29.10.08

Considering theological reasons advocating and prohibiting women to the episcopate and then hope to work through the trinity debate. See here.

If you access these contributions in order you will have a thesis on the trinity debate. I so want to spend time on this but will wrestle with my essay question this week, and leave this as my reward for when i've finished it. In the meantime, if you're interested in theologians Bruce Ware, controversial in the US, and Grudem, the man behind CBMW and much of the theology coming out of Sydney at the moment (the Jensenites), then you might want to follow through the debate on eternal subordination of the son. It is used by many theologians to lend credence to a theology which asserts male 'headship'. It has huge implications for the roles of women in church and family.

Trinity debate part 1
Trinity debate part 2
Trinity debate part 3
Trinity debate part 4
Trinity debate part 5

Link to Deerfield theological seminary where debate took place

Link to afterthoughts,
Link to a blog on the topic from a complematarian perspective
Link to Christianity Today article on the topic
Link to audio of the debate - I'll try to find this
Live video-streaming. Any ideas?
We're still waiting for the live video-streaming

4 comments:

Nick Norelli said...

Hi Rachel,

You linked to my post and titled it "Link to afterthoughts, from a complementarian perspective" -- I just wanted to state for the record that I am an egalitarian, but prefer to keep the doctrine of the Trinity separate from the gender debate. So those are "afterthoughts from an egalitarian who prefers not to mix his Trinitarianism with his views on gender perspective." :)

Rachel said...

Sorry Nick, I confused my Norelli with my Naselli - I've cleared it up now.

Janice said...

Rachel,

You wrote above:
I know as a child that I derived from Christ sitting at the right hand of the father in Heaven, that perhaps God was more in charge

This is because we tend to anthropomorphise God. I know I did. Despite knowing, intellectually, that people tend to look at God and see their own father and that this is a big mistake, I did not know it in my heart for a long time. For about a decade after I was converted I kept trying to be good so that God would love me. And then, one day, God finally taught me what Romans 5:8 ("while we were yet sinners") means. It wasn't just a great relief. I also learned something of how different our ways are from His ways.

I mention this because I've come to the conclusion that these ESS theologians are anthropomorphising the Trinity. They look at the Father/Son relationship in the eternal Trinity and can't see past the nature of human father and son relationships. But human sons do not share their father's essence and no human son is the incarnation of his father's word/knowledge/wisdom/love/power.

If a human father is wise and loving and the relationship between father and son is good there will normally be submission by the son to the father for as long as the father lives. This is all they see because, I think, they are worldly. And, quite frankly, I'm beginning to think they see themselves not as the sacrificing Son but as the omnipotent, omniscient Father.

I say the last because of something I learned last weekend when I visited a church in the Sydney diocese. The rector (ruler) of the parish had recently moved on to another job and, as a result, there were restrictions on what could be done at Sunday services.

It used to be that the progress to ordination as a 'priest' was, more or less, a matter of course. You (if you're in the Sydney diocese and you're male) get your degree in theology, get ordained as a deacon and then, having done some extra time and gone through whatever 'ministry formation' hurdles were placed in front of you, you would get ordained as a 'priest'. You could get employed by a parish as an 'assistant minister', fully authorised to conduct baptisms, weddings and funerals, to preach and to preside at Holy Communion. No more.

Now, it seems, the diocese will only 'priest' as many as are required to be rectors of a parish. Everyone else (even males) can only be 'deaconed'. So at the church I visited on the weekend there was no 'assistant minister'. There was only a male 'deacon'. He gave a very good sermon on Romans 9 but since he was not 'priested' there could be no Communion.

I like attending Communion since it is THE service that celebrates Christ's sacrifice on our behalf. I want to celebrate that every week because it is so important to me. So when some institutional rule prevents me from celebrating what Christ has done for me, I want to know what the purpose of that rule is. No one so far has been able to explain these new rules, Biblically, to my satisfaction.

I can't help thinking that the whole thing is a sort of power grab. It's gone beyond the subordination of women, whether to all men or just some men. This looks like an attempt to subordinate everyone, male and female, to a single man who is institutionally authorised to rule (rather than serve) the congregations in his parish. What does this have to do with the movement of the Spirit? Nothing at all. It looks to me like just another attempt to, "quench the Spirit," (1 Th 5:19) and to subordinate God to men's rule. Too bad for those who try that. "God is not mocked." (Gal 6:7)

Rachel said...

Dear Janice

Thank you so much Janice for your post - you have captured certainly my feelings about how worldly ESS seems - I wonder if it is something that the church will address at some point as they did in Nicea. I'm not sure to what extent we should think of it as a type of heresy - perhaps that is tooo strong a word and one that would offend the likes of Grudem et al. I do find some of the thinking that comes out of organisations like CBMW very worrying though and also similarly very worldly.

Perhaps it is all symptomatic of the fact that humankind doesn't deal well with not knowing and mystery - and yet this is integral to the beauty - what a shame!

God bless and thanking you again for your very thoughtful contribution.

Rachel

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.