A Plea to LC-MS Pastors

Editor’s Note:  This article was prompted by this picture and the conversation taking place here.

God forbids women to speak the lessons in church.  1 Timothy 2:11-15 and 1 Corinthians 14:34-38. Those who say that God doesn’t forbid women to speak the lessons in church (or read the readings, as people today say) appeal to current theologians in our synod to say that this is an open question or adiaphoron.  I don’t need to appeal to all the true Christian men and women until the 20th Century who support my position to refute them.  I appeal to the Scriptures alone, which the LC-MS in the 2nd Article of her constitution makes the sole rule and norm and source of our doctrine.

They argue against the clear Scriptures who say that it is not clear whether God forbids women to speak the lessons in Church.  Here are a few of their arguments.  1. That God’s prohibition for women to teach and his command that they remain silent and learn in quietness and all submission refers only to preaching, or only to the pastoral office itself. To this they add that the Church has had laymen speak the lessons to prove that it is not essential to the pastoral office.  2. That women singing in Church or girls reciting Scripture at a Christmas pageant means they are also allowed to speak the lessons in Church. To this some add the boys in the early Lutheran schools learning to speak the lessons at Matins and Vespers.  3. That letting women speak the lessons in Church helps them get involved and gives them an opportunity to serve their Lord.  4. The Synod has declared, pursuant to a CTCR document, that the Scripture is not clear and that this issue ought to be decided by the congregations.  5. Our condemning women lectors is divisive and asserting personal opinions as the Word of God.

 

  1. That God’s prohibition for women to teach and his command that they remain silent and learn in quietness and all submission refers only to preaching, or only to the pastoral office itself. To this they add that the Church has had laymen speak the lessons to prove that it is not essential to the pastoral office.

 

This denies the authority and clarity of the Word of God.  The lessons that are spoken to the whole congregation are what is taught.  It is not just a part of the teaching.  It is the foundation of all the teaching the pastor does.

God’s Word is clear that women are to be silent in the churches.  No such prohibition is given to men.  While most confessional Lutherans consider laymen speaking the lessons to be unwise and confusing these days, having laymen speak the lessons is not sinful and not forbidden, and in fact reinforces the teaching of Scripture that men are the head of their homes and as fathers are specifically told to teach their children. The early Lutherans were free to train young men to lead devotions in their homes, as seminaries are free to have students read the lessons before they are ordained. (Ephesians 6:4)

 

  1. That women singing in Church or girls reciting Scripture at a Christmas pageant means they are also allowed to speak the lessons in Church.

 

This argument does violence to the Scriptures.  Paul would not tell Mary not to sing her Magnificat, or forbid Hannah and Deborah theirs songs of praise, or exhort Miriam to stop singing with Moses.  Paul would not tell parents to stop teaching their children Scripture, as Moses commanded parents to do in Deuteronomy 6:6-9. Paul’s words that women are to be silent and not teach, but learn in quietness and all submission, do not do away with Scripture.

God’s Word is clear and it is only ignorance of the Scriptures that would confuse this issue.

 

  1. That letting women speak the lessons in Church helps them get involved and gives them an opportunity to serve their Lord.

 

This illustrates the exact problem very well.  Women should be involved in their homes teaching God’s Word, with the husband leading the devotions, as we see in Ephesians 6:4.  Having the women read the lessons publicly contradicts this very order of creation that God has established.

We should not listen to those who tell us that this is a good way to make a woman feel welcome or to get her involved.  It is not a good way because God tells women to learn quietly and in all submission.  A woman speaking the lessons is not learning quietly and in all submission.  We have to repeat this Word of God to them.  We have to speak God’s Word in 1 Tim. 2 and 1 Cor. 14 out loud and not be ashamed of it.  We need to say not ashamedly, but clearly, with gravity, and with fear of God.  We dare not explain God’s Word away.  You cannot hurt Christ’s Lamb by speaking Jesus’ Word.  Christ’s sheep hear His voice and follow him.  (John 10:27-28)

Look, brothers, at the flock over which the Holy Spirit has made us overseers.  We all see it. The broken families.  Children denying the faith in droves.  The husbands apathetic to the Word of God.  The pious wives struggling to teach their children with lazy husbands who gladly obey the feminist goddess who tells them not to rule over their wives with the love and mercy with which Christ rules over us. (Eph. 5:25-28; 1 Pet. 3:7) They need men to speak the lessons at home!

