Sunday, November 21, 2010

Stoles of Suspension

Stoles of Suspension:
The Mythological Christ and His Attendants at the Altar of the Church   

Hobbiton cannot be found on any map requested through AAA. NASA currently has no plans for a shuttle to explore the planet Tatooine. Mail addressed Harry Potter, c/o Hogwarts School for Witches and Wizards, England, will not be delivered to an actual institution devoted to the instruction of non-Muggle adolescents who are learning the use of magical arts. For those seeking entry to Narnia, a doorway is not likely to open at any moment– save at theaters this fall. Then movie-goers will be transported behind the wardrobe into the land created by C. S. Lewis filled with talking beavers and a fearsome yet not-quite-tame lion.
The world of fiction invites the participant to engage in an exercise known as the “suspension of disbelief.” This is a term originally coined by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It means that while one is involved in the medium– a play, movie, or a book– one is willing to accept the limitations of reality in the story being presented for the sake of its enjoyment. One suspends his disbelief long enough to enjoy the tale and have a hearty good time while he is engaged with it. When the story is ended, reality resumes its rightful place, and disbelief is no longer suspended.
The antithesis to the suspension of disbelief is the suspension of belief. For our purposes, we will look at a particular aspect of the suspension of belief: How Feminist Theology, through its goal of the emancipation of women for the sake of the ordination of women, requires the suspension of belief and what this has effected with regard to ethical decision-making in the church and society. The feminist pursuit for women’s emancipation has effected changed attitudes toward the sanctity of life. This also impacts one’s confession of Christ and thus also his salvation. To understand how this is so, we will begin with a more complete definition of suspension of belief, then proceed to examine what feminism’s attitudes are regarding the sanctity of life and salvation with regard to women’s ordination.
 Our finite minds are accustomed to thinking that reality is limited to what we perceive with our five senses: sight, touch, taste, sound, and smell. Yet through the Gospel we learn that the Greater Reality is still to come in the resurrection of the dead when all believers in Christ will be transformed and become as He (1John 3:2). Further, hope, that is faith, clings even now to a Greater Reality than what can be proven by physical senses. Christ’s Body and Blood cannot be found in the bread and wine of the Sacrament with scientific instruments; still they are there nonetheless. Only a suspension of belief denies what Christ says is true. Therefore, if the suspension of disbelief temporarily terminates reality for the sake of myth, fiction, or fable, then the suspension of belief is to abandon the confession of Christ for the sake of a false gospel.
                Practice is doctrine made visible. Every article of a church’s doctrine is a revelation of what she believes, teaches, and confesses regarding the Person and work of Christ. Doctrine is a confession of Christ; practice reveals Christ through Word and Sacrament. Every congregation’s selection of hymns and liturgy is an expression of her doctrine in practice.[1] People have practice, too. Vocation is the practice of the baptized saints. In daily lives, the people of the church live their faith according to how they have been catechized in the doctrine of the church. This living out of vocation is ethics.
                Vocations are God-given, not grasped or appropriated to oneself. They come from a God who is gracious and gives gifts in His Son’s name (Jam 1:17; First Article of the Creed). Understanding this and what one’s vocation is, is as simple as the recognition that Wilbur, the pig in Charlotte’s Web, by E. B. White, cannot spin a web with a piece of string tied to his tail. He is not outfitted for the task by created design. Too, Charlotte does not delight in wallowing in the mud, but Wilbur is able to. This is a lesson of natural law at work, made into a remarkable tale for children. Children apprehend this lesson quickly and apply it.
                Apart from Christ none has kept the Law, and it is only in Christ that any work can be called “good.”[2] Thus, even though those who are not in Christ may appear to do good, still they are only working according to the Law (Rom 2:15).[3] A life lived in the Word and Sacraments of Christ both informs and forms the head, heart, hands and feet for the proper use of one’s vocation.[4] This is catechesis. Just as the word that is prayed is the word that is believed, how we do, act, and be to our neighbor is both a reflection and a confession of who we are in Christ.
                Vocation is the liturgy of life, shaped by doctrine and practice. Vocation in Christ is a creedal life, reflecting His righteousness given at one’s Baptism. From Baptism flows love for one’s neighbor, giving visible testimony to faith in Christ. Always it is Christ who first speaks. He creates the reality from which and about whom any creed can be spoken and is believed (Luke 12:8; Ro 10:9;14-16). This is faithful confession.
                If the church adopts a practice informed by the politics and culture in which she lives, then the vocations of her people will reflect this. Israel knew no differently. This was the lesson God taught His people through the marriage of Hosea to Gomer. Gomer was a bride to whom “Thus said the Lord…” was no hindrance when her suspension of belief led her to desire an alternate lifestyle than that which is according to the vocation for wives and mothers. Although married, Gomer continued in her practice of prostitution, even abandoning her husband and children in order to worship false gods. God’s words are harsh for this behavior. Of her children God had “no mercy for they were children of harlotry,” that is, idolatry (Hos 2:4; 4:10-12).
Jesus says, “whoever confesses Me before men, him the Son of Man also will confess before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8). Confess in Greek is homologeo, which means “to say the same thing.”  With all his teaching at the feet of Gamaliel, Saul knew the Scriptures well. He turned to them to prove that the new sect known as The Way should be persecuted, and all its members put to death. They were blasphemers, worshipers of one Jesus of Nazareth who called Himself the Son of God. Yet after Christ’s revelation of Himself on the Damascus Road, Saul recognized that while he knew Moses and the Prophets, without Christ he did not know them rightly.[5] “No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn 14:6). Scripture alone, yes; but not absent grace alone through Christ by faith alone.
Christ is delivered by the Gospel through the particular means He chose, His Word and His Sacraments. Indeed, as Jesus said of the Scriptures, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me” (John 5:39.) Jesus is speaking of Moses and the Prophets, the same text He used to “expound all the things of Himself” to the two disciples as they walked along the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:27). Paul writes of the budding Christian church, “But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets,” (Acts 24:14). Paul confesses that he preaches no new doctrine, but the same that was handed down to him through Moses, Abraham, the Prophets, and the Apostles of Christ. Paul also says, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed” (Gal 1:8), or, “to be damned.” Paul’s mind is conformed to Christ’s. He is saying the same thing as Christ is saying. Thus, to preach another gospel is to preach no gospel, rather damnation. Therefore, one preaches and teaches what is consistent with what Paul and the apostles of Christ have taught, or one is preaching death. To be uncertain of what Christ has given– for any reason– is to make Christ (where He has placed Himself) uncertain, and thus, to make salvation uncertain. A suspension of belief is preaching another gospel and the uncertainty of salvation.
                Mary Todd is a former professor at Concordia University, River Forest, and one of the founders of DayStar and the Voices/Vision groups. Both groups seek women’s ordination, and work for it covertly if not overtly.[6] Todd is also the author of Authority Vested, where she does well to recognize that when churches do not adhere to their own advice, the Church loses catholicity.[7] Catholicity belongs to that which is also “one holy and apostolic,” as we confess in the Apostles’ Creed. The church that no longer relies on the Mosaic, Prophetic and Apostolic received word loses her claim to both apostolicity and catholicity. Luther addresses this error in his sermon on the First Sunday after Epiphany, “Yet we are such blind fools to continually say: the councils and the church have commanded this or that, and they cannot be in error, their decrees must be observed.”[8]
When councils rely on themselves as the arbiter of God’s truth, the church ends. How is this possible? The church is built only on what has been received from Christ. He commanded all that He taught be passed on to her (Matt 28:19-20). Paul recognizes this when he tells us in Ephesians 2:20 that the church is built on “the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.” The church is those who confess, “same say,” all that Jesus taught about Himself, beginning with Moses, the Prophets and the Apostles. Yet, it is the most common thing these days for people to try to push the church forward without anything but their own opinions. Where has God said to ordain women? Doesn’t matter. Other churches are doing it, so we should not be left out of the parade, conclude many. It’s the way the world is going. The community supports it. Society supports it. It’s the 21st century, after all. We’re not cavemen! And the latest CTCR document says that women can do this or that in the Church. Yet, to proceed along this path is to divert the church from the truth to eventual suspension of belief and worship based on mythology.  
This world only knows two religions. Mythology does not only belong to the ancient world filled with stories of the Minotaur living beneath the palace at Knossos. In The Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell asserts that the “god idea is always culturally conditioned, always. And even when a missionary brings what he thinks is God, his god, that god is transformed in terms of what the people are able to think of as a divinity.”[9] Anthropologist Gary Witherspoon asserts that “human beings actually create the worlds in which they live, think, speak, and act.”[10] For Campbell and Witherspoon, then, God is not who He is as He has revealed Himself in His Son and through the Mosaic, Prophetic, and Apostolic Scriptures. Rather, God is a myth constructed from out of the society in which people live. This does not mean either is saying a Supreme Being called “God” does not exist in fact. The power of myth lies in its claim on an element of truth. However, as Campbell further contends, cultures shape “their image of divinity, and then they project it out and call it God.”[11]
Campbell makes an astute observation: The Hebrew religion is the only one that contains the injunction, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.”[12] Worshiping God according to societal whim was the error Aaron fell into when Moses was on the mountain receiving the Law. The Children of Israel convinced Aaron that they needed a god to “go before them,” so he constructed a golden calf and called it god.[13] The golden calf was not a representation of a pagan god, but was purportedly the envisagement of the one true God, formed and worshiped according to the rites of the pagans. This is precisely what happens when the religion and myths of the world are heeded and copied, while God’s own Word is ignored. If God is known only by man’s tradition, and not through His revelation of Himself to us, then the “face” of each society’s god changes. God would then be a god of many names, each one according to each person’s or each society’s self-projection.[14] Yet, this was clearly not the way with the God of the Hebrews, who revealed Himself not only through His prophets, but also in the history and worship life of the nation of Israel with whom He was intimately involved.    
When Todd expresses concern for losses in synod among not only women who are seeking ordination, but also those who “find their church’s ban on the ordination of women contrary to their own position on women in church and society,”[15] she demonstrates that she regards the issue of women’s ordination not as Prophetic and Apostolic word for the sake of the church, but as tradition based on personal taste (Jud 17.6).[16]  Krister Stendahl, former Bishop of Stockholm and avid defender of women’s and homosexual ordination as well as women’s procreative rights (abortion), also saw the issue of women’s ordination to be one of “interpretation... [and] principles of application and interpretation.”[17]
For Todd and Stendahl, Scripture is neither to be received according to what it says, nor even Who says it, but by what it might mean to the interpreter. Thus Todd and Stendahl are united by one principle: What is sacred is not defined by that which has been received from God through Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostles; what is defined as “sacred” is now determined by interpretation.[Comment1]  Tradition– that is, the current culture– drives the interpretation in which that which is to be called “sacred” is defined as sacred. In other words, a confession is whatever whatever means to me. This is not Christ as He has spoken, but Christ in me– as I choose to define Him, or as we choose to define Him. Tomorrow may bring a Jesus who affirms homosexual marriages and ordinations. But wait! According to the Episcopalians and United Church of Christ, this is the Jesus of today. Suspension of belief is suspension of Jesus as He is for the Jesus as I want Him to be this minute, regardless of the fact that He has revealed Himself to be the Jesus Who is the same, yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:8). This is not confession, but a particular form of the suspension of belief known as rebellion.
Rebellion takes different shapes and forms. It is not always the case that those who argue for women’s ordination will forthrightly deny Scripture’s inspiration, inerrancy, and authority. In fact, they often outwardly affirm these points regarding Scripture’s character, while at the same time rejecting the same by repudiating Scripture’s essential authorship and thereby also its efficacy.[18]  That is, they willingly affirm Christ’s place in history, but regard the Scriptures as merely a reliable historical witness, but nothing more. Because Christ is held accountable to His own presuppositions and historical context, not even He is considered to speak timeless truths.[19] Thus, they create for themselves the contradiction that allows for the suspension of belief.
This is to attack the divinity of Christ Himself! Does He speak timeless truths, or only that which is relative? Was it necessary that the Savior be male? Can a male Savior save women? Shall we teach God what He should do, say, or be? Luther speaks quite plainly in answer to such speculations as these,

