Affirming the Ministry of Women in the Lutheran Church of Australia

NOT A PHOTO, BUT A SKETCH …

Our Lord Jesus had virtually a trilingual upbringing. Aramaic was spoken in the Galilean Jewish home but common Greek was the language of commerce in the wider community and the scriptures were read in classical Hebrew - the ‘literary ancestral language’. This was rather like my own childhood situation: a local dialect of German spoken in the home, Aussie English the language of the dominant culture and the scriptures read in ‘Luther Bible German’. Jesus was aware that his birthplace was elsewhere and very early he recognized his true roots to be ‘in my Father’s house’ (Luke 3:41-50Luke 3:41-50
English: World English Bible - WEB

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For twenty years or more I have watched the discussion and listened to the arguments for and against the ordination of women to the ministry of the gospel within the Lutheran Church of Australia, originally from a safe distance in Papua New Guinea, and since retirement, from the Canberra sidelines. I have always felt comfortable with the concept of gender equality in ministry and leadership. But I’m sure that within the LCA, if it is to be true to itself, a consensus can only be formed and agreement reached on the basis of the biblical evidence.

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BIBLICAL COMMANDS

By ordaining women is the church disregarding commands of Jesus and Paul?

The Lutheran church has always acknowledged that there are biblical commands that remain in force ‘for a time’ and ‘to avoid offence’ (Augsburg Confession 28), and then the commands lapse for a number of reasons.

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DO THE CONFESSIONS PROHIBIT THE ORDINATION OF WOMEN?

1. The gospel – Word and Sacrament – are the focus for the church

The writers of the Augsburg Confession and Apology of the Augsburg Confession strongly articulated the view that all church practice should be normed, measured ‘in harmony with the Gospel of Christ’ (Apology vii,viii:5). If any tradition, ritual or practice was inconsistent with the gospel message, it could not be demanded as essential for Christians as church, the body of Christ; instead, Christians were urged to disobey human rules, demands ‘contrary to the God’ (AC xxviii:34) rather than diminish the Gospel by continuing the practice (Apology xxviii:23).

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