Great Stuff — Women Preachers and AC XIV

Found on Pastor Voltattorni blog, We Are All Beggars:

 

For the past two years the diaconate guidelines of Atlantic District of the LCMS has, in writing, allowed women to preach and administer the Sacrament of the Altar.  It appears they have not been following these guidelines, as District President David Benke has assured everyone that there are no women preaching in the Atlantic District.  Nonetheless, their document states:

Members of the district diaconate are men and women who have been selected by the Church and approved by the Atlantic District Board of Directors to serve after the example of our Lord Jesus…

In the absence of an ordained pastor and with approval of the pastor and congregation, the deacon may serve at the divine service including the communion liturgy using reserved sacrament. This practice should be used sparingly so as to not confuse the “Office of Deacon” and the “Office of Pastor.” The deacon may officiate at funerals under the direction of a supervising pastor. The deacon may proclaim the Gospel in formal and informal settings after he/she has received training in homiletics and while remaining under the supervision of an ordained pastor.

Full text found here.

While I’m glad to hear that they have not been following this document, that doesn’t exactly bring me comfort.  We cannot pretend that these guidelines are harmless simply because they’re not followed.  Allowing anyone who’s not properly called, either men or women, into a position where they perform functions of the Ministry as the called representative of Christ, not only leaves open the front door for women’s ordination, but also leads out the back door the authoritative assurance of the forgiveness of sins.

This is why our confessions clearly state that “no one should publicly teach in the Church or administer the Sacraments unless he be regularly called” (AC XIV).  It’s not because we are stodgy, antiquated, stubborn Lutherans.  It’s because of the assurance of the forgiveness of sins given by Christ to His Church to be administered by rightly ordained ministers.  For the Pastor is not simply proclaiming forgiveness of sins, he is forgiving sins “in the stead and by the command of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  Therefore, we hold to AC XIV, for no other reason than we hold to the assurance of the Gospel!

However, while our instinctual reaction to the news of women preachers in the LCMS seems to be that of raising of the AC XIV banner, there is a deeper concern here.  For whenever a church body takes those steps toward women’s ordination it does not do so because of the ignorance of the Christian people as some would suggest, nor due to the disregard for the office of the Holy Ministry according to our Lutheran Confessions as seems apparent, but rather because of the decay of biblical authority in that place.

“It should give us pause to think that, according to the evidence of church history, when the secondary authority of the confessions as the norma normata [“norm which is normed”] is lost, ever and again the primary authority of the Scriptures as the norma normans [“norming norm”] is lost.”

Sasse, Hermann, “Circular Letter 3 to Westphalian Pastors,” The Lonely Way II, 148

As the authority of Scripture decreases in the church there is an inversely proportional increase in external authority.  Only when we find the words of Absolution and the words of Institution to be outdated and unimportant do we then pass them off to whoever wants to perform these now lesser significant duties under the guise of being more loving, relevant, and missionally minded.

This means that as much as we wave the AC XIV banner around it will do no good for those who do not take seriously biblical authority concerning the Pastoral Office.  We can, however, call for repentance and heed the words of Dr. Hermann Sasse in regards to women’s ordination:

“What can we do? Let us pray with our fathers:
Lord Jesus Christ, with us abide;
For round us falls the eventide;
Nor let Thy Word, that heav’nly light,
For us be ever veiled in night.”

Sasse, Hermann, “Ordination of Women?,” The Lonely Way II, 411

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — Women Preachers and AC XIV — 41 Comments

  1. Well said. And what’s most troubling about this is that, when you erode the authority of Scripture in one area, it’s only a matter of time until that authority erosion spreads into other areas as well.

  2. Who approved that document?

    Who wrote it?

    It didn’t write itself. Someone sat down and purposely wrote it with every intention of doing wrong. We should not pretend that it is in any way alright.

    It needs to be investigated and those responsible need to publicly apologize and ideally resign and be permanently disqualified from positions of authority. Anything less invites others to follow on.

