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)



About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


More Trouble at Our Concordias – Problematic View on Women, from Concordia Bronxville, by Pr. Rossow — 276 Comments

  1. @Mrs. Hume #249
    “After going and doing their best and enduring criticism, maybe some just figure, fine, let the women do it if they are so confident. They then can take is easy figuring the ladies wanted it so bad, now they have it.”

    I used to think that as well, but it goes deeper than that. Men are being taught in schools and in the media that they are not worth their weight. It would be one thing to endure criticism, but another to grow up learning that as a man there is no real responsibility but yourself.

  2. Even Dr. Braaten understands where the ELCA is headed.
    The following is slightly adapted from his comments ( at this thread ) to the present topic of this thread. I inserted Dr. Goodine’s name in place of the letters ELCA.
    If you read her paper…the shoe fits.

    Like the ancient Gnostics, Dr. Goodine rejects the law of God.
    Like the ancient Gnostics, Dr. Goodine claims a higher knowledge—higher than anything available from an external Word of God. Gnostics trusted instead in enlightenment from within women, which is where she locates God.
    Like the ancient Gnostics, Dr. Goodine sneers at the idea that we can look to a book as our authority—especially a book written by men.
    Antinomianism and anti-patriarchialism are always found together.

    I especially liked this:
    “Lutherans are feisty. Their founder was feisty.
    So it was not surprising to hear Braaten label certain proposals advanced by the ELCA as “cockamamie,”
    and to commend the Lutheran doctrine of justification by faith alone as a “Lutheran crap detector.”
    And when he was asked from the floor whether ELCA headquarters has any idea that Gnosticism is a problem today, Braaten quipped: “It’s a polysyllabic word.”

  3. Dutch :
    Has anyone noticed, that there is a large group being left out here?
    Men, men are being left out. Focus on feminism, fine but ya can’t do that really, without looking at why men are/aren’t doing what they should, either.
    If LCMS & WELS (yes, we have it too) allow this type of feministic theological questioning, elevate women to positions that are to be man’s alone,
    where exactly does that leave men? What proper instruction is there for them, in the roles designed by our Creator & Christ?
    Teach me to be a helpmeet & a virtuous woman, but we need to teach are young men, more than we are.

    Men are just supposed to bring home the big bucks. It’s ok if they’re not at home or not in town. Don’t ask too many questions.

  4. M #253,
    That’s quite a response. True, in a lot of ways, I know quite a few guys like that.
    If guys don’t get the roles of marriage, mostly their own, why would men have fidelity to a church? It’s easier to let the women do it, no extra repsonsibilities, no headship, no personal investment, work has enough. Women, are supposed to be like that, right? NOT.

    Like I said, we need to teach & train our men, not just our women. Least of which, by people like the subjects of the article.
    Well, I’m off to hear a anti domestic violence speech. Wanna guess, what question/s, I’m going to ask, in the car on the way?

    The strongest natures, when they are influenced, submit the most unreservedly; it is perhaps a sign of their strength. -Virginia Woolf, writer (1882-1941)

    [It really did come up today, and I couldn’t resist copying.] 🙂

  6. M,
    Did I forget to mention the EL~A & RC, regarding the car ride? Oooo, can’t wait to mention the Nazi, Taliban, let alone the DV angle. It’s amazing what bravery & courage come, through That that so many choose to reject as Truth! For someone who has a yellow streak a mile wide, down their back…in some things, even I’m surprised with myself.
    Difference is, I know Who it comes from, Where it comes from, & Who deserves the accolaide. So very not me, or any other human breathing air!

    Helen, influenced, no, I’d say ‘motivated’, is a better term. Kudos for the post!

    Blessings All!!

  7. @Dutch #257
    Helen, influenced, no, I’d say ‘motivated’, is a better term. Kudos for the post!

    Blessings All!!

    It was a quote, Dutch. But I did think that “influenced” needed interpretation, too.

    @Rev. Roger D. Sterle #256
    Any more different news about this thread??

    We have worn it out, haven’t we! And worn paths all around it as well. 🙁

    [Wonder what’s happening/has happened at Concordia, Chicago?]

  8. [Wonder what’s happening/has happened at Concordia, Chicago?]

