Full Text for The Argument over Women's Ordination in Lutheranism as a Paradigmatic Conflict of Dogma (Text)

Volume 71:3/4 July/October 2007 Table of Contents The Metamorphosis of Confessional Lutheranism David P. Scaer ........................................................................ 203 Confessional Lutheranism in an Ecumenical World Carl E. Braaten ........................................................................ 219 Confessional Lutheranism in an Ecumenical World: A Missouri Synod Challenge Samuel H. Nafzger ................................................................ 233 Crossing Old Line Boundaries: Works of Lutheran Charity Matthew C. Harrison ............................................................. 251 Sola Fide: Luther and Calvin Phillip Carv ............................................................................... 265 Luther, Lutheranism, and the Challenges of Islam Adam S. Francisco .................................................................. 283 "The Noblest Skill in the Christian Church: Luther's Sermons on the Proper Distinction of Law and Gospel Robert Kolb ......................................................................... 301 The Argument over Women's Ordination in Lutheranism as a Paradigmatic Conflict of Dogma Armin Wenz ............................................................................ 319 Contemporary Spirituality and the Emerging Church John T . Pless .............................................................................. 347 Theological Observer .................................................................... 364 The Consecration of the Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Siberia The Reception of the Lutheran Service Book "The God Squad": Towards a Common Religion Book Reviews ................................................................................... 374 Books Received ................................................................................. 382 Indices for Volume 7l ........................................................................ 391 The Argument over Women's Ordination in Lutheranism as a Paradigmatic Conflict of Dogma1 Armin Wenz I. An Ongoing Conflict In the June 2006 issue of the Zdtschriftfur Tlieologie und Kirche, American church historian Kenneth G. Appold opened his article on women in early modern Lutheranism with the following words: "The path of Lutheranism to women's ordination is long, often controversial, and in many cases unfinished."2 In view of the "possibilities that can, in hindsight, be connected with Luther's redefinition of the preaching office and his concept of the general priesthood of all believers," Appold finds it surprising that although Lutheran churches started to ordain women after World War 11, there is still opposition to this practice.3 Appold, who currently works at the Ecumenical Institute in Strasbourg-probably the most important think-tank of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF)- mentions as examples "on the forefront" of such renitent behavior the Independent Evangelical-Lutheran Church (SELK) in Germany, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS), but "also some churches of the Lutheran World Federation," among them explicitly the Lutheran Church in Latvia whose example shows "that the path to women's ordination also can be reversed."4 By doing so, Appold gives his thoughts a church-political dimension that is worth noting. Probably not by accident, Appold's essay appears at a time when the Lutheran World Federation is struggling for its existence. It thus fits nicely into the attempts of the LWF-mainstream to discipline deviants in Latvia and elsewhere. By way of example, I only point to the repression attempts against the Latvian church documented by Reinhard 1 This essa)- was first published in German under the title: "Der Streit urn die Frauenordination irn Lutherturn als paradigmatixher Dogmenkonflikt," Lutlzen'sd~e Reitriige 12 (2007): 103-127. It was translated by Holger Sonntag. 2 Kenneth G. Appold, "Frauen irn friihneuzeitIichen Lutherturn: Kirchliche ~mter und die Frage der Ordination," Zeitschtift@r Theologie und Kirche 103 (2006): 253. 3 Appold, "Frauen im fruhneuzeitlichen Lutherturn," 253. 4.4ppold, "Frauen irn fruhneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 253. Yet for such an evaluation one would have to look carefully at how and, respectively, under what pressure the introduction of women's ordination in Latvia once had come about. Armin Wenz is Pastor of St. lohn's Lutheran Church, Oberursel, Germany. Slenczka,j but also to the correspondence between the two bishops of the LWF-member churches in Sweden and Kenya concerning the episcopal consecration in the Swedish Mission Province.6 By his explicit reference to the SELK and its sister churches, Appold also weighs into the debate whch is going on at least in the SELK, a church in which, according to Appold, the path to women's ordination "is still unfinished." Appold's judgment -"Any attempt to resist women's ordination based on tradition or some 'confessional heritage' is futileu'-is oil into the fire of those favoring women's ordination in the SELK. Appold's semantics are marked by a historical axiom that is typical of much of today's Protestant theology. Resistance against women's ordination "still" takes place; the path to the desired goal is "in some cases" "not yet" finished. In some cases it is even "reversed." Such a way of speaking reveals a soteriologically charged view of history as process, which, however, strangely can no longer be made plausible to those churches exposed by Appold as having relapsed or renmi~zing bnckil7nrds. This has to do with the fact that the struggle regarding women's ordination can be perceived in a totally different matter, namely, not as progression into a future of wholeness, but as a paradigmatic conflict of dogma that touches on central aspects of church and theology, a reality that was pointed out already years ago by Bavarian Bishop Dietzfelbinger.8 5 Reinhard Slenczka writes: "The consistory, working with its partner churches, is to bring to bear its influence in the Lutheran World Federation and urge considering ~vomen's ordination, as it is being questioned, as tnt~is iot!fessio~li (question of confession)." "Die Heilige Schrift, das Wort des dreieinigen Gottes," Ker?/grl~n rirlii Doggrlln 51 (2005): 177 n. 8. Thus reads the September 1996 resolution of the convention ot the Lutheran territorial Church of Schles~vig-Holstein quoted by Slenczka; see also 171 n. 1. For an English summary of the essay, see Holger Sonntag, "Holy Scripture, the Word of God: The Recent Debate in Germany," Logia 15, no. 2 (2006): 29-35. Furthermore, see Reinhard Slenczka, "Die Ordination von Frauen zum Amt der Kirche," in h'twes ~irlrl Altes: Ausgeicliii~lte Atlfsatze, Vortriige lctzd Gutacl~ten (Neuendettelsau: Freimund, 2000), 3:183. 6 See the documentation of the correspondence between Archbishop Hammar and Bishop Obare in L~itlzeriscl~e Beitriige 10 (2005): 57-61; furthermore, see Johannes Junker, "Eine Missionsprovinz in Schweden," Lutl~eriscl~e Beitrage 10 (2005): 52-56. For Obare's response to the LWF inquirv, see Walter Obare Omwanza, "Choose Life!," CT'Q 69 (2005): 309-326. 