Sunday, November 21, 2010

Feminism and the Church

        God is a fool after all. That is the message of feminism: God is a fool, Jesus Christ isn’t necessarily your Savior, and the Holy Spirit wrote erroneous nonsense through his chosen prophets and apostles. Therefore, it is up to the more learned and wise among us to teach God and the church a thing or two, and lead us all to salvation.
Christians are right to seek mercy and justice for the oppressed. However, justice and mercy have their foundation in Christ’s authority, which is the Gospel. For, it is by God’s justice and mercy in Christ that those who were once called No Mercy and Not My People are now his own people (Ho 1; 2:18-19; Ex 19; 1Pe 2:1-10). These are the household of God (Ep 2:19), the ones made holy by Baptism into Christ with God as their Father. The name by which God reveals himself to and calls them demonstrates this: God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Where his name is, there he dwells.
In their daily lives the Priesthood of the Baptized live out their faith in Christ by acts of love toward their neighbor. Vocation is the liturgy of the baptized saints; for, every day is sacred and every work God puts into their hands is holy to the Lord. The prayer Christ put into the mouths of the baptized is that of the family of God: “Our Father, who art in heaven.” The First Petition is the foundation for Christian ethics and morality. God’s name is “certainly holy in itself,” and “is kept holy when his Word is taught in its truth and purity,” so that his children “lead holy lives according to it. Anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word, profanes the name of God”[1] within his household.      
Abortion is a particular insult to the Christian because the Infant who entered Mary’s womb redeemed and sanctified motherhood as well as all mankind. Women are not saved because they give birth, but because of the One whose birth overcame sin, death, and the devil (1Ti 2:15). Conversely, abortion is a triumph to the deceiver, for every pregnancy is a reminder of the One who overcame him by entering the world through the Virgin’s womb.
Christ’s Incarnation honors marriage as well, for Joseph did not divorce Mary in her time of need. Joseph was a father to God’s Son (Mt 13:55). Moreover, the Child Jesus was “submissive” to his parents (Lk 2:51), thus fulfilling the Fourth Commandment. In this way, the Lord of the universe by whom all things were created and came to be (Jn 1:3) honored and sanctified the estate of marriage and order for families he established at creation. To rescue infants from abortion is commendable; to confirm mothers raising children in the idolatry of a homosexual family life militates against the Gospel of Christ. For the Christian, choice is always the way of the Gospel, imposed by God’s Life-giving Word (Deu 30:19). Yet the one who satisfies all hungers and thirsts (Jn 4:14; 6:35, 58), also suffers himself to be scorned and rejected for our sakes. God’s prophet Isaiah says, “For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the LORD, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink” (Is 32:6).
        Still, as if none of us could see for ourselves that God’s order for families matters at all, feminism contends it does not. The feminist news journal, off our backs, lauds motherhood, but it is motherhood without fathers– most particularly motherhood for lesbians– that it prizes. One of these mothers celebrates a particular aspect of her ability to bear and raise a child with her partner. 
We made pre-impregnation covenants with the biological fathers covering such things as no parental duties for the father other than agreeing to be available to meet the child when, and if, [my partner] and I decided it was appropriate to acknowledge paternity directly to the child. The whole agreement was based on the premise that “we are looking for a [biological] father, not a daddy.”[2] 
The Washington, D. C., based group, Feminists for Life (FFL), says it also supports motherhood, yet asserts in their book, ProLife Feminism, 
Lesbianism has been a problem of timing. It is not a popular issue with the public at large. We at Feminists for Life have not taken a stand on lesbianism because we feel an insufficient case is made for lesbianism as a feminist issue. Open support of the gay movement prior to the ratification of the ERA [Equal Rights Amendment] was poor timing.[3]
But lesbianism has been a part of the feminist scene since its inception. The same book noted of the early suffragists that, “Some openly chose ‘Boston marriages,’ life partnerships between women.”3 Still later in that book there is a quote clearly supporting lesbianism in light of feminism, “Homosexual persecution has at its roots not only social ignorance, but a philosophically active anti-feminist dogma.”[4] Calling lesbianism a problem of societal unpopularity is merely a limp agreement with the lifestyle choice of some feminist women. Labeling those who don’t agree with the homosexual lifestyle as persecutors and purveyors of anti-feminist dogma further adheres homosexuality to feminism. Contending that support of homosexuality during the ratification of the ERA was poor timing does unite lesbianism to feminism.
Would the ERA have passed if homosexuality had not been associated with it or if society was had been ready for such a bold social move? These things make lesbianism a feminist issue of ultimate importance.
When society as a whole normalizes marital choice through legalized homosexual marriage –just as it normalized procreative choice through legalized abortion– will the FFL then finally admit that lesbianism is a feminist issue? In fact, that is how abortion as procreative choice was normalized in the first place: Society demanded it after it was packaged as a “civil rights issue,” and statistics were provided to “prove” its “health” benefits. Women continue to be convinced that “access to abortion is ‘the most fundamental right of women, without which all other rights are meaningless.’”[5]
 In a brilliant essay, Erika Bachiochi describes her journey as a woman living in an era where “the right to choose” has been the default setting. “[A] girl who grew up with the abortion right in her crown of jewels was one great step closer to true liberation from all that her mother and grandmother had suffered under the ‘patriarchy.’”[6] Bachiochi, who was born just two years after Roe v. Wade, thinks that Supreme Court decision was the “catalyst” for the “culture of choice,” one that “reigns in sectors of American life –and perhaps all of Western life– well beyond abortion.” She quotes French political philosopher Pierre Manent, who defined the “centrality of choice in the Western moral imagination with this axiom: ‘No individual can have an obligation to which he has not consented.’”[7] Bachiochi admits that “Our contemporary version of choice, however, so eclipses our governing role of reason... our passions... dictate the choices we make”[8] For many women, the most loathsome obligation to which she has not consented is an unwelcome pregnancy. Inherent in the right to choose is the woman’s right to control the obligations that fatherhood has placed upon her.[9] The early Woman’s Movement, promoted procreation rights for women even while it fought against abortion, which was then called “fœtocide,” or infanticide. Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sarah Grimké were avid protestors of this practice. Patriarchy was not a term with which they were familiar, though they certainly knew the concept. In the 1850s Grimké wrote
Has not man proved himself unworthy of the power which he assumes over her person & conduct?... Let us now look at the results of such a recognition. A right on the part of the woman to decide when she shall become a mother, how often & under what circumstances. Surely as upon her alone devolves the necessity of nurturing unto the fullness of life the being within her & after it is born... she ought to have the right of controlling all preliminaries (italics Grimké).[10]
When the time was right, Grimké’s argument allowed for later feminists to expand even further.  
Beverly Wildung Harrison contended, “In fact, what we feminists call patriarchy –that is, patterned or institutionalized legitimations of male superiority– derives from the need of men, through male-dominated political institutions such as tribes, states, and religious systems, to control women’s power to procreate the species.”[11] She built her own case for abortion by twisting the most perverted facts of human history into an asset. Within her reasoning lie fragments of Grimké’s argument against abortion, yet for procreation rights. 