Thus God, the Lord of all the world, must let Himself become all the world’s pupil. No sermon, no proclamation in the world, has ever found as many critics as the Word of God. Every fool makes bold to tangle with it and tries to win his spurs in the encounter. There is no one who does not think he can correct God’s Word, who does not feel it incumbent upon him to oppose it, who does not presume to be smarter than our Lord God. Nowadays when anyone dreams a little, he is quick to cry: “Spirit! Spirit!” There is none so lowly as not to claim to know it all. Everyone poses as God’s teacher, and He must be everybody’s pupil. ... This illustrates how the Gospel must be an object of offense. Our nearest kinfolk– sisters, brothers, and others, – must be hostile to us and regard us as sheer knaves, casting caustic aspersions on us and reviling us to the utmost. For those who claim to be most closely related to the Gospel and to be rendering it the best service will, in fact, hold it in derision...[20]

This can be demonstrated by further statements made by Todd.

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. Taking the words of scripture literally where the service of women is concerned provides the surest case for the synod’s dogged but also relatively recent adherence to a doctrine of verbal scriptural inerrancy and infallibility...[21]

Again Todd writes, “In its dependence on the repetition of selective (“proof”) texts to support its proscriptions on women’s service, Missouri further aligns itself to a fundamentalist use of scripture. Such citation of authoritative texts thereby becomes a means of ending discussion, because of the authority inherent in the phrase, ‘Thus says the Lord...,’ which inhibits alternative viewpoints.” [22] It is precisely the Scripture’s authorship by the Lord through human authors He selected for His purpose that guarantees its inerrancy, infallibility, and thus also it efficacy. Christ is Scripture’s certainty because these are His words (John 5:39)[23]
                Todd’s lament highlights the contours of the world’s two religions. On the one hand there is the religion of the one true God whose word will never return empty (Is 55:11); on the other hand there is the religion that arises out of cultural constructions and societal traditions and interpretations. The former God speaks promises which are fulfilled, while the latter god reflects the nature of the hearts of the people from which he was created (Mat 15:19). That god lasts as long as their hearts, which return to the dust as soon as they stop beating. Underneath this complaint is this: Scripture is unfair, and its God is to blame.[24] If we are to adhere to the Scriptures we have, then women will be mistreated accordingly.  Therefore, we must not take God at His Word, but according to a new word.         Todd is not alone in her complaint.    
Since the Age of Enlightenment Man’s rebellion against Scripture has proceeded with intensity. This period of history saw Man elevate his own intellect, hardening himself in his sin. Christian apologist and author Ravi Zacharias describes this period “as the intellectual looking in the mirror and becoming entranced by his or her own reflection like Narcissus of old.”[25] Early depictions of the first sin often show the serpent and Eve having similar facial features. This was not to suggest that Eve was evil incarnate. Rather, this was a graphic demonstration that all sin is a sin against the First Commandment, and that sin itself is the heart curved in on itself.[26] Once considered the Queen of Sciences by which all intellectual pursuits were judged, Theology was dethroned during the Enlightenment and has not been considered a serious contender in the marketplace of ideologies since. Theological scholarship formed by God’s Word and shaped by Christ’s cross are now most often considered naïve and outdated, if not altogether lacking in any intellectual reflection. For some, the notion that theology would have anything to say to ethics today is a ludicrous thought.
Peter Singer, Princeton professor, avowed atheist, philosopher, social ethicist, the son of two rabbis and the grandson of Nazi concentration camp victims, is one of these.[27] In an interview with Marvin Olsaky for WORLD Magazine, Singer says that he considers the question of same-sex marriage to be mere “intellectual child’s play, logically decided, and it’s time to move on to polyamory. While politicians debate the definition of marriage between two people, Mr. Singer argues that any kind of ‘fully consensual’ sexual behavior involving two people or 200 is ethically fine.”[28] Singer says he also finds nothing ethically wrong with bestiality.[29] Olasky writes, “If the 21st century becomes a Singer century, we will also see legal infanticide of born children who are ill or who have ill older siblings in need of their body parts.”[30] Singer’s justification for his ethics is simple. “Weakened by the decline in religious authority and the rise of a better understanding of the origins and nature of our species ... we have an historic chance to shape something better, an ethic that does not need to be propped up by transparent fictions no-one can really believe, an ethic that is more compassionate and more responsive to what people decide for themselves.”[31]
In a recent editorial for Foreign Policy, Singer is even more direct. He writes, “During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of human life will collapse under pressure from scientific, technological, and demographic developments. By 2040, it may be that only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct.”[32]
With the advent of and wholesale acceptance of the theory of evolution in the Nineteenth Century, Singer’s number is legion. Paul Harris explains the effect of Darwin’s theory on ethics: “Man could no longer study the world around him objectively because he was no longer master over it but saw himself as a product of it. Once an objective view of the world was lost, a subjective view became normative through the new ‘science’ called
psychology. The subjective opinions of social scientists became as the Word of God to many.”[33] As if to prove the truth of this, Singer rationalizes abortion, “There is no moment of ‘conception’... Looking at embryos in glass dishes on laboratory benches makes it more difficult to cling to the belief that all human life is equally precious from the moment of conception.”[34] Feminist Theologian Beverly Wildung Harrison quotes Roman Catholic Marie Augusta Neal regarding her own support of abortion to conclude, “The more serious human problems now are who will live, who will decide, and who will die.”[35] Thus, if human life has lost its sanctity by virtue of the scientist’s god-like position over the human embryo, and feminists have appropriated to themselves the right to decide who will live or die, what will be the face of the god that arises from the morass of this culture– from this suspension of belief in a God who has already declared that life is sacred because He created, redeemed, and sanctifies it?[36]  
Harrison argues, “Those who proclaim that a zygote at the moment of conception is a person worthy of citizenship continue to deny full social and political rights to women.”[37] That is, if the child in utero is to be protected from abortion, and pro-creative rights are denied to women, then the woman is being denied the rights of a citizen and is treated as property. She is dehumanized. The equal rights of citizenry under the law as guaranteed by a judiciary act of the government and held in trust by the legislative acts of the government assures women that abortion is a sacred trust. Therefore, abortion is an ethical act according to feminism.[38] It secures the humanity of women; the infant’s humanity is of no concern. After all, infants and those in utero don’t vote.
Feminist Theologian Catherine Mowry LaCugna, while speaking against tyranny in contrast to being Godlike, is so bold as to have written, “The need to dominate or to be dominated is a ‘sexual disorder.’” One pauses for a moment... then she continues in the next sentence, “The social construction of gender according to a patriarchal or monarchal view gives rise to mistaken perceptions of the origins, or nature, or goals, of human sexuality.”[39] What unites her with the previous feminist opinions is the suspension of belief in God as the Father Almighty. That He is a Creator might be given some credence, but not according to the Mosaic account. LaCugna is correct– in part. When sexual identity is understood only as a social construction, but not as the gift of God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, then the origins, nature, and goals, of human sexuality are entirely mistaken– as they are by feminism and Feminist Theology. The suspension of belief in natural law and created order destroys vocation and the proper God-given use and function of human maleness and femaleness.[40] That being so, vocation is no longer rooted in Christ, and ethics likewise has no proper foundation in Christ.
It is naïve to simply accuse feminists of not considering the infant in utero to be human. That is simply no longer the case as exemplified by John Kerry’s statements in the last presidential election. Kerry affirmed “that life begins at conception. He says that while he would not dream of imposing his beliefs on anyone else, he remains at heart a good Roman Catholic and agrees with his church’s teachings about when life begins. Still he still supports all abortions, even partial-birth abortions.”[41] Yet the most appalling aspect of Kerry’s self-disclosure was not his accommodation to cultural mores over and against those of the church. As Gene Edward Veith reveals,

[I]n a major paradox of the abortion controversy, pro-lifers may be winning the debate on when life begins, but for an increasing number of people it doesn’t matter. Polls show that nearly half of all Americans agree that life begins at conception. And yet, as many as two-thirds of Americans believe abortion should be legal through the first three months. A large percentage of the public, like Sen. Kerry, believes that a fetus is a living human being, and yet can be aborted anyway. Forty-eight percent go so far as to say they believe that abortion is murder. And yet, many of the same people believe that such murder should be legal!

It is bad enough to believe in abortion under the assumption that a fetus is not a human life. But to believe that a fetus is a human being and still to believe in abortion is monstrous.[42]

Thus, for feminist men and women it is not duplicity. Rather, it is simply a feminist paradox to believe that an infant in utero is human and yet may be aborted while at the same time to believe that domination is a grievous sin against God’s intention for humanity. However, a true paradox must be two truths (or untruths) held in tension. Therefore this begs the question: By what right do any assume that she may take the life of another with impunity? In assuming “Thus says the Lord...” poses no limits but those of “traditional patriarchy,” feminist women have aborted the Word of God in order to be free from the influences of fatherhood upon them. Their own suspension of belief has led them to this monstrosity– and a greater abortion still.
                Within the context of feminist interpretation, Feminist Theology is less concerned with the redemption of any woman than it is with her emancipation, and her emancipation has been equated to her political and social equality with males. This feature of emancipation is considered the mark of her liberation from oppression– oppression said to be from the false hierarchy imposed upon her kind by Scripture and the church. Thus, the Cross of Christ becomes one of liberation from oppression and suffering, not redemption from sin, death, and the devil. This factor of feminist ideology reveals itself when even sin is redefined for women: “The concept of sin as pride is said to merely reflect the experience of men. They do not need to overcome their selfishness, but their lack of self-awareness.”[43] Feminist Theology deals with this dilemma in its own way.
                Rosemary Radford Ruether is credited with providing the “first full-scale attempt to lay out a... feminist systematic theology.”[44] Ruether contends,

The critical principal of feminist theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women. Whatever denies this, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is, therefore, appraised as not redemptive. Theologically speaking, whatever diminishes or denies the full humanity of women must be presumed not to reflect the divine or an authentic relation to the divine, or to reflect the authentic nature of things, or to be the message or work of an authentic redeemer or a community of redemption.[45]