7 Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 279. Hermann Dietzfelbinger, Veratlrierul~g urzd Bestiirldigkeit: Erirlilerlii~ger~ (Munich: Claudius, 1984), 319: "I am com~inced that the fact, that we did not, lcith the patience necessa?, take a joint approach to this only seemingly secondary matter that in reality affects almost all basic problems of the congregation of Chr~st, did significantly hinder Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 321 This perception, however, is diligently combated by the proponents of process thinking. This can be seen especially in those churches where the quarrel is still going on, that is, where the path to women's ordination has "not yet" been finished, and they still find themselves in a different "phase" of the "process." By observing the debate within the SELK and the LWF, one can make an interesting discovery. Where women's ordination has not yet been introduced, it is asserted that such a step is an adiaphoron and would by no means affect the gospel; it would, therefore, not have divisive effects9 Yet where women's ordination has been introduced and opposing voices do not fall silent, condemnations are issued. From this a new "ecumenical" consensus emerges that goes beyond confessions and countries. The anathema hurled against criticism of women's ordination is - heard in Anglicanism10 as well as in Lutheranism, in Scandinavia as well as in Germany. The most prominent example is the 1992 statement of the Theological Commission of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) on "women's ordination and the office of bishop."" Reinhard Slenczka, who has repeatedl!. examined women's ordination critically, comments on this text as follo~~~s: \%%en at first there seemed to be only a question concerning church order, dealing with external peace and not with eternal salvation, opposition suddenlv makes it clear that apparently there are, after all, questions involved which have to do with fellowship in the right the consolidation and inner strength of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (ITELKD)." ' This oft-repeated ceterrrrtz censeo of a lecture series of the faculty of the Lutheran Theological School at Oberursel has been published as Frauen ittl kirchlichen Attlt? Aspekte zziltz Fi;r iiilli ni~ier der Ordination von Frazretz, ed. Volker Stolle (Oberursel: Oberurseler Hefte, 1994). See the important critique of it in Gottfried Martens, Stellllrip~inl~ttle zli I'olker Stolle (Hrsg.): Frauen im kirclrlicl~ert Amt? edited by Jobst %hone (Berlin; Hanover, 1995), 10. Furthermore, Hermann Sasse, in view of this argumentation, talks ahut the phrases "the Gospel is not at stake" and "it is only an ouhvard law [Ordnung] which has been altered" as the "great tranquilizer for disturbed consciences in modern churches." Sasse, "Ordination of Women?" in nre Lonely Wn!y: Selected Essnys at~il Letters, trans. 41. C. Harrison et al. (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2002), 2:404. lo Frailkfirrter Allgettreirle Zeitung, March 11, 1994: "Wer sich der Frauenordination widersetze, irre im Glauben-ein kleiner Bannfluch ex cathedra aus Canterbury nach Rom" (translation: "\Vho resists women's ordination errs in the faith-a little ban ex cathedra from Canterbur!. to Rome"). Kammer fiir Theologe, Frnuenordinati~ln unli Biscl~ofsamt (Hanover: Exrangelische Kirche in DeutscNand, 1992). Ths document was published as no. 44 in the EKD-Teute series. Hereafter Frn1iet1i7r~iinntiot1 und Bischofsarnt. doctrine and in the true church. The result is that a new consensus is not only demanded by disciplinary action, but also pushed through by doctrinal condemnations and exclusion from the church, even though the other side appeals to the conscience bound by God's word, which according to Romans 14 has not only a legal, but also a spiritual right to be protected.12 After a phase of appeasement thus follows the phase of the solitary rule of the advocates of women's ordination who demand the unconditional surrender of all who think differently.13 The conclusion of the development Appold longs for thus in fact leads to e.rclusion. The condemnations uttered show that the introduction of women's ordination has a de fact0 divisive effect, as it leads to the existence of two churches that contradict each other in many ways. In prophetic farsightedness, this was formulated already by great Lutheran theologians of the post-World War I1 era. Peter Brumer cautiously uttered the supposition that women's ordination could be a heretical practice, a supposition he saw validated by his inquiry.14 Anders Nygren commented on women's ordination, recommended by the Swedish government to the church in 1958, by saying that now the Church of Sweden had committed the Gnostic aberration.'" " Reinhard Slenczka, "Magnus Consensus: The Unity of the Church in the Truth and Society's Pluralism," Logia 13, no. 3 (2004): 21. 13 See Frauenordination und Biscl~ofiaint, 8. The letter, written by bishop Walter Obare Omwanza, Kenya, to Archbishop K. G. Hammar on March 16, 2004, fits well here: "The consecration of women to the apostolic priestly office is a novelty. . . . This Gnostic novelty now demands apparently not only to rule alone in the church, but also exercises tyranny because it cannot not tolerate even a minimal cooperation with classic Christianity, as this is found especially in the Lutheran Confessions." The German is in Lut\~erisc\~e Beitrage 10 (2005): 60. 14 See Peter Bmnner, "Das Hirtenamt und die Frau," in Pro Ecclesin: Gesniiziizelte Aufijtze zur doginntischen Theologie, 3rd ed. (Fiirth: Flacius, 1990), 1:319. On page 332, he also writes: h he kephale'-structire of the relation between male and female established in the creation of man and the command of submission (I~ypofageJ that applies to the woman based on this order in a particular way are in force in the church of Jesus Christ to the Last Day. If a person were to contest the factually effective existence of this order and the factual validity of the command corresponding to this order in teaching and proclamation, he would, at a central point where ultimately the whole of the Christian message is at stake, proclaim a false teaching: he would be a heretic." 15 Kyrkonlotets protokoll no. 4 (1958), 154: "Since the decision now made represents not only a decision concerning the limited question of female priests but, in my mind, at the same time includes the fact that our church changes over into a heretofore foreign track toward a view held in Gnosticism and among the 'enthusiasts,' I have to bring forward Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 323 Thus, the introduction of women's ordination has led both sides to make dogmatically weight!, judgments that, as with all doctrinal condemnations, mark ultimate boundaries and have an eschatological quality, insofar as they bind the consciences of those judging before God. The radical nature of the change in church and theology that took place within one generation cannot be overestimated. It is a peculiar development that, parallel to the numerous efforts to reach convergence in the ecurnene, the question of - women's ordination has led to new7 confessional church bodies. When dissenters are denied their right to exist by dogmatic definitions, they lose the possibility to participate in spiritual life or theological discourse and are forced to continue their being the church outside the heretofore common walls. Just like at the time of the Reformation, however, such an eschatological situation of crisis offers above all a chance to study aspects of the gospel, which possibly have hardly been noticed and have now been condemned by one side as error, and to build the church by doing so. That this really takes place becomes apparent when we first shed light on the material dogmatic dimension of the conflict regarding women's ordination in order to ask how it is possible to reach such diametrically opposed positions within the Lutheran church. For the material dogmatic decisions each presuppose fundamental theological premises in hermeneutics and the understanding of Scripture that have ecclesiological- eschatological consequences when they lead to the exclusion of differing positions. In this sense, the following elaborations are meant to measure the whole import of the conflict that has broken out. 11. The Material Dogmatic Disagreement: Between Paradigm Shifts and Deepening of the Heritage In many areas of Lutheran theology, the justification of women's ordination has led to far-reaching modifications in doctrine, reaching from the understanding of the office via the theology of creation to the image of God. This is