  3. This isn’t just a question of a poorly written policy. As I reminded folks on Pr. Wilken’s piece below, Miguel told us he has been at an AD LC-MS service where a female lay deacon did in fact preach (albeit after one of the first two lessons, to be followed by a pastor’s sermon after the Gospel reading.) His post is #35 on the second page of comments. What am I missing? How is this not publically preaching and teaching in the church w/o an “ortlichen Beruf?”

  4. @Matthew Mills #4
    Matthew, I should clarify. I shouldn’t have worded that comment to make it sound like this was done in the context of the Divine Service or after the reading. She was required to write the monologue, but not to deliver it as a sermon. It seemed like one to me because it was very well written. I’ve spoken with the lady and she does not believe in female preachers either. My apologies for being needlessly inflammatory.

  5. Hop Hop Hopping down the rabbit hole 🙂

    Kudos to Miguel for reviewing, retracting and respecting accuracy.

  6. Has President Benke stopped believing the LCMS should ordain women or is he still just publicly abiding by the letter of the law, like he does with matters of unionism and synchretism? How dare I imply such a thing? Again, it’s his track record. Conisder this:

    “My participation in this service was a direct violation of the Holy Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, and consequently, violation of the Constitution, Bylaws and doctrinal resolutions of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. I also recognize that my participation in this interfaith prayer service was a violation of my duties and responsibilities as an elected officer of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
    “While well-intended, what I did was wrong. I therefore sincerely and publicly apologize to the Synod for my actions in this connection. I assure the Synod that I will not repeat this error in the future by participating as an officiant in ecumenical services.”

    (Atlantic District President David Benke, in his signed apology of October 22, 1998, after he had participated in a prayer service in New York City on September 9, 1998, years before he did it again on September 23, 2001)

  7. @7

    So, when will the person who wrote this document publish his apology?

    How many people with supervisory authority have read this and let it stand?

    Names, please.

    This just makes me nuts. People criticize anonymous commenters. Yet here we have practically anonymous folks writing these things.

    Why can’t they put their names on their innovations? Even the popes did that.

    They won’t even own this stuff. They think we are such underling nobodies that they can just write these decrees and we will just sit here thinking that since it is on some piece of paper, we just have to obey this. Makes me crazy.

  8. John Rixe :
    Please see https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=21733&cpage=4#comment-408907  
    Respectfully, is it helpful to start another rabbit hole?

    The modus operandi of “You must speak to them directly” then moves to them assuring you privately its not what you think, promising privately to fix it, no one ever finding out [ for a couple years ], and then if after talking you do go public then you are not taking them at their word/best construction/8th commandment. So pretty much however you slice it the one thing you must never do is publicly point out the 250 lb gorilla lurking in the corner

    The public disclosure of this issue of course has been responded to by out right Bullying by a Synod employee of those who raised the issue. Its apparently ok to behave poorly if you are yelling at those defending the traditional view.

    In any case the ALPB response by Benke failed to respond to the formal part of the “formally and informally” statement. Shifting focus instead to the informal which is easier to talk about.

    The response seems to be summarized thus : “We in the AD govern ourselves with poorly worded documents, produced by our theologians and administrative leaders, but what the governing documents say doesn’t impact what we actually do so don’t worry about it”.

    The report of the Taskforce on Synodical Harmony listed this very issue as part of the issues of doctrine and practice that divide, one that we must not close discussion on, one that we must become more tolerant about. It Is Time linked on the right of this site, says the Traditonal Lutheran Way is to agree on 80% and on the 20% we don’t to just continue to talk about it for decades until we all come to agreement. The Task Force Report ultimately produced Kononia which highlights the fact that local congregations are free to disregard any Synod level resolution they want if they find it inexpedient to their local circumstances. Above all the thing that is forbidden is “coercing” and “condemning”.

    What I am saying is, expect lots of talking, but very little action. The AD will move forward shortly with more.

  9. @bitznbitez #9
    “The modus operandi of “You must speak to them directly” then moves to them assuring you privately it’s not what you think, promising privately to fix it, no one ever finding out [for a couple years], and then if after talking you do go public then you are not taking them at their word/best construction/8th commandment.”