    After CUC President Johnson got a call from Synod President Harrison, who “read him the riot act” about the irresponsibility of having the heterodox STOP Event at the CUC campus, he immediately brought in the Board of Regents and the Department Chairmen, who all agreed to have the event canceled and to disband the STOP committee… NOT.

  9. It seems everyone knows that putting a capitalized “not” at the end of a sentence negates whatever the sentence says… NOT.

  10. I’ve seen nothing about the STOP event on the CUC website or the calendar. All I’ve found there is an announcement about the CTCR’s repugnant, tree-hugging screed, “Together With All Creatures” being hyped on campus tomorrow and the performance of “Urinetown” on Friday, April 8.

  11. Carl Vehse :I’ve seen nothing about the STOP event on the CUC website or the calendar. All I’ve found there is an announcement about the CTCR’s repugnant, tree-hugging screed, “Together With All Creatures” being hyped on campus tomorrow and the performance of “Urinetown” on Friday, April 8.

    It’s true–I had to see it for myself to believe it. “Urinetown?” I don’t think I want to know what the plot is. Unreal.


  12. @Carl Vehse #267
    “Then, Johannes, you will probably not want to listen to one of the songs in the musical, “It’s a Privilege to Pee.””

    This show–Urinetown–is really a matter for the Board of Regents.

    So is the show that Dr. Goodine put on, for that matter.

    But, based on what’s been happening, there’s a more likely probability that the musical will get more more attention than the paper.

    So who’s going to contact the BOR?


    p.s. Is there a sequel to this musical? I shudder to think….

  13. #268: “p.s. Is there a sequel to this musical? I shudder to think….”

    Shudder away, Johannes. It seems that a sequel to the now seemingly prophetic musical, “Urinetown,” may become all too real if politicians with No. 2 for brains go for a plan noted in this Omaha, NE, news report:

    Mayor Jim Suttle [to no surprise, a Democrat, who was nearly recalled earlier this year] went to Washington Tuesday flush with ideas for how federal officials could help cities like Omaha pay for multibillion-dollar sewer projects.

    Among the items on his brainstorming list: a proposal for a 10-cent federal tax on every roll of toilet paper you buy.

  14. @Johannes #265
    In an attempt to regulate water consumption, Urinetown has outlawed the use of private toilets. The citizenry must use public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company, a malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell.

  15. Rev. Roger D. Sterle :@Johannes #265 Synopsis:In an attempt to regulate water consumption, Urinetown has outlawed the use of private toilets. The citizenry must use public, pay-per-use amenities owned and operated by Urine Good Company, a malevolent corporation run by the corrupt Caldwell B. Cladwell.

    That’s all I really need to know–in fact, more. But I certainly appreciate the brevity of your synopsis. I seem to recall that this particular scenario may be a requirement in the fne print of the health care bill recently passed (no pun intended) by congress. I am mightily straining (no pun) to keep from making all sorts of really bad puns. I’m not sure I can hold it much longer, though…(Pun intended). Oops. Sorry.

    I wonder if they have invited their DP, or SP Harrison to this event, or possible the BOR. Have they distributed bulletin flyers for all the local congregations? Will the NY Times give it a review? I can see it now: “Concordia Uriniversity Presents….”

    Johannes (still shuddering)

  16. helen :Let’s sell off the Concordias and support the seminaries!
    We’d be better off.

    I don’t know. I think “Urine-iversty” has a nice ring to it. Kind of tinkles my ears. They’ll always be No. 1 in my book.

    Johannes (Argggghhhh— I can’t stop! Help!!!!)

  17. It took us 273 (now 274) posts to get here, too.
    Vehse, you realize this is your fault, for bringing the “musical” into the discussion.

  18. Okay,
    Boiled down, from the Nazi, Sharia Law, & oi vey, DV, analogies in this paper…
    the answer was a resounding, no.

    Carl, no ” ” , and no caps. However if I used everything, those would be the least of the jist of the answer to post #257.

    It hurts, dimishes, simplifies, and complexes, the issue of Women’s Ordinations & Uber Suffergette issues in any Denom, when you use Nazi Germany, Sharia Law, and Domestic Violence, to push an agenda, like this paper mentioned in the original article.
    So very much a resounding no, flippin’ way, is that the same thing….

