Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday Musings

A few random thoughts to start the week...

I had a discussion recently with a non-Catholic Christian friend regarding evolution and the story of Creation in Genesis. Someday I will write more on this subject, but I challenge anyone who takes the Biblical account literally to read the first two chapters of Genesis and then tell me how the two stories of creation can both be true at the same time. Yes… there are TWO stories of creation found in Genesis, and the order of creation is different in each. They cannot BOTH be LITERALLY true. Maybe you can play around with the details to make it work out, but in doing so you have to regard some of the passages as non-literal, and that point you open up a the possibility that other parts may also be non-literal. You can’t have it any other way.

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I was listening in at another blog on a discussion concerning women priests in the Anglican/Episcopalian churches. It was stated that the New Testament gives examples of women in leadership roles (even as deacons) in the early Church, and that women instructed their male counterparts in the faith. I jumped in with the following comment:

“…I would point out that there are other passages in the New Testament which imply that women are called to a different kind of ministry within the Church than that to which men are called. For instance, Paul says that ‘women are to remain silent in the churches.’ (1 Corinthians 14:33-35) The ministry of public preaching does not seem to fit with this clear command from Scripture. Any instruction (or prophesying or leadership) a woman might provide to her fellow Christians must be apart from the formal/public ministry (the ordained priesthood) within the Church. If it really were common practice to have female preachers in the New Testament Church (as you seem to say), then why does Paul speak out against it?

“I would also suggest that the term ‘deacon’ was used rather loosely in New Testament times. This terminology was not yet fixed in the First Century. (This is true also of the presbyterate and the episcopate.) So to say that women served as ‘deacons’ in the early Church is a bit misleading since the exact understanding of ‘ordination’ and the ‘diaconate’ had not yet been solidified. If you trace the development of the diaconate you will see that it is male only when referring to sacramental ordination. Also 1 Timothy 3:8-13 describes the qualifications of a deacon and he refers specifically to a ‘man’ fulfilling this role.

“So in the end, the New Testament is rather unclear about what a ‘deacon’ is (this is a part of later development), but it is very clear that women should not preach in Church.

“Having said that… My main point is that women’s ordination is clearly a break with Tradition. Whatever the role of women in the historical Church, it was never one of public, hierarchical ministry (or priesthood) until very recently, and then only in certain denominations. So when I hear about denominations that struggle with this issue, and they try to make room for differing opinions in the hope of greater Christian unity, I am left puzzled. By allowing women’s ordination, they actually take a step away from traditional, biblical Christian teaching and in the long run that does not unify Christians, it only separates us further.”
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It seems that there are only two paths for Protestants to take... One leads further and further away from Traditional Christian teaching; the other leads back to Rome. I have been engaged in more than one discussion similar to the one I mentioned above, and I am always lead to the same conclusion, that Protestantism (and Sola Scriptura, specifically) is a self-defeating proposition. The Protestant Revolt began with the intention of restoring Christianity to its roots. But the result has been the opposite. There seems to be no end to the heresies that can be derived from Protestantism.

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