Nor should we suppress the fact that a major means of birth control now is, as it was in earlier times, infanticide. And let no one imagine that women have made decisions to expose or kill newborn infants casually. Women understand what many men cannot seem to grasp –that the birth of a child requires that some person must be prepared to care, without interruption, for this infant, provide material resources and energy-draining amounts of time and attention for it. The human infant is the most needy and dependent of all newborn creatures.[12]
Then, taking her thoughts to their logical conclusion, Harrison rationalized if one desired sexual expression without the fear of pregnancy, if a woman wanted intimacy without the perceived domination of a male,
[h]omosexuality then becomes a strong metaphor for active, freely expressed sexuality. ... We will never get the morality of male/female relations straightened out within Christianity until this pattern of male supremacy comes to be recognized for what it is – misogyny, or the hatred of women. ... For many women, lesbianism is less fate than choice, and many women chose lesbian relations because more and more women have moved beyond male dependency and will not accept intimate relations that lack mutuality.[13]
The feminist campaign for abortion rights is such that it is political suicide for a candidate to declare he or she is pro-life, that is, anti-abortion. Can it be much longer that the same is accomplished for homosexual and gay rights? Life style arrangements are a choice, too. Feminism is linked by two agendas: procreative rights, and alternative lifestyle rights. Without a solid foundation for ethics and morality, feminism goes in any direction it chooses. The perceived and immediate needs and the cultural tolerances of the age determines what is permissible. [14] A dictum drives this along, “One of the basic principles of change is that practice precedes law.”[15] This is “lemming morality,” where ethics are based on what the herd does and leads to wherever they will.
           This also means is that for feminism experience is the only foundation for ethics and morality: “The moral test, from a feminist point of view is the effect of an ethical position, moral decision, or policy on the actual lives of women.”[16] The culmination of this is realized in the jubilant feminist-gospel cry, “Women’s experience... is itself a grace event, an infusion of liberating empowerment from beyond the patriarchal context.”[17] As a result the line of distinction between the most moderate and the most radical feminist is blurred beyond recognition. It has been convenient to categorize feminists: some are radical, others are moderate; these are secular, those are Christian. Yet when the layers are stripped away, feminism eventually reveals itself as a series of lies and half-truths. Ultimately the difference between a radical feminist and a moderate feminist –even a so-called Christian feminist and a secular feminist– is only that of degrees, not of kind. In the end, to accept the conclusions of the most moderate feminist is to set yourself up, or even your children, for accepting the premises of the most radical feminist.[18] What feminism ultimately says to us all is very simple: God is a fool, the Holy Spirit wrote nonsense, and Jesus Christ isn’t necessarily your Savior.
The Woman’s Movement began at Seneca Falls, New York, in 1848 when Stanton called together a few of her like-minded friends. At that same time she also began work on another pet project, revising the Scriptures into what would later become known as The Woman’s Bible.  According to her, the Bible was written for the sake of women’s subjugation. In the “Introduction” she wrote, “From the inauguration of the movement for women’s emancipation the Bible has been used to hold her in the ‘divinely ordained sphere,’ prescribed in the Old and New Testaments.”[19] Therefore her regard for the Bible itself and religion in general was not high,[20] and prayers invoking “Heavenly Father and Mother...,” [21] were a way to mock true Christian piety.
For Stanton, women’s political equality was directly linked with and equated to their ordination in the church. To have the former was to be allowed the latter.[22] She rationalized that “[i]f the Bible teaches the equality of Woman, why does the church refuse to ordain woman to preach the gospel, to fill the offices, of deacons and elders, and to administer the Sacraments...? They have never yet ... tried to mitigate the sentence pronounced on her by changing one count in the indictment on her in Paradise.”[23] In order to achieve her political goals, Stanton knew she had to overcome the stumbling block imposed by the Bible; for, the Bible was being used to hinder her political aspirations. Therefore, “The object is to revise only those texts and chapters directly referring to women, and those also in which women are made prominent by exclusion.”[24] Because Stanton used the Bible as a political tool for women and revised it for that purpose, she provided what is called the context in which feminism now operates. This “formulated the political character and necessity of a feminist biblical interpretation [so that] the ensuing debate did not center on women as makers and participants in history, but on the authority of biblical revelation.”[25] Not satisfied to only attack the icon of God’s authority in their lives by demanding procreative control in their lives, now women were attacking God directly by attacking the authority of his word in their lives.[26]
Elizabeth A. Johnson complains of a “literal and naïve idea of revelation” that reserves Christ imaged exclusively as male.[27] Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza laments that “[i]n order to maintain the authority of the Pauline texts supporting women’s subordination, exegetes ... justify Paul at any cost.”[28] Mary Todd, one of the founders of the Daystar and Voices/Vision groups in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, explains how this method of interpretation affects her group and their quest.
While... the church frames its argument on authority in terms of a single passage of Scripture in which women are forbidden to hold authority over men [1Tim 2:12], the root question is about another authority –the authority of Scripture. What, if any, is the relationship between the question of the authority of Scripture and authority in the church, that which women may not exercise over men? Adherence to verbal scriptural inerrancy guarantees that the pastoral office will remain filled by men alone, because the authoritative texts the church uses to support its position insist that women keep silent in the church and exercise no authority over men.[29]
Todd insists that she regards scripture as authoritative, but simply disagrees with “where that authority is vested, in the literal reading of the proscriptive Pauline passages or in a wholistic reading of the Gospel.”[30]
But that simply isn’t an answer at all. Even should a woman be ordained, anyone who can read can still pick up Paul’s letter to Timothy and read the passage for what it clearly says, not what Todd –or anyone else– wants it to mean. So this begs a question: If scripture is not inerrant, then wouldn’t that mean it’s errant? And if God’s word is errant, is it still efficacious? To press even further, how can an errant, inefficacious word be sufficient for the purpose for which God sends it? Wouldn’t that mean the church today would need to add something to God’s word –like synodical resolutions, CTCR documents, and CCM rulings– in order to make it relevant, and therefore efficacious and sufficient for the church today? Consider how J. J. Leese, a disciple of Todd, puts it.
On what basis do we determine which texts are so conditioned by their original situation they no longer speak to us in the same way and [sic] those ancient texts which transcend their historical peculiarities should be understood as normative teachings for all times and places?