    No surprises here…

  19. Mr. Rossow offers: “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).”

    Adam was created before Eve, but men were not created before women; the traditional Lutheran teaching is utterly contrary to the word of God on this point, because God creates male and female in Genesis 1: 27-28, to wit, per the KJVB:

    “So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. ”

    There are two important proofs of this facts as revealed by Scripture: (1) both the sexes were created simultaneously; and (2) men were not given dominion over women, because both sexes are given dominion over the earth in this directive. Moreover, there is only one way for humans to be fruitful and multiply, and that is by procreative heterosexual relations–which mean sex is actually the very first instruction and blessing given by God to mankind.

    In the original Hebrew, “adam” means “man” (as in mankind); this is how it used in Genesis 1. Adam, the specific individual of the Christian lineage, is distinguished in the original Hebrew as “the Adam” (eth ha adam), indicating a particular person, and not the generic for mankind, and that designation is not employed until he is introduced in Genesis 2. (In film analogy, Genesis 1:27 is the long shot of a crowd, and Genesis 2:7 is the zoom in close-up shot of the main character in the narrative.)

    God says everything He has created is very good (Gen 1:31), which means He drew no distinction between the merit of the two sexes. Importantly, Scripture declares that the entire world was populated prior to God creating Adam and Eve–which is why Cain was able to travel east of Eden and find a wife. Don’t believe me? AFTER the seventh day, Genesis 2:1 states, “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. ”

    All the host of the earth? Includes all that which God had created prior to the seventh day, including the male and female of the sixth day; Adam and Eve are not created until after the seventh day, thus they were not part of the original males and females who God instructed to replenish the earth–thus they are NOT the first humans, else Scripture lies.

    (Mindblower alert: To “replenish” means to restore the earth with population, hence we are in the second world age of three, since God would not command His sixth day humans to refill something unless it had been populated before. Don’t believe me? Read 2 Peter 3:5-6, which states, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished”. The word “perished” is Strong’s entry #622 and means apollumi (ap-ol’-loo-mee); from #575 and the base of #3639; to destroy FULLY (reflexively, to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively. This is not talking about Noah’s flood, which happened in this earth age, because Noah’s was not destroyed fully, else his family and the animals on the ark would not have survived.)

    God’s punishment to Eve to be subordinate to HER husband is NOT the punishment of all women, because according to Scripture, the world was populated with women (Gen 1:27 and Gen 2:1) PRIOR to Adam and Eve–and, moreover, a righteous judge does not punish the innocent for the sins of others, since sin is always a personal choice to rebel against God; Adam and Eve are the first humans of record to rebel against God, and, as we will be judged for eternity on the basis of our personal choices, it is only logical that God did not punish with subordination all of the other women who preceded and followed Eve; the Tanakh (Old Testament) was not written until circa 1400 B.C., and Adam and Eve are believed to have lived 4,000 B.C.; what record had their been prior to the existence of the O.T. which mandated female subordination for the intervening 2,600 years? None. Did God create the sexes in subordination to one another? No, thus in the perfect construct originally manifest by God, the sexes were equal before Him and equal before each other.

    Scripture does not support the traditional Lutheran teaching regarding the primacy of the creation of the male, that Adam and Eve were the first humans, or that all women are to be subordinate to men; it is a source of endless embarrassment to me when I must confess to having been raised and confirmed in a religion which PROFOUNDLY contradicts the ACTUAL word of God with its traditional teachings. If we are to practice “Sola Scriptura,” it must be in faithful representation of what Scripture actually teaches us, not what doctrine interprets should be taught. As God is Truth, and Scripture is His Word, then female irritation with the “traditional Lutheran teaching” so highly values is entirely warranted, because said teaching is UTTERLY contrary to what Scripture reveals DIRECTLY to us.

    Indeed, just as with the Pharisees, the Word of God has been forsaken for the traditions of men –and, yes, I do mean men, since the perversion of Scripture is UTTERLY the invention of men who have used the perversion to justify female subordination which Scripture does NOT support. Perhaps when the Lutheran doctrine more accurately reflects what Scripture ACTUALLY states, then women will be more receptive to the “traditional Lutheran teachings”. Despite Mr. Rossow’s contention, Genesis 1:27 makes it clear that man is NOT prior to woman, and Genesis 1:28 and Genesis 2:1 make it clear that man is NOT her head. I will take the Word of God ANY DAY over the “traditional Lutheran teachings” which are but the words of men. Read your Bibles, people; God is no liar.

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