The carnage of lost souls alone must wake us from our stupor.  Now is not the time to politick.  Now is not the time to wait for the right people to gain leadership, and gradually lead people to accept God’s Word through power plays.  Now is the time to visit families and speak boldly what God says and trust that His Word will not return to him empty.  Now is not the time to trust in princes but in the Word of God. (Isaiah 55:10-11)  Remember, “In season and out of season!” (2 Tim. 4:2)

 

  1. The Synod has declared, pursuant to a CTCR document, that the Scripture is not clear and that this issue ought to be decided by the congregations.

 

The Word of God to which the Synod and all her pastors pledge undying loyalty cannot be changed.  The 2nd article of the LC-MS constitution says, “The Synod and every member of the Synod, accepts without reservation: 1. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the written Word of God and the only rule and norm of faith and of practice.

This Word of God is clear.  Women are not to teach, they are to be silent in the Churches and to learn in quietness and with all submission.  That is the Word of God that cannot be changed.  This is why this 2nd article of the Synod’s constitution cannot be changed.  God’s Word cannot be changed.

When people say that the Word of God is not clear here they are ignoring the pure Word of God and setting up man-made opinion in place of the Word of God.  It does no good to appeal to synodical theologians who disagree with the Word of God.  They are not allowed to teach as doctrines the commandments of men.  God forbids it. (Matthew 15:9)

 

  1. Our condemning women lectors is divisive and asserting personal opinions as the Word of God.

 

Pastors, you are not allowed to allow women to speak the lessons in Church.  It is not loving to allow them to speak the lessons.  It can be cowardice, pride, apathy, or wrong affections, but it is not love. Hurting their feelings will not hurt their faith because the Word of God cannot destroy the faith of God’s children.  That is impossible.  God telling wives to submit to their husbands doesn’t destroy their faith any more than God telling Eve that her husband should rule over destroyed her faith (Gen. 3:16), or any more than God telling husbands to love their wives destroys theirs.  God telling women to be silent in the church and not to usurp authority over men does not hurt their faith.  Neither does it destroy the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Eph. 4:3) The unity of the Spirit is created by the Word of God.  Destroying the unity of the Spirit happens when we disregard the Word of God, as when pastors do not obey their Lord when he tells them through His apostle that women are to be silent in the churches.

Those who have women teach and speak the lessons are causing division among us by setting up a practice contrary to the doctrine we learn in the Bible.  False doctrine and practice divides the Church.  In setting forth the above arguments, they are creating disputes and schisms that the Church has never entertained or been troubled by except by Montanists and other heretics.  And that raises the question, from where do these arguments come today?

They come from feminism, which denies that command which God gave to man when he spoke to woman, “Your husband shall rule over you.”  Some feminist theologians even argue that because the Son is subject to the Father when he submits all things to Him on the Last Day (1 Cor. 15:28), the word “submission” no longer means the willing service and obedience Sarah gave to Abraham when she called him her lord – 1 Peter 3:5-6), because this would apparently deny the equality of the Father and the Son.  But Christ Himself came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)  In making this argument, feminism assaults the final obedience of Christ when he hands all things over to His Father (1 Cor. 15:24-28).  It assaults the lordship of Christ and the example he leaves for husbands and wives in how they ought to live with one another Eph. 5:22-33)

These are the lengths some go to in order to deny the order of creation. Feminists assault the Unity of the Godhead and the lordship of Christ all in order to avoid teaching the order of creation.  And we see all over our churches the results overturning this order has caused.

But there are people telling you that you need to be patient, as if patience means not teaching and continuing to ignore God telling women to be silent in the churches.  When God tells pastors to be patient, he tells them to be patient in teaching (2 Tim. 4:2).  When a pastor doesn’t teach that women should be silent and thus not read the lessons, he is not being patient.  He is letting the devil teach Christ’s sheep that women should not be silent in the churches, as we hear all around us today.

We live on every Word that comes from the mouth of God.  There is a final argument some make, namely that this issue is not something we should worry about while there are other greater issues at stake.  What other issues?  Closed Communion?  We practice Closed Communion to protect Christ’s flock from the evil leaven of false doctrine (Gal. 5:9; 1 Cor. 1:10; 5:6).  If we allow the evil leaven in we are not practicing Closed Communion.