not to sav that all advocates of women's ordination follow through tirith all paradigm shifts in all these areas. Yet one needs to point out that also on the level of material dogmatics there has been an increasing-process-like, at times slower, at times faster - "radicalization" - - -- my serious complaints about the decision made and make known my resen-ations" (quotation furnished by E. Andrae; trandation into German by I. Diestelmam). These minutes from the 1958 Church Assembly of the Church of Sweden are also quoted in Rune Imberg, Tillsanl!nans - Gltd till ura och murzniskur till tjunst. On1 rrlnrz ucil kcinrln i den kristrln kyrknn (Gothenburg: BV-forlag & Forsamlingsfijrlaget, 1999), 41 n. 14. of the positions,16 that therefore the "material for sharpened juxtapositions"" has not decreased but increased during the last years, in the SELK as well as in the LWF or in the EKD. lh There is not enough space here to report on the events in the SELK during the last 15 years. Some hints must be enough. The controversy in the SELK circles around the question, in what sense Article 7, 2 of its Constitution, according to ~~hch only males can be ordained to the preaching office, can be grounded theologicall\. After laborious work in commissions, partial results have been published in the past years, e.g., on the question of adiaphora or on that of order of creation. A pronusing elaboration of the Theological Commission on "Office, offices, and services" is currently being discussed at pastors' conferences. All these efforts are an important expression of the will to walk together on a path that can be supported by as many people as possible. However, one must not be blind to the fact that in parallel to these efforts some proponents of women's ordination have further fortified and sharpened their argumentative position. This applies especially to the attempt by Volker Stolle to introduce Luther and the Lutheran tradition as chief witnesses in favor of w~omen's ordination, which will be discussed belorv. At the same time, one must not overlook that Stolle's argumentation goes hand-in-hand with an explicit paradigm shift that affects centrai aspects of theology, leading to a thoroughgoing destruction of Lutheran doctrinal contents. See, for instance, ~tolle's book Lutizer rend Paulus: Die exegeti~c1:rtl li~ii herji~~~leliti~cileil Grlo~iilnge~l der llitilerisclleil Reciltfertigungslehre i~n Pnulirlis~lllis Llitllcri (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2002). This destruction affects not only the office of the church, but also the question of justification, which in Stolle is "constructed" totally from scratch. In his book, Stolle has also applied the inner-canonical material criticism, which he practices in his argumentation for women's ordination, to other areas of the New Testament and other doctrinal questions. Since Stolle is the most important theological mentor of the proponents of women's ordination in the SELK, one must expect his further paradigm shifts to be received as well (as the tip of the iceberg, see the internet portal 12-~~v.frauenordination.de, there the button "Vorgange SELK"). Noteworthy is, for example, Stolle's compilation of clarifications, disseminated not only via the internet (the aforementioned Web site), "Ausgeblendetes, was jedoch fiir das Thema von groRer Bedeutung ist, sowie Unklarheiten, die zu falschen Schliissen verleiten konnen," on the bible study produced for the SELK's consiston: "Ordination von Frauen zuni Amt der Kirche? Seminareinheit fiir die theoiogische Weiterarbeit durch die Bezirkspfarrkonvente zum Jahresthema I1/2006." The way in which one then reencounters these "clarifications" in the churchly discourse shows that one indeed is dealing here with the "formation of a school," in which one person sets the tone and others follow collectively. On Stolle's "destruction of the Lutheran whole of meaning" (thus Stolle himself in his book, Pnlillci und Luther, 438), see Llitilcriscilc BritrLige 8, no. 1 (2003) and my critique: "M7ider die alten und neuen Antinomer: iiber 'Paradigmenwechsel' in der lutherischen Theologie," in Snnn Doitri~zn: Heilige Sci~rifi und tireologiscile Ethik (Frankfurt / Main: Lang, 2004), 335-356. See also John Stephenson, review of Llifiler rind Pnulus: Die e.~e~etisclwn und Iler~~lerrclctiscilei~ Grlrlldlngeil der 1utheriscilt.n Reclltfertingungslel~r~* ill1 Pnulinisnlus Luther by Volker Stolle, Login 13, no. 3 (2004): 11-43. 1; Stolle, Frnlirn irn kircl?licheil Ai~lt?, 8. Wenz: The Arument over Women's Ordination 325 For example, prominent advocates of female pastors view the churchly preaching office as merely a function or emanation of the priesthood of all believers.16 This is the point of departure and, respectively, the central theologcal "principle" to be kept in mind in the statement of the Theological Commission of the EKD19 as well as in Volker Stolle, the theological champion in the battle for women's ordination within the SELK. Accordingly, the office is seen as an order that is necessary for the sake of peace in the church. Any ties back to the apostolic office or even to the institution of the office by Christ himself are questioned or simply denied. Correspondingly, there can be no talk of representation of Christ by the incumbents of the office while they exercise their official d~ties.~O The question regarding an exercise of the pastoral office by women, therefore, is exclusively answered based on the criterion of "equality" or "eman~ipation."~l A text like Galatians 3:28, therefore, relegates "the apostle's individual restrictive demands of silence and submission of women" to the realm of "taking care of current questions of order,"a that either are not at all related to the preaching office or simply have to be seen as time-bound accommodation. In Stolle one can even read: "In the Christian congregation the difference between man and woman, as it is established in creation, . . . does not matter anymore."23 According to this view, there can be no talk of apostolic instructions that are indissolubly connected with the gospel and therefore binding even today. They are neutralized as a time-bound snapshot. The concrete shape of the proclamation of the gospel is left to the decision of the church in its IP See, for example, the summary of Gustaf Wingren by Regin Prenter, Die Ordination der Frauen zu dtw iiberlieferten Pfarramt der ltltherichen Kirche (Berlin; Hamburg: Lutherisches Verlagshaus, 1967), 15. " See also Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," who repeatedly invokes Luther's connection between the general priesthood and the office without explaining how they are both related in Luther. 2-e Volker Stolle, "Im Dienst Christi und der Kirche: Zur neutestamentlichen Konzeptualisierung kirchlicher Amter," Lutheriscl~e 7'heologie und Kirche 20 (1996): 126. 