Accordingly, Lisa Sowle Cahill writes, “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.”42  Mary Hunt accuses, “Patriarchy spawns heterosexism, the normative claim of heterosexuality to the exclusion of the moral possibility of healthy same-sex (especially among women) relationships.”[46]As if agreeing with LaCugna’s earlier statement regarding the need to dominate or be dominated being a sexual disorder, Harrison writes, “Homosexuality 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. Nothing is more critical at this moment than for the dominant traditions of Christianity to recognize and begin making the connections between the dehumanizing and ancient patriarchal attitudes toward women and our present ideological entrapment in relationship to human sexuality.”[47] Thus, she continues, “For many women, lesbianism is less fate than choice, and many women choose lesbian relations because more and more women have moved beyond male dependency and will not accept intimate relations that lack mutuality.”[48] Thus, homosexuality and lesbianism are the children of Patricide. That is to say this: Those who kill God the Father’s authority in their lives abort His Son from among themselves. They then embrace all manner of aberrations into their new order (Ro 1:21-27). For feminism, vocation and ethics do not begin in Christ, but in women. The application of feminist ethics is freely available abortions, the practice of homosexuality and access to ordination against God’s Word regarding the practice, thus demonstrating the complete destruction of woman as God created her to be: woman as both icon of the Church and the wife and mother in the home. Feminist Theology celebrates woman as Gomer.[49] This is to reject Christ’s Gift of forgiveness for sin.
                 Expressing her desire for women’s ordination in the LC-MS Todd decries their plight, “Hope anticipates a church transformed by actualization of the Gospel message, a church that practices what it preaches.”[50] 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.[51] Formerly even a seven-year-old child knew what the church was. She is revealed by her marks, “the pure teaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments in harmony with the Gospel of Christ.” In fact, as Ruether writes, “Women’s experience... is itself a grace event, an infusion of liberating empowerment from beyond the patriarchal context...”[52] In the suspension of belief that rejects what the Father gives in His Son’s Name, Feminist Theology demands her own place instead.
                Let us examine what that place yields the church. 
                The agenda for women’s ordination did not begin in the mid 1900s, but in the mid 1800s with Elizabeth Cady Stanton.[53] Stanton absorbed the philosophies of the Age of Enlightenment. Stanton edited The Woman’s Bible in order to “revise only those texts in which women and chapters directly referring to women, and those also in which women are made prominent by exclusion.”[54] Stanton’s assault against Scripture incorporated the use of inclusive language,[55] and she renounced the Apostolic Trinitarian formula for one of her own.[56] Stanton forthrightly denounced Scripture’s inspiration by God the Father and Creator through the Holy Spirit.[57]
                Although Stanton’s primary focus for the emancipation of women was theological, not political,[58] she regarded the Scriptures primarily as a patriarchal text written for the sake of woman’s subjugation. By considering the Bible as a political tool, Stanton provided what is now called the context in which feminist theologians currently operate. Because she “formulated the political character and necessity of a feminist biblical interpretation, the ensuing debate did not center on women as makers and participants in history, but on the authority of biblical revelation.”[59] Thus, feminism moved politically as though it had been given a divine right to act, all the while challenging the only authority by which it could act with any divine right. While feminism grew as a political movement, its influence was primarily theological, undermining Scripture’s authority in church and society.  
                Even today Feminist Theology regards Scripture as a political tool, and not God’s revelation of Himself to mankind.[60] Thus, it is a religion of society and culture, not the confession of Christ’s faith. Therefore, it does not regard the church as speaking in confession, but merely reacting out of her own need to protect herself politically within the tradition she most cherishes in order to protect vested interests. Feminist Theologians consider it the duty of all men and women to work in society and in the church to cause the church to concede to changes according to feminists desires. Society has been an all too willing accomplice as more and more the moral authority of the church lost her voice or even joined the cacophony of the masses to accommodate herself to the demands of this new form of worship and face of God. Feminism’s theological agenda was simple: If Scripture was perceived myth and fable, then it could only be received through a suspension of disbelief. Therefore, those who believe Scripture literally identify themselves as non-scholars and the infantile, for it is like believing in transparent fictions no-one can really believe.[61] One may as well believe in the reality of a six-foot tall talking mouse in red pants.[62]
                Ruether contends, “Once the mythology about Jesus as Messiah or divine Logos, with its traditional masculine imagery, is stripped off, the Jesus of the synoptic Gospels can be recognized as a figure remarkably compatible with feminism.”[63] According to Ruether, Jesus Christ manifests the self-emptying of God, “the kenosis of patriarchy[64] because of His ministry as a servant and the Father’s rejection of Him on the cross. As such He is “the announcement of the new humanity through a lifestyle that discards hierarchical caste privilege and speaks on behalf of the lowly.”[65] For Feminist Theology Christ’s cross is not payment for sin, but liberation for all humanity. Elizabeth A. Johnson demonstrates this notion clearly when she calls the cross the emptying of all that is most loathsome regarding the confession of God as Father Almighty.[66] Therefore LaCugna asserts, “Any theological justification for a hierarchy among persons also vitiates [negates] the truth of our salvation through Christ.”[67]
                LaCugna continues, making certain her assault is clear. “The opposite of feminism is androcentrism, which, whether consciously or not, views the male as normative for humanity. Patriarchy is built upon androcentrism, and can be defined as the institutional or structural domination of females by males, by a claim of natural superiority or divine intent. Sexism is the functioning ideology that keeps the structures of patriarchy in place.”[68] LaCugna pinpoints blame for this evil:

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.[69]
                One cannot have Christ as Savior without also receiving His Father as Creator (John 10:30).[70] The object of Christ’s redemption is the restoration of His Father’s creation (John 3:16; Col 1:15); for His purpose is His Father’s will (John 4:34; Phil 2:5-11). When the Scriptures are allowed to speak for themselves, patriarchy is revealed differently. There patriarchy is grounded in the paternal love and providential hand of God the Father who loves His Creation and provided for its salvation through His only-begotten Son before it creation (Eph 1:4). It is, therefore, God the Father Himself with whom feminism takes umbrage. That is why the words “Thus says the Lord...” are of a particular irritation to those who promote alternative viewpoints and lifestyles to what God has already revealed in His Word. It is for this reason Feminist Theology ultimately aborts both God the Father and His Son from the church– and thus the lives of countless women.
According to Feminist Theology, the church and society must not rely on the historical Christ of Scripture, nor the things of the past.[71] LaCugna proposed that the “reign of God cannot definitively be established until every creature is incorporated into the new order of things, the new heaven, the new earth.”[72] How can all this be accomplished? Ruether has an answer, “Christ, as redemptive person and Word of God, is not to be encapsulated “once for all” in the historical Jesus.”[73] Isabel Carter Heyward burbles, “That Jesus is dead, however encouraging the memory of him, however inspiring the spirit which moved both him and us.”[74] To admit to the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth, but to dismiss Him otherwise, is to make of Him a mere example,[75] and eventually a myth. This is precisely how Johnson treats the Son whom God sent and was incarnated in Mary’s womb. Johnson arrives at a female incarnation of Christ, Sophia, through a fascinating game of feminist linguistics.[76] She argues that because sophia (wisdom) is a linguistically feminine term, the Holy Spirit may be spoken of as a female. Thus Jesus is the feminized incarnation of God. Johnson explains her premise.

Each of us as a human being is characterized in such particular ways. The problem arises when Jesus’ maleness, this particular aspect of himself as a person, is lifted up and made into a universal principle. This then operates in two ways which contribute to the subordination of women. ... Feminist Theology reasons that since both male and female are created in God’s image, then presumably God can be imaged either as male or female, always aware of the limitation of our metaphors.[77]

It is at this point that Feminist Theology no longer confesses Christ according to the confession of Peter (Matt 16:16), but according to a suspension of belief. Divorced from His own history, Christ is a myth, one of those transparent fictions no-one can really believe– like that six foot mouse in red pants. 
                This leads us back to Peter Singer who argues that the church has lost its authority to speak in matters of moral authority.[78] He saw this as a fresh opportunity for individuals to make moral choices in matters of ethical choices based on what people decide for themselves. Singer maintains

that the life of a fetus... is of no greater value than the life of a nonhuman animal at a similar level of rationality, self-consciousness, awareness, capacity to feel, etc., and that since no fetus is a person no fetus has the same claim to life as a person. Now it must be admitted that these arguments apply to the newborn baby as well as much as to the fetus. A week-old baby is not a rational and self-conscious being, and there are many animals whose rationality, self consciousness, awareness, capacity to feel, and so on, exceed that of a human baby of a month old. If the fetus does not have the same claim to life as a person, it appears that the newborn baby does not either, and the life of a newborn baby is of less value to it than the life of a pig, a dog, or a chimpanzee is to the nonhuman animal.[79]

Singer’s criterion for a claim to right to life is a nebulous notion of “personhood,” not the God-created fact of the infant’s humanity. He grants personhood to animals as well as humans. This may sound ridiculous, even offensive to us, but this is the current direction of social ethics.[80]
                If we take into consideration Feminist Theology’s mangled handling of St. Gregory’s dictum[81] along with Ruether’s systematic principle of Feminist Theology (whatever does not affirm the humanity of women is not redemptive), one may as well now argue that Jesus of Nazareth also assumed chimpanzee flesh in His incarnation, and thus overcame the oppression and suffering of all life forms on earth. Can’t we be fair? So-called scientific “evidence” for the theory of evolution supports this contention. Public opinion overwhelmingly sides with evolutionary science. The church must roll with the changes and be relevant. Resolutions to synodical conventions demanding that we now allow this teaching in our universities as though it were true reflect the fact that those within our own church body think it is only a matter of time before the church moves officially to “de-androcentrize” Christ so that a human is no longer the norm of salvation and that all life forms are represented on the cross– perhaps even that six-foot example of morality, a mouse in red pants– or even his friend, the duck.
                Currently on the Daystar website is an essay by Robert Sylwester, The Neurobiology of Gender. Arguing strictly from an evolutionary-influenced biological standpoint, Sylwester contends that same-sex marriage is culturally permissible.