What other issues?  Is it that we cannot speak this Word of God until we speak other words that are more important?  But Jesus teaches us to keep all things he commanded us (Matthew 28:20), and we not only do not keep Jesus’ word when we have women speak, we are teaching against his Word, and opposing Christ Himself. I beg you to think soberly on this.

Is there another issue?  What of the broken families I mentioned above?  This is in large part caused by the spirit whose denial of the order of creation leads to having women teach and speak the lessons.  What of the Biblical ignorance we see all around us?  This is caused so often by the Word of God being softened so that people learn to ignore it and think it irrelevant to their lives, as it is being softened and downright ignored in the issue of women speaking the lessons.  What of the worship wars, and our attempt to get people who have adopted the worship forms of sectarians to adopt any sort of traditional order for the sake of Christian discipline and good order (1 Cor. 14:40; Eptiome FC X.3-5)?  But it is precisely in the context of forbidding women to speak in the Church that Paul in 1 Cor. 14 tells us to do all things decently and in good order.  If we cannot get this right, what order do we have?

Or is the issue that we would lose members if we speak God’s Word on this?  Because we know, as the children of God, that the remnant that remains when the Mammon is gone, when our institutions have utterly collapsed, when the walls of Jerusalem have, as it were, fallen, this remnant will obey God, and out of love for women, children, and God himself, not allow women to read the lessons.  The remnant’s men will declare the works of God to the generation following, with their women and baptized children speaking beside them and blending with their voice in a harmony that the devil can’t divide because God’s Word cannot be broken.  (Isaiah 40:8; John 10:35)

As the feminists hate us when we say, “Man up!”, so I exhort you, “Be men!” (1 Cor. 16:13) Tell our seminaries that you require them to teach this to our future pastors.  This is not an open question.  This is not something up for each congregation to do what is right in its own eyes (Josh. 17:6)  This is not something we ask the CTCR to give an opinion on.  We know the answer.  God’s Word is clear.  Our unity is not based upon the decrees of men, but on the Word of God that has so often shown us our own errors and led us out of darkness into the light of the truth of the Gospel.

We must obey God rather than men.  We must learn to love as men who obey God, who rule over their wives as Christ does, with love, and therefore do not permit Christian women to rule over other wives’ husbands. Women are to be silent in the Churches.  God says this.  He forbids them from speaking the lessons in Church.  Excusing this by saying that it was a part in a dramatic reading or with good motives or whatever else the devil conjures up to sully the simplicity of our faith is not to be tolerated or defended in the Church which submits to Christ in everything.  (Eph. 5:24)

Preach the Word, and risk all for it.  All we have is the Word of God.  Suffer for it, and you will love Christ’s flock.   Do not reduce God’s Word to a false gospel that does not give you a delight in the Law of God.  You are pastors, and God commands you to speak His Word on penalty of death.  That’s a threat, and not from me. (Ezekiel 3:18)  But hear also His blessing, “Those who turn many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.”  (Daniel 12:3)  Therefore, brethren, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16).

 

 

 


Comments

A Plea to LC-MS Pastors — 203 Comments

  1. @Pastor Prentice #149

    01) First off, I am not SMP, DELTO is alternate route. I am just as ordained as all men in the debate.

    Rev. Prentice,
    I will bone up on DELTO and apologize if necessary.

    [But as one whose son learned German in high school, Greek and Hebrew as an undergraduate and took the full course at Ft Wayne, “alt route” affects me like scraping nails on a blackboard.]

    I have sat under Pastors who regularly expound Greek from the pulpit and in Bible class; I enjoy that. 🙂

  2. Pastor Scheer,
    I meant to plead with you to stop this repetitive thread at 100, or surely at 150 posts.

    Perhaps I should have, and you should have!

    I’ll bow out now; if others want to outdo LutherQuest’s longest (something over 1000) have at it! 🙂

  3. @Pastor Prentice #92

    Pastor, thanks for trying to decipher what I meant. Did not mean to cause extra work.

    Regarding speaking and wearing hats:

    Speaking is a lot more fundamental. It is universal among humans for all time. It conveys God’s Word directly. So, references to it ought to be thought of that way: as universal.

