I really really shouldn’t be doing this, as I am in the midst of a class with Dr. Bauder, all the while earnestly preparing for a new class to begin on Wednesday. But this one is a bit difficult not to share, and it is a quote, so it is relatively easy to put up (and it has been a few days since my last post).
David P. Scaer writes the chapter, “How do Lutherans ‘Do Theology’ in Today’s World?” in the book Doing Theology in Today’s World (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991). In it, he discusses the way the ordination of women relates to the gospel. I found it pretty interesting, particularly in light of some other conversations we have been having here Immoderate.
“How Lutheran theology is done today on the basis of the Scriptures and the Gospel principle can be seen in the case of the ordination of women as pastors, a practice that most Lutherans accept, but which under careful examination contradicts both the scriptural and the Christological principle in Lutheran theology. Paul’s prohibitions against women’s preaching should logically bring one to the conclusion that women should not be ordained as pastors. The argument could go something like this: (1) Since women may not preach, only men may, (2) Ordination is reserved for those who preach. (3) Therefore, only men, and not women, should be ordained as preachers. This argument is clearly valid, but Lutherans know that the Christological principle is the necessary foundation on which such argumentation must be constructed. Without it, theology remains biblicistic, i.e., citing passages without reference to the Gospel, and not necessarily Lutheran. A women who preaches the word and distributes the sacraments in Christ’s stead distorts the image of the Incarnation for the congregation and thus misrepresents him, even if her message should in all points be doctrinally correct. A women standing the place of Christ distorts the image of him as God’s Son and in turn of God as the Father. Her appropriating the office to herself gives a false impression of Christ to the congregation and contradicts her message–assuming that is a correct preaching of the Gospel. When the Gospel is damaged (perhaps fundamentally), it no longer functions as the norm of theology. The Gospel does not allow her, if we dare speak like this, to be a pastor. A woman functioning in the role of a pastor conflicts with the truth of the Gospel that the Son of the Father became incarnate in the man Jesus. Where the Incarnation is denied by a visible contradiction (a woman as pastor), the Gospel is also denied” (213-214).
I, of course, would hesitate to embrace all the Scaer argues here. But when we think about the importance of certain issues, particularly as they relate to the Gospel, this, I think, is a thought-provoking example of how we should do it.