Monday, March 24, 2008

Women’s Ordination: The Un-Apostolic and Anti-Apostolic Confession

Women’s Ordination: The Un-Apostolic and Anti-Apostolic Confession

A church which ordains women into the public ministry of Word and Sacraments thereby certifies itself to be un-apostolic and anti-apostolic. Behind the apostle stands of course the Lord Himself.” (Marquart, 1995) 166. (1)

This is quite a statement! In the Nicene Creed the church confesses that she is “one holy, Christian, and apostolic church.” The Athanasian Creed begins with these words, “Whoever wished to be saved must, above all else, hold the true Christian faith. Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish for eternity.When the world asks, “What is truth? To whom shall we go for the words of life?” the Third Article of the Apostle’s Creed leaves no doubt. It is the Holy Spirit who “calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.” To have faith is to have Christ; to be Christian is to believe Christ and all that He teaches. What does Jesus teach? Jesus says “Scriptures everywhere, they testify of Me” (Jn 5:39).

Christ is the apostle of the Father (Hb 3:1). No one comes to the Son but that he is drawn by the Father (Jn 6:44). The word “apostle” means “sent one.” Jesus identified Himself as an apostle. Throughout John’s gospel Jesus refers to Himself as the Father’s sent one. He acts and speaks only on the Father’s authority (John 4:34; 5:23,37; 12:49; 14:9). Where the Father and Son are united, the Holy Spirit is also.

Thus, when Paul asserts that his authority was not from men, but from Christ Himself (Gal 2:2,6), he is first of all presenting his credentials. He is the “sent one” of Christ. Secondly, Paul states in Acts 24:14 that his teaching is nothing new. Instead, he worships the God of the prophets. That is, Paul confesses God is Christ’s Father. Paul is emphasizing what Jesus had also said, He and His Father are one (Jn 10:30). In Ep 2:20 Paul contends that the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” This is a Trinitarian confession.

Therefore, when Paul maintains that the order of creation still obtains with regard to the public ministry of the church (1Tim 2:12; 1Cor 14:34), he is speaking as Christ’s apostle. Behind Paul’s words stands Christ who sent him. Through the working of His word, the Holy Spirit calls and gathers the church to Christ and restores condemned creation to the Father. Where Christ is, the Gospel reigns in all its glory with forgiveness of sins, life, and eternal life. Apart from Christ there simply are none of these things. Only in Christ can there be a Trinitarian confession of faith, and hence a Christian Church (Mt 16:18).

(1) Marquart, K. E. (1995). The Church: Her Fellowship, Ministry, And Governance (Vol. IX). Ft.Wayne, IN: International Foundation for Lutheran Confessional Research.

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