... It requires a community who through discernment wrestle with how any text should take on life in the church of their day (italics Leese).[31]
Has the church grown wiser over the centuries –or is it that sin has diminished within us– so that now we can tell the Holy Spirit what is applicable to us and what is not? Or is Carter Heyward correct when she writes, “God is strengthened by human cooperation”?[32]
In 1958 Krister Stendahl, then Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden, also argued that there was a connection between women’s emancipation in society and their ordination in the church. [33] Stendahl’s essay, The Bible and the Role of Women: A Case Study in Hermeneutics, was translated into English and then published in America in 1966.[34] On April 28, 2001 Stendahl lived out in practice the logical conclusion of his own premises. Stendahl was one of the celebrants at the ordination of Anita Hill at St. Paul–Reformation Lutheran Church, St. Paul, Minnesota. Hill is a practicing lesbian.[35] If Apostolic injunction held no authority regarding women’s ordination, and emancipation is directly linked to ordination, then surely there can be no injunction against homosexuality –and especially none to the ordination of practicing homosexuals.[36]
According to Stendahl, biblical texts were conditioned by their original situation because Jesus and Paul were subject to their own presuppositions from which neither could free themselves.[37] This liberated the interpreter for his task. Stendahl explained, “The problem is not exegetical in the strict sense of the word, but lies at the opposite, or in any case different, principles of application and interpretation. In other words, it is the view of Scripture that is at the issue.[38] For Stendahl, to the extent the Scriptures spoke of the “Christ event,” –the Gospel– it is absolute; to the extent that the Scriptures speak on any other matter, it may be reduced. It is the interpreter who judges which portion of Scripture is essential to the “Christ event,” and which is non-essential and may be reduced; that is, discarded for consideration in the life of the church.[39] Thus, it is the interpreter’s own view of the Scriptures itself that determines what is essential to the Gospel. Apparently for Stendahl, God’s only-begotten sinless Son was too bound up by his own misbegotten presuppositions to be taken seriously when he told his apostles to busy themselves with “baptizing and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20).
Stendahl’s method is no different than that used by Stanton, who picked and chose what she found in the Bible to be taken as literal and applicable to herself, and therefore having absolute authority over her. Nor is Todd’s different from either Stendahl’s or Stanton’s approach to the Scriptures. She considers the Bible to be reliable, but that “The historical moments in which the biblical authors wrote necessarily imposed limitations on the authors. ... the revelations of God came in the actions of God, not words.”[40] Yet how are any to know of God’s actions toward his people for their sake through his Son (from before the foundation of the world was laid (Ep1:4)) if God did not, through the Holy Spirit, cause his prophets and apostles to write in words what he did do? And if those words are merely reliable, but not necessarily trustworthy, then what does that say of our God and of the words he speaks to us –including his intentions toward us through his action in his Son? We only know about that event –the Gospel event[41]– because of the words handed down to us. So how is today’s feminist interpreter –male or female– able to discern what is authoritative for the church if he or she can “seriously accept something as ‘absolutely authoritative’ [i.e, an absolute truth] if [he or she] also believes it to be mistaken or in error?”[42] As Kurt Marquart once remarked of this of method, “It is not a question of how much or how little –the situation is in principle wrong.”[43]
Framed another way, the situation is this: Do Paul’s words hold any authority over the church? If the church says “No,” isn’t that also the same as saying that the contemporary church has chosen the right to control the obligations that God has placed upon her? Isn’t the church then making a choice who her authority will be –scripture or the prevailing culture’s toleration? If Paul’s Apostolic authority proscribes the Office of the Holy Ministry to women, how can a woman demand the right to be ordained into that Office while also claiming to be one with the Holy Apostolic Church in the same faith as it has been handed down by those before her (Mt 28:20; 1Co 11:2-3; 2Th 2:15)?
Where do we ever hear Jesus say he spoke differently than his own Father’s words, or that he objected to his Father’s authority over him? Instead, where the Father has already spoken and made his will known, Christ takes up those same words and makes them his own. He used Moses and the Prophets to explain more fully the events of his own death and resurrection (Lk 24:27). The Gospel of John records Jesus making clear that he is the Apostle (sent one) of the Father, speaking only on the Father’s behalf (Jn 5:30, 36, 37; 6:39, 44; 8:18, 29, 42; 12:49; 14:10; 17:21). Jesus is definitely culturally and exegetically bound to his presuppositions because he speaks of one mind with the Father’s (Jn 10:30). His Father’s will is his own, even though he did not wish to suffer death (Lk 22:42). Not even the sinless Son of God corrected his Father’s prophets. His apostles follows Christ’s example, being of one mind with him (Ph 2:2-3). Paul is careful to clarify his credentials as the apostle of the Apostle – the sent one of the Sent One of the Father. Paul does not speak on his own behalf, but in the stead of Christ (Ro 1:1; 1Cor 1:1; 2Cor 1:1; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:1; Col 1:1; 1Ti 1:1). Perhaps we ought to do as Marquart wisely advised,” [S]imply see how the Lord and His apostles treated and regarded the sacred text, and then ... obediently do likewise.”[44]
Stanton did not live to see her efforts appreciated.[45] The Woman’s Bible was rejected, ironically because of its “political implications.”[46]  In its wake it leaves a damning legacy because of its feminist presupposition for interpretation, questioning the authority of the Bible itself. The feminist hermeneutic of suspicion undermines the Gospel. The result can be seen by today’s readers of  The Woman’s Bible. Aileen S. Kraditor confesses that
The Woman’s Bible comes to the ordinary reader like a real benediction. It tells her the good Lord did not write the Book; that the garden scene is a fable; that she is in no way responsible for the laws of the Universe. The Christian scholars and scientists will not tell her this, for they see she is the key to the situation. Take the snake, the fruit tree and the woman from the tableau, and we have no fall, no frowning judge, no Inferno, no everlasting punishment,– hence no need of a Savior. Thus the bottom falls out of the whole of Christianity. Here is the reason why in all the Biblical researches and higher criticism, the scholars will never touch the position of the woman.[47]
Armin-Ernst Buchrucker, in an essay reprinted by LOGIA,  “The Ordination of Women and Feminist Theology,” verifies, “The concept of sin as pride is said to merely reflect the experience of men. The problem with women is not that they have too much pride: they have too little of it. They do not need to overcome their selfishness, but their lack of self-awareness.”[48] The pinnacle of this line of thought is realized in the Roman Catholic feminist treatment of Mary with regard to abortion. Donna Steichen records this statement by Marjorie Maguire.
We all know that personhood transcends the material, the genetic makeup... The theory I have developed is that personhood begins when the woman consents to the pregnancy. Her “symbolic authority” for that criterion rests... in the story of the Annunciation. ... Similarly, I think every pregnancy is an invitation by God which a woman is free to accept or reject without sin.[49]
The right to choose an abortion without sin is consistent with not having an obligation to which one has not consented. It is also evocative of another consistent feminist theme:
If you don’t want the savior you’ve been given, then re-imagine and revise until you finally name the one you want.