    Precisely, and this modus operandi violates the very commandment they falsely charge us with violating: “For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.” (8th Commandment, Paragraph 284 in the Large Catechism: http://bookofconcord.org/lc-3-tencommandments.php)

    Notice it is not an option, but the reproof “must” be public. Our Fathers had the good sense to be concerned about guarding the precious souls of the sheep, not sacrificing them in order to protect the “precious” reputation of those in sheep’s clothing.

    “For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world.” (Ibid)

  10. Ted Crandall :
    @bitznbitez #9
    “The modus operandi of “You must speak to them directly” then moves to them assuring you privately it’s not what you think, promising privately to fix it, no one ever finding out [for a couple years], and then if after talking you do go public then you are not taking them at their word/best construction/8th commandment.”
    Precisely, and this modus operandi violates the very commandment they falsely charge us with violating: “For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it.” (8th Commandment, Paragraph 284 in the Large Catechism: http://bookofconcord.org/lc-3-tencommandments.php)
    Notice it is not an option, but the reproof “must” be public. Our Fathers had the good sense to be concerned about guarding the precious souls of the sheep, not sacrificing them in order to protect the “precious” reputation of those in sheep’s clothing.
    “For when a matter is public in the light of day, there can be no slandering or false judging or testifying; as, when we now reprove the Pope with his doctrine, which is publicly set forth in books and proclaimed in all the world.” (Ibid)

    http://thefirstpremise.wordpress.com/2012/08/07/as-soon-as-the-sola-scriptura-is-superordinated-to-the-sola-fide-we-are-on-the-road-to-a-false-understanding-of-the-lutheran-church/#comment-743

  11. It seems to me that the practice of the Atlantic District is simply one more example of the way in which some districts have, perhaps with the best of intentions and with the sincere desire to provide for the spiritual needs of Christ’s flock, themselves made decisions which can only be made by the Synod as a whole. The Missouri Synod is not a federation of regional synods like the ELCA or a federation of regional dioceses like the Episcopal Church: our districts are simply the Synod itself at the regional level having no independent authority. At the risk of oversimplification I cannot help but ask, Isn’t all of this part and parcel of the chaos that has developed in so many regions of our Synod concerning the doctrine of the Ministry(Predigtamt) and the Sacraments? When the Synod in convention (as in 1989) can – perhaps unintentionally – repudiate Article XIV of the Augsburg Confession, along with Articles V and XXVIII, the solemn confession of the Church has surely been undermined. And if the Confession of the Church can be called into question in convention, what can prevent the various districts from making decisions which if made at all should be made by the consensus of the Synod on the basis of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Symbols? What then can hold us together? Not the consensus concerning the doctrine of the Gospel in all its articles and the right administration of the Sacraments (AC VII) but “human ceremonies,” i.e. ever more carefully formulated bylaws and rulings by the CCM. Sacramental doctrine is also involved here. I note that in the Atlantic District document there is reference to Communion from the reserved Sacrament which is (at least) questionable in the light of FC SD VII 84 which asserts that the whole action of the Sacrament – the consecration, distribution, and reception – “must be kept integrally and inviolately(unzertrennet und unverruecket/totum et integrum).” Luther and early Lutheranism insisted that all of the consecrated elements must be consumed at the end of the distribution to avoid troubling questions about the duration of the Real Presence and also irreverence to the Holy Sacrament, even sacrilege. It is conceivable that one might argue that FC SD VII 84 can be construed as a rejection of the medieval abuses in connection with reservation of the Sacrament, e.g. the exposition of the reserved Sacrament for adoration and processions with the Host, and that it does not necessarily forbid reservation for the purpose of Communion. Chemnitz has an enlightening discussion of the whole problem in his Examen Concilii Tridentini. But we need as a church body to come to a common mind grounded in the Church’s Confession before districts, congregations and clergy introduce practices which lack that consensus and – at least on the face of it – are hard to defend in the light of the plain language of the Book of Concord. What do see in all this if not what Dr. Sasse identified already in 1951 as “the receding of the Confessions” in the actual life of American Lutheranism including our own dear Synod?

