New Lutheran title on the Ordination of Women (agin it) includes Australian Authors

Dr William Tighe has alerted me to the following title that has just been released:

New Book on Women’s Ordination Includes Essays by Several CTS Faculty

A collection of essays on the ordination of women, Women Pastors? The Ordination of Women in Biblical Lutheran Perspective, edited by Concordia Theological Seminary professor John T. Pless and Matthew Harrison has been published by Concordia Publishing House and is available for $26.99. This anthology of essays includes chapters by CTS professors Charles Gieschen (“Ordained Proclaimers or Quiet Learners?”), Roland Ziegler (“Liberation Theology in the Leading Ladies of Feminist Theology”), William Weinrich (“Women in the History of the Church” and “It Is Not Given a Woman to Teach: A Lex in Search of a Ratio”), and David Scaer (“May Women Be Ordained as Pastors?” and “The Office of Pastor and the Problem of Women’s Ordination”). Other essays are included by North American, European, and Australian theologians Henry Hamann, Bertil Gaertner, Bo Giertz, Reinhard Slenczka, Peter Kriewaldt, David Bryce, Fredrik Sidenvall, Peter Brunner, John Kleinig, Hermann Sasse, Gregory Lockwood, Louis Smith, Louis Brighton, and Robert Schaibley.

CTS President Dean O. Wenthe commented on the significance of the anthology: “It is striking that in the ancient Near East where female deities and priestesses were abundant, Israel was told to have only male priests. Similarly, in the Greco-Roman world, where female gods and priestesses flourished, the church restricted the apostolic office to men. This volume is to be commended for similarly resisting prevailing cultural novelties by supporting in a scholarly and churchly manner the God-given order for the church’s ministry. Women as well as men are blessed when they hear and follow the living, healing voice of Jesus in the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures.”

Marco Vervoorst and I were reflecting today on how one could possibly make a case for not ordaining women from a Lutheran perspective. The Catholic argument assumes that the one who is ordained IS a PRIEST, and not just a “minister”. From the blurb about by Wenthe (about the priesthood of ancient Israel) it would seem that he assumes the equation pastor=priest. But is this true of Lutheran theology in general and of these essays in particular?

Incidentally, several of the Australian authors are, were or have been my close associates or teachers: Henry Hamann, Peter Kriewaldt, David Bryce, John Kleinig, Gregory Lockwood, and (in spirit but never in person) the great Hermann Sasse. Also one of the editors, Pastor Matt Harrison, and his wife were my neighbours at Luther Sem for a year when he was studying here in Australia. A good man and mean banjo player (and yes, I say that even though I was living right next door to him in the same building!).

It would be an interesting endeavour to compare the arguments in this book to Sara Butler’s “The Catholic Priesthood and Women”, which I regard as the best on offer from a Catholic perspective on this question.

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