This blog has been created to discuss various theological issues and as a forum to answer theological questions. Many theological/biblical questions people have come from incorrect information--hence the blog name. It is my aim to answer these questions according to Holy Scripture.

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Location: Monett, Missouri, United States

29 June 2006

Pastor, Why do we not have women pastors in the LC-MS?

There is a new pastor in my town who belongs to the Disciples of Christ (or also known as the Christian Church). This is nothing out of the ordinary, pastors come and go all the time. However, this new pastor is a female pastor. It is sad to see this trend happening all around us in various denominations today. Unfortunately, this is simply "Theologically-Incorrect." Let me explain.

There was a time not too long ago that this practice of ordaining women into the Office of the Holy Ministry was virtually unheard of. The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's, which church body I'm affiliated with, prohibibtion against women clergy has very little to do with tradition, however. Neither is it because we are made up of a bunch of male-chauvinist pigs who have the opinion that women are not able to perform the duties of a pastor as well as a man. The reason that the LC-MS does not ordain women is Biblical. Simply put, and on several levels, the Scriptures forbids it.

First, we have the very explicit words of St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:34: "Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but to be submissive, as the law also says." What kind of speech is St. Paul talking about? Authoratative speech. Pastor's speech. Likewise, St. Paul instructs St. Timothy in 1 Timothy 2:12: "I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man..." Again St. Paul is talking about teaching authoritatively in the church, that is, in the worshipping assembly.

Second, we have the Biblical reason behind St. Paul's prohibibition. St. Paul mentions that it is forbidden by the law. Which law is he speaking about? The law which is implicit in the very Order of Creation established by God Himself in Genesis 2. Here the Lord gives man authority over every other creature that He has made. He makes Eve, not to rule over Adam, but to be his helper, a position of authority over the rest of creation, but not over man. The one helping to exercise dominion is, of course, under the authority of the one she is helping, that is the man.

This truth is stated explicity in Genesis 3:16, which is little more than a restatement of the natural order to which the woman must submit: "He, [that is, the man or husband] shall rule over you [that is, the woman or wife]." Therefore, the concept of a woman pastor, someone who is acting with God's own authority over and in service to men and women alike, is contrary to the roles God Himself established for men and women.

Third, we must consider the Christological character of the Office of the Holy Ministry itself. The Scriptures describe Christ as being the Bridegroom and the Church as being His Bride. Pastors stand "in the stead" or "in the place of" Christ as His represetatives to the Church. A female cannot, in a Christian congregation, play Bridegroom to the Bride. The Office of the Holy Ministry is masculine by its very nature. It is an Office of giving, of implanting the Seed of God's Word, while the Church's role is explicitly feminine, that of receiving the implanted Word and giving birth to and nourishing the faithful. A woman will never be able to "plant the seed"--she is only a receiver of the seed. A woman in the role of Bridegroom is, simply put, "Theologically-Incorrect" and a perversion of this relationship and a mis-representation of Christ.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very interesting to me just how much you have absorbed your western culture's notions about women being "receivers" and men being "givers." It is a notion that has seeped into every part of this culture over the years, even biological discussions (though finally biologists are acknowledging how their own cultural bias informed the words they chose and the metaphors they adopted for discussing reproduction). I hope you'll study a bit more about this. Natalie Angier's "Woman: An Intimate Geography" is a good place to start.

You seem to be stepping far from the written word in your interpretations of Paul's teachings. You add in a whole lot of your own thoughts and opinions when you conclude that he is writing about authoritative pastor's work. The text does not say this at all. You do. The sin of pride can easily pervade our own blogging when we begin to believe that our own ideas about scripture ARE scripture.

10:46 PM  
Anonymous Michael Woodruff said...

I never quite understood LC-MS teaching on this until know. This makes some sense in regard to Christ and his Bride. Having said that,it's hard for me to reconcile gender equality and the role of women in the church. In regard to children (i.e. the flock), what do we do when there are not enough men going into the ministry?

2:37 PM  
Blogger Rev. Richard S. Cody said...


The truth of the matter is--there are more pastors than there are Calls available. There are many who are graduating from the seminary with no parish in which to enter. So, as far as the LCMS goes, we are set for a while. In the LCMS our crunch time will come in the next 5-10 years when most of the Baby Boomers will retire and vacate many pulpits. But remember this--God always provides undershepherds for His flock! We can't make exceptions to those who hold the Office of the Holy Ministry simply out of fear that our pulpits won't be filled. The Lord be with you!

2:55 PM  
Anonymous Kari said...

I'd like to hear the Scripture that Anonymous has to support the idea that women should be pastors and you were putting your own opinions and ideas in. You used Bible verses for your case, and Anonymous used none that I can see. Lutheran pastors do act in the stead and by the command of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to feed His sheep. A woman pastor goes against the order of creation. As you said, just because a woman could do the "job" as well, it's really not just another "job". It is a calling from God, and I don't believe that women can be called to that task. We have plenty other roles here on this earth. It doesn't hurt my feelings any that I can't be a pastor. I am not a lesser person. I just am not created to be a pastor. I liked your post. Thank you. I wish more people could understand it and would stick to what Scripture says.

Also stated,
Anonymous said...
It is very interesting to me just how much you have absorbed your western culture's notions about women being "receivers" and men being "givers." It is a notion that has seeped into every part of this culture over the years, even biological "

And other cultures don't? Let's see, I think American women have it way better, and Christianity treats women and all people better then other cultures around the world do.
God knew what He was doing when He did this. Women would take over everything if He didn't. This keeps men, at least some of them, involved in church!

2:43 PM  

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