  12. How does this relate to women serving communion during ordinary church services — when the pastor is present? I, myself, am opposed to this. But I see it happen often. And when I do, I feel “stuck.”

  13. I fear there are ever increasing signs that the attempted ordination of women to the pastoral office may come into our Synod “through the back door.” Our sister churches in Australia and Germany are troubled by this issue and our Japanese sister church apparently wants to introduce this practice which has everywhere brought strife and division and disintegration in its wake. If you want to know where the ordination of women leads, you need only look at the ELCA or the Episcopal Church or the European churches which have embraced this repudiation of the apostolicity of the Church and its Ministry.

  14. Regarding women as communion assistants or giving little talks during the service that walk and talk like sermons, but technically aren’t sermons, I found this interesting and confusing:

    From time to time over the last several years, the question has been raised in our congregation: “May women serve as communion assistants at Prince of Peace?” In February of 2003, the Board of Elders drafted a position paper on the issue that concluded,

    “After much prayer, discussion and study on this issue, we find no words of Scripture that would forbid women from serving as communion assistants. We also believe that being a communion assistant is not a distinctive function of the pastoral office. It is an area of service that is open to qualified men and women. However, at this time, it is the decision of the Board of Elders that our current practice (restricting women from serving communion) be maintained. Why? The following reasons became very compelling as we prayed about, studied, and discussed the question:

    • We have not sensed the Holy Spirit leading us in a new direction. This was a major consideration for the board. We felt a strong sense of wrong timing and discomfort in implementing this practice. There was a consensus that it would not be the best way to serve the church at this time. The words of Jesus in John 16:13 were a guiding point for us, “But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.”
    • The elders had a sense that our current practice would lift up, and provide a very visible model of, male servant leadership. We felt a strong leading to encourage this loving servant role of men in a society that desperately needs such leadership.

    The Board of Elders offers these reflections in the hope that they will bring greater understanding of the issues involved and help preserve the unity of spirit and purpose we enjoy at Prince of Peace. This document is in no way intended to be a “final position” on the issue for our congregation. The day may come when we do feel the Spirit leading us in a new direction in these matters.”1

    Since the publication of the position paper, the Board of Elders has, from time to time, received feedback from congregational members asking the board to reconsider its position. After several months of additional prayer, discussion and study on this issue, the Board of Elders now feels that the Holy Spirit is leading us in a new direction. Our intention is to have women begin assisting in the distribution of communion at Prince of Peace in April, 2008.

    http://www.reachgrowserve.org/pdf/WomenCommunionAssistants.pdf

    It appears that the only “spirit” that moved them was the one nagging those who want females to serve communion.

    Anyway, could someone explain the ideas behind the following statements:

    “We have not sensed the Holy Spirit leading us in a new direction.”

    “The day may come when we do feel the Spirit leading us in a new direction in these matters.”

  15. I don’t like women to serve communion because the children will see it and grow up seeing it. They will be served communion week after week by women. They will be told that they should do it too. Before you know it, it will be like my mother in law’s ELCA church one Christmas where every single person up front was female. It is wrong to teach kids these things that are wrong with this teach by example and weak and confusing explanations.

  16. I remember a time when the pastor wanted young girls to be acolytes. At the time my husband was an elder. After much discussion and study (like the example above), the decision was “no.” And the bottom line was, that men in the church needed to be “strengthened and trained” in their position as Christian leaders especially regarding any service at the altar. A thought was that when women “take over” men recede. A lot of people didn’t like this decision. Of course, later it was changed. This church is in the process of dying. There are no children left there. They have been told that the new pastor recently sent will likely be their last one.

    I love and respect strong Christian men. There are enough things for women to do in the church. (Lk 8: 1–ff Read all of the Gospels. Jesus gave women lots of integrity–unashamedly. But not a job as an Apostle. And then Paul followed.) And I strongly believe in specific duties being seperate and not mixed.

