Saturday, 9 August 2008

Some Notes on the Three Major Arguments Against the Full Inclusion of Women in Ministry

Three major arguments are used against the full inclusion of women in the Christian community.

1. The place of women is one of subservience, sometimes argued as complementarity, but always involving a subordination of women to the authority of men.

· This is often argued from a (small) number of biblical texts, and usually inconsistently. The obvious problems with this interpretation of Scripture (e.g. the authoritative ministries of women in the New Testament church) are left unresolved.

· Ignores the obvious authority of women in the history of the church. (Think of the Queen and CofE.)

2. God is male, Jesus was a man.

· God is ‘male’ (no, God is beyond sex and gender)

· Jesus was a man (Compare with ‘became fully human’.)

· Priests are in persona Christi, and must therefore be men. (Actually, all the baptised are in persona Christi)

3. Reproductive role and the nurturing nature of women

· Even if true, not sure why this should exclude women

· Even if true, could be used to argue for the inclusion of women (a more rounded and complete priesthood) For example, the male and female teams mentioned in Romans 16:3-4, 7.

· Jesus was not the quintessential ‘alpha male’, so I’m not sure why anyone should think nurturing –whether in women or men – is a bad thing. (See also Jn 13:23-25, reclining on the breast of Jesus, conveniently missed in the English translations!)

· Scripture, and Jesus himself, did not restrict the role of women in ministry according to their theoretical reproductive capacity. E.g. Lk 11:27.

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