Women Clergy, Any Good Arguments?

Discussion in 'Sacraments and Holy Orders' started by Justin Haskins, Aug 3, 2014.

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  1. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    halleliua,

    I didn't see anywhere in the article where the Roman Catholic diocese of Boston was taking a stand in favor of women's ordination. I did, however see where one of the women involved stated that: "I've always seen my role as to stay within the church and to push the boundaries."

    Since when did our role as members of the Church involve "pushing" any ecclesiastical boundaries? Of course, regarding the alleged ordination , I can't find the name of the supposed Bishop involved, but as far as I can determine she was "ordained" by a female bishop involved with a group that traces their roots to seven women in Europe who were "ordained" by an excommunicated Catholic priest named Braschi (founder of the Catholic Apostolic Charismatic Church) who, in turn, had been "consecrated" by a bishop of the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church and another from the Free Catholic Church. Not exactly sterling credentials.

    An interesting aside, this is related to the Roman Catholic (Augustinian) belief in an "indelible mark" that supposedly occurs when one is ordained or consecrated, whereby an excommunicated priest or bishop still has the power to conduct valid but illicit sacraments. According to the Roman view, a priest could renounce the faith and become a Satanist, yet still possesses the power to perform the Eucharist, etc. (as if the Holy Spirit is bound to operate at such a person's command).

    The Eastern Churches take the Cyprianic view, namely, that the ability to perform the sacraments only exists within the Church. Ergo, if a priest or bishop removes himself from the Church (or is given the boot), he no longer can perform any sacraments.
     
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am thinking about how do we pick and choose about the Early Church, and as for your second point, I have not had luck in understanding what you had meant there.
     
  3. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    My apologies: I'll try to be clearer.

    It was argued above that the early Church was the way it was, and today's Church cannot pick and choose between its early attributes (i.e. it cannot choose to ignore the maleness of the early leadership). My response was that the Church had already picked and chosen between the original attributes by dropping the requirement for the leadership to be a group of 12, and by dropping the requirement for the leadership to be circumcised Jews. (Of course it could be argued that it also dropped the requirement for the leadership to be male, judging by the names mentioned by Paul). Indeed by changing the requirements for prospective leaders today's Church is actually following the example of the early Church, one of whose attributes was a willingness to adapt its leadership requirements to meet changed circumstances.

    You said:

    ... in comparing the 'progress' of the new testament Era with our times, don't we run the risk of equating our time with the infallible and supernatural canon of the New Testament? ...
    – does that mean that it was permissible for the early Church to make changes given the age in which it existed, but not OK for today's Church to do the same? I'm not sure I follow the logic of that. Or perhaps you are saying that any comparison between then and now is fundamentally unsound. But is the New Testament not supposed to provide exemplars for today?
     
  4. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    What it means is, that The Revelation of Christ is unchangeable, it exists for ever.
    The teaching and actions of the Apostolic College are beyond question and the teaching of the apostolic men,( Bishops) or associates, or as the High Churchmen put it in the early twentieth ccntury , the unanimous agreement of the Greek fathers of the first three hundred years are beyond reproach!
    The modern bishops deal with todays problems through hindsight as it were, every thing has to be done through the prism of the preceding centuries, i.e. Early Fathers and the Reformation.!
     
  5. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    That's a powerful argument, and one I understand – although it's weakened a little by the words "and the Reformation", which indicate that reason didn't end in the year 300, and it is always possible to reassess, and indeed reform.
     
  6. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I appreciate your comment, but if you read the comments of the Bishops ,certainly in the late Elizabethan Church and the early Stuart times, hopefully you will acknowledge the superiority of their theology and their continuity with the early church.

    One of the skills I haven't acquired, is always being right, but, in my opinion the Reformation ended in 1688 with Sancroft! (The last Archbishop of Canterbury). After that, though the Nonjurors kept the Catholic flame alive, it has been a long tumble down hill.

    Highchurchman!
     