Some argue that the issue should focus on the emerging awareness of the innate biology of sexuality, and others argue that biology is irrelevant– people ought to have a right to bond with whomever they choose. And truth to be known, we all know couples of whom we think, “What can they possibly see in each other”– but they obviously saw something beautiful. ... And that’s where this issue currently stands–  contentiously complex and messy, with its resolution probably far down the road. The resolution of related church, school, military, and other institutional gender issues is similarly complex and probably distant. For example, Christian denominations with conflicting policies on the ordination of female clergy all claim to base their decisions on Biblical principles. No biological justification for such exclusion exists...[82]

Not only has Sylwester now argued for women’s ordination, he has, by logical deduction, also hopscotched to an assertion that because women have been ordained, so must homosexuals and lesbians not only be ordained, but also married. Yet here’s the kicker: If matrimony is only a matter of biology, and the theory of evolution is the dominant source of our biological thinking, then why must we limit our sights to human-human relationships?[83]  If one is biologically predisposed to non-humans, then why must one’s own species be the limits of one’s relationships? Moreover, is Sylwester really trying to say that the Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian God of Creation who is the God who authored the Scriptures, who is in unity with the Father and Son, did not also know human biology? No… perhaps not... but what is precisely being said is that the Scriptures are not authored by the Holy Spirit, and that the Mosaic and Apostolic proscriptions against homosexuality are mythic constructions. Therefore, for Sylwester the Scriptures are non-authoritative in matters of ethics, so it doesn’t matter where one’s head, heart, hands, feet are led. Just go with the flow, folks! Once more, the Scriptures are to blame for centuries of up-tightedness with regard to homosexuality and other assorted social ills– like marriage ought to be between a male and a female, and the fact that the unborn ought to be allowed the right to be born and live.
What is the logical conclusion of all this?  Before venturing further, let us again take into consideration that throughout this essay we have been examining the suspension of belief through a particular application, women’s ordination and its effect on ethics. Therefore, let us also review the definition of suspension of belief:[Comment2]  The suspension of belief is the uncertainty of one’s own salvation, and the preaching of another gospel. If the suspension of disbelief temporarily terminates reality for the sake of myth, fiction, or fable, then the suspension of belief is to abandon the confession of Christ for the sake of a false gospel. This affects how we practice doctrine in the church and our vocations.
Recall that Peter Singer approves of bestiality, and argues as does Sylwester, that cultural tolerances must drive ethics. Therefore, if one’s desires take him or her to non-humans, what moral standard is to prevent him from expressing sexuality in this manner? Singer’s argument for vegetarianism is based on racism. He calls it speciesism. That is, it is unethical to kill living beings whose mental and social development is so close to that of our own, even if they are another species. Quoting Jeremy Bentham, Singer writes, “The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?[84] According to Singer, “Some non-human animals are persons... Hence we should reject the doctrine that places the lives of our species above the rest of the lives of our members of other species. Some members of other species are persons: some member of our own species are not.”[85]
The tolerances of a culture change, and Singer finds growing support for his ideology. The growing numbers of vegetarians, Vegans, and Animal Rights supporters testify to this. This ain’t your grandmother’s society, nor your grandfather’s church. Moreover, what proceeds out of society comes from Man’s heart, not God’s. If social mores drive the doctrine of the church and the authority of Scripture has been nullified (or nearly so!), what looms on the horizon? Cheetah in a stole? Or that mouse on a crucifix?
It is true that women have been oppressed by men– and by other women. So have men by women– and by other men. Sin inheres the human race, as can be seen by the fact that death claims both men and women (Ro 6:23).  While ordination of women and Feminist Theology can serve well as a call to repentance for abuses of authority to God’s creation by way of sinful domination by both men and women, this in no way assumes the right of women (and men!) to usurp what has not been given them to exercise. Abuse to God’s word does not correct abuse, it furthers it. There is room for repentance for that, and plenty enough grace from Christ’s cross, too.
                Feminism, as a philosophy arising out of and dependent upon the ideologies of the Age of Enlightenment, is inward-turned. It seeks its own truth, its own way, defends its own life first and foremost. This stands in marked contrast to Jesus who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me” (John 15:6). Because Feminist Theology cannot receive “Thus says the Lord...” as Gift for the sake of the Church’s redemption, it is marked by those who are “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2Tim 3:7). As a result, the authoritative witness of the Gospel and its effect upon ethical decision-making is nullified. What follows is necessarily suspension of belief and the chaos that attends it.
                Therefore, Feminist Theology, because it wallows in human choice and the heart curved in upon itself by repudiating God’s order for both men and women in vocation, is a religion that ordains original sin. Its doctrine demonstrates this with the practices of women’s ordination, abortion and homosexuality. The highest goal in Feminist Theology is the elevation of woman to the place of Christ.[86] The ordination of women is a sign of this. Thus, women as pastors and priests “sanctify” the aberrations of Feminist Theology. The attendants at the altars of Feminist Theology wear stoles of the suspension of belief, not those of Christ’s ordination; for, they create their own savior rather than receive the Son God the Father sends by His means.
                Because Feminist Theology wages war against the Fatherhood of God, it cannot perceive that mankind is special,[87] set apart from the rest of creation because His paternal love for His creatures deemed they would not be lost in their sin forever, but would be rescued from sin in His Son’s sacrifice for their sakes. Feminist Theology feeds the philosophy of death that pervades our society that is avidly promoted by Peter Singer as it militates against the necessity of a Savior from sin, death, and the devil; Christ’s own words of the Gospel as forgiveness from sin found only in Him (Matt 9:13); and, God’s own self revelation of who He is and what He has done. As St. Jerome says, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”[88]
                For the church to ordain women is to wrap herself in the curse God placed on our First Parents: “For out of [the ground] you were taken; For dust you are, and to dust you shall return” (Gen 3:19b). Feminism worships death by the willing practice of abortion and homosexuality. It does this through Patricide by its campaign against God’s Word. Just as Adam was created from the dust, and his sin returns him to the same, Christ’s payment for sin on the cross and resurrection from the dead demonstrates that Moses told no mere bedtime myth. For, in creating Adam’s flesh, God created the very “stuff” He would one day inhabit inside Mary’s womb.[89] Sin and the practice of sin earns death (Ps 51:5; Ro 6:23). Christ alone sets us free from sin and death (Ro 7:24-8:1). Christ’s resurrection from physical death was empirical evidence that the last enemy of man to be overcome is death (1Cor 15:26), not the oppression of women. In the Incarnation, Jesus of Nazareth is linked genetically with Adam of the Dust, just as we all are (Luke 3:23-38; 1Cor 15:45). Shall we call God a liar by denying any of what He has to say of His Son (1John 5:10; John 5:39)? Therefore, when Feminist Theology, in order to proclaim the humanity of women for the sake of her emancipation and ordination, suspends belief in the Christ who did come for a savior of its own making, denies the Incarnation of Christ Himself. In denying the Incarnation, what then is the logical conclusion of Christ’s resurrection? Of our own physical resurrection?[90]
                In one thing Peter Singer is absolutely correct. When he says the church no longer speaks with moral authority nothing less than this is said: Feminist Theology has silenced the voice of the Gospel– Christ Himself!– from the mouth of the church. Ethics is the practice of one’s vocation according to the doctrine into which he has been catechized; vocation is the church confessing Christ in her daily life.[91] Feminist Theology silences Christ when it sanctifies sin rather than confesses Christ rightly. 
                Let us therefore stand fast in the truth that sets us free, confessing the hope that is within us (Gal 5:1). This is not the suspension of belief.[92] Rather, this is the hope Christ has filled with Himself. Christ’s people– Christians– are fit for their vocations through the means He provided, Baptism, the preaching of His Word, and the right administration of His Holy Supper. In this manner the people of church live their faith to Christ through acts of love toward their neighbor in a manner pleasing to Him, rightly confessing His Name by what they do with their head, heart, hands, and feet. For faith does not rely on that which is seen, but only on the One in whose name the Father gives gifts to us Men, Christ Himself.
Emily Carder, Deaconess
St. Michael and All Angels, 2005  


[1] The direct quote by Werner Elert is, “Every congregation declared what it stood for in its liturgy, its selection of lections, and in its prayers and hymns.” (Elert, 1999, c1966) 49.

[2] “Nor is love present before faith has effected the reconciliation. For the law is not kept without Christ, according to the passage (Rom. 5:2), ‘Through him we have obtained access.?’ This faith gradually grows and throughout life it struggles with sin to conquer sin and death. But love follows faith” (Ap XII, 36).

[3] For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) 16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.

[4] “If you see a baptized person walking in his baptismal faith and in the confession of the Word and performing the works of his calling, these works, however ordinary, are truly holy and admirable works of God, even though they are not impressive in the eyes of men.” (Luther, 1999, c1960) 

[5] In fact, the veil remains. Cf. 2 Cor. 3:14.

