Just who should come to teach at our Seminaries?
See the press release which mentions that Dr. Daisy Machado teaches at Union Theological Seminary, but fails to mention the fact that she is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Click here for her biography courtesy of Union Theological Seminary. Her biography also mentions that she is “co-editor of A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice” .
From the PR piece on this:
“Christians are being challenged to rethink and to grapple with what we mean by the terms “missions” and “missio dei.” In this lecture, Dr. Machado will explore what this increasingly popular notion of “missions” might entail today and will address the question: What does “missions” look like as the church faces the Latino reality in the United States in the 21st century?”
To this I can offer this from the Word of God (1 Corinthians 14:33-38):
For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.
This last sentence is most forceful about whether a person believing that women’s ordination should even be recognized.
Some questions to ponder (which I have asked the St Louis Seminary and had a very friendly conversation about):
Does lecturing at the seminary violate the above passage concerning women in the Church?
Why is an LCMS seminary promoting an ordained clergywoman and seminary professor to teach our people?
Were there no experts that would not bring the offense of the heresy of women’s ordination front and center?
How will our sister churches in Latin America receive news that an ordained woman and feminist theologian is teaching (even just once) at one of our seminaries?
I contacted our St. Louis seminary about these concerns and had a very good conversation with them. The main discussion was on the established tradition of letting others of even erring church bodies come and lecture at time on selected topics. The seminary was pretty good in describing their case and that having someone come does not endorse them in total. They have also in this case talked to Dr. Machado concerning our adherence to the Scriptures concerning men and the pastoral office. Here are some further discussion questions that have come to my mind since then:
Can a pastor be divorced from being a pastor when publicly teaching or lecturing at a seminary? (Can an ordained woman teach as simply a historian in the church or does she carry her ordination with her?) Even if I am on vacation I am still a pastor, the same way that as a pastor I still remain a husband and father, I am not so sure we can set aside vocations so easily.
If a member of an erring church body is given to teach at one of our seminaries, how do we faithfully handle making a Lutheran response? We cannot assume that all of the listeners are discerning the errors (that is an error of arrogance). Would having a speaker set to give a Lutheran response to the previous one be a good way to address this?
It would be good to have a discussion here about these questions as it has been noted many times that both seminaries often have lecturers from erring church bodies including ones which we condemn and mark as erring in our own confessions.