21 On almost every page of Frauenordination unci Bischofsntr~t. Frouenordination u;ld Bischofsarnt, 6. Correspondingly, Stolle speaks of time- conditioned "structures of order" in "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," in Stolle, Frauen im kirchlichen Amt?, 69; on this, see the critique in Martens, Stcll~lrlgnnlurle zlr Volker Stolle, 31. " Stolle, "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," 73-71. See the critique of Martens, Stellungnahrne zu Volker Stolle, 37: "The claim that, in the Christian congregation, 'the distinction between male and female, as it is ordered in creation, plays no role anymore,' is perhaps true for certain Gnostic congregations, certainly not for Paul and his congregations. How one can arrive at such assertions in view of 1 Cor. 11; 11; Eph. 5; and 1 Tim. 2 is a mysten." "evangelical" freedom. Yet the gospel is turned into a veritable manifesto for emancipation by means of materially critical deconstructions and reconstructions. It is thus not at all surprising that occasionally there are polemics against "andristic exegeses"24 and demands to discover the femininity of G0d,~5 SO that in this argument for women's ordination even the notion of representation reappears in a transformed fashion, even though this is hardly done in a conscious manner. On the other hand, the rejection of women's ordination is, at least among its Lutheran representatives,26 based on the perception of the institution of the ecclesiastical office by Christ himself, as it is witnessed in the Lutheran Confessions, and on the perception of the biblical statements on the creation of man as male and female in the equality of rights with a difference in gifts and callings. A decisive aspect here is the notion of the representation2' that is anchored in the doctrine of the Trinity as well as in the history of salvation and that has anthropological implications. In this way, the unity of creation and redemption and, respectively, order of creation and order of redemption is emphasized as well as the correlation between the image of God (God as Father; sending of the Son) and the office of shepherd (sending of the apostles by the Son; passing on of the office to male bishops and, respectively, presbyters).'' Although detailed theological reflections cannot be presented here, I will point out that the 2) Stolle, "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," 78-79. 25 See the elaboration by A.-E. Buchrucker, Frauenpfarrail~f ~o~d Fclr~irlistiicl~e nleolo~ie (Hanover, 1995), which was not without reason published in response to Stolle, "Frauen im kirchlichen Amt?" An English translation of Buchrucker appeared in Logill 9, no. 1 (2000): 9-20. '6 As paradigmatic for this stance, the 1994 "Hirtenbrief zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen zum ~mt der Kirche" by Bishop Jobst Schiine is to be commended, in Botisluzfter an Clzristi Stntt: Versuche (GroB Oesingen: Lutherische Buchhandlung Harms, 1996), 70- 82. " See William Weinrich, "'It Is not Given to Women to Teach': A Lrr in Search of a Ratio," in Clzurcl~ and Ministpi Today: Three Corzfessional Llitilrrniz Essiyi, Prclrs, h,larq~inrt, Weitlrid~), ed. John A. Maxfield (St. Louis: Luther Academy, 2001), 210: "Me need to reflect upon the inner and organic connections which bind the speaking of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments to the inner lile of the most Holy Trinity." Note also the context of the quotation. 2-e SchGne, "~irtenbrjef zur Frage der Ordination Frauen rum Amt der Kirche," 79: "The image of Christ as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (1 Peter 2:25) pales unless there are shepherds who speak and act in his name and by his commission, whom he sent as his ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Experiences and wishes, needs and expectation that are deduced from humans and are related to them, especially to women, can then quickly shape a new image of God and Christ." Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 327 conflict regarding women's ordination in the SELK has led to a deepening of neglected questions in an impressive thematic breadth. This holds for the examination of the question of whether the "one office of proclaiming the word and administering the sacraments, instituted by Christ," "exists at all and ~vhether it can be found at least in the New Testament,'' done by Gottfried Martens, who works out the basic approach of the New Testament, especiallv of the Pastoral Letters, regarding the theology of the office.19 There are furthermore the studies bv Gert Kelter on the Lutheran Confessions' theology of the office and its position between the doctrinal decisions of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (VELKD) and Rome regarding the theology of the office.?O Additional contributions shed light on the "doctrine of the orders of creation" and its being anchored in the Lutheran Confessionsjl or on the doctrine of the office in the pastoral theologians of the nineteenth century.3' Also the question of adiaphora that is constantly brought up in the debate regarding the ordination of women has been discussed on the basis of the Lutheran Confessions." z9 Gottfried Martens, "Gibt es das 'eine, von Christus gestiftete Amt der M'ortverkundigung und Sakramentsvem,altung'? Beobachtungen zur Frage \.on Amt und dmtern im Neuen Testament unter besonderer Beruckichtigung der Pastoralbriefe," Liitllcrisiile Beitrige 10 (2005): 3-20. On the New Testament situation, see also the essays b!- Hartmut Gunther, "Ordination \,on Frauen zum An~t der Kirche? Erwagungen zu einer umstrittenen Frage," Lutlzeri~cl~e nleolope und Kircllf 21 (1997): 99- 113, and John \V. Kleinig, "Die Heilige Schrift und cler AusschluE der Frauen \,om Hirtenamt," L~itilfriscile Beitrige 2 (1997): 5-20. 3" Gert Kelter, "Das apostolische Hirtenamt der Kirche als institutionalisierte Zuspitzung der potestas clavium: Entwurf einer Zuordnung von Amt, Amtern uitd Diensten in der Kirche vor den1 Hintergrund von CA X>(\TIII," L~rti~eriscl~e Beitriigc 10 (2005): 21-34, and "Parochiales oder diozesanes Bischofsamt? \'ersuch einer Auseinandersetzung mit neuen Ergeb~ssen okumenischer Forschung," L~rtl~er.i~c1le Beitrige 11 (2006): 71-91. See also Armin Wenz: "'\7~m Amt der Schlusse1'-ein Katechismusstiick und seine Bedeutung," in Eintrliciltig Lcilreti: Festscll@ft fiir BisiiloiDr. Jobst Scllolrr, ed. Jurgen Diestelmann and Wolfgang Schillhahn (Grog Oesingen: Lutherische Buchhandlung Harms, 1997), 542-558. Armin \iem, "~ie Lehre von den Schiipfungsordnungen-ein iiherholtes Theologumenon?" in Si711~1 Dnctrilin, 146-181. 3' Armin Wenz, "Minis? and Pastoral Theolop of Lohe and Vilmar," Logiii 16, no. 3 (2007): 15-23. '3 Gottfried LIartens offers an important surnrnan: "FC 'i shows clearl!- that vie\\.ing churchly practices as adiaphora . . . , where this view is taken seriouslv, must ill the long run lead to a separation from those who contradict this view; and it admonishes us to use this terminolog- carefully and in a theologically responsible wa!-." Xlartens, "Die Adiaphora als theologisches Problem: Ansatze zu einer Hermeneutik von FC X," Ll~tlleriscil~ Beitrllge J (2000): 127. Taking up the approach of Peter Brunner, the Coinillission on Theology and Church Relations of the LCMS in 1983 addressed tvomen's ordination.'A This discussion within the LCMS \\-as deepened in an unmatched study by William Weinrich," based especiall\, on 1 Corinthians 11 and Ephesians 5, that went to the heart of the as to \\-hy the specific correlation of man and woman in creation is reflected in the relation of Christ and his church. According to M'einrich, the apostolic instructions for the office can be seen as results of the divine economy of salvation, which is why they can by no means be qualified as time-bound, but bind the church ~ermanently.~~ All these studies are b\- no means the private teachings of fanatic confessionalists; the!. rather bear ~vitness to a broad doctrinal consensus with Lutheran theologians who discussed the question of women's ordination already earlier in the t\ventieth centurv on an exegetical and dogmatic leve1.37 I mention in addition to Peter Brunner the names of the German theologians Hermann Sasse, Joachim Heubach, and Hermann Dietzfelbinger, as well as the Scandinavians Regin Prenter, Bertil Gartner,'* and Bo Giertz. Thus, a consensus spanning generations, countries, and confessions" in these questions pertaining to ~vomen's 3- A Report of the Comniission on Theology and Church Relations oi the Lutheran Church-hlissouri Synod, \\biileii ill the Cll~rrcll: Scriptrim1 Pi-iirsiplc- lii!ii E;slr:ii?l Priictice ([St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House], 1985). ;' M'einrich, "It Is not Gi~~en to Women to Teach," 173-21 3. '- \Veinrich, "It Is not Given to Women to Teach," 210-711. On the conimandments indissoluhl! connected to the gospel, see pages 212-213. '- See the forthcoming ~olume of essays edited by hlatthe~v C. Harrison and John T. Pless, k~iliireil Piistors? rile Ordilintiori elf Woineil ill Bihlicnl Lritilrl:il~ P~~.sp~ctii'~ (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2008). - .,C Bertil E. Gartner, Diis Allit, [ler Mailii ~rild die Frii~i iiil 'i~7:1~11 T~)-t#7111~i1f, ed. Ernst Se!.hold, trans. Georg Stoll (Bad Lyindsheini: H. Delp, 1963). '? From the Anglican perspecti\-e, see Giinther Thomann, "Die Frauenordination und ilve Folgen fiir die Anglikanische Gemeinschaft-Eine kurze i'hersicht," L:itlrcri~clie Beitriige 1 (1999): 106-12-1. From the Evangelical camp, see \l'erner Seuer, .