  17. @Abby #19

    My pastor said you don’t always have to follow that book exactly like it says. I agree women start doing things and they end up doing everything. Scripture is being put aside in order to please people.

  18. @Abby #19

    I respect your decision, but it doesn’t seem reasonable that girl acolytes would cause a church to die. We’ve had girl acolytes for over 35 years and our church remains very healthy. The girls like to participate and to deny them seems extra-Biblical.

  19. Abby :How does this relate to women serving communion during ordinary church services — when the pastor is present? I, myself, am opposed to this. But I see it happen often. And when I do, I feel “stuck.”

    For one thing, I/you would not attend communion at that altar, as you/I are clearly not in fellowship with the officiants. If this is the practice in your congregation, it’s “talk with the pastor time and it may be “decision time” If anyone asks you why you continue to absent yourself from such communion, feel free to tell them.

  20. @Mrs. Hume #17

    You asked, “Anyway, could someone explain the ideas behind the following statements:

    ‘We have not sensed the Holy Spirit leading us in a new direction.’

    ‘The day may come when we do feel the Spirit leading us in a new direction in these matters.’

    Translation: “We have not had enough pressure to change things.” Alternate translation: “We have not decided to change things….yet…but watch this space.”

    “Sensing the Holy Spirit” is “God-talk” for doing what one wants to do. I think that if you were to talk to Eve, she would say that she “sensed the Holy Spirit” leading her to eat the fruit, as this was a “new thing.” “Sensing the Holy Spirit” and “leading in a new direction” are standard ELCA-speak for all kinds of ecclesiastical and doctrinal mischief. They just love, “Behold I am doing a new thing,” (Is. 43:19). It gives them license.

    Your elders should know better.

  21. John @21: I’m sorry if I sounded like that was the reason the church was dying. That is not the reason, there are many reasons, but a definate lack of strong male leadership is a factor in the church’s demise.

    I also know of another Lutheran church that had a woman pastor. She was replaced by a man, who on his first day wanted to introduce to the congregation his male “partner.” This pastor is also helping an Episcopal church down the street. That church is dying and looking to sell its property.

    I am a strong woman. I’ve held an executive position. But there is a line I will not cross. Like I said, there are many jobs a woman can do in the church. But we shouldn’t put on blindfolds and act like we can’t find the line in the sand.

    There is a “controversial” pastor I listen to online occasionally. He has said some wrong thngs (so did Martin Luther). But I really respect his high view of scripture and his high view of men as leaders of the church. Only men will be pastors and elders there.

    Instead of so much arguing about what women can or can’t do — why don’t we train and focus like a laser beam on the boys and men in our churches? Believe me, I face this problem in my own family too. I told my grandson that “they” (my daughter and husband) are teaching him to obey women (his younger sister). I shouldn’t have said it that way but it “popped” out. And the consequences of this is that the younger sister is sometimes being tyrranical over her brother. (I did also tell my daughter to stop doing this. I hope they will.) Society is infiltrating the church. Instead of us listening to God’s word as Michael said in #20, we are listening to “opinions” of everyone.

    Eve really sinned first. But guess who got to bear the blame? Adam. I believe God wants men to be the head. Following the created order makes everything run smoother.

  22. Win @22: I go out of my way (and out of line) to take communion from the post where only men are serving. It would do no good to talk to the pastor/s. They are committed to going in this direction. And the “other” church I decided to go to, hopefully to get away from this — at communion time all of a sudden 2 women (in robes) appeared to serve communion along with the pastor. I really felt stuck. There was no where else to go.

  23. @John Rixe #21
    By all means, let’s remember to keep it all about what the sheep want and appreciate.