In the early 1970s Mary Daly burst on the feminist scene with a new mantra: “To exist humanly is to name the self, the world and God. The ‘method’ of the evolving spiritual consciousness of women is nothing less than this beginning to speak humanly –a reclaiming of the right to name. The liberation of language is rooted in the liberation of ourselves.”[50] She who controls the definitions controls the argument. Building on that theme, Rosemary Radford Ruether made further claims that “the critical principal of feminist theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women... [and] whatever diminishes or denies the full humanity of women must be presumed not to reflect the divine... or to be the message or work of an authentic redeemer or a community of redemption.”[51] Ruether further maintained that “The uniqueness of feminist theology is not the critical principle, full humanity, but the fact that women claim this principle for themselves. Women name themselves as subjects of authentic and full humanity.”[52]
 Writing of Adam and Eve, Catherine Mowry LaCugna contended,
[o]nce they disobey God and wrong relationship prevails in creation, the male reduces the female to the status of an animal: He “calls the name of” his woman Eve. ... In fallen creation, in the order of fractured and shame-filled relationship, an order neither intended by God nor natural to the human being, woman has no name of her own.[53]
It is critical to remember that by the definition of feminism, wherever women are demeaned they are made to be less than human. This cannot be reflective of God, his image, or of his divine intention. Now according to the feminism’s own interpretation, Adam abused his wife simply by virtue of the act of naming her. So his act cannot be that of one who has just heard the Gospel and is speaking in faith. This, according to LaCugna, is not a reflection of redemption, but of condemnation. This means Adam put his wife outside the kingdom of righteousness. LaCugna’s interpretation relies more on the feminist presupposition of what it means for a woman to name herself and to be named by another than on what the text actually says.   
Reading the Old Testament while simultaneously rejecting Christ’s presence and Gospel-authority in it is what robs hearers of the Bread of Life. Feminists paid no heed to Christ’s words: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” (Jn 5:39); “observe all that I have commanded you” (Mt 28:20a); “apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5); and, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples” (Jn 8:35). Read through Christ, when Adam and his wife were restored to each other it was for the sake of the Gospel. Through her God’s Seed would one day be born, and salvation would come to not only Adam but to all mankind. God revealed himself as the Father of a Son, who would be born through a human woman. This Son would crush the head of the enemy of the human race, the serpent who deceived the woman (Ge 3:15). Because of this Seed, the human race would be restored to their former state before the fall into sin. Life, not death, would once again reign over them. Adam rejoiced in this Good News, as is evident by the new name he gave his wife. She would no longer be known as the “one who was taken out of Man” (Ge 2:23). Instead, “The man called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living” (Ge 3:20). The new name had a two-fold meaning. Eve would literally be the first mother of all humans. Even if she herself did not bear God’s Son, the woman who would could not be born unless she had children. God’s gift of children –even though through pain and suffering– would not be without the hope of the Promised One. Eve would be mother to Mary, who gave birth to Jesus.
For the sake of Christ who is the Last Adam and through whom all things are fulfilled (Ro 5:12-21; 1Co 15:22), all things are put under his feet (Ep 1:10) as sin, death and the devil are defeated. Eve was Adam’s flesh and bone, created of the same substance and nature as he, for she was taken from his side. The church is Christ’s Bride, his body he has sanctified and cleansed by washing with water and his word (Ep 5:26-30). The bride that was taken from Adam’s side is the icon of the one redeemed in Christ’s own body (Ep 5:31; 1Jn 5:7-8), his Bride. The husband is the wife’s head, Christ is the husband’s head, and God is the head of Christ (1Co 11:4). Hierarchies and authorities are made evident in the relationship of husband and wife because they are a reflection of who God is in himself. If God’s intention toward us is salvation in Christ (1Ti 2:4); and if Christ is the only way to the Father (Jn 14:6); then God’s authority is ultimately realized most fully in the Gospel only through Christ. A husband’s rule of his wife reveals Christ’s love and forgiveness, just as a wife’s submission is a revelation of Christ’s to his Father’s will. The daily habits of sin-infested lives does not give the church leave to make alternate arrangements for herself and her order. Through the systematic destruction of God’s authority in both his Law and Gospel, feminism has no foundation upon which to build but the sin that proceeds from the hearts and desires of the people, and that it calls good (Is 5:20). Contrary to the feminist claim that patriarchy is founded in men’s need to keep women subservient, patriarchy finds its roots in God’s desire to set all mankind free in Christ.
Peter calls the church Sarah’s “children” (1Pe 3:6) because she obeyed Abraham and called him “lord.”[54] Sarah submitted to the rule of her husband, a rule bound by the Promised One. Isaac’s birth did not save Sarah as the means of her fulfilled vocation as a mother; [55] because she washed his dirty diapers; or even because she called Abraham “lord.” Nor is Sarah’s salvation to be found in the fact that she consented to the obligation to become a mother at an advanced age. God’s faithfulness to Sarah through the promise he made to her husband Abraham saved her. “By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (He 11:11). If we are Sarah’s children, then we are also Abraham’s children. Abraham saw Christ’s day and “rejoiced in it” (Jn 8:56). Sarah’s salvation came through the fulfillment of the promise God made to her husband Abraham, and that promise was Christ. Sarah was saved by the birth of Mary’s baby, Jesus of Nazareth. The sign of Christ in Abraham was circumcision (Ro 15 :8).
Johnson “reasons that since both male and female are created in God’s image, then presumably God can be imaged as either male or as female, always aware of the metaphors.”[56] Apparently for Johnson circumcision was merely one of those metaphors, for she also asserts that “the androcentric stress on the maleness of Jesus warrants the charge of heresy and blasphemy!”[57] Johnson insists that a “naïve use of the historical maleness of Jesus is a main contributing factor” for why God is referred to as male and women are relegated to “the margins of significance.”[58] This is to reject both the sign of circumcision given to Abraham, and Christ’s own for our sakes. God is the Father of an only-begotten Son from eternity. Fathers and sons are male by God’s created design. The sign of God’s promise given to Abraham could only be given to, seen in, and fulfilled by a male Messiah. If this is metaphor, then biology has no reality for us.[59] God has revealed himself to us as male, and in the man Jesus of Nazareth we see God (Co 2:9).
After Christ’s coming there was no need for the old sign of circumcision, for God’s Messiah was among his people with new signs of his presence.[60] Jesus submitted to his Father’s law requiring circumcision because of his birth of a woman (Ga 4:4-5) not because he needed it, but because we did. The blood the Infant Jesus shed at his circumcision was for our redemption, not his own.[61] Read through Christ, patriarchy is the faith of our fathers, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the Promise of Christ. We are made Abraham’s children in Baptism, which is the circumcision made without human hands (Col 2:11).
Yet feminist interpretation leads to even more sinister conclusions. LaCugna maintained that patriarchy is an abuse against all of creation arising out of Christian worship practices.