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  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    To that I would make the following point:

    What makes the apostolic canon different from our age is that it's infallible and written by God Himself. That's what makes it such a privileged point in time. The Christian rule of faith is to follow and obey the exemplars of that era, as described in the New Testament. Our continued call throughout our 2,000 year history is not to swerve from the faith once delivered to the saints, by one jot or iota. The changes you refer to are changes performed by the holy disciples and apostles, under the direct supervision of the Holy Ghost. Once the canon was closed that direct inspiration ceased also. Changes that took place in the apostolic era could no longer be repeated, as no longer under the infallible protection of the Holy Ghost. All periods subsequent to the 1st century AD no longer changed altered or revised, but rather enshrined and 'dug in' the events of the 1st century to be our normative rule for all time.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014
  8. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    Thank you for this. So I presume you would agree with Mr Seddell that the Fathers in the first few centuries enshrine, and give us understanding, of the events of the apostolic era; and perhaps the seven councils similarly (although Mr Seddell didn't say so); and indeed the teaching of the Reformers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Do I stop there, or is there anything also to be learned from the biblical scholars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries?
     
  9. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    One question that is never really answered in a satisfactory way is, 'when did the reformation end'.? For me the later reformation in England came fizzled to a holt in the year 1688! In my opinion the Church in England didn't come out of it to well.
    For a while in the late 17 Cent, the Non jurors kept the Catholic light aflame and it burnt anew with the Tractarians, it has been burning low in the lst hundred years in my opinion,
     
  10. highchurchman

    highchurchman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Mr Seddell is getting old! The Seven Ecumenical Councils after, Christ's Revelation and the Upper Room, are, as I have been taught, the basis of the Anglican Faith! The First one, Niceae 325 AD, is one of the most important elements in Christian History and most of our faith stems from that and the other six.
    Interestingly, when I was at school before the WWII, we were taught that British/Anglican Bishops were actually present there, the Orthodox Timeline, even names one of the Bishops, (Lincoln,) whilst a Roman priest had an article in the (Romanist,) Catholic Messenger, agreeing with the principle not too long ago
     
  11. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    I think it's widely accepted that there were British bishops at Arles.
     
  12. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Surely only that which does not aim to overturn the New Testament, wouldn't you say?
     
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  13. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    I would say that's a cunningly worded reply!
     
  14. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Thank you. I wasn't trying to be clever or anything. Do you see what I was getting across?
     
  15. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that is a reasonable conclusion from the point I made. Jesus did not stand n the synagogue and read the Torah from his ipad. Jesus operated within the social context of his time, though no doubt testing and stretching it. I do not accept that that stance adopts an Arian position, whilst I can see that Arians may like to see things that way, of itself it is not an Arian position. I recite the Nicene Creed with a clear conscience.

    The Church is the Body of Christ. we are called to be Jesus for the world in our own context. I see the position as not teaching Jesus, but rather trying to learn from Jesus and express what we have learned in the context in which we are called to live out our destiny as the Body of Christ.
     
  16. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    This is a common rebuttal. The problem is that it places no boundaries on the extent to which the church can develop new "contextual" understandings.

    For us Americans this is the same problem of constitutional theories of "originalism" vs. "living." Each age is free to interpret its authoritative documents and historic teachings as it pleases, so long as it lays claim to the cart blanch concept of context.

    Similarly, I have heard argued that the determination of the canon was "contextual," so a new generation with better tools, skills, and manuscripts is better suited to determining the canon!

    Philosophically this boils down to subjectivity vs. objectivity. So, let's boil this down: are there objective theological truths, or not? If there aren't, to try to persuade is logically inconsistent. If there are, what are they and by what standard do we determine what they are?

    Some, like me, claim that objective truths that transcend periodic fluxes in cultural contexts do exist, and that the scriptures and the historic teachings of the church (I can express what I mean here if you'd like) are the pillars of these objective truths. These are the boundaries I place around any contextual understanding of church teaching.

