More Trouble at Our Concordias – Problematic View on Women, from Concordia Bronxville, by Pr. Rossow

Dr. Elizabeth Goodine, Professor of Religion from Concordia, New York, delivered a paper to the Minnesota South District Theological Convocation on the role of women in the church. It is essentially flawed with Gospel reductionism, in other words it reduces the Scriptures to issues of peace and justice, trumping clear statements of God’s law with a false view of the Gospel that is used to cancel out the law instead of fulfilling it.

Here are a few select quotes.

From page 5, some introductory comments on the LCMS’s misunderstanding of the Bible’s view on the role of women.

Yet, on this issue that is before us today, I do not believe that we have started with a “God-view.” We have not let God, through scripture, guide us with his underlying paradigm of love and justice. Instead, both the 1985 report, Women in the Church, and the 2009 Creator’s Tapestry, have begun from man’s, and I do mean man’s, point of view. As Rev. Lehenbauer conveyed here, the Commission has been concerned with cultural issues; early on with questions regarding women’s suffrage, and more recently with perceived cultural attacks on the sanctity of marriage and with the possibility of ordination for women. Fear and reactivity, rather than meaningful Biblical study by men and women together, have been the motivating forces behind our discussions. Fear and reactivity toward these cultural issues have driven us to focus on the details while forgetting the purpose for which Christ came. For the Pharisees, this type of methodology led to a distorted theology and it has had the same results for us. The latest emerging trend is to focus on limitations that might be imposed based on ‘natural law.’ Again, another man centered view.

She rejects the traditional Lutheran teaching of the order of creation (Adam was created first and then Eve thus making it clear that man is prior to woman and her head). She says this (p. 5)

The “order of creation” does not come from Lutheran tradition and there is good reason that it does not. It serves to create hierarchies that oppress human beings and God is not about oppression. Rather, God is about releasing the captives and setting the prisoners free.

Goodine’s paper is more poetry than it is theology. Here is one of her more poetic sections disguised as theology (p. 6).

The God of the Bible is a God of surprises. He is not a God who upholds the worldly order. Rather, He is a God who throws off the usual order of the world — and not just after death but right in real time. The God of the Old and New Testaments is a God with a heart, a God who stands always with the poor and the oppressed — He is a God who, in the words of Mary, the mother of Jesus, scatters the proud, brings down the powerful, and lifts up the lowly; a God who fills the hungry with good things, sends the rich away empty, and helps his servant Israel according to the promise he made to all of our ancestors (Lk 1: 46-55).

Notice how the phrase “God has heart” is turned into “God would never disallow a woman to serve as a pastor.” That just does not follow. God can have love and mercy, forgiving us of our sin, while still maintaining order such as requiring women to keep silent in the church service.

These are worn out arguments of those who do not take the Bible as God’s word but falsely maintain that the Bible only contains God’s word and is in need of a higher hermeneutic, such as in Goodine’s case, justice and love. I look forward to your further critique (or defense) of Ms. Goodine in the comments below.


Here are all the papers from the conference:

Women in the Church (Dr. Joel Lehenbauer)

Women in the Church (Dr. Elizabeth Goodine)

Women in the Church (Dr. Armand Boehme)



2 thoughts on “More Trouble at Our Concordias – Problematic View on Women, from Concordia Bronxville, by Pr. Rossow

  1. Pastor, I stumbled across this article while searching for materials on female ordinations (both sides of the argument). I think your reaction in this article to this Goodine’s words, are fueling the reason I am looking into the ordination of women after being LCMS for over 20 years, and have studied its doctrine thoroughly. I have had doubts on this matter from the start, and will continue to pray and turn to Scripture…but these LCMS, thinly-supported Scriptural reactions make me doubt even more. Especially how the Lutheran church didn’t even allow women to vote for a long time. What changed to make this shift? You see my point…The LCMS does a terrific job of interpreting Scripture with Scripture, but on this issue, it seems to be lacking and making a stretch, reading into it what society wanted at the time of Luther (which has been on the whole intensely against women’s rights [not talking abortion] for the last 1500+ years), just as you claim Goodine is doing. I will keep studying, and might have to learn Greek and Hebrew for myself to get at the root of this issue. I would never ever want to go against God, but I have no issue going against the colossal LCMS if it is wrong on this matter. I am sure you are doing a great job teaching and preaching the Gospel, thank God it is in John 3:16 where our hope is found. Feel free to pass along any resources or articles on both sides. Sincerely, M Hahn

  2. Pastor Rossow,

    Thank you for revealing some of the attacks we are facing in the LCMS. I think the convention really stretched itself when it allowed women to vote and would be really disappointed if the LCMS would approve of women being ordained as pastors. Should that occur, I think I’ll be moving to a more scriptural Lutheran church body.

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