Carson Clark on Women Ordination

woman priest

My virtual friends Carson Clark is tackling again a touchy issue, even for Anglicans: women ordination.

I will begin by pasting here the comment I have left on his blog:

Clark, I agree fully with your first nine points, but, still disagree with you conclusion (the 10th). I hope we are still friends. 🙂

Here are his arguments:

  1. As one in favor of gender equality, I’m an openly espousing feminist yet am simultaneously and equally committed to not being a misandrist.22.H/T to Ellen Filgo for teaching me the term misandry. It’s a much better, more civil, and less inflammatory term than my previous Rush Limbaugh-inspired “FemiNazi.”
  2. It seems abundantly clear there’s a New Testament tension between ecclesiastical unity and doctrinity “purity,” for lack of a better word.33.That has been tragically neglected since the Protestant Reformation.
  3. In my own theological outlook I draw a strong line between historic orthodoxy and adiaphora; that is, between essential and important but ultimately secondary doctrine.44.Examples of historic orthodoxy: Creation and fall, Christ’s bodily resurrection, and the Trinity. Examples of adiaphora: Views of God’s sovereignty, modes of baptism, and the continuing role of the so-called “sign gifts.”
  4. While respecting those who disagree, I hold that WO is unlike a doctrine like the Trinity, is therefore a matter of adiaphora, and should be treated as such.
  5. There’s a tension in my perspective in that I’m egalitarian by theological conviction yet discernmentarian by ecclesiastical principle.55.Click here for an explanation of what I mean by discernmentarian.
  6. I remain conflicted because, as a theologically-inclined fellow, I see plenty of evidence for full WO yet, as a historically-inclined fellow, I see scant precedent beyond the diaconate.66.Click here to read “Female Deacons & Deaconesses in the Ancient Church (Cliffs Notes Version).”
  7. Like N.T. Wright I’m an egalitarian who eschews the Enlightenment-based Myth of Progress and publicly chides fellow egalitarians for using that historically short-sighted argument.77.Click here to read “Amidst an Affirmation of Women’s Ordination, N.T. Wright Explains Why I’m Not a Progressive (Miniblog #154).”
  8. I affirm the three-fold office of deacon, priest, and bishop, so when I hear people say they’re for or against WO my first inclination is always ask, “To which office(s) do you refer?”88.Unfortunately, most people on either side of this divide seem to content in approaching this issue with the precision and delicacy of a sledgehammer. Fools.
  9. My inner egalitarian is strongly in favor of WO, by which I mean all three offices: female deacons, female priests, and female bishops.99.Did you hear that? It was the sound of blood boiling. My conservative readership just became pissed.
  10. Yet my inner discernmentarian suspects the only viable solution is a universal yes to female deacons, no to female bishops, and diocese-by-diocese discretion on female priests.10

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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