LCMS prof calls maleness of Jesus/pastors “inconsequential” (by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

I came across an interesting blog article written by Dr. Matthew Becker, an LCMS clergyperson serving as a professor at Valparaiso University. The article is called “The Being of Adam, the New Adam, and the Ontology of Pastors.” In it, Becker is reacting to an article he read in the July 2011 issue of CTSFW’s magazine For the Life of the World, the article “What Is Mercy?” by Dr. Cynthia Lumley. Becker contends that Lumley’s article “contains assertions that are contrary to evangelical-Lutheran doctrine,” since Lumley says, “The very maleness of pastors is essential to the Holy Office in which they serve.”

Becker writes: “Contrary to Lumley’s Roman ontological-sacerdotalist view about the ontology of the pastor, the symbolical books of the Ev. Luth. church present the holy ministry chiefly (but not exclusively) in functional, dynamic terms, for the sake of obtaining and strengthening trust in the promise that God forgives people by grace for Christ’s sake through faith. Moreover, the symbolical books stress that ALL baptized Christians, both male and female, have the power and authority of preaching the gospel and administering the means of grace, although not all are well-suited or qualified for this ministry; for example, they might not be able to teach very well. Especially important is the confessional position that a called and ordained minister of Christ, whether male or female, acts in the place of God and in the stead of Christ. . . .”

Becker concludes: “Thankfully, the physical particularities of Jesus, including his gender, age, race, etc., are accidental, non-essential to his salvific work of reconciling Adam (‘human beings’) to God. The same principle is true for those who serve ‘in the stead and by the command’ of Christ today. Accidental attributes of the pastor’s being are inconsequential for the fulfillment of the holy office.”

And in one of the comments at his blog, Becker adds: “While the presbyteroi and episcopoi referred to in the pastorals were men, there are other NT texts that open the way for female pastors, as I have argued in several essays.”

What do you think of Becker’s arguments? Do you think that the maleness of Jesus and of pastors is “accidental,” “non-essential,” “inconsequential”? Do you think that the New Testament has passages that “open the way for female pastors”? When describing “the confessional position” on “a called and ordained minister of Christ,” does it make sense to add the words “whether male or female”?


LCMS prof calls maleness of Jesus/pastors “inconsequential” (by Pr. Charles Henrickson) — 553 Comments

  1. @mbw #550

    I am feeling the love MBW.

    For me to condemn anyone would be a pot calling a kettle black.

    Whatever I said about our dear Lord’s commandment to love and do mercy through his Holy Apostle Saint Paul catches me more than anyone else here MBW.

    Because I have been forgiven so very much and give so much mercy and love, I am interested in the topic. And I am passionate about the Holy Gospel for that same reason.

    Apparently you are not in the same boat I find my own self in. I guess I should be happy for you eh?

  2. @Karl Hess #147

    I’m not sure what you mean about church being an “earthly government;” I don’t think the pastor’s authority in the church is analogous to the father’s role in the home or the ruler’s role in government.

    Large catechism. 4th commandment:

    For God has assigned this estate [read “government” here!] the highest place [and so we are to be obedient to this government].

    [obey this government of your parents and] have everything which belongs to long life, such as health, wife, and children, livelihood, peace, good government, etc., without which this life can neither be enjoyed in cheerfulness nor long endure. [or…] obey the hangman; if you will not obey him, then submit to the skeleton-man, i.e., death … Either if you obey Him, rendering love and service, He will reward you abundantly with all good, or if you offend Him, He will send upon you both death and the hangman….

    [SOCIETY:] …In this commandment belongs a further statement regarding all kinds of obedience to persons in authority who have to command and to govern. For all authority flows and is propagated from the authority of parents…..

    [CHURCH:] … [therefore we are to see that ] we have two kinds of fathers…. fathers in blood and fathers in office, or those to whom belongs the care of the family, and those to whom belongs the care of the country….there are yet spiritual fathers; …as St. Paul boasts his fatherhood 1 Cor. 4:15, … since they are fathers they are entitled to their honor, even above all others. … those who would be Christians are under obligation … [to] deal well with them and provide for them.

  3. Matthew Becker was expelled from the LCMS. I read about him a couple of years ago. He is not a true Christian “Man” of God. And the Church is feminine with Christ the Masculine God Head, who Breathed on St Peter and the Disciples and gave them the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. So good riddance Mr Becker. Enjoy the ELCA or whatever? Maybe in 5 more years you will be calling for Homosexual marriages??? I always answer about women Preachers as such— name me one female adult that Jesus ordained to be a pastor and of course you will not find that anywhere in the New Testament Bible, and I am absolutely certain of that . Case closed. I despise these slippery slope arguments which begin questioning God and twisting Scripture around as Scriptures are clear on this issue.

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