionalists I suppose. Maybe they're allowed to eat cotton candy though, I don't know.

    I'm not at all sure one can equate insistance on a male priesthood with being Anglo Catholic. There must be many Anglo Catholics who are perfectly happy to have a female priest presiding occasionally. We're in interregnum. We get whomever's available and glad of it.
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    Last edited: Dec 21, 2023
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  6. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    I live not far from some Amish settlements. Sometimes a buggy or wagon may be parked outside the Petrol station and you wonder what exactly the Amish are doing. They are either dropping off eggs and vegetables if the station sells a few groceries or/and they are buying 'English' sweets. They seem particularly fond of some of the more complicated candy bars that are available these days, stuffed with nuts, caramel or cream, and cookie sticks or pretzels.
     
  7. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    A less apropos analogy is difficult to imagine. :rolleyes: For nearly 2,000 years no one had TVs or cars. Even machine-spun cotton candy wasn't created until 1897. Can't you think up a better one? :laugh:
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    I wanted to keep it trivial, like the issue under question. :laugh: For nearly 2000 years, no man, in or out of the church, ever had the thought enter his head that a woman might ever be a better, wiser leader than him, let alone more saintly. :halo:
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  9. Annie Grace

    Annie Grace Well-Known Member

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    And I can't believe that the topic is still one for debate. *deep sigh*
     
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Let's face it, a denomination has the right to administrate itself and to set its own guidelines about such things as qualifications for leadership. If we want to be in that denomination, we should accept their guidelines and their right to make them. If we don't want to accept them, it is more appropriate to go elsewhere than to make a fuss and try to force our will upon the denomination.

    I like my diocese. No female priests, but some leeway has been granted in the diaconate. I'm content with that situation. I hope everyone else is content with whatever rules their own bunch observes, and is content to let things be.
     
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  11. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    The Anglican Church surely must have defended this in the face of the Church Fathers and their own Church not allowing it until the late 20th century.

    All I asked for are theological arguments. There must be some.

    Not all Anglican churches accept female clergy and churches in England have the right to request alternative oversight if they don't want female clergy.

    It is never as simple as 'the times changed' - there must be theological reasoning behind allowing something that was forbidden for 2,000 years, without using facile, woke arguments like 'it's xyz year' and 'not allowing female priests is misogyny'. These are not theologically reasoned arguments, nor do they address the question.

    There have to be more substantive reasons.
     
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  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Okay, here's what I think are the more substantive reasons which have been advanced in the past.

    Although God is not sexual or gendered in the manner of humans, God the Father and Jesus both self-identify to humanity as male authority figures. God historically placed males in leadership positions. Abraham, Moses, Aaron, the OT priests, the levites, and the NT Apostles all were male. The early church leaders were male. God anointed only males as kings and judges, and prophets primarily were males also.

    In addition, God always characterized His people (whether Israel or the Church) as His bride (feminine), a submissive figure which responds to his (male-figure) authority. This reinforces the image that church leaders, who act as Christ's ambassadors, should be males.

    Scripturally speaking, we see support for male leadership was established by God as early as the Garden of Eden. God create Adam (the male) first, and then He created the female, Eve, to be his companion and support. Adam was 'in charge' of the Garden. When Eve ate of the fruit and then enticed Adam to also eat, God held Adam primarily responsible. It's clear that God gave men the duty of acting as 'head of household,' and this was fully understood and followed by God's people for some four thousand years. Deviation from this duty and pattern of conduct is a modern societal innovation that has crept into the church.

    The Rt. Rev. Rodgers had written the following in an article a while back, and I think it's worth quoting here for you:

    Second, in our culture when referred to as roles, these ministries of men and women are likely to be viewed in the terms of superior and inferior, of a dictatorial boss and of cowed subordinates. That is not how the scriptural ministries of headship and support are to be understood. These are complementary ministries of equal importance, carried out by equals united in love, exercised in mutual consultation and care in a common mission. And they are based on the created nature of the two partners. The partners together, united as one, reflect the attributes of God and the mystery of the Trinity. As we read in Scripture the man is to love the wife as Christ loves the Church. It is a sacrificial love that is intended in male headship, both in the family and in the Church....

    Since God by design has made us male and female, we are to understand and rejoice in our created nature as male and female. In the Bible the central and defining aspects of masculinity and femininity are found in the order and ministries of male headship and female support. Whenever this order of creation and these ministries are ignored or denied, equality is defined as interchangeability.