    @Mrs. Hume #17
    The Divine Service and Communion are either a public confession of your doctrine and belief, or they aren’t. Exactly how far are we allowed to stray from the clear teachings of the confessions, which we publicly proclaim to to be the norm that is normed – the clear exposition of the Word, fto which our historical traditions bear witness, in order to cater to the whims of the girls and their Mommys and Daddys who wouldn’t want to deprive their girls of an opportuniy to participate. The presence of a female behind the communion rail during the Divine Service, in any capacity, is a public statement of faith, and is a clear violation of the biblical admonition to remain silent in the church. Actions speak louder than words. Sometimes proper parenting means telling your kids, and yourself, in their presence, that you can’t always have what you desire.

    I understand that this issue may be reasonably viewed as adiophora, and that some pastors are stuck with the practice of girl acolytes by inheritance, but I don’t accept the justifications for starting the practice where it isn’t already in place.

  24. @John Rixe #27
    I don’t know. To my knowledge scripture doesn’t specifically adress the issue, but it does admonish women (and girls) to remain silent in church. We have the history of the church to provide us with some indication of how that is placed into practice. In lieu of any clear word on the matter, there is no reason to overthrow the saluatery and historical practices on the whims of popular culture, simply because it’s adiophora. As I stated above, their presence behind the rail is a public statement that speaks volumes, IMO, which is contrary to the biblical admonition.

  25. @John Rixe #27

    He certainly cares about those who cause others to stumble whether or not we claim a practice to be adiaphora. When we do introduce new/foreign/innovative practices, what is the reason? We Lutherans have spent too much time arguing about what is or is not “wrong” with a novel practice, when we should have been asking what is right about it. If we cannot answer, it should not be implemented.

  26. Why do pastors or parents or parishioners want girls to be acolytes anyway? I doubt girls even want to do it. It seems there is a little group of people obsessed with making women do guy stuff. They accuse others of somehow being mean and unfair to women and girls by not requiring them to do x. So, people reflexively try to defend themselves by trying to appease those who accuse them, without even noticing that most women didn’t even want to participate in x anyway. Then, the accusers continue the blaming when very few women participate, because don’t you know, folks are making women “feel” unwelcome. So the appeasers have to actively recruit and beg women to participate, you know, to be fair. I wish all those accusers would just recognize and value what women are already doing rather than pushing men’s jobs on us.

    Sorry for ranting.

  27. Again I respect all your opinions, but I think for the vast majority of Lutherans this is a non-issue.  It ceased to be a novel/new/foreign/innovative idea about 35 years ago.  Lighting candles doesn’t seem to have any gender specific role.  IMO we have much bigger challenges.

  28. @John Rixe #33

    I find this line of reasoning particularly offensive.

    Step one. Tiny minority demands “innovation”

    Step two. Tiny minority teaches the youth that they are “correct”

    Step three. Deride the majority who were offended and pretend they were the minority.

    Why do we have to cater to the tiny minority who dislike tradition, but we don’t have to care about the majority who are offended by the all the innovations?

    So anyway what are the much bigger challenges? and how are they so different in the way they are introduced?

  29. @Mrs. Hume #32
    “Why do pastors or parents or parishioners want girls to be acolytes anyway?”

    Indeed.

    Acolyte (Greek akolouthos; Latin sequens, comes, a follower, an attendant). An acolyte is a cleric promoted to the fourth and highest minor order in the Latin Church …

  30. @Mrs. Hume #34

    Please see  http://www.scribd.com/doc/7861853/Its-Time-LCMS-Unity-and-Mission for much bigger challenges than the gender of candlelighters.

    Sorry but I’ve never met a single person outside of this thread who was offended by girl acolytes.

  31. “Sorry but I’ve never met a single person outside of this thread who was offended by girl acolytes.”

    I don’t mean this to be rude, but not everyone who is offended is going around complaining about it. They have been told many times that “no one” cares if some people are offended by this or that, therefore no one is offended. Just because traditional people aren’t insisting on having their way in everything all the time like the whining complaining insulting innovators do, doesn’t mean that they aren’t offended. It just means their concerns are dismissed, probably because they aren’t obnoxious enough. Anyway, I will restate my point because perhaps it wasn’t clear.