    Wearing hats might truly be a bit more culturally oriented. Most people do not need to wear hats in order to function. Many people don’t wear hats at all, ever, in many parts of the world. These points are not to say that there is not a universal meaning to the head-covering injunction, but the meaning has to be applied in hat and non-hat contexts. Not so with the speaking injunction.

    So, I would suggest maybe it’s not a great idea to mention these at the same level of importance.

    See what I mean?

  4. @RK #107
    > Luther’s correct exposition of Scripture will be highly valued yet his name will not be on the church, as he desired it not to be.

    500 years ago the Gospel won. The Gospel – as a done deal on account of Christ – has gone out to the whole earth. The same heresies as always nip and bite at the heels, but the Gospel is everywhere, even when taxed and harassed by sectarian claptrap. The Gospel is out there.

    Could it be that most of the accumulated heresy since then has been about the law? Kind of a drop-back position for the devil. Not a bad approach, considering that the bearers of the Gospel don’t really like to make much of the Law.

    But perversion of nature (Law) is where the battles are now.

    Aren’t some Confessions needed now about things that were not controverted 500 years ago?

    If all of the true church on earth rallies to (essentially) the Lutheran view of the Gospel, won’t they still have to make some statements about Nature?

    Hope I am making sense!

  5. @helen #147

    If it matters not what a woman is saying but where she is saying it, then why has there been so much discussion over a picture of a deaconess saying a few of the crowd lines in Matthew’s Passion account from the balcony of the seminary chapel?

  6. @Average Joe #142

    Mr. Joe,

    Here we see the problem with the WELS doctrine of the ministry, which you have apparently adopted.

    The keys are given to pastors to administer, not laymen. The church exercises them, and therefore laymen do, through her pastor. The priesthood is not to be identified with the pastoral office. The we/you of Paul’s Epistles, the you/them of Jesus’ teaching to his disciples leaves no doubt of the distinction between teachers and hearers. Your arguments for women lectors are the arguments also used for women pastors.

    The lessons were sung for the sake of acoustics. And again they weren’t sung by women. So once again your argument from tradition founders on the facts of tradition.

  7. Thanks for the reply, Elizabeth! I’m a member of the LCMS, I’m not sure I’ve adopted the WELS position. (Although, I don’t know the WELS church very well. So I could be wrong)

    The LCMS subscribes to CFW Walther’s Church and Ministry Thesis IV is “It is to this true church of believers and saints that Christ gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and it is the proper and only possessor and bearer of the spiritual, divine, and heavenly gifts, rights, powers, offices, and the like that Christ has procured and are found in His church.” It’s not through the pastor that they’re given, but by Christ to both the church and the pastor. This distinction is key.

    I know that some of my arguments are also used for women preachers, but that’s because we need a more robust theology of man and women in Christ to do that not legalistic can and cannots driven out of prooftexting. Sorry if that sounds tongue and cheek. But I feel like there’s not much of a change from “women shouldn’t speak the scripture aloud” to “women shouldn’t sing period” or “women should wear head coverings”. You can call it a slippery slope fallacy, but it’s often what stems from this sort of quick prooftexting.

    I’m not sure what you mean by the we/you of Paul’s Epistles and the you/them of Jesus’ teachings. Jesus doesn’t really teach on women’s authority at all, so I’m not sure what you’re getting there. If you’re trying to speak about the divine nature of the pastoral office, I’m in complete agreement with you. There is clearly a distinction between the office of the Holy Ministry and that of the laity. This distinction, however, should not diminish the gifts of the wider body of Christ.

    On the Bach front, “again they weren’t sung by women” I’m not sure how you got that from the previous discussion. We know at the very least that by the 1800’s congregations throughout Europe felt comfortable having women sing the parts (many congregations did not have select male vocalists like Bach had).

    If you’re going to argue it was only out of “dire necessity” that women sung the lessons, I question that notion. The pastor didn’t “sing” his entire sermon. He spoke it. He just also recognized that it is a good and right thing to lift up the God-given gifts of the wider body of Christ and celebrate the scripture in song. Anyway, thanks for the dialogue. It’s really helpful on forming my opinion.

    Peace!
    Joe

  8. Ladies participating in this forum, I would remind you that per Paul’s command, “Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man; rather she is to remain quiet.” Because this is a coed forum, it is not appropriate for you to teach, instruct or correct. That’s what the various pastors on this site are for. Please refrain from discussing openly as has been done here. I recommend that this article be posted to Sisters of Katie Luther so that they may discuss without usurping the teaching authority of the pastor or exercise a measure of spiritual headship over a man. Thanks.