[6] The Voices/Vision “Statement” includes these points: “We work to bring about a theologically correct understanding, by both clergy and laity, of the value of the ministry of women, one that affirms women in all roles in the church and in the world, and we seek to support all women in the work and ministry of their choosing. We are committed to, and actively seek, a change in the present understanding of the role of women in the ministries of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, that no longer will a woman be restricted by her gender in serving the Body of Christ in any role to which the Lord has called her.” 
                John Wohlrabe writes: “It is no secret that there are some women with connections to the Missouri Synod who strongly advocate the ordination of women within the Synod; there are men, including pastors, who advocate this position as well. Many of them are associated with the ecclesio-political group called “Jesus First” and its publishing arm called “DayStar.”  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 only by ordained men until finally the thought of a female pastor would be readily accepted throughout the Synod.” Wohlrabe’s footnote: See Mary Todd, “Unopened Gifts: Women and the Call to Public Ministry in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod,” The Cresset 56 (March 1993): 4-9; Mary Todd, Authority Vested: A Story of Identity and Change in The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000),  pp. 259ff. This has happened in the Southern Baptist Convention (see  Leon McBeth, “The Changing Role of Women in Baptist Life,” Southwestern Journal of Theology, 22 (1980): 84-96; and Leon McBeth, “The Ordination of Women,” Review and Expositor, 78 (1981): 515-530) and the Christian Reformed Church (see “Synod Allows Endorsement of Female Military Chaplain,” ). (Wohlrabe, 2003) 146.
7 “In the Missouri Synod, [Russell E.] Richey’s “hyperdenominationalism” is evidenced formally by repeated convention resolutions in which synodical position on various doctrines and practices is reaffirmed, coupled with informal demands that erring congregations cease and desist in practices that are at variance from declared policy. Yet consistency in local practice is inherent in the synod’s polity that guarantees independent and locally sovereign congregations.” (Todd, 2000) 273. What is not admitted by both Todd and Richey is that these demands are being made for a return to catholicity, that is the faith as having been received by Moses, the Prophets. It is not the policies of synod that make unity in the holy Christian (catholic) church, but her confession of Christ. In that the Lutheran Church is entirely correct. When congregations err in practice, it is fitting they should be called to repentance. For, it is those who are outside a right confession of Christ in doctrine and practice who are un-catholic, not those who confess Him rightly for the sake of the Gospel.
8 (Luther, 1983) 28. Using the example of the First Jerusalem Council, Luther demonstrates that division resulting from improper practice in the church requires no new decree from a council of overseers as a corrective; rather, error requires a return to Scripture and a right confession of Christ. The text for Luther’s sermon was Luke 2:41-52, the Boy Jesus in the Temple. Luther preached from the perspective of Mary’s suffering over the loss of the Son of God, and gave us an example of where Christ will ever be found. He wrote:“However good the church may be, it has never possessed the Spirit in as large a measure as Mary, who although she was led by the Spirit, erred nevertheless, so that we might learn from her experience. If she herself is uncertain, how can you make me uncertain? Whither then should we go? We must also come into the temple, that is to say we must cling to the Word of God, which is secure and will not fail us and where we will certainly find Christ. I must always be with the Word, if I cleave to it. If the Word of God goes conquering through death and remains alive, I must also pass into death to life, and nothing can hinder or destroy me. The comfort and boldness I derive from the Word of God cannot be engendered by any other doctrine, for none can compare with it.” (Luther, 1983, 1995)25.
[9] (Campbell & Moyers, 1988) 101.
[10] (Witherspoon, 1995) 3.
[11] (Campbell & Moyers, 1988) 101. That is, both are recognizing what Paul has already written in Rom 1 and 2:14-15a. Man knows a Supreme Being exists. Nature tells him this. The remnants of the Law written on his heart, although obscured by the fall, tells him this. What Campbell and Witherspoon are pointing out is that men respond to this by “creating” their own gods and worshiping them. This is not a response in worship to the true god, but idolatry. It is still the heart curved in upon itself, for it is man listening to his own heart, not to God’s Word and self revelation. Man is incapable of knowing God’s gracious will in Christ toward him. For that we have only the Scriptures. From Genesis to the revelation of John, the Scriptures reveal Christ. Apart from the Scriptures man finds only the worship of another god. See: Smalcald Articles: 3, VIII, 3.
[12]  (Campbell & Moyers, 1988) 101.
[13] Now when the people saw that Moses delayed coming down from the mountain, the people gathered together to Aaron, and said to him, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” And Aaron said to them, “Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.”  So all the people broke off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them to Aaron.  And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”  So when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” Ex. 32:1-5
[14] Oh! But isn’t this what is already happening among those who claim that the God of the Muslims is the one true God of the Christians, even though Muslims deny that the Muslim god is the father of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God who was sent to save mankind from his sin?
15 (Todd, 2000) 267.  As for losses because of our Lord’s word, John 6 comes to mind. When Jesus’ disciples heard a “hard saying,” many left Him to find their own way. Todd also writes, “Where the ordination of women has taken place in Protestant denominations in America since the mid-twentieth century, it has been a result of each church body reconsidering its previous historic prohibition of women in public ministry in light of sociocultural changes.” (Todd, 2000) 251. In this, then, Todd also aligns herself with historic Romanism which places tradition on a par with Scripture.
16 Catherine Clark Kroeger does the same when she states the Apostolic requirements of the ministry are mere “traditional interpretation.” (R. C. Kroeger & Kroeger, 1998) 17. Kroeger was influenced by the work of Katharine Bushnell, an early Twentieth Century missionary. Kroeger used Bushnell’s book, God’s Word to Women, as the inspiration for her teaching on the place of women in the ministry. According to Kroeger, “From the writings of Katharine Bushnell, I knew that there might be other ways to translate and to interpret [1Tim 2:12] what had obstructed so many women from a full-orbed ministry.”  (Catherine Clark Kroeger)
[17] (Stendahl, 1966) 10. Stendahl advised a plan for interpreters: “[R]adical reduction is necessary; [the interpreter] extrapolates the essential... by discarding what he considers nonessential. The fundamentalist sees no need for such a reduction, but treats the whole as pure, unconditioned, essential revelation. ... The realistic interpreter is too much aware of the gap between the centuries to allow such easy solutions to the questions about what is fundamental and what is conditioned by time and circumstance.” (Stendahl, 1966) 14. Stendahl=s plan was simple: excise from Scripture what no longer seemed to fit cultural desires. Is that not precisely the demand being made with women=s ordination? Paul=s words are too hard to bear for some, so they must either be re-interpreted to be more palatable or redacted entirely .
[18] Todd demonstrates this propensity while also presenting a false dichotomy: “While agreeing on the authority of scripture, women called to ministry and the theologians of the church disagree on where that authority is vested, in the literal reading of proscriptive Pauline passages or in a wholistic reading of the Gospel.” (Todd, 2000) 269. A wholistic reading of the Gospel does not come at the expense of Paul’s proscriptive passages, rather puts them back into Christ so that they are rendered as He gave them: for the sake of the Gospel. Jesus kept the Law perfectly and fulfilled it for our sakes. Faith receives what her lord gives and says, “Amen!” Throughout the Gospel of John He refers to Himself as sent by the Father, acting and speaking only on the Father’s authority (John 4:34; 5:23,37; 12:49; 14:9). He is the apostle of God, and is identified as such (Heb 3:1). Paul is quite specific throughout his ministry to clarify that he is also an apostle of Christ. This has specific meaning to us that cannot be ignored. “In Gal. 2:2, 6 Paul plainly asserts that he was neither ordained nor confirmed by Peter, nor does he acknowledge Peter as one from whom confirmation should be sought. From this fact he expressly argues that his call did not depend on the authority of Peter. ... he teaches that the authority of the ministry depends on the Word of God.” (SA 4,10  ) Paul Deterding explains what it means to be an apostle: While both avpo,stoloj (apostle) and shaliach are etymologically related to the verb ‘send,’ they have a much fuller meaning than simply ‘one sent.’ In Jewish sources, a shaliach was an authorized representative of the individual or group who sent him, so that the identifying characteristic of the a shaliach is his authority. Thus the rabbis said of a shaliach” “the one sent by a man is as the man himself.” Therefore, the shaliach had to subordinate his will completely to that of the sender, as the shaliach had the authority of the sender himself in the execution of his commission. (Deterding, 2003) 22. Paul’s commission to preach was not from men, but from Christ Himself, and he emphasizes that distinction in his letters. Jesus says all authority “in heaven and on earth” is His (Matt 28:18). Yet, the institution of the Office of the Ministry is by Christ’s command for the sake of distributing His Gifts. It is only by Christ’s institution that the ministry of His Office has any authority. Authority is granted only by the One from whom all authority originates, and to whom it is given. Thus, the Office of the Ministry remains Christ’s own, even though the authority of Christ is exercised through the Office on behalf of the church. Paul’s authority to speak to the church lay in the fact that he was an Apostle of Christ. As an Apostle of Christ, Paul spoke as Christ spoke. The words he spoke to the church were not his, but those of a God whose word endures forever (1Pe 1:25). Because the church is founded upon the Apostolic Word preached through the Office (Rom 10:14), it can rightly be called an Apostolic Office. The church loses her claim to apostolicity wherever she is no longer the faithful recipient and distributor of the apostolic Word and Sacraments upon which she has her foundation. That apostolic Word includes the prophetic Scriptures Paul confessed and passed on (Acts 24:14; Eph 2:20).
[19] Stendahl writes, “As a historian he [the interpreter] has no standards by which to distinguish between a ‘timeless truth’ and that conditioned by time. He can show how Jesus or Paul said something in a fashion which indicates 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.”  (Stendahl, 1966) 13.
[20] (Luther, 1999, c1959).  
[21] (Todd, 2000) 2.
                [22] (Todd, 2000) 271.
[23] John Stephenson corrects the false notion that inerrancy and inspiration are the hobgoblins of Fundamentalists (whose only intent is to keep women out of the Office of the Ministry): “One can have no respect for any who would urge that the concept of biblical inerrancy only entered the church=s bloodstream with the emergence of the Fundamentalist movement in certain Reformed circles of Anglo-Saxon Christendom at the beginning of this century. The utter truthfulness and unqualified trustworthiness of inspired Scripture, along with the implied corollary of biblical inerrancy, were joyfully and unanimously acknowledged by Christendom during the seventeen centuries that preceded the European Enlightenment.” (Stephenson, 1993b) 4.
[24] This was Adam’s charge against God. “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate” (Gen 3:12). Adam did not blame the woman for deceiving him into eating of the fruit, but God for giving him the woman. It is not the Gift that is blamed, but the Gift-giver. So it is with feminism, whose complaint lies with God, the Giver of the Scriptures. Thus, in this quirky sort of way, feminism actually does acknowledge the fact that God is the true Author of Scripture and not man alone. Thus, Feminist Theology’s tactics of redaction, reduction, and re-interpretation are mere subterfuge behind which they hide their deeds. Adam’s and Eve’s fig leaves didn’t cover very much. Neither will feminism’s. Furthermore, the question Feminist Theology asks “Can a male Savior save women?” is Adam’s question repeated once more, as is the “feminizing” of Christ. These are feminism’s ways of demonstrating to God that what He gave is not sufficient for their needs.
[25] (Zacharias, 1996) 30. Rosemary Radford Ruether characterizes this “Age of Light (reason) … that will supersede and liberate humanity from the superstitions of clericalism of the Christian Church. The Christian era as a whole now becomes a past and evil “dark age” of humanity.” Are we there yet? (Ruether, 1993) 134.
