Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The ACNA Archbishop Election

The election of a new Archbishop for ACNA seems to be considered by many as principally a referendum on Women’s Ordination. This is obviously an important issue for me and for everyone else in ACNA. But, I wonder if the question should be asked of the contenders: can he give a theological justification for his position on Women’s Ordination. I would go further: if he cannot give a theological defense of his position on this matter, he should not be even considered for the office.

It is pretty easy to say what does not constitute a theological defense of Women’s Ordination to the Priesthood. “I am married to a women priest”. “Ordaining women is missional in our culture”. “Most Anglican Provinces now ordain women”. “We need to celebrate women’s ministry”.

It might be more difficult to agree on what would be a theological defense of Women’s Ordination. Still we can think of the general approach which would be necessary. First, what is the biblical teaching about the creation and differentiation of man and woman? What does the New Testament say about the ministry of men and women? Secondly, does the consensus of the Tradition in anyway obligate us? A third consideration should be Karl Popper’s ‘falsifiability principle”. What, if anything, would mandate rejection of Women’s Ordination? Finally, what are the ecumenical consequences of ordaining women?

As was the case in TEC and The Church of England, I doubt if any of the candidates will be required to answer such questions. ACNA is looking for a CEO and not a theologian and we should know where that leads: down the same old dreary road we hoped we had abandoned.

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