[a] particular point of contention in feminist literature is the extent to which patriarchy, as the cult of fatherhood, has been bolstered by the central image of a divine fatherhood within Christianity. God is the supreme Father-individual who exists in a relationship of dominion (literally Lordship) over the world. Hierarchy is reflected throughout the order of creation, a hierarchy said to be created and intended by God: male over female, human over animal, over plant, over inanimate things. The cult of God the Father perpetuates a convenient arrangement by which men rule over women, just as God rules over the world.[62]
Consistent with this line of thinking, Ruether asserted that the full humanity of another is diminished in any of the following ways: “androcentrism (males as norms of humanity)... Christians the norm of humanity ... humanocentrism: making humans the norm and “crown” of creation in a way that diminishes other beings in the community of creation.”[63] Once more even the beasts of the field gain equality to humans under feminism. Moreover, Christ can no longer be proclaimed as the only way to salvation, because feminism considers a Christocentric religion to be oppressive to those who reject him. If feminism is granted its way, the church that lives in the name of Christ alone will be greatly altered, if not obliterated entirely.[64] 
What effect does this feminist  influence have on the church? On September 23, 2001, Daniel Gard was working as a Navy Chaplain at the Pentagon crash site. He was ministering to “18-20 year old kids who a year or two before had been at their high school proms.”
Because this was a crime scene, the FBI had operational control of all recovery of remains and personal effects. On the morning of September 23, an agent of the FBI came out of the gaping hole in the building holding a child’s shoe that had survived the inferno. He looked at me and asked, “OK Chaplain, where the h___ is God?”

 Two or three hours later, he left. So did I. When I sat down in my hotel room, I poured a glass of red wine, took some Excederin PM (sic) and tried to get ready to get some sleep. My next 12-15 hour shift was to begin in 8 hours. I turned on my TV, surfed through the channels  and came to the broadcast of an event at Yankee Stadium. I was fascinated by the parade of the pantheon of gods and I remember praying that my FBI agent was not watching this. Then I saw a brother pastor appear on  screen. Suddenly, my own God, the Holy and Blessed Trinity, was now added  to this smorgasbord of deities. I did not know whether to scream or cry.

I gave up trying to sleep that day. I tried to pray for that FBI agent, for David Benke, for all who asked, “Where is God?” I am still  praying.[65]
While it is true that God the Father sent his Son to die for the whole world, it is also true that not everyone will receive him as their Savior. The Apostle John wrote that even his own did not receive him (Jn 1:11). There were those who came to Jesus and claimed to be heirs of the promise made to Abraham, yet their intention was to murder him. Jesus was swift in demonstrating their hypocrisy when he responded, “I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you” (Jn 8:37). These men were Jews by culture, but did not receive the Messiah when he came to them. Rejecting Jesus as their Savior meant they did not have God as their Father (Jn 10:30). No amount of pompous public display can change that fact.
If we buy the argument of feminism, then God is a fool, and Jesus Christ isn’t necessarily your Savior, because Apostolic authority given through the Holy Spirit is invalid. If women determine for themselves conditions under which God will be efficacious in them as a Father and a Son through his Holy Spirit, then new gospels may be written. This is comparable to the lesbian mothers who wrote the pre-impregnation contract, determining if or when the male who impregnated them should be allowed to have any influence in their life. This is also the same principle as the argument for abortion without sin based on the Incarnation of Christ. This is freedom from the authority of the Gospel, and a separation from Christ. As a result, feminism commits Patricide, and aborts the Incarnate Son of God from the church. Not only is Christ no longer the only way to the Father, the Father is also not necessarily the one true God.[66]
This era assumes that the well-won argument is the path to the right to choose its own obligations to which it will consent. It sets truth alongside error and bids the hearer to choose between the two, as if each has an equal claim in the church. Hermann Sasse recognized this when he wrote,
Not every question can be settled by means of friendly discussion. It is necessary to remember that in an age which has a superstitious belief in dialogue as the infallible means of settling everything. There are questions raised by the devil to destroy the church of Christ. To achieve this, he may use as his mouthpiece not only ambitious professors of theology, his favorite tools, but also simple pious souls. Why women cannot be ordained is one of these questions.[67]
We can add numerous other questions to that list such as why can’t  homosexuals be married or ordained; why can’t couples live together before marriage; why can’t we practice open communion and so on. We are no longer at the top of a slippery slope playing nicey-nice with the devil’s advocate; we are at the very bottom. The muck and mire of his damnable pleasure in the church is raining down upon our heads. 
Paul’s answer for why women cannot be ordained has its foundation in God’s order established at creation (1Co 14; 1Ti 2). Both male and female were created in God’s image, and are as equals in God’s sight (Ge 1:27).[68] In redemption, male and female are both in Christ, who is one Person (Ga 3:28). However, Paul gives another reason that women may not assume the place of authority over men, “Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor” (1Ti 2:14). Klemet Preus answers succinctly based on this text. “God excludes women because He wants to teach original sin. He wants to teach both sexes that original sin still affects us. The argument that women are excluded from the ministry because they are somehow unfit ... undermines God’s command. This command is not based on current empirical perceptions, but upon an historical fact recorded in the Bible.”[69] The Holy Spirit is speaking to the church through the Apostle Paul. He reminds us of a fact recorded in history: Eve was deceived and from that Man fell into sin. Therefore, says Paul, let women remain silent in the worship assembly.
While this is a reality for human history, a Greater Reality is also revealed in the presence of the pastor. He stands in persona Christi, in the presence of Christ. The trouble with Jesus is that when he shows up sin is revealed (Is 45:7). “The difference between Christ’s kingdom and the kingdom of the world is this, that Christ reduces all men to sinners. Yet Christ does not stop there, for then He absolves them.”[70] The pastor is the one who absolves, washes, and feeds God’s people in Christ’s place. This reveals to all that Christ has taken even Eve’s sin into his own flesh upon the cross, and by that her own flesh has been redeemed from sin, death and the devil. What Christ has assumed has been redeemed.[71] Yet not only her sin, but also that of the whole human race– her progeny.  
The Word which empowers Baptism, Christ’s Absolution, and consecrates his Holy Supper is the same Word which made male and female fruitful at creation. The Father spoke the same word and promised his only-begotten Son to be born of a woman.[72] This promise was given first to Adam, then again to Abraham, Jacob and Isaac. The God of our Fathers is himself the Father of a Son. Men cannot be mothers; women cannot be fathers. Christ chose men to speak in his stead, in persona Christi. Whatever place women can fill in the church, women cannot fulfill this function. If there are those who find a contradiction in Christ’s order as given through his apostle Paul, then they ought at least to have the sanctified good sense to remain silent and consider that the Holy Spirit knows what he’s doing. If they can’t, then rather than unsettle the church with their obstinate arguments against the Word of Life, they ought just take their new gospel and abort themselves from the church altogether (Ga 5:12).[73] If a simple girl from Nazareth could say, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word (Lk 1:38),” shouldn’t the Priesthood of the Baptized do likewise?  The word “No,” is a part of the Christian vocabulary (Pro 27:5). “No, our Lord has already spoken on this matter,” also says, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68). For the sake of the Gospel, and the life of the church, let us ever be bold enough to confess Christ and his Apostolic word as it has been first spoken to the Church in both doctrine and practice –even in the liturgy of the church that is the vocation of her people.