    Now if for some reason that sounds inappropriate or strange I would ask myself if the passages or logic cited in this article overextend Paul’s instruction to a position of absurdity.

  9. @Jason #160
    Hmmm, in a way, you are correct…never thought of it that way…let the laymen chime in, and the pastors for the most part. The women of the Church should let us do the wrestling.
    Hmmm, not sure how that will work out…but it makes sense with this vein of discussion.

  10. @Jason #160
    I even as a delegate this year to LCMS convention had a few conversations, why do women vote in what is basically our COuncil of pastors? Well, it is not really…those days are gone…closest thing is the COP (our Bishops that meet)

  11. @Jason #160

    BJS isn’t church.

    What is a wonder, Jason, is that you thought your comment, poorly written as it is, somehow clever in its pointing out the irony of women talking with men outside the church about how women shouldn’t talk over men in the church. There is an irony there, but it’s the irony of Deborah over Barak.

    That there is some sort of equivalence in your mind between women talking with men and women leading the service indicates that you can have no real objection to women pastors. If 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians say a woman can read the lesson in the public assembly then they say women can preach a sermon and administer the sacrament. They’re only waiting for the LCMS’ imprimatur. And by they, I mean the passages, not the women.

  12. I am a newish Lutheran layman here, so please excuse me if I am missing the obvious, but doesn’t the vocation of a pastor as the leader of the sacrificial and sacramental acts of the divine service make all the difference here?

    In my understanding, when the pastor is facing the congregation, he is delivering God’s message and sacraments to the congregation – this is God speaking to us. When the pastor is facing the altar, he is leading the congregation’s worship and offerings to God – this is the congregation speaking to God.

    It seems to me in light of the pastor’s function in leading the divine service, all these passages about women not teaching in the church are about a vocational role of pastors. Women are not supposed to take the role of the pastor in either direction of a church service. This means they shouldn’t even read the bible verses from the altar as this is taking on the vocational role of speaking God’s word to the congregation. God has appeared to assign this role to the male gender whether we moderns think this is fair or not.

    I don’t see, however, how the male role as the pastor has anything to do with singing in church or dialoguing about theology outside of the service. As for singing in church, whether male or female, singing is part of the vocation of a parishioner as we offer our praise and worship to God. While there is much to learn from of our wonderful hymnal texts, the primary act of singing the hymns itself is not one that is necessarily directed at teaching, rather it is directed as worship to God and men and women each has the same role here.

    As for theological discussions between men and women outside of the divine service, this inherently doesn’t seem to impede on the vocational role of pastor either. There may be some other considerations, of course, such as the vocations of husband and wife in theological discussions, or the vocation roles of layman and pastor in theological discussions. I don’t see inherently how any of the bible verses cited thus far have anything to do with women refraining from ever talking theology with a member of the opposite sex.

    Thank you to everyone for the conversation on this topic so far. I for one learn much from the hashing out of all of these fine distinctions in theology, and greatly appreciate that there is a forum like this for the experts to work these things out and for us laymen to learn from.

    God’s blessings!

  13. @Elizabeth Peters #163

    What you are missing ma’am is the fact that Paul is not necessarily just talking about worship service. Although that is implied it isn’t the full context of his letter to Timothy. Additionally Paul is addressing issues of dissension rising from both men and women. If you notice the “and likewise” or “likewise also” in vs 9 Paul is addressing both men and women exhorting them to be peaceful. I think someone pointed out earlier, and it makes a lot of sense to me now, that Paul later brings the two audiences back together at the end of vs 15. And no, just because I don’t think Paul was issuing a universal decree for women to shut up and let the men handle things, does not equate to being okay with women’s ordination. That’s an oversimplistic characterization and straw man argument. The fact is that in the same letter Paul provides positions of limited authority to women in the church in the same letter you are appealing to. In addition, reciting something does not equate with usurping authority. Another straw man argument to try to enforce parameters on someone you disagree with.

  14. @Erik Herrmann #12

    Dr. Herrmann,

    Was that a doctrinal resolution? Such resolutions have to be specifically defined as such. I don’t have access to the proceedings, so I can’t check for myself. Since you’re close to the seminary library, I assume you can.

