Affirming the Ministry of Women in the Lutheran Church of Australia

The Woman at the Well

Does the traditional reading still hold water?


My interest in the encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well of Sychar has been aroused by the current debate on the ordination of women in the Lutheran Church of Australia. Advocates of women’s ordination have been challenged to discover a command of our Lord or one of the apostles as a foundation for the practice, a task almost as difficult as finding a mandate for the ordination of anyone at all, let alone women. Our church teaches that the public ministry, while not co-extensive with or a continuation of the apostolic office, at least continues the functions of that office. Those functions are understood primarily as preaching the gospel and administering the sacraments. A proposal has taken shape in my mind, that a close study of John 4 reveals a woman who functions in ways that match, in fact far outstrip, the functioning of the twelve disciples. Read more »


A. Introduction


In recent history the question of whether also women may be ordained in the Lutheran Church of Australia has been debated within the Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relations (CITCR) for over a decade. Some documents of the CTICR have already been made available to members of the church. A subcommittee (chaired by the writer) produced a report in April 1991 after three year’s of exacting study of the issues involved. In 1992 the Commission issued a booklet prepared by Dr John Strelan, entitled Women and the Ministry, that was designed to promote discussion in congregations of the church. More recently, the Commission has produced position papers outlining an argument both for and against the ordination of women in the LCA. At the end of 1999 the CTICR made a recommendation to the church that there were no theological reasons prohibiting the ordination of women. The matter will be presented for decision at the next General Convention. Read more »

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