Deaconess Emily Carder
         St. Gregory’s Day, 2007

[1] Martin Luther, Luther’s Small Catechism (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986).19.
[2] Vicki Angeline Dennis, “I Did It My Way,” off our backs 36, no. 1 (2006).
[3] Pat Goltz, “Equal Rights,” in Prolife Feminism: Yesterday and Today, ed. Mary Krane Derr, Rachel McNair, and Linda Naranjo-Hubel ( Xlibris, 2005). 226.
3 Mary Krane, Rachel MacNair, and Linda Naranjo-Hubel, eds., Prolife Feminism: Yesterday and Today, Second ed. ( Xlibris, 2005). 18.
[4] Ibid. 333. Quoted in David Bianco, “Playwright Lorraine Hansberry,” Planet Out: Queer History, <>, [9 Jan. 2005].   
[5] Serrin Foster, “The Feminist Case Against Abortion,” in The Cost of Choice, ed. Erika Bachochi (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004). Foster writes, “Dr. Nathanson, who later became a pro-life activist, said that he and [abortion-rights activist Larry] Lader were able to persuade [Betty] Friedan that abortion was a civil rights issue, basing much of their argument on the claim that tens of thousands of women died from illegal abortions each year. Nathanson admitted later they had simply made up the numbers so as to secure support for the cause” (p. 35).
[6] Erika Bachiochi, “Coming of Age in a Culture of Choice,” in The Cost of “Choice”: Women Evaluate the Impact of Abortion, ed. Erika Bachiochi (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004). 22.
[7] Ibid. 23. Manent is quoted from “Modern Individualism,” A Free Society Reader.
[8] Ibid. 25.
[9] Ibid. Bachiochi explains her own position prior to rejection the pro-choice agenda: “The so-called ‘right to choose’ simply went along with feminism. Reproductive freedom, the freedom to have a child only when one is willing to have a child, was synonymous with women’s rights. Women would never be equal to men unless abortion was available After all, how could women attain the public status of men or achieve liberation from economic dependence on men if they had to tote around babies? How could women achieve all they wanted to professionally, all they were capable of doing with their new freedoms and opportunities, if they had to carry and deliver an unexpected child?” ( p. 29).   
[10] Quoted from Sarah M. Grimké, “Marriage,” in Gerda Lerner, The Female Experience: An American Documentary, Oxford UP, 1992, 90-91. Mary Krane Derr, Rachel MacNair, and Linda Naranjo-Huebl, “Slavery: Violence against Lives and Choices (Nineteenth Century),” in Prolife Feminism: Yesterday and Today, ed. Mary Krane Derr, Rachel MacNair, and Linda Naranjo-Huebl ( Xlibris, 2005). 35.
[11] Beverly Wildung Harrison, “Theology and Morality of Procreative Choice,” in Making the Connections, ed. Carol S. Robb (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985). 119.
[12] Harrison. 123.
[13] Beverly Wildung Harrison, “Misogyny and Homophobia,” in Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics, ed. Carol S. Robb (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985). 136.
[14] Does this sound familiar with Church Growth techniques? It should!
[15] Quoting Sister Fran Ferder. Donna Steichen, Ungodly Rage, Second ed. (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992). 310. This parallels the so-called absorption plan of Jesus First and Daystar. John Wohlrabe writes, “If the ordination of women cannot be done directly and expeditiously by way of convincing delegates to adopt such a resolution at a synodical convention, then it will be attempted by the process of absorption. Women will fill more and more positions traditionally known as “male-only” or which were traditionally filled by only ordained men until finally the thought of a female pastor will be readily accepted throughout the Synod.” Also, Fn41. “See Mary Todd, “Unopened Gifts: Women and the Call to Public Ministry in the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod,” Cresset 56 (March 1995): ( 4-9) Mary Todd, Authority Vested: A Story of Identity and Change in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000). 259ff.” John Wohlrabe, “Women Chaplains and Missionaries,” in Congress of the Lutheran Confessions: Feminism and the Church, ed. John A. Maxfield (Saint Louis: The Luther Academy, 2003). 146.
[16] Lisa Sowell Cahill, “Feminism and Christian Ethics,” in Freeing Theology, ed. Catherine Mowry LaCugna (San Francisco: Harper, 1993). 214.
[17] Rosemary Radford Ruether, “A Method of Correlation,” in Feminist Interpretation of the Bible, ed. Letty M. Russell (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1985). 114.
[18] Paul R. Harris, Why Is Feminism So Hard to Resist?, First ed. (Decatur, Illinois: Repristination Press, 1998).  Paul Harris: “The two do not, as many Christian feminists would argue, differ in kind; they only differ in degree. To accept the assumptions and conclusions of the less radical group is to leave yourself (or your children) vulnerable to the more radical group.” p. 18.
[19] Elizabeth Cady Stanton and et alia, eds., The Woman’s Bible (Salem, New Hampshire: Ayer Company, 1991). 7.
[20] Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women without Superstition: “No Gods-No Masters”, First ed. (Madison, Wisconsin: Freedom From Religion Foundation, 1997). “Men can never understand the fear of everlasting punishment that fills the souls of women and children. The orthodox religion, as drawn from the Bible and expounded by the church, is enough to drive the most imaginative and sensitive natures to despair and death. ... I have endeavoured to dissipate these religious superstitions from the minds of women, and base their faith on science and reason, where I found for myself at last peace and comfort I could never find in the Bible and the church. I saw the first step to this was to convince them that the Bible was neither written nor inspired by the Creator of the Universe... but that the Bible emanated, in common with all church literature, from the brain of man. Seeing... the less they believe, the better for their own happiness and development.” 125.
[21] Ibid. 106.
[22] Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Women’s Suffrage, ed., vol. 1 (1887). The two specific statements requesting these goals are: “He has never permitted her to exercise her inalienable right to the elective franchise,” and, “He allows her in Church, as well as State, but a subordinate position, claiming Apostolic authority for her exclusion from the ministry, and, with some exceptions, from any public participation in the affairs of the Church.”
[23] Stanton and alia, eds., The Woman’s Bible. 9.
[24] Ibid. 5.
[25] Elisabeth Schusler Fiorenza, In Memory of Her: A Feminist Reconstruction of Christian Origins (New York: Crossroad, 2002). 27.
[26] Consider one of the immediate followers of Stanton, Lois Waisbrooker (1826-1909): “
Lois Waisbrooker: Woman has a natural, an inherent right to herself, a right which church and state refuse to allow her to exercise; but time is coming and she will take that right and refuse to be crushed. ... Such a woman is greater than Jesus on the cross. ... Sex is the fountain of all life, therefore of all power. O, mothers of the race! ... Wake up! Assert your right to yourselves, and live it. ... When you listen to that voice as to take your freedom, the blood of your children will no longer be poisoned by sex disease, for that curse of Christian morality will no longer exist. ... It is true that in spite of the effort to maintain the standard, the enslaved sex is growing away from it. But few women will now promise to obey, and men who are not saints are helping to give them a chance to break intolerable ties. There is now ... the possibility of divorce.” Gaylor, ed. 233-235. 