[26]  Is that not precisely the situation of the first sin? It began with a question, as an intellectual exercise with an appeal to the woman=s autonomy. Satan offered the woman what she already had, to Abe like God.@ She was already created in the image and likeness of God. She lacked nothing. Yet, progressing from a corruption of the intellect, to the desires of the heart, finally to an act of defiance, the woman was deceived. She then led her husband into her sin, and all mankind sinned. The serpent appealed to the woman=s autonomyB to be like God. So it is today. When one is an authority over the Scriptures, they are treated as an adiaphoron, to be done with according to one=s desires. Belief is then suspended and rebellion is the response.
27 (Olasky, 2004)
[28] (Olasky, 2004)
[29] (Olasky, 2004)
[30] (Olasky, 2004)
31 (Singer, 1994) 4.
[32] (Singer, 2005) Who are these fundamentalists? Stendahl called his method of interpretation “realistic interpretation.” (Stendahl, 1966) 10.  Stendahl identifies the fundamentalist as the one who seeks an easy solution, while the realistic interpreter is the true scholar. The realistic interpreter is first of all, a realist. Secondly, the realistic interpreter does not retire to a safety zone of the whole as pure, unconditioned, essential revelation when confronted with difficult matters which are of a nature that “deal with questions which did not emerge in biblical times but which, rightly or wrongly, seem to force themselves upon us.” (Stendahl, 1966.) 4. “To the liberal, a radical reduction is necessary; he extrapolates the essential... by discarding what he considers nonessential. The fundamentalist sees no need for such a reduction, but treats the whole as pure, unconditioned, essential revelation. ... The realistic interpreter is too much aware of the gap between the centuries to allow such easy solutions to the questions about what is fundamental and what is conditioned by time and circumstance. (Stendahl, 1966.) 14. Nor is Todd uninhibited in defining who she thinks the fundamentalists among us are. Todd clearly recognizes Paul’s words in 1Tim. 2:12 as being what they are, so for her it is not a matter of exegesis, but hermeneutics. Therefore, Todd complains that it is only synod’s refusal to engage in a similar hermeneutic espoused by Stendahl that prevents the ordination of women. Synod has laid claim to inerrancy; i.e, synod refuses to declare Paul’s words as nonessential and subject for reduction from Scripture. By this statement Todd identifies herself as (1) one who regards 1Tim. 2:12 as a nonessential and to be reduced as such for the sake of women’s ordination; and, (2) synod as recognizing Scripture as the whole as pure, unconditioned, essential revelation. That is, by using Stendahl’s criteria of the fundamentalist considers the LC-MS to be fundamentalist. Todd further allies herself with Stendahl when she maintains, “Such reliance on a vision of the recapture and restoration of a glorified past is a means by which fundamentalists not only cope with the stresses of change, but upon which they base their opposition to change” (Todd, 2002) 146. Was Todd so intent on identifying certain LC-MS theologians with fundamentalism that she allowed this agenda to cloud her scholarship? Perhaps so. On page 270 of Authority Vested Todd attributes an accusation of fundamentalism against the LC-MS from the pen of Martin Noland. She writes, “Sometimes the charge comes from its own clergy, as in the case of one pastor who suggested that his synod was ‘becoming a Protestant fundamentalist church with a Lutheran face.’” (Todd, 2002). The full quote by Noland reads otherwise. Noland responded in disagreement to those who were critical of the LC-MS in a 1989 Lutheran Forum essay, “Comprehending Missouri's Dissent: Holding Fast to Grace.” He writes, “Little wonder, then, that observers both inside and outside Missouri have concluded that it is becoming a Protestant fundamentalist church with a Lutheran face. ... Although such trends may prove to be bellwethers, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod has earned a reputation for its resistance to the mood swings of the religious Zeitgeist.” (Noland, 1989). Todd handles Noland’s quote interestingly in her book. Todd quotes Noland out of context by truncating his entire remark where he is speaking of others and prior to his own conclusion with regard to the LC-MS, which he puts into another paragraph altogether. Under her treatment he is made to look as though he is critical of Missouri, when in fact he is supportive of her, as the full quote demonstrates. (Todd, 2002) 270.
[33] (Harris, 1997) 16.
34 (Singer, 1994) 97. Thus there is no incarnation: “Conceived by the Holy Spirit...”  To look at the Christ in His mother’s womb would have shown Him no more God than to look at Him dying on the cross between two thieves.  To see the Agent of Creation suckling at His mother’s breasts, dependent upon them for the milk He created, would not reveal the Christ who gives Himself as eternal bread any more than looking through a microscope can discern where the elements end and Christ’s Body and Blood begin. We walk by faith, not by sight. But it is easy to see how many, finding nothing but bread, nothing but wine, nothing but water and men’s opinions, abort Christ from His Gifts– even from their ears!  “The agent of creation is also the Head and Redeemer of the church.” (Deterding, 2003) 48. Deterding is speaking here of Col 1:15. Christ is image of God, the firstborn of all creation, and is that to which Col 1:15 speaks. He is the fullness of the deity. He is “the visible image of the invisible God; if we would know what the invisible God is like, we must look to that by which he has revealed himself visibly: the incarnate Christ” (Deterding, 2003) 50. Yet, the phrase “image of God” also recalls the creation of humanity. Christ, who is the image of God is the firstborn of every creature. He is the Last Adam (Rom 5:12-21; 1Cor 15:45). He through whom all things which were created came to be (John 1:3) is the One through whom all was be restored and in whom all is sanctified through His Gifts: the pure preaching of His Word, and the right administration of His Sacraments, Baptism, Absolution, and His Supper. 
[35] (Harrison, 1985b) 119.
[36] In May 1991, Sherry Matulis delivered a speech to the fiftieth annual convention of the American humanist Association in Chicago where she received the “AHA Feminist Caucus ‘Humanist Heroine’ award for her articulate and courageous activism on behalf of women’s rights.” (Gaylor, 1998) 543.  She began her speech by saying: “If it is true that there’s nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come, I think it’s equally true that there’s nothing as pervasively harmful as a malefic religious notion whose time won’t go. I’ve spent a good part of my life dealing with such notions, trying to counter them – all the myriad misogynous notions of Fundamentalist religion. But the specific of such notions that’s taken most of my attention, the one that has dealt so heinously with the lives of millions of women over the years, is that extremely peculiar notion which persists in the error that the uniting of sperm and ova – oftentimes the accidental uniting of sperm and ova – constitutes the Holiest of Holies; a thing so universally meritorious that it should be revered above all else. Including the existent life of the every female on the planet. ... That this notion is restful to the patriarchal brain, I have no doubt.”  (Gaylor, 1998) 543.
[37] (Harrison, 1985b) 127. While arguing for abortion Harrison contends, “Women understand what many men cannot seem to grasp– that the birth of a child requires that some person be prepared to care, without interruption, for this infant, provide material resources and energy-draining amounts of time and attention for it. The human is the most needy and dependent of all newborn creatures.” (Harrison, 1985a) 123.
38 Beverly Harrison argues for abortion from an ecological standpoint, and rationalizes that society has always found a means for ridding itself of unwanted children through abortion and infanticide. Lisa Sowle Cahill considers abortion as necessary for the liberation of the oppressed. Thus God’s word against murder is not timeless, but the practice of it is. Peter Singer uses the same arguments. Because for feminists, feminist theologians, and ethicists like Singer culture drives ethics, the practice of sin is the only absolute to which they will subscribe to, though not admit to. See: Harrison, B. W. (1985). Theology and Morality of Procreative Choices. In C. S. Robb (Ed.), Making the Connections: Essays in Feminist Social Ethics. Boston: Beacon Press.; Cahill, L. S. (1993). Feminism and Christian Ethics. In C. M. LaCugna (Ed.), Freeing Theology: The Essentials of Theology in Feminist Perspective. San Francisco: Harper.; Singer, P. (1994). Rethinking Life and Death. New York: St. Martin's Press.; Singer, P. (1999). Practical Ethics (Second ed.). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.
[39] (LaCugna, 1973) 407. Monarchal means, it must be noted, “one source.” LaCugna is specifically decrying the Trinitarian theology of Chalcedon. She regards this Council especially as instituting the cult of God the Father,” and the “cult of fatherhood,” that is, patriarchy and hierarchies. Chalcedon affirmed the Athanasian Creed which confesses that while the Father is the source of both the Son and the Spirit, all are equally God. The Council of Chalcedon and the Athanasian Creed confess Scripture, for the Son is begotten of the Father and sent by Him (John 3:16). The Father sends the Spirit in Christ’s name (John 14:26), and the Son sends the Spirit from the Father, from whom He proceeds (John 15:26). However, specifically for Feminist Theology, Chalcedon is the source of “hierarchal dualism, in which the higher essence is the valuable essence” (Heyward, 1982) 192. Our understanding of the Trinity informs our human relationships. Thus, feminists charge Chalcedon with all manner of deviltry. Heyward writes, “The implications of this motif have been plentiful. Various overlapping of ontological dualism have been fastened in it. For example, in philosophy: divinity over humanity; infinite over finite; ... supernatural over natural; revelation over reason;... permanence over change; ... in methodology: dogma over development; answers over questions.” (Heyward, 1982) 192. This is simply more of Feminist Theology=s anti-patriarchal bias against Scripture and the church. God=s order for families is patterned after Christ=s love and sacrifice for His Bride, the Church (Eph 5: 22-28). In marriage a husband remains a male, a wife a female. Both are equally and fully human by creation and as such the flesh of both was assumed by Christ in His Incarnation. As the Baptized, male and female are both one in Christ, who is One Person (Gal 3:28). It is not feminism that gives the clearest picture of human relationships, but Scripture and the Creeds of the one, holy, Apostolic Church. The feminist error is that once having denied the source of sin, it finds sin’s source where God’s Gift is instead.   
[40] There’s more of that social construct! Now even the God-given vocations of maleness and femaleness are a social construct according to the notions of feminism. Despite feminism’s claims to the contrary, the Scriptures are replete with consideration for the female. Creation was not “very good” until after the woman was built from the man’s side.
[41] (Veith, 2004)
[42] (Veith, 2004)
43 (Buchrucker, 2000) 12.
44 (Carr, 1993) 13.
45 (Ruether, 1993) 18-19.
[46]  (Hunt, 1996) 304
[47] (Harrison, 1985a) 144. Despite her admirable attempt to defend of heterosexuality and monogamy, Kroeger eventually is revealed as inconsistent (fn. 19). On the one hand she wrote, “Gender, age, social condition and racial considerations are all swept away by Galatians 3:28.” (Kroeger, 1998) 39. On the other hand she asserted, “Some argue that if a church ordains women despite the few passages seeming to restrict women, then it ought also to ordain homosexuals. But this is to mix apples and oranges. First and foremost, women maintain that they are spiritual beings, made in the image of God. As bone of man’s bone and flesh of his flesh, they share his nature destined to glorify God and to walk in obedience to God’s decrees.”  (Kroeger, 2004) Kroeger has been so intent on emancipating women according to her definition of liberation, that she cannot grasp that the moral authority to which she would like to subject others has been neutralized by her own advocacy of the ordination of women. If women are to be known as spiritual beings, then the physical shell that is the body is of no consideration in matters of vocation. Paul was no less influenced by Gamaliel regarding homosexuals than women, yet Kroeger demands that the former adhere to all of God’s Word as it is written, while at the same time freeing the latter from the same.
[48] (Harrison, 1985a) 144.
[49] Ebenezer Lutheran Church, ELCA, in San Francisco, advocates praying with God/dess beads. A female goddess figure adorns each circlet. A suggested prayer is: “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 that 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 for ever. Amen”  Can anyone seriously think that women=s ordination does not lead to all manner of deviltry?
[50] (Todd, 2000) 267.
[51] Ap: 1, IV, 3
[52] (Ruether, 1985), 114.