    Competition replaces complementarity. This is evidenced dramatically by the society in which we live. Our culture generally and erroneously asserts a unisex interchangeability of men and women. It tends to deny the difference between men and women with the exception of the erotic sexual aspect and it depersonalizes, commercializes, and exaggerates that. This departure in principle and practice from traditional and biblical norms has proven to be a devastating error, as we can see in the state of things today.​

    Not that I'm trying to get into an argument with anyone, but I want to answer your question forthrightly. Take it (or leave it) for what it's worth. :)
     
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  13. Fr. Brench

    Fr. Brench Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Novelists, progressives, or whatever label one might find appropriate, tend to probe theological questions like this one with a "Why not?" approach. That is, they give the new idea the benefit of the doubt, and hold the traditional view up to scrutiny. The theological task of justifying the new practice, therefore, is at best a fresh reevaluation of the fundamental rules and evidence, and at worst a complete reinvention of the church's doctrine. With the ordination of women, I think the practice has entered into the church's consciousness and practice in a couple different ways in a couple different places, so there's probably no single answer to your question. Some of the movement's earliest proponents were staunch heretics with little to no regard for the validity of the Church's theological tradition, Creeds, and authoritative Scripture. Others sought to respect the Scriptures but with that "why not?" hermeneutic, they inevitably put themselves on a quest for justification - "surely the scriptures don't mean what so many people have assumed all these years?"

    Either way there is an interruption in the Catholic Order - the posture of deference to tradition and respect for the wisdom of the doctors of the past is replaced with a love of novelty and a self-assurance that is willing to cast aside a number of historical witnesses in order to get one's way. So I'm not saying that every proponent of women's ordination is a heretic, but all of them are holding the catholic tradition at least at arm's length.
     
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    The only problem with all that is written here is that it did not answer the question asked. Elmo did NOT ask for the theological reasoning behind OPPOSITION to a mixed priesthood. He asked for whatever theological justifications there might BE for one.

    The problem with that would be the fact that, on this website, citing them could get us banned for enfringement of the rules on posting.

    I think that any theological argument which convincingly supported womens ordination would be seen by the thread supervisors as 'promotion', and I am in enough trouble with authority already in here. I have form, as it has been said of me, indeed even by my Bishop. :laugh:
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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2023
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  15. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    There are, but as I wrote previously most of the debates on this issue centered around demolishing the arguments against a mixed gendered priesthood, rather than presenting itemised scriptural citings of specific biblical texts supporting a mixed gendered priesthood. Since the Bible was almost certainly entirely written down by men, (God inspired it, God didn't actually write most of it down, apart from "Mene, Mene, Tecal, Upharsin" and possibly the ten commandments), it's not surprising female Christian priests receive no approbation. In fact, as an established 'priesthood', priesthood itself, (as it is currently manifested in the Christian church), is not endorsed in New Testament scripture. It didn't exist until well after the Apostolic period, after the New Testament had already been written, so the only mention of a Christian priesthood in the scriptures applies either to ALL believers, male and female, Rev. 1:6, Rev. 5:10, Rev. 20:6 or to Christ himself as our great high priest, of the order of Melchizedek.

    Since there is therefore no link whatever between the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament, and that of a Christian Priesthood, (Jesus wouldn't have qualified, since he was not of the tribe of Levi), and even the function of the office of priest is no longer that of killing and offering of sacrifices for the forgivness of sins, but rather as representative of the 'body of Christ', which is the church, us, in thankgiving for HIS sacrifice of himself for the sins of the whole world, it makes no difference at all whether that representative of 'the body' is either male or female, only that he or she is 'believing' and duly ordained by 'the body of Christ' to represent us in our offering of ourselves to God as obedient servants of Christ, out of gratitude for HIS sacrifice, of HIMSELF, for US, once and for all.
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    Last edited: Dec 24, 2023
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  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    My appologies for the sloppy spelling, I posted the above before running it through my spelling checker.
     
  17. Elmo

    Elmo Active Member

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    Thank you.

    I am a she.
     
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  18. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do not think anyone would get banned or suspended from this forum for giving sound theological reasons for the ordination of women. I do not see how one could be banned or suspended from doing something that cannot be done.

    As Fr Bench said the basic argument is we want so we will twist tradition to suit our own ends.

    And I can believe that the topic is still one for debate because there's people still disobeying God.
     
  19. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    My appologies Ma'am, I had not fully read your profile. Merry Christmas to you.
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  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Jesus of Nazareth didn't have a lot of time for some traditions. Particularly for those which men said would displease God if they were ever dispensed with, while exclusively claiming to know and obey the mind of God. The Church of Christ can dispense with such 'traditions' if it sees fit, particularly if the 'tradition' is contradictory to what the church is being told by the Holy Spirit.
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