\..lt111 nild 1270iirniz iiz Cl11.i.;ti;7il Perspectii,e, trans. Gordon J. Wenham (London c.t al.: Hodder and Stouglitoii, 1990; M'heaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991); Markus Liebelt, Fril~icrlorrlillntioii: Eiil Beiti.ng zur. ~egeiz7i~lirtigell Disklicsion ill1 cilnngeliknleii Koi~tz-t (Niirnherg: \ TR. [2003]); and Heinzpeter Henipelnia~ui, Gaftes Ordnungei1 zu111 LEI~CI!: D~L? ';ii'l!!!il~ 'fir Fri71i ill ~CI. Gt'ii1~irlii~~ (Bad Liebenzell: VLM, Verlag der Liebenzeller hlissioii. 1997). On the Orthodox position, see Peter Hauptmann, "Protestantisclie Frauenordination in russiscli-orthodoxer Sicht," Llrtileriiclle Beitrage 1 (1997): 11-30. X historicallv far- reaching and ecunienicall! significant standard work has been presented hy the Roman Catholic theologian Manfred Hauke, Wornell ill the P?iestllooll? A S!;-icliintic Alliily.;is ill tlle Lixl~t c!f tile Oi.der of Creiitioii niid Rcdciilptioil, trans. Da\-id Kipp (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1988). Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 329 ordination cannot only be attested on the side of the proponents of ~vomen's ordination. Yet since both sides arrive at opposing doctrinal results when it comes to evaluating the relationship between man and woman, between order of creation and order of salvation, between shepherding office and image of God, between gospel and apostolic instructions, while equally invoking Scripture and Confessions and, respectively, the Lutheran doctrinal tradition, we have to turn to the fundamental theological opposition in dealing with Scripture and Confessions that lies behind these opposing material dogmatic results. 111. The Fundamental Theological Disagreement The historical-theological accusation of being "retarded" -that is, behind the times and slo\v to change-directed by Appold and others at opponents of women's ordination is repeated on a fundamental theological level both in the struggle for the correct use of Scripture and in the question regarding the catholicity of women's ordination, that is, its conformity to tradition or confession. The Disagreement in the Evaluation of the Scripturalness of Women's Ordinatio~i The opponents thus are accused of espousing a fundamentalist understanding of Scripture40 and, respectively, of arguing based on the Baroque "proof-text" method,41 a practice that today, in the age of the historical-critical method, cannot be regarded as an adequate way of &"his is the basic tenor of the Internet portal ~vww.frauenordination.de. It is interesting ho~\. this argument affects the so-called culture of discussion or arguing. For there is no need to listen to serious material arguments made by theologians whom one already knows to be fundamentalists or fanatical doctrinaires. On the peculiar experiences one can then make in the discourse within the church, see the striking gloss by Gert Kelter, "Theologie und Wirklichkeit: Eine sehr popularphilosophische Glosse," Lr~tl~eriscl~e Beitripe 11 (2006): 253-255. What is reall! behind the accusation of fundamentalism is an ignoring of the Spirit-wrought reality of theology and church. Thus postmodern, constructivist hermeneutics totally changes communication. LYhen one no longer can agree on objective realities, including biblical statements and contents, because they are rierved only as time-conditioned constructions and because eve? understanding is seen as relative, then communication becomes a struggle for power, in which the strongest ("most plausible," most powerful, etc.) constructor prevails. A' Fralle~lordinatio~z litlii Bit;chofsnrnt, 5: "Obedience to the Scriuture cannot mean that individual biblical verses are isolated as 'proof texts' (dlrtn pvobhtln) and their narrower and wider context is ignored." dealing with Scripture. To counter dogmatic definitions, one points to the basic diversity of biblical "traditions" "that want to be read in their differences and in their being tied to the times"; this is why, accordingly, it is to be said: "In the bible, there is neither a comprehensive doctrine of the office nor a dogma on the role of the woman that transcends time. Rather, the history of primitive Christianity points us to different regulations in different congregational situations and resists a premature systematization."" Accordingly, Stolle speaks programmatically of a "New Testament conceptualization of ecclesiastical offices."Aj Yet such time-conditioned conceptualizations are, both according to Stolle and the Theological Commission of the EKD, to be measured by the "center of the gospel." Based on ths center, one can and must materially criticize misleading Scripture passages which therefore also may not claim apostolic authority that would bind the church today.4 In Stolle one can read: "Biblical-theological contributions, which could help in the process of arriving at a decision, can, according to Lutheran hermeneutics, not consist in remembering apostolic orders as permanently binding decisions. Rather, they will, from the center of the gospel, take into account especially also the formative powers of the word of God. . . 42 Frauenordination und Biscllqfsarnt, 5. 43 Stolle, "Im Dienst Christi und der Kirche," passim. See Fralcenordination rind Bischofsamt, 5: "When later texts and traditions mention women as causing sin in the world and demand their subordination under men (so esp. 1 Tim. 2%-15), then this is the result of a reader response that moves away from the original meaning, but that always has to be measired anew against th; liberating message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and its understanding of creation"; and Stolle, "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," 77: "The limiting directives, on the other hand, take up legendary elaborations which in the texts' tradition of interpretation attached themselves to the texts and represent their timely actualization and application (1 Cor. 11:7-10; 1 Tim. 2:13-15). Under different cultural and societal conditions they, with their actual presuppositions, lose their plausibility and become meaningless." Furthermore Stolle's review of Ulrike Wagener, Die Ordnung des "Hauses Gottes": Der Ort oon Frauen in lier Ekklesiologie utld Etlrik der Pastoralbriefe (Tiibingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1994): "In a good and insightful manner, the study at hand leads into the hermeneutical problematic that First Timothy, in the texts discussed, deviates from the theological line of Paul and seeks to shape the congregational life based on extra-Christian societal premises. If this is perceived correctly, then the church cannot avoid the decision whether it wants to follow uncritically the ancient order of society or give room to the evangelical freedom given as a gift in Christ." Review in Lutheriscl~e 77leologie utld Kirclle 19 (1995): 159. 4' Volker Stolle, "I Kor 14,26-40 und die Gottesdienstreform der lutherischen Reformation: Die biblixhe Grundlegung des Gottesdienstes als hermeneutische Frage," Lutherisclle 77leologie und Kircl~ 19 (1995): 135. Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 331 If one does not allow the fundamentalism charge to turn one off from independently looking into the biblical-theologcal elaborations of the Lutheran theologians rejecting women's ordination, one finds that they do not contain any undifferentiated use of contextually isolated "proof texts." This is true especially for the careful elaboration of Peter Brunner, which was probably not accidentally first caricatured and then rejected by the Theological Commission of the EKD.46 Brunner himself, just like the many theologians following up on his work or arrixring at similar results on a different path, explicitly distances himself from a fundamentalist and, respectively, biblicist-legalistic understanding of Scri~ture.