53 Stanton is primarily noted by history books for her work in the Suffrage Movement. For suffragists, voting was one form to practice the doctrine of woman’s emancipation. The Seneca Falls Declaration, was written by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1848. (Mott & Stanton, 1848) The Abolition and Emancipation Movements leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation gave rise to the Suffrage Movement. It was from the Emancipation Movement that such phrases as “separate but equal” became part of our language. The Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862, declared all persons held as slaves were free and gave them the franchise. The vote was then equated with one’s humanity, because slaves, as non-voting members of society, had formerly been treated as non-humans in many other ways. Feminists drew on this, and sought the franchise for women. The vote has subsequently become equated with human rights.
54 “[I]nstead of three male personages... a Heavenly Father, Mother and Son would seem more rational.”(Stanton, 1991) 5.
55 “We must demand that the canon law, the Mosaic code, the Scriptures, prayer books and liturgies be purged of all invidious distinctions of sex.” (Gaylor, 1998) 107.
56 (Stanton, 1991) 14. Feminist Theology has further developed this. See especially Rosemary Radford Ruether, Sexism and God-Talk: Toward a Feminist Theology. Boston: Beacon Press.; Isabel Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God: A Theology of Mutual Relation. New York: Lantham; Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life. San Francisco: Harper.; and, Elizabeth A. Johnson, Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal In Christology. New York: Crossroad. What unites these authors is their rejection of the Council of Chalcedon. Chalcedon reaffirmed that Christ’s dual natures remained even in the Incarnation. Jesus of Nazareth is both Divine God and Human Man. Chalcedon affirmed the Athanasian Creed which confesses that while the Father is the source of both the Son and the Spirit, all are equally God. However, specifically for Feminist Theology, Chalcedon is the source of “hierarchal dualism, in which the higher essence is the valuable essence” (Heyward, 1982) 192. Our understanding of the Trinity informs our human relationships. Thus, feminists charge Chalcedon with all manner of deviltry. Heyward writes, “The implications of this motif have been plentiful. Various overlapping of ontological dualism have been fastened in it. For example, in philosophy: divinity over humanity; infinite over finite; ... supernatural over natural; revelation over reason;... permanence over change; ... in methodology: dogma over development; answers over questions.” (Heyward, 1982) 192. This is simply more of Feminist Theology’s anti-patriarchal bias against Scripture and the church. God’s order for families is patterned after Christ’s love and sacrifice for His Bride, the Church (Eph 5: 22-28). In marriage a husband remains a male, a wife a female. Both are equally and fully human by creation and as such the flesh of both was assumed by Christ in His Incarnation. As the Baptized, male and female are both one in Christ, who is One Person (Gal 3:28). It is not feminism that gives the clearest picture of human relationships, but Scripture and the Creeds of the one, holy, Apostolic Church. The feminist error is that once having denied the source of sin, it finds sin’s source where God’s Gift is instead.   
57 Stanton writes: “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, the Infinite Intelligence, the soul and center of Life, Love and Light; but that the Bible emanated, in common with all church literature, from the brain of man. Seeing that in just proportion as women are devout believers in the dogmas of the church their lives are shadowed with fears of the unknown, the less they believe, the better for their own happiness and development.” (Gaylor, 1998) 125.
[58] In this Stanton preceded Betty Friedan. Betty Fiedan is no theologian, but a politician. In the introduction to his book, Eschatology, John R. Stephenson recounts Friedan’s own perspective of what she considered her influence upon culture to be. AA woman theologian writing in opposition to female ordination has noted: ‘... Betty Friedan was asked what she thought would be the most radical change caused by the women’s movement. ‘I can’t tell you now,’ she answered. ‘You wouldn’t believe it anyhow... it is theological.’” (Stephenson, 1993a) 10.
59 (Fiorenza, 2002) 27.
[60] There are “vast differences amongst schools of feminist thought. There is no one school of ... feminist theology,” according to Catherine Mowry LaCugna. (LaCugna, 1973) 268. This is true. Some even attempt to separate feminist theologians into “camps” according to whether this one or that one is within traditional Christianity. But to only look at their differences and then categorize them is to sometimes provide an evasion for the crux of the matter: The premise for Feminist Theology itself is wrong, for it begins with a rejection of God’s Word as His own revelation through His chosen messengers. Thus all that proceeds from Feminist Theology must be rejected.
61 Continuing to debate with God beyond His proclamation “Thus says the Lord,” Todd writes, “Those who hold ‘inadequate notions of God’ claim authority based on whatever they understand to be God’s commands. Verbal scriptural inerrancy presumes constriction and limitation– of possibility, of imagination, of opportunity, of thought, indeed of God. As long as the Missouri Synod understands the authority of scripture through an insistence on verbal scriptural inerrancy, it requires a ban on the ordination to support its view.” (Todd, 2000) 7. Thus Todd claims the insistence on verbal scriptural inerrancy is for the sake of the all male-ministry– that is, the oppression of females. Todd also writes, “[A]ppeal to biblical literalism relieves the laity of its responsibility for biblical literacy through an ongoing, reflexive study… Coupled with an unhistorical sense of the synod’s past, the identity of the church is shaped by those theologians who require uncritical obedience… and a laity that prefers to defer to clerical authority so long as that authority does not challenge an Americanized, populist, and naVve view of ‘the Bible.’ Additionally, the synod’s insular identity amid a pluralistic religious landscape further isolates the church.” (Todd, 2000) 271. For feminism it all comes down to a matter of hierarchy, authority– patriarchy– not God’s gifts in Christ. The authority of the Office exists only insofar as Christ grants it through Word and Sacrament. The aim of feminist angst when “Thus says the Lord…” limits conversation is the pastor, but behind him stands Christ. Therefore, the target of frustration and anger is Christ Himself. Thus, to be as an infant when receiving Christ’s gifts is precisely what faith requires (1Pe 2.2).This is not being infantile, which is to act like an infant when one ought not. Eagerly receiving Christ’s Word does not require the shutting off of one’s mind; rather the submission of the intellect to His word. However, feminism rejects such dependency in which one is as a child to a parent, for it promotes the “cults” of God the Father and fatherhood. (LaCugna, 1973) 268. The very life of the church is through the Office, as the Confessions so clearly understand and profess. The Office is the only necessary office, without which the church ceases to be. This is precisely why AC V (The Ministry) follows behind AV IV (Justification) and AC III, which treats of the Person of Christ. Salvation is received only through God’s grace, having been worked out through His Son for our sakes, and is received in faith through the gifts given in and delivered through the Office. This is the Office established by Christ, the Word Incarnate, for our sakes, and built upon His Word, not our own. Inerrancy and certainty of salvation are intrinsic to each other. Without the certainty of Christ’s own authority, faith is a vacuous hope. 
[62] How successful was Stanton? Feminist Theologian Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza quotes a modern reader of The Woman=s Bible, Aileen S. Kraditor: “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.” (Fiorenza, 2002) 12.
63 (Ruether, 1993) 135.
64 (Ruether, 1993) 136. kenosis refers to Phil 2:7, Christ=s emptying Himself on the cross.
65 (Ruether, 1993) 136.
[66] “The cross thus stands as a poignant symbol of the ‘kenosis of patriarchy,’ the self-emptying of male dominating power in favor of the new humanity of compassionate service and mutual empowerment.”  “ ... feminist theology repudiates an interpretation of the death of Jesus as required by God in repayment for sin. Such a view today is virtually inseparable from an underlying image of God as an angry, bloodthirsty, violent and sadistic father, reflecting the very worst kind of male behavior.” (Wells, 1995)
[67] (LaCugna, 1973) 400. So much for vocations requiring the rightful exercise of authority, such as husband to wife,  parent to child, and those of the state governing its people! The Fourth Commandment cannot hold theological ground according to LaCugna’s assertion. Satan’s line of attack is clearly to attack the Father through the woman. And how is this surprising? F. Carolyn Graglia describes a trait common to women: “single-minded narcissism.” This is not a negative criticism. Women alone are endowed with the propensity of the species to bear children and sustain them. Thus, they given over to the knowledge “the woman nursing her baby knows– in a way a man can never knowB that she is the center of the universe.” This is the ideal of what is feminine, and is very different from feminist ideology which rejects such notions. In the 1960s the Feminist Movement widened the gap between men and women by closing the distance between them in what is feminine. “Women in revolt fostered what came to be called the generation gap of the youth rebellion.” Males adopted narcissism in the form of feminine pacifism. The political failure of Vietnam was a feminist triumph. “Feminist revolutionaries illustrated [Amaury] de Reincourt’s observation that the woman who becomes sufficiently ‘frustrated by her unsatisfactory relationship with the other sex’ ‘will invariably attempt to rouse her children against their father.’” Denouncing what she called an ‘obscene, immoral, war like the one in Vietnam,’ Betty Friedan accurately characterized the actions of war protestors (including her own son) at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago as ‘defying the masculine mystique as we had defied the feminine one.’” (Graglia, 1998) 58-59. This single-mindedness that was meant for the good of the family has been turned by Satan into a weapon against the very one who was meant to protect her, the father, who is icon of the Father. In her single-minded narcissism, a woman is the  nurturing mother, a precious one bearing the next generation. She, too is an icon, that of the church who begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God” (LC 2, 41). It is the man who is to be the protecting father. Feminism rebels against the notion of female “preciousness.” Feminism considers this relationship to be on in which the woman is kept perpetually infantile. It is a relationship of patriarchy, hierarchy, and in the church according to feminism, clericalism. Therefore, it must be corrected. From this sort of interpretation, all manner of abuses flow, demonstrating themselves not only in the family, but also in congregational life and society. The plethora of tv shows in which the man of the household is depicted as the idiot and is the butt of the jokes (Raymond; Simpsons) demonstrates that ours is a male-eating society. Ultimately, the target is God the Father through His Son.   
[68] (LaCugna, 1973) 267.
69 (LaCugna, 1973) 268. LaCugna applied this principle when she contended that Eve is reduced “to the status of an animal” when Adam names her following the fall. (LaCugna, 1973) 405. God is not merely the Father of His Creation who gives the woman to the man to be named and in marriage. Naming another or taking another’s name such as in marriage is an offense according to feminism. It is considered to be a form of authoritarianism, not an ongoing reminder of God’s graciousness. LaCugna thereby objected not merely to patriarchy, but also to how God has revealed Himself. It is God who reveals Himself as Father, for He has an only-begotten Son. We take Christ at His word and know that in the Man Jesus of Nazareth we behold our God in the flesh (John 10:30.) This is evidence of LaCugna’s own suspension of belief. She was so concerned with proving the oppression of women from within the context of Feminist Theology that she rejected what the Scriptures actually said to her.               Moses records Eve’s naming differently. After the fall into sin, God the Father speaks to Adam and his wife, and the Serpent. He tells this murderer of men that He will “put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Gen 3:15). He tells the woman that even though she has sinned, she will still bear children (Gen 3:16). Thus, the blessings of creation will continue, and they will be spared eternal death although they and all their children will endure temporal death. It is then Adam names his wife. When the man does, it is apparent he has received the Gospel. He calls her Eve, which is to say, “Mother of all Living.” Adam has heard the first preaching of the Gospel from God=s own mouth, believed it, and confessed it by what he calls his wife. From her will come the One whom God has just promised: Head Crusher, the Sin Payer. It is exactly as Kraditor has written (fn. 62.): 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. Actually, it does not. God=s word is efficacious no matter who suspends his or her belief. The most remarkable characteristic of God is that in His grace through Christ for our sakes while He suffers Himself to be rejected, yet His word endures forever (1Pe 3:25).
[70] “It is as difficult to confess that God is the Creator as it is to confess that God will raise up the dead on the last day.”(Weinrich, 1995)