[27] Elizabeth A. Johnson, Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology (New York: Crossroad, 2004). 104.
[28] Fiorenza. 10.
[29] Mary Todd, Authority Vested: A Story of Identity and Change in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000). 2.
[30] Ibid. 269.
[31] J. J. Leese, Ministry of Women: Hermeneutics, Exegesis and Theology(2000, accessed 12/16/2006); available from
[32] Isabel Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God (New York: University Press of America, 1982). 40.
[33] Krister Stendahl, The Bible and the Role of Women: A Case Study in Hermeneutics, ed. John Reumann, trans. Emilie T. Sander (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1966).”The question about the ordination of women cannot be separated from the total problem of emancipation of women in our society. In the United States where we have learned to detect the dangerous flaws in the slogan ‘separate but equal,’ that insight gives urgency to our concern for the right place and role of women in our churches and in our ministry.” p. 5.
[34] Stendahl’s “footprints” can be seen among those who promote women’s ordination throughout the LCMS. His major contention is that a return to the First Century church is impossible and represents an attempt at either fundamentalism or “repristination.” Therefore, the church is not bound to the dictates of the apostles, but is free to “bridge the gap” between the centuries, interpret scripture according to its needs and culture, and move accordingly. The widespread impact of Stendahl’s argument for the ordination of women is only now being fully appreciated. See Wayne Grudem, Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism? (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossways Books, 2006).59 ff; 60n15.
[35] Ann Hafften, “St. Paul-Reformation ‘Ordains’ Anita Hill,” The Lutheran, no. Online (2001).At the time Hill’s ordination was “not recognized as valid in the ELCA since she is a lesbian in a committed relationship and declines to agree to the church’s requirement of celibacy.”
[36] V. Gene Robinson spoke of the same mind during a CNN interview when he was elected bishop in the Episcopalian church.”[W]e’ve walked [down] this road before. When we were considering the ordination of women and women to be bishops, you can find Scripture against that as well. And so any time you’re changing the tradition of the church and feeling that the spirit is moving you into a new, different direction, that’s a tough thing for people. And I can understand that. None of us like change. But I do believe this is of the spirit.” Luther’s response to Zwingli, “We are of a different spirit,” comes to mind., Gay Bishop-Elect: ‘I Do Believe This Is of the Spirit’,, June 10, 2003 accessed 1/6/07).
[37] Stendahl. “He [the interpreter] can show how Jesus or Paul said something in a fashion they considered them to be “timeless truths” of fundamental significance. But he is too aware that they were so considered because in these respects Jesus and Paul shared the exegetical and cultural presuppositions of their time. He may even question whether the idea of “timeless truth” is congenial to the biblical material in which material the revelation is always open to interpretation.” 13.
[38] Ibid. 9.
[39] Ibid. 16.
[40] Todd. 181.
[41] Even the Gospel event is now seriously questioned by practitioners of Stanton’s, Stendahl’s, and Todd’s methods. Was Mary really a virgin, or impregnated by a Roman soldier? Do dead men rise from the grave?
[42] Kurt Marquart, Anatomy of an Explosion, ed. David P. Scaer and Douglas Judisch, Concordia Seminary Monograph Series, vol. 3 (Ft. Wayne: Concordia Seminary Theological Seminary Press, 1977). 132.
[43] Ibid. 131.
[44] Ibid. 133.
[45] Todd has since left the LCMS.
[46] Fiorenza. 9.
[47] Quoted by Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza. Ibid. 12.
[48] Armin-Ernst Buchrucker, “The Ordination of Women and Feminist Theology,” LOGIA IX, no. 1 (2000).
[49] Steichen.178.
[50] Mary Daly, Beyond God the Father (Beacon Press: Boston, 1973). 8. Although Mary Daly is a post-Christian radical feminist, her premise – that women reclaim their humanity when they name themselves and their God – is revealed in the conclusions of feminists who are still considered to be Christian.
[51] Rosemary Radford Reuther, Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology (Boston: Beacon Press, 1993). 18-19. Sexism and God-Talk is considered to be feminism’s first “full-scale attempt to lay out a Christian and Catholic feminist systematic theology.” Anne E. Carr, “The New Vision of Feminist Theology.” In Freeing Theology: The Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective, ed. Catherine Mowry LaCugna. San Francisco: Harper, 1993. 13. Ruether’s premise is such that according to feminism’s reckoning, the ordination of women is now a mark of the church. This line of thought is implicit in a statement made by Todd in the anxious expectation of the ordination of women,
“Hope anticipates a church transformed by actualization of the Gospel message, a church that practices what it preaches.” Todd, 267. This is as much to say that the church that does not ordain women hasn’t “enough Gospel,” and that the test of “enough Gospel” is to enact the ordination of women. Todd’s assertion indicates agreement with Ruether: The church will not be a wholly redemptive community until women are ordained. Therefore, because feminism demands ordained women (through women’s emancipation) as a sign of that which is authentically reflective of the nature of redemption, women’s ordination is a new mark of the church.
[52] Ibid. 19.
[53] Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God for Us: The Trinity and Christian Life (San Francisco: Harper, 1991). 405.
[54] Gilbert Bilezikian, one of the founders of the Willow Creek Community Church, demeans Peter’s apostolic authority in a unique manner. “The use of Sarah as an example of obedience shows that Peter was not devoid of a sense of humor.” This not only undermines Peter’s Apostolic authority, but what is said through the Holy Spirit by Peter.Gilbert Bilezikian, Beyond Sex Roles: What the Bible Says About a Woman’s Place in Church and Family (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2004). 191.
[55] When Stendahl looked at Ge 3:16 he also saw redemption for women through women. He maintained that it is the “pain of childbearing which is the woman’s lot and therefore the ‘vocation’ through which she will win salvation.” Stendahl. 29. If women are saved through their own childbearing, then it is not the Seed God promised which will save them but their own act of childbirth which saves them. Stendahl’s method of reading scripture keeps women bound in the Law in the same way that feminists have accused the church for many centuries. One misreading does not excuse another.
[56] Johnson. 105. For feminist theology, scripture is filled with metaphors, not the certainty of what is.
[57] Harold G. Wells, “Trinitarian Feminism: Elizabeth Johnson’s Wisdom Christology,” Theology Today 52, no. 3 (1995).