    Why is it that certain innovators were so determined to solicit women’s participation in stuff that women were never particularly interested in doing anyway?

    And why can’t they appreciate what women do contribute instead of pushing more stuff on us to do?

    Women weren’t generally demanding to participate. They had plenty enough to keep them busy already. The folks who so so insist on women doing this and that are a tiny minority. So, why cater to their whims?

    How many women were oh so offended that the boys were lighting candles? Probably <1%.

    So, if it is so unimportant, why did we have to change? Well?

    If other things were so important, why didn’t those things get all the attention instead of divisive and pointless stuff like soliciting women to participate in stuff they aren’t even interested in doing anyway?

    much bigger challenges than the gender of candlelighters.
    Sorry but I’ve never met a single person outside of this thread who was offended by girl acolytes.

    If the gender of candle lighters doesn’t matter, why insist on making the girls do it?

  32. @John Rixe #36
    Hold your breath John, but I actually agree with you. 🙂 We don’t follow a Latin tradition of elevating men/youth through various orders anymore. So to link an acolyte to an outdated practice that we have never followed seems odd. No one in my church has ever asked to be promoted from cleric to acolyte so I don’t think it’s confusing anyone. Also these girls are not speaking during church and technically the lighting of the candles is something that happens prior to the actual invocation and beginning of worship, so technically, it’s not even happening during worship! What if a woman/girl wanted to sing a solo as part of the choir piece during the actual service?! Heaven forbid, but that sounds like more of a Scriptural no-no (women being silent in church) than lighting candles before the service starts! Some traditions are good to hold on to and serve a purpose, but this is one that I frankly can’t find much good ground to stand by.

  33. @Rev. McCall #38
    “Some traditions are good to hold on to and serve a purpose, but this is one that I frankly can’t find much good ground to stand by.”

    But that’s what I was going to say! 🙂 Why are we hanging onto a 35-year-old tradition that was not such a good idea in the first place?

    I realize it’s a stretch to compare candle-lighters to acolytes in the Latin tradition, but here’s my point in posting that definition: They are called acolytes for a reason. They dress like the pastor, they sit with the pastor, they are up there looking for all the world like acolytes, like apprentices. Like John, I don’t believe this is a hill worth dying on, but I also believe it may be good to have girl candle-lighters, but it is better to have only boy acolytes. Having girls up there at the altar looking like pastors in training adds to the confusion our own people already have about the ordination of women.

    To borrow from I Corinthians 7:38: “So then he who recruits girl acolytes does well, and he who refrains from doing so will do even better.”

    That said, Mrs. Hume is absolutely right that the innovators were wrong to start this practice in the first place.

  34. I remember back in 1961 when a fellow classmate of mine in the 7th grade became the first acolyte to serve in my congregation. The boys were acolytes. It never occurred to the girls to question the practice.

    In the book, ‘The Lutheran Parochial School’ by Wayne E. Schmidt, there’s some interesting information concerning women serving as teachers in our schools. On page 245, second paragraph, the author writes,

    “Twelve years before the discontinuation of the high school department of Concordia Teachers College, another major change had occurred at the school. By action of the Synod in 1938, the River Forest institution was permitted to become coeducational. Its sister Missouri Synod teachers college in Seward, Nebraska, and the Wisconsin Synod’s Dr. Martin Luther College in New Ulm, Minnesota, had been accepting women students in their teacher-education programs for quite some time before that. The call for women teachers had grown considerably in the early part of the twentieth century, with the depression years of the 1930s increasing the demand, since women teachers could be engaged for salaries lower than those paid to men.”

    I hope the above is not too off topic since it does show some of the history of women serving the Church.:)

  35. For one thing, I/you would not attend communion at that altar, as you/I are clearly not in fellowship with the officiants. If this is the practice in your congregation, it’s “talk with the pastor time and it may be “decision time” If anyone asks you why you continue to absent yourself from such communion, feel free to tell them.

    @Win #23
    Me neither! – and if talking with the pastor is worthless, then it is time for a good “Lutheran” Decision!

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