Affirming the Ministry of Women in the Lutheran Church of Australia

Women in Ministry … the un-told story

A pro women’s ordination package of stories and theology

This package of stories and papers was prepared prior to the July 2000 National Synod of the Lutheran Church of Australia. The process of discussion had already been a long one and still continues. For some it has been confusing. Some people have found it hard to listen to people who think differently. For some people it has been exciting as agreement is found, or as they have gained new insights about God and God’s church.

Why this package?

At the series of forums that were held to discuss the issue, we heard concerns raised and requests made for more information to be provided. This collection of papers attempted to address some of those concerns. We did not attempt to make this a “balanced” collection; it is instead a thoughtful collection from people who have reached the conclusion that Scripture does not prohibit the ordination of women, and an exploration of some of the evidence. The package was distributed to all parishes in Australia.

A pdf file of the total package is available 1020 Kb.

The text files are available individually as follows:

(Editor: Sorry, the missing links will be added soon!)

You Were Asking

  • The ordination of Lutheran women around the globe.
    Graph by the LWF as at May 1999 (pdf file, 39 Kb)
    Do other Lutheran churches ordain women?
    Yes, Lutheran churches in many parts of the world ordain women. The first recorded ordination of a woman to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in a Lutheran Church was in 1929, in the Netherlands. …
  • A Question of Unity.
    Graham Harms
    The question of whether the LCA should ordain women as well as men has generated debate and intense feeling, almost without precedent in the 30-odd year history of the LCA. …

Discussion Starters

  • Gospel not Gender.
    Peter Lockwood
    The ministry is about the salvation of all people, not the gender of the pastor.
    God instituted the ministry so that people could be brought to faith through the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments (Augsburg Confession 5) …
  • The Gospel and Women in Ministry.
    Norman Habel and Shirley Wurst
    The role of women in the ministry is an important issue within the LCA. The Church’s document, Women in Ministry, was produced to facilitate study and discussiion of this issue. …
  • Text and Context.
    Rolph Mayer
    The Scriptural authority for the case against women’s ordination is based on 1 Cor 14:34-351 Cor 14:34-35
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    34 let your wives keep silent in the assemblies, for it has not been permitted for them to speak; but let them be in subjection, as the law also says. 35 If they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home, for it is shameful for a woman to chatter in the assembly.

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    and 1 Tim 2:11-151 Tim 2:11-15
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    11 Let a woman learn in quietness with all subjection. 12 But I don’t permit a woman to teach, nor to exercise authority over a man, but to be in quietness. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 Adam wasn’t deceived, but the woman, being deceived, has fallen into disobedience; 15 but she will be saved through her child-bearing, if they continue in faith, love, and sanctification with sobriety.

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    . In stating the case for the ordination of women, I too accept these passages as inspired by God, and therefore authoritative.
  • Church fathers, women and ordination.
    Maurice Schild
    In the last chapter of Romans we read greetings extended to quite a number of early Christians, among them nine wome: Phoebe, Priscilla, …

Digging Deeper

  • The ordination of women in the LCA? A positive answer.
    Vic Pfitzner
    In recent history the question of whether also women may be ordained in the LCA has been debated within the CTICR for over a decade. …
  • Biblical commands.
    Peter Lockwood
    By ordaining women is the church disregarding commands of Jesus and Paul? The Lutheran church has always acknowledged that there are biblical command that remain in force ‘for a time’ and ‘ to avoid offence’ (Augsburg Confession 28) …
  • Not a photo but a sketch.
    Rufus Pech
    Our Lord Jesus Christ had virtually a trilingual upgringing. 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’.
  • Meandering through the tradition.
    Inari Thiel
    The question of tradition entails the perennial question: How do we read the tradition and the texts of the tradition? It is now widely acknowledged that interpretation involves a complex interplay of assumptions and inferences, …
  • Do the confession prohibit the ordination of women?
    Shirley Wurst
    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’ …

Our Stories

  • Voices from another time and place.
    An interview with Gloria Weber and Ralph W. Klein
    Announcer: Is the ordination of women contrary to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions?
    Weber: It is certainly my opinion that it is not contrary to Scripture of the Confessions. I feel Scripture and the Confessions really leave it an open question. …
  • The Untold Story:  A new way of seeing.
    Margaret Hunt
    I was baptised at five weeks of age, and in forty years of growing up in the Lutheran church, I accepted unquestioningly the restricted role of women in the Church. …
  • A woman who made a difference.
    Norm Habel
    The scene is South India. The situation is and international school and an ecumenical parish. The time has come to appoint a new chaplain and pastor. The delcision is made to appoint a senior pastor and a youth pastor. …
  • Ancient, decrepit and grey.
    Ivan Wittwer
    I am neither a theologian nor the son of a theologian, but I treasure the Holy Scripture. So much so, that before I became ancient, decreptitand grey, I learned the New Testament in the Authorised Version by heart, with the exception of the the magnificent Revelation to John. …
  • The challenge.
    Wendy Begg
    I first became aware of ‘women’s ordination’ about twelve years ago. Since then I have been confronted, challenged and stirred by this issue which has not gone away. …
  • Time for a new song.
    Ruth Fehlberg
    ‘Sing a new song unto the Lord’…Psalm 96. Not only do we accept new songs to worship the Lord, we are encouraged to use new and enriching ways of praising Him and spreading the good news of our great God. …
  • A positive approach to the ordination of women.
    Herman Pech
    This is the story of the journey that led me to a positive stance regarding the movement for the ordination of women in the LCA. …
  • Will women get the blame?
    Layperson, female, 53, SA
    ‘Adam was the first, but not the last, man to blame woman when things went wrong’, quipped my pastor about thirty five years ago. Unfortunately, I have the same feeling that the women’s ordination issue, no matter the outcome, will be blamed for any split that may become more pronounced after the vote is taken in July. …
  • Women pastors in the LCA?
    Linda Allen
    Women pastors? The first time I remember even being aware that some people were considering the option of ordaining women was about ten years ago, maybe less. It was when the Anglicans were facing the issue. ..

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