Affirming the Ministry of Women in the Lutheran Church of Australia

Authority and Leadership in the early Western church

A brief exercise in historical thinking

Roger W. Whittall, Adelaide

Preamble and Presuppositions

This paper does not represent an expert or even a detailed investigation into the sources of Western Christianity on the subject of the non-ordination of women. Rather, it is an attempt to test the historical reasons for the church’s consistent judgement on this topic, written from the standpoint of a critical acceptance of that judgement. It reaches no particularly new or significant conclusions; it is content to ask a handful of awkward questions, which are offered in the hope that others find them worthy of consideration.

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Positive Ecumenical Consequences of Ordaining Women

Maurice E. Schild, Luther Seminary

The most obvious positive implications and consequences of the Lutheran Church of Australia ordaining women can be expected to take shape in relation to Protestant sections of the ecumenical spectrum. The decision would be undoubtedly welcomed among the many churches on this Lutheran-Reformed-Anglican wing who have themselves moved to ordain women in the twentieth century. It would mean joining members of the Reformation family in this issue and acknowledging that they had appropriately gone ahead in the right direction. Such a scenario would of course impinge on Lutheran self-awareness and identification in church terms in Australia and globally, with perhaps further consequences.
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Ecumenical Implications and Considerations on the Subject of the Ordination of Women

Dr J. T. E. Renner, North Adelaide, SA

In seeking to come to a satisfactory conclusion on the ordination of women in the church, the Lutheran Church of Australia has always maintained that the sole rule and standard by which all dogma and teachers should be estimated and judged in the church are the prophetic and apostolic scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone. Whilst the subject being debated cannot be narrowly held to belong the public doctrine of the church, yet it does impinge on the doctrine of the Ministry and for that reason it was included under that caption ‘The Ministry of the Church’ amongst its Theses of Agreement [Section D] which helped to word the amalgamation of the two Lutheran churches which occurred in 1966.

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Further considerations as we face the decision regarding the ordination of women

Tanya Wittwer, North Adelaide, SA

If any of you have come to this presentation to hear sociological arguments for the ordination of women, you will probably be disappointed. I could use this time to show evidence that in today’s society in Australia, given our membership, the LCA is unhelpfully anachronistic in having an exclusively male clergy, with only token female involvement at leadership level. I could further argue that this feature of our church means it is irrelevant to many who might otherwise find it to be their denomination of choice, and that therefore we must ordain women.

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