[71] According to Feminist Theology, the church must be influenced by the current trends of society and change. The “face” of God must change through either redaction, reduction, or the re-interpretation of His Word. Stendahl argued that “It is not difficult for us to recognize that we are not yet in the kingdom. ... A mere repetition of Paul’s reminder of the order of creation is not our most crying need.” He is not content to allow the tension of the present reality remain, while confessing the “hope the lies within us” as also a reality (1Pe 3:15).  Therefore he suggested, “Our problem is not to harmonize the two tendencies into a perfect system. It is... to discern where the accent should lie now, the accent in the eschatological drama which we call the history of the church and the world.” (Stendahl, 1966) 37. Thus, Stendahl divorces God’s past actions from His present and future actions. This is the pattern for Feminist Theology.
72 (LaCugna, 1973) 399.

73 (Ruether, 1993) 138.

[74]  (Heyward, 1982) 30.

[75] “When a person becomes a model for other people’s lives, he has moved into the sphere of being mythologized.”  (Campbell & Moyers, 1988) 15. Witness all the attempts to discredit the virgin birth, the resurrection, and Jesus’ miracles.

[76] “Johnson is uncompromising over against the pope and hierarchy of her church when she declares that the androcentric stress on the maleness of Jesus warrants the charge of heresy and blasphemy!” (Wells, 1995) Let Johnson’s charge of blasphemy resound against heaven’s gates, for circumcision was required of the Messiah in order that all would be fulfilled according to His Father’s Law. The feminist complaint against the Father has no use for the Gospel, which is why it cannot see what Luther saw in Christ’s circumcision: “For when death fell upon Him and slew Him, and yet had no right or cause against Him, and He willingly and innocently submitted and suffered Himself to be slain: death became liable to Him, did Him wrong and sinned against Him, and completely exposed itself, so that Christ has an honest claim upon it. Now the wrong which death became guilty of toward Him, is so great that death can never pay or atone for it. Therefore it must be subject to Christ and in His power forever: and so death is overcome and killed in Christ. Now Christ did not do this for Himself, but for us, and has bestowed upon us this victory over death in baptism. Therefore all who believe in Christ must also be lords over death, and death must be their subject, nay their criminal, whom they are to judge and execute; even as they do when they die and at the last day. For by the gift of Christ death has also become guilty to all those, who have received this gift from Christ. Behold, this is the sweet and joyous redemption from death through Christ; these are the spiritual victories of Joshua over the heathen of Canaan, notably the five kings, upon whose necks the princes of Israel put their feet by His command, Josh 10.” Martin Luther, Sermon on the Circumcision and Naming of Jesus. (Luther, 1983, 1995) 316. For those who have no use of the necessity of Christ’s maleness, then perhaps this from Luther will speak more plainly. For, to discount the necessity of His maleness is to also disavow that circumcision was both necessary and therefore to be fulfilled in Him. “Let us, first, ask that smart woman, Madam Jezebel, natural reason: Is it not foolish, ridiculous, futile that God demands circumcision? Could he find no other part of the body except this one? If Abraham had followed reason in this matter, he would not have believed that it was God who demanded such a thing from him; to our mind it is always a most foolish thing—here could hardly be a more foolish one. In addition, the Israelites suffered a great deal of humiliation and shame because of it. They were despised by all the world because of it and were almost considered to be an abomination. Moreover, there is absolutely no good in it; what purpose is served by injuring the body? It does not make a person any better, since everything depends upon the soul. But all of God’s commands and works are exactly that way and such they are intended to be; in our eyes they appear as most foolish, humiliating, and useless, in order that proud reason, which considers itself clever and wise, may be disgraced and blinded, give up its arrogance and subject itself to God, render honor to Him, and believe that everything He presents is most useful, honorable, and wise, even if reason does not see it and has entirely different thoughts about it. If God had given a sign that, in the estimation of reason, had been appropriate and useful, wise and honorable in its foolish conceit, reason would have remained completely unchanged; it would not have come down from its high horse, but would have persisted in its custom of looking for and loving only honor, profit, and prudence in this world, and thus it would have become ever more deeply rooted in worldly, temporal things. By presenting foolish, useless, disgraceful things to reason, however, God pulls it away from the pursuit of profit, honor, and wisdom, teaching it to look only to the invisible divine wisdom, honor, and profit and gladly to suffer for them lack of temporal honor, profit, and wisdom and to be foolish, poor, insufficient, and disgraced for God’s sake. Therefore, God was not concerned about circumcision, but about the humbling of proud nature and reason.” (Luther, 1999, c1974) 151.
77 (Johnson, 1990) 104, 105. While Johnson does not disagree with the historical fact of Jesus’ maleness, she nonetheless “declares that the androcentric stress on the maleness of Jesus warrants the charge of heresy and blasphemy!” (Wells, 1995) It is this perceived  use of metaphors that causes Johnson to presume she may consider Jesus’ maleness a matter of mythical proportion, not necessity for salvation. Apparently Johnson isn’t concerned with the meticulousness of her own grammatical presumptions, though. Nouns have gender; people have sex. Very simply what this means is this: In Hebrew one woman is issha, a word in the feminine form. Yet two women is expressed by the word nashim, a pluralized noun that has a masculine form. One woman is feminine, while two or more women are masculine in form. The same linguistic anomaly occurs with the word for “father.” One father is ab, singular, masculine; two fathers is abboth; plural, feminine. Does this mean that, according to Johnson’s premise that because sophia is linguistically a feminine word we may now accommodate societal clamoring for a feminized Jesus and speak of Him as He is not? If that is so, then perhaps biological changes occur when two feminist theologians– male or female–  gather to ponder such things. Once again, the suspension of belief by feminist theologians makes for some loop-holed conclusions.

[78] Could Mickey Mouse be your moral leader? How about Bart Simpson?

79 (Singer, 1999) 169-70.

[80] Feminist Theologians also engage in dialogue about personhood, as it is a part of the philosophy of mutuality that purports to avoid sexism. The practical application of it is this: we no longer have mailmen; we now have mailpersons. The practice established by women’s ordination is the church should follow where culture leads. Thus, Singer is supported in his elevation of animal life to the equivalent value of human life through the pursuit of women’s ordination and the presuppositions of Feminist Theology.

[81] St. Gregory argued for Christ’s Divinity against Arius in the Fourth Century. He said, “what Christ has not assumed has not been redeemed.” Feminist Theology has misapplied this to themselves in the question, “Can a male savior save women?” The result is Ruether’s feminist systematics, a feminized Christ, and ethics rooted in women, not Christ.
82 (Sylwester, 2005)
83 What of biological function, psychology, and social nurturing, anyway? Is not the entirety of human nature corrupt by sin? These are convenient excuses for homosexuality, not the actual causes or reasons for it. Contrition finds repentance in Christ and restoration to His created order. Because Christ is both the Agent of Creation and one’s Redeemer, to be homosexual and proud of it is to at the same time live in denial of one’s Creator who is also one’s Redeemer.
84 (Singer, 1999) 57. See specifically Chapter Three, “Equality for Animals?”
85 (Singer, 1999) 117. Not so coincidently suffering is a key element in the debate for abortion. In fact, suffering is precisely what won the argument in the first place. The horrors of infants born as a result of mothers using the drug Thalidomide eventually cause the Supreme Court to overturn laws regarding abortion, opening the way to what society now knows as Pro Choice. Yet now abortion is often perceived as a relief of suffering on the mother’s part. The suffering of inconvenient or problematic pregnancies is easily relieved by abortion – just as no-fault divorce cures the suffering of marriage. Both are “gifts” of feminism. Psalm 91 and John 16:33 obviously have nothing to say to those who have easy access to the tools of modern medicine and a claim of suffering. Of course, the suffering of the one aborted is of no concern. Zacharias is pithy in his observation of how such hypocrisies are allowed to remain unchecked, “The establishment of new orthodoxies by the intellectual elite and the dismantling of others is not so formidable a task when the desired change propelled by scholars appeals to the common person’s autonomy while enthroning the elite at the same time.” (Zacharias, 1996) 45. A suspension of belief in the Suffering One as both the Agent of Creation and the instrument of Redemption turns all suffering inward, so that suffering only concerns oneself.   
[86] Olympia Brown was a Unitarian minister, tireless organizer for the suffrage movement, and a contributor to the Woman’s Bible. On May 10, 1869, she delivered a sermon, saying in part, “The Old Testament Scriptures constantly look forward to a new era for women. Early we find the prediction that the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent=s head, indicating that while, through disobedience, sin and misery were entailed upon the race, through woman was to come the redemption. Christianity was to find in the emancipation of woman its greatest triumph over the great enemy of the race. In the old dispensation, woman was to suffer, to toil, to be ruled over, and to submit in sorrow; in the new dispensation she was to stand as a victorious queen, having put all enemies under her feet, and gained the salvation of the world.”(Greene, 1983) 71. Under the doctrine of feminism, emancipated woman is the liberator. As it is she who is both object and recipient of the emancipation, then it is she who has released all of creation from the bonds of authoritarianism (the abuses of authority, real and perceived). For feminism this new era means that the one who was once ruled over will now be the ruler. Thirty years ago when women=s ordination was being sought, “Jesa Christa” first appeared on crosses in place of a male corpus representing Christ.
[87] Ruether intones, “Women cannot affirm themselves as created in the image of God and as subjects of full human potential in a way that diminishes male humanity. Women, as the denigrated half of the human species, must reach for continually expanding definition that of the inclusive humanity: inclusive of both genders, inclusive of all social groups and races. Any principle of religion or society that marginalizes one group of persons as less than fully human diminishes us all. In rejecting androcentrism (males as norms of humanity), women must also criticize all other forms of chauvinism:... making Christians the norm of humanity... They must also criticize humanocentrism: making humans the norm and ‘crown’ of creation in a way that diminishes other beings in the community of creation. This is not a question of ‘sameness’, but a recognition of value which, at the same time, affirms genuine variety and particularity. It reaches for a new mode of relationship: neither a hierarchical model that diminishes the potential of the ‘other’ nor an ‘equality’ defined by a ruling norm drawn from the dominant group, but rather allows us to affirm different ways of being.” (Ruether, 1985) Need more be said regarding the connection between Feminist Theology and Peter Singer? See also Isabel Carter Heyward, The Redemption of God: A Theology of Mutual Relation; Catherine Mowry LaCugna, God For Us: The Trinity and Christian Life, esp. Chapter 10. Feminist Theology leans heavily on ecumenism for the sake of universalism. This is evident in LaCugna when she writes, “Yet in the end, not even one person is to be excluded from God’s household...” (LaCugna, 1973.) 385.    
[88] Ulla Hindbeck is demonstrative of this. Hindbeck was ordained, living in a suspension of belief. Then the Holy Spirit, through the efficacy of His own Words in the Scriptures, convinced her otherwise. God now opens her mouth, and she speaks with the eloquence of Christ’s confession: “Women ministers in the church is an arrangement that is in conflict with God’s Word, an order that has set itself above God and has been introduced in his church, a kind of an office that God has forbidden. It is a regulation we must oppose because it is in opposition to God’s Word. Moreover, it is clear that this regulation is considered by its supporters to be of significance for salvation, justification, because there is a clearly formulated and practiced attack, a prohibition, against all those who do not acknowledge this new order and who refuse to bow to it. Article XV of the Apology cites St. Paul, Romans 14:23: “Whatsoever is not from faith is sin” (Ap XV, 17). When these services do not have any testimony in God’s Word, then conscience must doubt whether they please God. Indeed, why is there need of many words in a matter that is so clear? If our opponents maintain such human worship as earning justification, grace, forgiveness of sins, they establish really the kingdom of antichrist. The antichrist’s kingdom is a new worship of God, devised by human authority, which casts out Christ. Our fathers in our apostolic church did not know such a god who calls women to the apostolic office. It is a new god who is worshiped here– woman-god, socialism’s god, a god of human reason, a new god, and a new belief. It is not Christianity but another religion.” (Hindbeck, 2000)
[89] In creating the first human in the form of a male, the Agent of Creation (who is the Second Person of the Trinity, cf. fn. 28.) shaped the very form in which He would one day inhabit ad a human male. Yet, it was through a woman that He would be born. Such a precious creature is woman to our Father, the Creator! Paul R. Harris is explicit in how Satan works through creation to destroy God the Father: “In 1Corinthians 11:3, God reveals His order to us: “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is head of every woman, and God is the head of Christ.” God intends to provide for His creation through His order. Satan intends to bring all creation down by working in reverse of God=s order; he attacks the woman to get the man to get the Christ to get to God the Father; he seeks to bring down God the Father!” (Harris, 1997) 8. Although Gregory J. Lockwood does not discuss Satan=s attack on creation in his 1Corinthians commentary, one can extrapolate the same when he writes, “One important consequence of man being created in God=s image is his commission to represent his Maker in ruling the creation (Gen 1:26-28); 2:15-24)@  (Lockwood, 2000) 366. That is to say, if that ruling is overthrown by another, then the one in whose image that one has been made has also been overthrown. Satan’s target in the deception of Eve was not man, but the Creator of man, God the Father, the one in whose image man was made and of whom equality was promised by Satan. The first declaration of the Gospel in Gen 3:15 still rings as an insult in the ears of Satan, as every pregnancy is an icon of the Incarnation of Christ B the One promised to overcome him through a pregnancy by the Father’s love. Abortion is ever the sweeter to Satan on that account!
[90] Paul answers this in 1Corinthians 15. Jesus of Nazareth is united with Adam of the Dust both physically and theologically in Luke 3:23-38 , Romans 5:12-21, and 1Cor 15. Christ is the Last Adam (1Cor 15:45) in whom all is fulfilled for our sakes. Once one begins to reduce, redact, or interpret Scripture to suit his particular needs, where does the editing stop?
[91] This is really simple. It is the First Petition from the Small Catechism: How is God's name kept holy? God's name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it.
[92] One thing is sure: We cannot pin our hope on anything that we are, think, say, or do. And so our repentance cannot be false, uncertain, or partial, for a person who confesses that he is altogether sinful embraces all sins in his confession without omitting or forgetting a single one. Smalcald Articles, III. 36-37, Repentance. 


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