  15. Reading over the Facebook comments on Concordia – the issue can be debated, but it is closed for now. “handle with care” is the guide.

    “The Synod’s official position, therefore, is that there is no Scriptural “thus says the Lord” regarding who may or may not read the lessons in worship, but that congregations themselves are responsible for making decisions in this regard which take into account various factors and sensitivities relevant to their own situation.”

    We either walk together, change it at next Synodical Convention, continue to study is wonderful, or some have posted in other places, the CLC has this handled in their Synod.

    As some have said and called my brothers junk, I will stand with my Rev. President of Synod and walk with him, always searching Holy Scripture for answers and trying to treat fellow brothers with respect. Not easy at times.

  16. On the issue raised by Dr. Herrmann, Bylaw 1.6.2a is relevant:

    “Doctrinal resolutions may be adopted for the information, counsel, and guidance of the membership. They shall conform to the confessional position of the Synod as set forth in Article II of its Constitution and shall ordinarily cite the pertinent passages of the Scriptures, the Lutheran Confessions, and any previously adopted official doctrinal statements and resolutions of the Synod. Such resolutions come into being in the same manner as any other resolutions of a convention of the Synod and are to be honored and upheld until such time as the Synod amends or repeals them.”

    If one compares this to the text of Res 3-14 (1989) (which was e-mailed to me by a friend), it would be an extreme stretch to say that 3-14 (1989) is a doctrinal resolution of synod. It cites nothing from the Scripture or the Confessions. It simply commends the CTCR report for study and guidance (but requires neither).

    It also recommends that congregations in the synod proceed with sensitivity regarding the issue of lay readers. My humble opinion is that Pr. Preus is following this advice better than his interlocutors are.

    Finally, I’d suggest that Pr. Preus has demonstrated rather ably that Resolution 3-14 (1989) does not conform to Article II of the Constitution. That, by itself, means it cannot possibly be a doctrinal resolution.

  17. I’m grateful that BJS has excellent articles that focus on the contents of the weekly readings rather than the gender of the readers.

  18. @Jason #165

    Jason,

    I noticed you didn’t engage my argument in the least. That’s because the text is clear – not your context or the text of Synod, but God’s text (that’s the Bible). It says women may not teach in the church. It says they are to be in all submission. It says they should be silent. You point to women talking outside of church and women singing in church. That’s a strawman. When you do point to Scripture, you don’t deal with the actual words that are in dispute, but some context which you in no way demonstrate affect the meaning of the actual words you refrain from addressing. Meanwhile you throw out allegations of legalism, imagining that taking the literal meaning of the words seriously is somehow vitiating the Gospel. Aristotle says not to argue with people who need to be taught. You need to be taught. Perhaps you could read through Pastor Preus’ article once or twice and receive some teaching. Then, maybe, you’ll be capable of argumentation. Rev. Scheer has shown and Paul makes clear that reading the lessons is teaching. So does common sense. More than this, reading the lessons is by definition presiding over the assembly. God says women may not do this. Listen to God.

  19. Another factual error by Dr. Herrmann:

    Dr. Becker was not removed from synod. He resigned. He probably would have been removed, but we cannot say with certainty what reason would have been given.

  20. @Elizabeth Peters #172

    If you scroll up and re-read the post to which I was responding, I actually did as have several others on this thread. Asserting by force of personality that one didn’t seems to be a common tactic with you. Your particular view of the verse at hand has created the hypocrisy inherent in your response, not mine. However, In the interest of following Paul’s advice in 1 Timothy 2:8 I will gladly yield the floor so you may have the last word. I am confident you will insist upon it. Have a good one ma’am.

  21. @Jason #174
    Sadly, we in the LCMS, and part of it is because we hold doctrine so near and dear, have a hard time in discussion. We ALL listen to God, but perhaps we do goof up in our listening skills. In this case, are women lectors, or a Deaconess reading lines from the balcony encroaching on dogma? Well, you can tell…we differ. And we argue. I guess, if it was truly wrong, charges can be brought up. No? Let ecclesial order prevail. Or move on, CLC is waiting I believe.
    So as for teaching:
    01) Pastor Preus – he will teach it is wrong and forbidden.
    02) Pastor Prentice – I will teach not in good order as it may cause mutual anguish, but not forbidden as I see (and have been taught, still learning) Holy Scripture (and others affirm). My practice – we do not do it.
    03) Pastor So and So – all OK.
    The issue, how do we interact and deal with each other…
    A Blessed Holy Week to all.