[58] Johnson. 107. Conceding to Christ’s historical facts while at the same time arguing for a female Christ militates against faith. Johnson concedes that Jesus’ maleness is a fact in history. However, she argues against the necessity of his maleness as a Messiah because, according to her, this demeans women. The argument itself is superfluous. First, what God does in Christ, he does for the justification of all humanity, not merely some. Second, God doesn’t need Johnson’s permission or understanding of what he does in order to act on our behalf. Third, the Christian’s response to what God did for his or her sake in Christ is “Amen!”, not to question what he could have done differently. Johnson’s way is the way of the Law, as Apol. IV, 48-49 states, “The faith that justifies, however, is no mere historical knowledge, but the firm acceptance of God’s offer promising forgiveness of sins and justification. To avoid the impression that it is merely knowledge, we add that to have faith means to want and to accept the promised offer of forgiveness of sins and justification. It is easy to determine the difference between this faith and the righteousness of the law. Faith is that worship which receives God’s offered blessing; the righteousness of the law is that worship which offers God our own merits. It is by faith that God wants to be worshiped, namely, that we receive from him what he promises and offers” (Tappert).
[59] And, in fact it does not according to feminism. That is the lesson of homosexuality, which teaches that women may be husbands and men may be wives.
[60] To Abraham, as we shall hear, circumcision was given, so that he might firmly believe that God would be his God and that He would give him the Seed in whom all the nations would be blessed. To us in the New Testament, Baptism and the Eucharist have been given as the visible signs of grace, so that we might firmly believe that our sins have been forgiven through Christ’s suffering and that we have been redeemed by His death. Thus the church has never been deprived to such an extent of outward signs that it became impossible to know where God could surely be found. Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 1: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 1-5, ed. J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1958).
[61] Martin Luther, “New Year’s Day,” in Sermons of Martin Luther, ed. John Nicholas Lenker (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1995). 316.
[62] LaCugna. 268.
[63] Rosemary Radford Ruether, “A Method of Correlation,” in Feminist Interpretation of the Bible, ed. Letty M. Russell (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1985). 116.
[64] This is not a far-fetched notion. Following the ordination of women in Stendahl’s native Sweden in 1960, those who opposed the practice began to suffer a “form of gray martyrdom.” By 1999 those who continued to opposed women’s ordination could not serve as senior pastor. Fredrik Sidenvall, “Female Pastors in Sacandinavia,” in A Congress on the Lutheran Confessions: Feminism and the Church, ed. John A. Maxfield (Saint Louis: The Luther Academy, 2003). 108. A further reminder is the 2005 consecration of Arne Olsson as bishop of the Mission Province of the Swedish Lutheran Church in 2005 by Bishop Walter Obare of the Lutheran World Federation, the  threats and abuse endured by Obare, and the secrecy necessary to conduct the ceremony. The Mission Province is a communion of orthodox Lutheran churches in protest of the state-run church of Sweden which demands allegiance to its equal rights policy of women’s ordination and ‘blessing’ same-sex unions. Consider also Ebenezer Lutheran Church in San Francisco which invites participants to worship with prayers that “reach back into the storehouse of tradition to bring forth names as Mother, Shaddai, Sophia, Womb, Midwife, Shekinah, She Who Is.”Miriam Therese Winter, Herchurch.Org(accessed 1/1/2007); available from Johnson, a practicing Roman Catholic, is also a proponent of this practice. She contends that “[b]y ascribing the functions of the goddess to Yahweh and of Yahweh to the female Hokmah/Sophia, they were able to speak of the one God of Israel in female as well as male imagery.”Wells.  
[65] Daniel Gard, “A Prayer for America,” September 23, 2001,” ed. Emily Carder (2006).
[66]  Addendum: The church which ordains women soon finds that praying “Our Father” is merely a metaphor which can be replaced by other words. Ebenezer Lutheran Church (ELCA), San Francisco suggest this prayer with the God/dess beads they sell: “Our Mother who is within us, we celebrate your many names. Your wisdom come, Your will be done, unfolding from the depths within us. Each day you give us all we need. You remind us of our limits and we let go. You support us in our power and we act with courage. For you are the dwelling place within us, the empowerment around us, and the celebration among us. Now and forever. Amen.” The prayer worships the god who is within the pray-er, the god of self! Feminism is the triumph of original sin, where the heart curves in upon itself and looks inward only to itself. Thus, God is not worshiped, but the fallen one.
[67] Hermann Sasse, “Ordination of Women?,” in The Lonely Way: Selected Essays and Letters (1941-1976), The Lonely Way (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1971).402.
[68] For an excellent treatment of this see Nathan Jastram’s CTQ article, “Man as Male and Female: Created in the Image of God” Concordia Theological Quarterly 68, no. 1 (2004): 5-96.
[69] Klemet I. Preus, The Fire and the Staff (Saint Louis: Concordia, 2004). 299.
[70] Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 23:Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8, ed. J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1959).
The source for the misuse of St. Gregory’s axiom is difficult it trace down. It has become much like Feminist Theology’s “urban cultic myth.” It runs like this: “According to the Ancient Fathers, because Christ assumed male humanity and not female humanity, women are not redeemed.” The questions that result are, “Aren’t women human, too?”; “Can a male Savior save women?”; “Did God’s Messiah necessarily have to be a male?” St. Gregory argued for Christ’s Divinity against Arius in the Fourth Century. What he actually said was, “What Christ has not assumed has not been redeemed.” He argued that Christ assumed human flesh and was fully human, not that he was only male exclusive of redeeming females. The feminist twist on St. Gregory’s axiom flies (or is it lies?) in the face of such the face of such texts as Galatians 4:4-5. God sent his Son to be born of a woman, not of a man. There was no human father involved in this action. God took on human form from only female flesh –and yet feminist theology still mangles St. Gregory, misapplies what he said, and justifies for itself a female savior in spite of what God has given!  
[72] For a full read along this line of thought see Sasse’s essay, “Ordination of Women?” in: Ibid.
[73] Faith receives what the Lord gives with “Amen.” This includes answers from his word that do not coincide with our will and demands. Still, the history of feminism within the church demonstrates that the answer from God’s word is neither authoritative nor sufficient. When a response not according to their liking is received, what is next requested is another opportunity to “restudy the question.” The question then is changed in the anticipation that this will bring a different answer in this next round of discussions. This is not receiving what the Lord gives; rather, it is arguing one’s way into what one wants. This pattern has been well-documented. See: Nathan Jastram. “Man as Male and Female: Created in the Image of God.” Concordia Theological Quarterly 68, no. 1 (2004): 5-96; Laurence L White. The Role of Women in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod: A Study in Historical Development and Theological Change, 1994; and, John C. Wohlrabe, Jr. Ministry in Missouri until 1962: A Historical Analysis of the Doctrine of the Ministry in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, 1992.


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Buchrucker, Armin-Ernst. “The Ordination of Women and Feminist Theology.” LOGIA IX, no. 1 (2000): 9-20.
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Carr, Ann E. "The New Vision of Feminist Theology." In Freeing Theology: The Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective, ed. Catherine Mowry LaCugna. San Francisco: Harper, 1993. Gay Bishop-Elect: ‘I Do Believe This Is of the Spirit’. CNN, June 10, 2003 Accessed 1/6/07.
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