Sunday, October 16, 2005

Open Triangle

Pr. Petersen recently touched off a discussion regarding women’s ordination at Cyberstones. Not surprisingly the issue of scriptural infallibility and inerrancy arose, within the context of its authority. Noticeably absent was any direct mention of scriptural efficacy, which is directly related to Scripture’s inerrancy and infallibility. Reading the discussion was then like trying to find the triangle among only two-sided figures. Something was missing that ought to have been there.

Why is it necessary to mention Scripture’s efficacy at the same time as mentioning its inerrancy and infallibility?

Many who support women’s ordination will also agree to Scripture’s authority. However, scratch the surface and one discovers that the authority granted is nominal at best, but the actual authority pertaining to the issue at hand arises from the governing body of those who decide whether women ought to be ordained. Thus, whether Scripture is inerrant or infallible is a moot point- as the discussion demonstrates. For far too many, Scriptural truth is not timeless. What was true for Paul, Jesus, and the early Christian church is no longer applicable for the church today. For the supporters of women’s ordination, revelation and inspiration originate from within the body of believers, not from what has been received through God’s chosen messengers for His purposes.

What the supporters of women’s ordination cannot agree to is that because the Scriptures are written and spoken by a God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, they continue to be not only inerrant and infallible, but also efficacious as they have been received from Moses, the Prophets, and the Apostles. As St. Jerome rightly says, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” The Church is built on nothing less than Christ. The Scriptures everywhere testify of Christ; it is He who speaks forth from every page. It is Christ who makes a Sacrament as He incarnates water, bread and wine through His word for our sakes. Further, it is Christ who inhabits the Office by His Word and His institution of it.

The antithesis to the certitude based on Christ’s efficacy through His inerrancy and infallibility is a religion that is left to its own devices and the collective voice of the people that makes what is “true” to be “certain.” From the heart of this religion arises a savior of their own invention. This is what eventually Feminist Theology leads to through the ordination of women. This is nothing new to mankind. Aaron had his golden calf built to image the true God- the first contemporary worship service at the foot of the mountain.

Paul’s injunction regarding the ordination of women is grounded in an order more ancient than the foundations of the earth itself. For, what the Father set forth in, through, and for the Son’s name at creation has its beginnings in what would be achieved for the sake of Man’s redemption and sanctification in Him. Paul does not upset this order. Neither ought we.

It is as Luther once wrote: “Thus God, the Lord of all the world, must let Himself become all the world’s pupil. No sermon, no proclamation in the world, has ever found as many critics as the Word of God. Every fool makes bold to tangle with it and tries to win his spurs in the encounter. There is no one who does not think he can correct God’s Word, who does not feel it incumbent upon him to oppose it, who does not presume to be smarter than our Lord God. Nowadays when anyone dreams a little, he is quick to cry: “Spirit! Spirit!” There is none so lowly as not to claim to know it all. Everyone poses as God’s teacher, and He must be everybody’s pupil. ... This illustrates how the Gospel must be an object of offense. Our nearest kinfolk– sisters, brothers, and others, – must be hostile to us and regard us as sheer knaves, casting caustic aspersions on us and reviling us to the utmost. For those who claim to be most closely related to the Gospel and to be rendering it the best service will, in fact, hold it in derision...” (Luther, M. (1999, c1959). Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 6-8 (CD-ROM ed. Vol. 23). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.)

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