  22. 04) Poorly catechised layman John

    The reader gender issue is inconsequential. :–)

  23. @Average Joe #77

    Several times throughout this thread I’ve seen comments made to the musical practices of Bach’s Leipzig congregation. In Bach’s day, women did not sing in his cantatas or passions. Young boys whose voices hadn’t broken sang the soprano parts. Female sopranos in church choirs, as I understand it, came much later and in different contexts.

  24. @Pastor Prentice #175

    Great comment! Indeed, Pastor, and it appears to me that “steadfast” can mean “gang-ish” to some. It’s like some pastors have to earn their stripes with the gang by bashing the first hint of something new or different in adiaphora. So, whatever those of you Gang-ish Lutherans, listen to Pastor Prentice here! And learn to cover what you say in love, and especially love for LADIES of the faith in our congregations.

    When so manhandled and mistreated, I feel like saying: “Get over yourselves and open the Lectern to the faithful service of our humble and awesome ladies. Train them to be Deaconesses first, or something if you think you must, but open up your grimy little hands.” It is what I feel like saying when I read your needless diatribes against women READING (and neither explaining nor sermonizing upon) the Word of God in the Divine Service.

    Consider your words carefully, and where that leaves a church one day if all men go off to war or something, and are killed. It is for that kind of emergency situation that Luther left the door open for women to be ordained, even, and to preach the Gospel and deliver the Sacraments. Right??

  25. Acts 15:21. No one has dealt with the Bible texts in the article or this one which I brought up earlier. If you see what Acts 15:21 says, then if you want to have women lectors you better start ordaining women.

  26. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #181

    I feel like you’re skipping over your modus ponens in terms of biblical text arguments. There are plenty of people who have commented on the exegesis of 1 Timothy, and I have no idea what you’re arguing ABOUT Acts 15:21… Please clarify because I see absolutely nothing about women lectors nor ordaining women from those passages.

    Saying “if you want to have women lectors you better start ordaining women.” is a clear slippery slope argument. It’s the logical equivolent of saying “If we let women post on brother’s of John the Steadfast and quote scripture, then we better start ordaining women.” If we’re going to continue with that type of logic we wouldn’t ever have women read or speak any scripture because the church is the body of believers and they shouldn’t have authority over men within it.

    The exegesis isn’t as clear as we would like it, and our synodical position reflects that. I love your passion and respect for God’s word, but it seems like we really haven’t dealt with the previous exegetical statements of Erik earlier, or the synodical documents like that of the CTCR which make the case for our position.

  27. Acts 15:21 says that reading the lessons in worship is preaching.

    Your other associations with posting on a blog are absurd, which if you look at the comments there have been plenty of absurd comments made about women singing in churches and so forth.

    There have also been many papistic comments which are citing resolution, bylaw, CTCR documents and so forth. None of those things trump the Word of God. The fact that people have to argue using them as their tool in the debate shows how their position is untenable in the face of God’s Word. And if you really want to see, the canonical legal system we have actually allows for the firm position of Scripture (see comments by my circuit visitor above).

  28. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #181
    Sadly, you refuse to listen to some good Scriptural debate which has been provided…and women’s ordination is of a different ilk altogether. Walk together as Synod, or do not is the question. The question is open at the moment for women lectors in Synod, and it may be altered and we all affirm it outlawed down the road. Study is ongoing with all of us.

  29. @Pastor Joshua Scheer #183
    Dear Brother,
    I still walk with you and do affirm your practice of not allowing women lectors, albeit we differ on exegesis of the matter. Do you walk with me? And if my study and skills to working thru the problem are flawed, well…I will study more. Perhaps the leadership will hammer home a response that we all are good with.

  30. @Pastor Prentice #185

    Glad you are continuing to search out the Scriptures. Check out Acts 15:21 and the relationship between preaching and reading. Don’t wait on the leadership. Your confirmation and ordination vows have been made to Scripture, the Lutheran Confessions, and to the Evangelical Lutheran Church – not to the corporate entity of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

  31. In the LC-MS as in the LCA (AU) article 2 reigns. If a proposal for a different explanation of the Word of God is put forward, that proposal itself is ipso facto bound by Article 2. The speaking [reading aloud] of scripture is bound by the very Scripture it utters.