    So anyone who subscribes to a viewpoint of a progressively "improving" church, one in which new contexts allow for changing of historic church teachings: If you believe in objective truths, what are your boundaries?
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2014
  17. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    "Does not aim to overturn" seems to me just possibly encoding the view that study of the Scriptures is of value only so long as it doesn't at any point present a way of reading the New Testament that differs from the way previously taught.
     
  18. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I get the point. I think we all get the point. I think that the Pharisees of Jesus time got the point. We like rules, we like to know where things stand, yet somehow the law is never quite enough. And don't think I don't struggle with these things as well.

    In real terms objectivity is a subjective possibility. It is like saying we do not know what history is until it has happened.

    Sidney Carter wrote (I think in Nothing Fixed or Final) 'Show me the book of rules the good boy said, I'll be obedient' and concludes the verse 'So shut the Bible up and show me how the Christ you talk about is living now.'

    There are clear problems if you do not read scripture in context. We all know that there are verses in the Bible that might be used out of context to argue for acts that we would generally regard as un-Christian. (The same it would seem may be possible for the Koran.) There are questions that we must ask in trying to understand scripture that have to do with the context - and some of the context has to do with the other texts around it and that in some way are related to the text, and some part of our analysis must be an assessment of the social and cultural setting.

    The questions are not easy, and the answers are not easy either. We strive to be authentic. We know that is Jesus was alive 2,000 years ago he would probably not appoint women to be apostles, (we have history to validate that). The question we are being asked is that if Jesus was alive now would his ministry be exactly the same, or would the tools, means and opportunity provide for different avenues, and would the social setting open other possibilities.

    All that having been said there is a sense of sending when it comes to Mary Magdalene

    To refuse ordination to women is, at least subjectively, to seem to want to 'keep women in their place'. Objectively I think we would prefer to argue that Jesus came to liberate us, and to set us all free to live in his love for ever.

    At the end of the parable of the Good Samaritan the lawyer asks 'who is my neighbour?'. The point of the question on the one hand may seem to be to establish who I have to love, and conversely and perhaps more attractively who I don't have to love. The point of Jesus answer is that it not the right question - for the answers lie not in law but in love.

    I have the utmost respect for people from both sides of this debate, and whilst I do have a position, in no sense do I mean to denigrate the position that others take on this matter in good conscience.
     
  19. Classical Anglican

    Classical Anglican Active Member Anglican

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    @Philip Barrington, thank you for your thoughtful reply. Tragically this topic is something that has torn the Church apart. I have seen a lot of pride in discussing these contentious issues, so I appreciate the refrain in your last sentence.

    I tried to frame the issue as one of objectivity versus subjectivity: Is the church progressively becoming more and more enlightened as time passes, as each new age imposes new contextual understandings on the interpretation of the scriptures? Or, is there one set of truths once and for always establish, and if so, by what standard do we identify them?

    It seems as though you drew a parallel of persons: the ones looking for objectivity were the Pharisees, and the one embracing subjectivity was Christ. Correct me if I'm wrong there! The problem with this parallel is that it doesn't seem to capture the objectivity vs. subjectivity tension I brought up. The conflict between Christ and the Pharisees isn't about objectivity versus subjectivity. Actually, it's about one claim of objective truth versus another. Christ argues for the objectivity of his Messiaship by appealing to the ancient scriptures ("For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?" - John 5:46), not by raising issues of contemporaneous context. Likewise, the Pharisees argued for the objective truth based on their interpretation of the ancient texts. In nowise was any party arguing for reinterpreting the scriptures in a modern context.

    I think it best to stay above verse wars and try to address fundamental philosophical issues. I this regard, I think it still boils down to: is anything "fixed" or "final," or, like in science, are theological "truths" subject to redefinition and change, given the addition of more and more data? It seems like you are suggesting that very little is fixed or final?

    This is the fundamental question for all the debates tearing the church apart. What is fixed, if anything, and by what standard do we identify those fixed boundaries? Once we answer that, everyone is required to bend the knee and obediently submit.
     
  20. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    This thread has run it's course.
     
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