~' The point of departure for his exegetical observations, her\-ever, is the differentiating perception that there are in Scripture solemn divine institutions or orders that are by no means time-conditioned, which also are not only manifestations of God's will but that out of themselves-that is, by virtue of divine omnipotence-establish a universal and therefore also current reality that wants to be perceived by us. Such divine orders Brunner finds, on the one hand, in the institution of the office bv Christ himself and, on the other hand, in the primeval creation of man as male and female in their specific coordination to each other. All of Scripture is permeated bv the witness to the interdependence and the inexchangeability of man and woman, to the equalitv of rights, and to the difference in vocations of man and woman in marriage and congregation. The institution of the worldwide-missionary proclamation of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments by Jesus himself in the New Testament never takes place in an abstract wa>-, but is always tied to persons. The two classic proof texts on the question of a preaching office of women (1 Corinthians 14 and 1 Timothy 2) thus by no means represent cultural adaptations within the context of the entire Bibleis but the point where the creation-theological and the office-theological lines converge. 4h Frauei10rdijlatiot1 liilrl Bi.icllofsoint, 4-5. On this, see Reinhard Slenczka, "1st die Kritik an der Frauenordination eine kirchentrennende Irrlehre? Dogmatische Emagungen zu einer Erklarung des Rates der EKD vorn 20. Juli 1992," in Nezres ulld Altes, 3:201. Martens calls Brunner's treatise "Hirtenarnt und die Frau" "probably the most profound negative contribution on this question." Stellungnalltire zir Volker Stollr, 4. -'; Brunner, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 317. See Prenter, Ordinatic~r~ der Fratlerl, 6-8; Gartner, Dal; AIII~, der Marzll ulzrf die Frau im Neueii Testarrlerzt, 8. Weinrich, "It Is not Given to Women to Teach," 189: PauI argues "not on the basis . . . of the culture and society,'' but "on the basis of the story of creation." By observing the Lutheran hermeneutical premise that the Holv Spirit does not contradict himself29 a number of inner-canonical tensions can be made plausible. There is, for example, the observation that Jesus, on the one hand, could gather many female disciples around him, but, on the other hand, only called men by name in order to entrust them with the sacraments as well as the Great Commission. In this way, one can understand whv Jesus revealed himself as the risen one to the rvomen who had come to perform the last service of love and then sent them with a limited charge to his disciples before he then meets the disciples himself to awaken their faith and to send them out into the world. One can then understand why it is a matter of course for Paul that women are present in the divine service and involved in prayer and praise, while he at the same time prohibits them to teach in the congregational assembly. It may be that the respective exegetes cannot answer every question to the last detail. Yet the unbiased observer will notice that the interpretations of Brunner, Prenter, Weinrich, and others, which are different and yet in agreement in their basic decisions, correspond to the hermeneutical bases of the Lutheran Reformation. This is especially true of the perception that God works what he says through his solemn ordinations, a truth of faith that is frequently attested in Scripture and that is true for all the works of the Trinity: creation, redemption, and the work of the Holv Spirit. It furthermore has to do with the principle that the Holy scripture of the Old and New Testaments is a spiritual, God-wrought unity. Contrariwise, if one considers how Scripture is used by proponents of women's ordination, one, to be sure, also finds here the affirmation of viewing Scripture as God's word. This, however, is understood in a way that is quite different than in the Lutheran tradition, which becomes apparent when in the actual use of Scripture one observes again and again a characteristic "change in subject."50 One no longer talks about divine institutions, but about "structures of order" conditioned by each period of time. The office of shepherd is not viewed as an institution of Christ which his apostles "hand down," as it were, for the post-apostolic period to the bishops and presbyters, but one talks instead about conceptualizations of churchly offices. The vis-a-vis of Lord and church, head and body, command and obedience is thus replaced by the concept of a tradition- $9 Hans Kirsten points to this premise and its application by Luther in "Luther und die Frauenordination," in Die Kirclze in der Welt: Aufsiitze zur prakfiscllet~ 771eologie aus drei ]alzrzeht~fen (Grog Oesingen: Lutherische Buchhandlung Ham~s, 1983), 192-193. 30 Martens emphasizes this in Stelllrngttnhrne zu Volker Sfolle, 31-33. Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 333 historical development that can view the levels of development reached in the New Testament as time-conditioned variations but by no means as sign posts that are binding for later Christianity.31 In fact, one can obviously ask whether the polemic against the "proof-text" method does not really fall back on the advocates of women's ordination. Texts like Galatians 3:28 are often torn out of their context (which is certainly not about teaching in the worship service or a public exercise of the office of shepherd) and leveled against perceived illegitimate inner-canonical misjudgments regarding the relation of man and woman in the question of the office. The Disagreement Regarding the Evaluation of Women's Ordination's Conforlnity to the Confessions or Tradition It is preciselv the tradition-historical concept that is behind the motif of a process-like path to women's ordination and that shapes the way in which its proponents deal with the tradition of the church. It is claimed that, on the one hand, the Lutheran Confessions are silent on the question of women's ordination; but on the other hand, the concept of the priesthood of all believers actually suggests the ordination of women, even if it could not yet be realized at the time of the Reformation because one had to respect the societal circumstances that have since changed. Accordingly, tradition - especially the Lutheran tradition- has cleared the path to women's ordination in increasing clarity. Here, too, one discovers time and again-especially in the use of Luther quotes-the totally nake use of a "proof-text" method that ignores the c0ntext.j' It is extremely strange in this context how, for example, Volker Stolle deals with Luther's statements. "Luther apparently had great difficulties to get a theologically accurate and definitive grasp of the reality of the churchly office."j' Luther's understanding of the office is destroyed 3 For a critical view of this, see Martens, Stellungnalzme zu Volker Stolle, 49 5' This applies especially to the "proofs" for Luther's alleged derivation of the churchly office from the general priesthood. For example, see Frauenordinntion rind BiscI~~fsni~it, 3. The fact that the Lutheran Confessions do not mention the "general priesthood" even once when they discuss the foundation of the churchly office is, for its part, not worth mentioning. 