  32. @Sean #187

    1 Timothy 4:13 counts them as separate activities.

    Reading and preaching are mentioned separately, but Timothy, as Pastor, is instructed to do all of them.

  33. @helen #189

    As do elders who teach and preach in 1 Timothy 5:17. It does not appear that teaching and preaching are a monopoly unto pastors. Philip, for example, a deacon, catechized the Ethiopian eunuch. We also see in 1 Corinthians 12-14 that the Holy Spirit apportions many gifts to those in the body of Christ to include teaching and prophesy. The application does not limit those gifts to the clergy. Just because Timothy is commanded to teach the gospel that Paul passed on to him does not mean that reading or teaching is restricted to him alone. That is a broad overreach of the passage. As many here have stated, the LCMS acknowledges that reading and preaching and teaching are separate functions and that the Bible does not make a clear prescription for how worship is to be performed. The issue is adiaphora. All I have said is that I agree with that assessment. If the practice in your congregation is different that’s fine with me. Do what you feel is in the interest of good order. I’m just not legalistic in making an ambiguous issue into canon.

  34. @Sean #190

    “It does not appear that teaching and preaching are a monopoly unto pastors.”

    Then who is to publicly preach and teach in the congregation?

  35. @T-rav #191

    Pastors, elders, and others identified as having the gift of teaching. It also depends on the audience. Older men are to teach and mentor younger men, etc. Once again though the issue in this thread is not about who may preach and teach, but whether women can recite scripture in the service. The application has been made that reciting scripture constitutes teaching. If that were the case why do we conduct sermons and bible studies?

  36. @Sean #192

    Aren’t they all different modes, levels, etc of teaching?

    The Old Testament and Epistle Readings used to be called the “lessons.”

    How about where the Augustana and Apology states that German hymns were interspersed into the Mass to teach the people? But how many people believe that today? Most people I’ve told that to are actually repulsed by it.

    Isn’t it a question of what is proper in the public congregational setting?

    I would answer the question I asked above like this:
    “Our churches teach that no one should publicly teach in the Church, or administer the Sacraments, without a rightly ordered call.” AC XIV

    It’s not simply about who is gifted. In fact, being apt to teach is but one of the requirements.

  37. @Sean #190

    I don’t recall it saying in the small catechism that pastors had a monopoly on catechesis. Catechesis is not the public preaching and teaching in the divine service.

  38. @T-rav #193

    I would agree with you to the extent that one who teaches publicly does so under the authority of the church. As an example a vicar preaches under the supervision of the ordained pastor/overseer. I have no issue with that.

  39. @Sean #190

    When the New Testament refers to elders it is not speaking of the man made office of elder we have today. The New Testament “elder” is a pastor.

    This topic appears to be less a matter of adiaphora and more one of interpretation. One camp says that God didn’t really say that you need a proper call in order to speak for Him in the Divine Service and the other camp says he did.

  40. @LW #196

    Not necessarily. The term used for a pastor is episkopos, and this is specifically used to refer to overseers, bishops, etc. In other words, it is used in the sense that those individuals are responsible for ensuring the proper order of the church. The term I am referring to is presbuteros, which means elder, older, etc. This term can refer to the literal elders or older members who are assumed to be wise due to experience, or those appointed into positions of responsibility but not accountable as an overseer. It is used in that sense with regard to the elders in the Sanhedrin, who although they are not priests wield considerable authority.

  41. It is true that the only properly named church offices in the New Testament are the episkopos and the diakonos. Perhaps we use the term presbuteros (elder) today somewhat as the Jews did two thousand years ago, but the New Testament Church was different. The New Testament church used the term presbuteros to refer to the episkopos who presided over churches. Take for example Titus 1:5-7 and 1 Peter 5:1,2.

  42. If I am in a dark corner of the world, where no Christian man is, and no one can read, then I cannot read Scripture to the folks because I am a woman?

  43. @LG #199

    That is not what the article said, LG. This was about the Public Ministry of a congregation. Your called and ordained pastor is responsible for administering Word and Sacrament in that situation.

    If there is no called pastor and you are the -only- Christian there then it’s not a church. No one has a problem with you reading and sharing Scripture with others outside of the Divine Service.

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