3 1-olker Stolle, "Luther, das 'Arnt' und die Frauen," Lutherisclle n~eologe rind Kirche 19 (1995): 20. Also, on page 8: "In this way, one attempts to undergird one's own culture-historical limitations in a biological and biblicist way"; and page 21: "Contrary to the xvord from Scripture, 1 Peter 2:9, that clearly unfolds its independent power, in fact, its critically explosive power, the commandment of silence and, respectively, the prohibition to teach, does not have any effect out of itseIf, but serves as the supplementary biblical foundation of convictions that appear evident based on other presuppositions." by repeated caricatures, before it then is said, in summary: "The exclusion of women from the office of the church, as Luther proves it, turns out to be an element in his understanding of the office that is relative to time and that is therefore also time-bound. Accordingly, the ordination of women does not represent a break with the doctrinal tradition of the Lutheran church, insofar as Luther can be taken to be normative for it."% Appold, in his overview on "women in early-modern Lutheranism" mentioned above, argues in a similar way. At first, Appold rightly points out that orthodox Lutheranism highly appreciated woman and also female offices such as that of a midwife.55 It is an equally important reminder that women as midwives and teachers could work in close contact with the office of pastor. Furthermore, Appold's hints at the beginnings of reestablishing the early church's office of deaconess are interesting. Caspar Ziegler also suggested for this a specific solemn rite of consecration.j6 Although Appold cannot adduce a single proof for an ordination of women to the preaching office,57 he draws the conclusion: "All the 3 Stolle, "Luther, das 'Amt' und die Frauen," 22. In "I Kor 14,26-40 und die Gottesdienstreform der lutherischen Reformation," 134, Stolle summarizes: "The exclusion of women from the churchly office was not derived from the commission of the gospel and the call by Christ, hut attributed to human orders." On page 134, note 132, Stolle calls it an "exception" that Luther himself could prove the exclusion of women from the churchly office based on the commandment of Christ. The way he deals with the quotation by Theodosius Harnack on the same page shows that ~tolle can arrive at his conclusions only because, for him, the order of creation always implies "human order," but not, as for Hamack, "divine" order. jj See also Eckhard Struckrneier, "Vom Glauben der Kinder in7 Mutter-Leibe": Eine l~istoriscll-ar~thropologische Untersuchung friihneuzeitlicl~er ~:ifl~enscher Seekorge unli Froinli~igkeif iln Zllsnnlrnenlllzng n~it der Geburt (Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang, 2000). 54 Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 275-276. 37 Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 277: "There is no proof for women being ordained in early modem Lutheranism for the preaching office." All that Appold's observations show (and that is certainly noteworthy) is that the orthodox Lutherans were so "pro-women" that indeed numerous churchly offices existing alongside the pnstoral ofJice were open for them. Yet this is also exactly the proposal of numerous important Lutheran theologians who rejected women's ordination for theological reasons and therefore demand to create specifically churchly offices for theologically qualified women. See Prenter, Ordination der Fmuerl, 17; Brunner, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 337-338; Slenczka, "Ordination von Frauen zum Amt der Kirche," 195; and Schone, "Hirtenbrief zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen zum Amt der Kirche," 81. One can also point to the fact that, in the United States, it is precisely the LCMS and the Roman Catholic Church that have by far the most women employed in qualified churchly offices-with the exception of the pastoral office. Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 335 presuppositions for women's ordination can be found in the 16th and 17th centuries."-8 Among these presuppositions are, according to Appold, "a clear relativizing . . . of the bible passages used against women's ordination" already in Luther and "in almost all exegetes of orthodoxy."j9 Appold also claims that Luther and the Lutheran theologians did not understand the "subordination" of woman as based on creation, but exclusively as a result of the fall according to Genesis 3:16, which is why they repeatedly relativized it.60 Accordingly, only the social-hstorically conditioned view of the lacking aptitude of woman for the preachng ministry prevented women's ordination.61 Appold concludes, quite in agreement with Stolle: "Returning now to the initial thought and again asking the question whether women's ordination represents a break with the confessional-Lutheran heritage, one can unequivocally answer this question in the negative." In fact, that theological line is to be identified as "Lutheran tradition," "which stretches from Luther's view of the general priesthood and office via the many women of early modernity working in the church . . . a line which increasingly destroys the obstacles for women's ordination and prepares the path all the way to the total opening of all offices for women."Q Rudolf Eles, Tom Hardt, and David P. Scaer have critically discussed Stolle's "proof from tradition."63 Their critique of Stolle can, by and large, be applied to the way Appold handles tradition. First of all, one needs to ask how Appold himself understands the repeatedly invoked connection between office and general priesthood in Luther and in the Lutheran tradition. The Lutheran Confessions, at any rate, do not speak about the general priesthood in the context of their elaborations on the theological foundation of the preaching office. According to the Lutheran view, the jfi Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 276. 7' Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 276. Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 277. 61 Appold, "Frauen im fruhneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 277. 6' Appold, "Frauen im friihneuzeitlichen Luthertum," 278-279. 5: Rudolf Eles, :Z.lnrtiil Luther ~rrld dns Frauenpfarrnrnt. Benrerkungrrr a1 Prof: Dr. I'olker Stolles Al~fintz: "Lutlrcr, (ins 'Ad und die Frauci~" (Grog Oesingen: Lutherische Buchhandlung Harms, 1995); Tom Hardt, "Die Lehre Martin Luthers von der Frauenordination: Eine kritische Auseinandersetzung," in Ich zuill hintreten zrtrrr Altnr Gattes: FestsclrriP fiir Propct em. Hans-Heinrich Snlzrnann, ed. Michael Salzmam and Johannes Junker (Neuendettelsau: Freimund-Verlag, 2003), 213-229; and David P. Scaer, "Ordaining Women: Has the Time Come?" Lc@a 4, no. 2 (1995): 83-85, an introduction into the debate in the SELK in the English language. Martens, Stell~~~igrrnlr~~~e :~r \'~~lkfr Stolle, 52, therefore rightly rejects the attempt of "making the Reformer himself into the chief witness for the legitimacy of women's ordination." preaching office is founded on the mandate of Christ, not on the general priesthood. Also, the claim that the statements on women bv the Lutheran theologians are exclusively founded on the fall, that is, based on Genesis 3:16, and on sociological considerations is, at least as far as Luther is concerned, not correct.& The reference to the office of deaconess and to an ordination to the same merely proves that some theologians could apply the term ordination to different ecclesial offices. If the statements of orthodox Lutheran exegetes really are to come into view, one xvould ha\,e to look especially into their commentaries on 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. In his church-politically motivated study, Appold dispenses with this as well as with a survey of the locus de ministerio in the numerous dogmatic works of orthodoxy.6" One can confidently question the claim that the Lutheran Confessions are silent on the issue of women's ordination. Karlmann Beyschlag writes in his historq of dogma, pointing to Augsburg Confession XIV: "I venture to point out that the 'rite vocatus' of AC XIV is masculine. The Protestant 'women's ordination' to the spiritual office is thus not onl! contrary to Scripture but also contrary to the confession^."^^ Beyschlag has been ridiculed for this statement by those who do not want to see the reference to the male gender of the office holder in the context of the history of dogma, in which Beyschlag locates it by inner necessity." In Beyschlag one finds not only the hint that the line of tradition, in ~vhich women's ordination is located, is not the one stretching from the Ne~r Testament to the Reformation, but the contrary one, namely, the Gnostic-sectarian one. Beyschlag writes on Augsburg Confession \': "\$-hat is right away significant in this formulation is that it restates the occidental conviction - See Hardt, "Die Lehre Martin Luthers von der Frauenordination," passim, and Eles, hfnrtin Llifizer ILIIL~ dn.: Fmtlenpfnrroii~t, 13 and passim. p' Appold has shown in his habilitation that he is well-acquainted ~t-ith Lutheran orthodoxy; see my review in L~rtl~erisclle Beitrige 10 (2005): 261-265. It gives one all the more pause that he now throws his theological weight into the discussion in such a church-political way. Karlmann Be?-schlag, Griri~rlr?G der Dognrengeschicl1:e (Darmstadt: 12-issenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2000), 2.11:401 n. 181. 6 Beyschlag, CrundriJ? der Dogi~engesclzichte, 2nd ed. (Darmstadt: \Vissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1988), 1:150-131: "Yet what is 'the Gnostic' par excellence? When one asks for the basic motif, then one time and again runs into the same, ultimate1)- defective structure. It is, with a word, the ontological negativism of the Gnostic doctrine of God . . . , the refusal of order of creation and of theology of creation . . . in favor of a 'soteriology of self-preservation' and 'self-realization' . . . that made Gnosticisn~ unbearable for the church." Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 337 that reaches all the ivav back to First Clement, according to wluch the institution of the churchlv office . . . enjoys priority over the gift of the Holy Spirit %rho works the faith. Here the Augsburg Confession leans on the catholic pre-understanding and simultaneously destroys the basis for enthusiasm."^' The delimitation over against Gnosis and enthusiasm involves the perception of the office as well as the creation-based coordination of male and female.69 Yet Beyschlag's assertion, that the Lutheran Confessions contradict the ordination of women, will certainly only make sense to the person who is willing to perceive also the broad reception of divine institutions or ordinations in the Lutheran Contesslons.;c For, in the confessional writings, the preaching office as well as the specific coordination of male and female is viewed as anchored in salvation historv as well as in the holy institutions of the creator and redeemer. The Basic Henrzenezltical Conflict The disagreement in evaluating the conformity of women's ordination to Scripture and tradition reveals two contrary approaches to Scripture and tradition. It lies, therefore, in the area of hermeneutics. On the one hand, we have the concept of a tradition-historical process that in its normativity by no means reached its end with the formation of the canon, but, at least in this question, reaches its end -its authoritative and irreversible conclusion - first when women's ordination is introduced. Bevond the "center of the gospel," Scripture offers an\- number of time- conditioned formations of tradition.71 This view leads to the observed 68 Beyschlag, Grullilr!i.; der Dogmengrsd~ichte, 2.11:401. 6" Brunner, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 310: "Due to the necessan quarrel with Gnostic and heretical groups in the early church, the question of the form of the official service of women in the church was still alive." Also William Weinrich, "Women in the History of the Church: Learned and Holy, but not Pastors," in: Recoileiii~g Biblicnl h4nlli~ood n~rd I\b~i~l~~~l~cxiif: A Response to Eval~gelicnl Frii~ii~i.i!~r, ed. John Piper and IYayne Grudem (Llheaton, 111: Crossway, 1991), 274: "Against the Gnostic, to maintain a distinctiun oi male and female function was to confess a creation theology that respected the concrete, fleshly differences between man and woman." 7'' 5ee Armin Wenz, Dn Wort Gotteh Gericlzt u~zd R~tt~irzg: U~itersii~I~ii)~ge)~ :ur Alitoritiit iler Heiligei~ Sclirlft Beke~ultni [rnd Lellre der Kircl~e (Gottingen: I'andenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1990), 15-85, On this idea of the "center of the gospel" as "an organizing principle in the plurality of theological conceptions that can be discerned in the tradition, especially alsu in the Sew Testament," that is at work also in the ecumenical dialogue, see the critique in Gottiried Llartetx, Die Rechtfertigutlg des Siinders: Rettungsi~at~deiil G0tte.s oiler I~i.i:ori_iri~es Iilta-pret;~ii~ei~t? (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1992). 195, hlartens ongoing change in subject when it comes to perceiving the biblical contents. The evolution of the office is a human conceptualization, not the command and effect of Christ or his Spirit. The "center of the gospel," for its part, gives liberty to the church today to find contemporan solutions to questions of the church's life. This is by no means about material ("dogmatic") recognizability or even identity with earlier stages of the process. Rather, it is enough to make one's own transformations plausible as effeitmf the gospel. This effect consists, above all, in adapting the external forms and signs of the church's life to today's times. In back of the approach is a binary and, respectively, dualistic understanding of reality. The gospel comes close to an ultimately trans- historical idea that can be separated from its canonically attested historical forms. Since, however, the historicity is a constitutive factor for the gospel of Christ, because divine content (or divine Person) and earthly-historical form cannot be separated anymore by virtue of the incarnation, the explicit criticism of its New Testament forms also affects the gospel itself. The latter becomes, as Regin Prenter rightly writes, "a timeless idea," that runs the risk of losing "its historical foundation."72 Yet this has immediate consequences for the doctrine of justification that equally have a major impact on the gospel. For if a "center of the gospel," however that is defined, is isolated from the mandates of Christ and his apostles connected to the gospel, then the work of the Lord is ultimately replaced by the work of the church. The result is the kind of constructivism that is wide-spread in the postmodern philosophy of language. About this constructivism, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, a scholar of Romance languages, writes that its adherents live convinced that "man can reshape everything - from 'gender' via 'culture' to 'landscape' -according to his also treats throughout on this topic and on the corresponding "change in subject" when dealing with Scripture. 72 Prenter, Ordi~latlorl der Frnuetr, 18. He continues: "There is probably a line from that modern disregard for the historically conditioned external sign of the continuity between the pastoral office and the apostolate to the existence-theological view of the kerygma . . . ." See also the elaborations of the philosopher Kurt Htibner. Glnttbe und Denken: D~r?re~lsiot~en der Wirkliclzkezt (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 101-102 n. 22: ". . . a recapturing of the presence of Christ at the Last Supper, the officiating priest is his representatixre. This is why the demand to leave this role of his to women is nonsensical though wide-spread today. As seen, the Catholic Church's retaining of male priests does not ha~e anything to do with misogyny. Such demands are, by the way, only an indicator of once again, as already many times in the history of Christendom, desiring to sacrifice the concreteness of the Eucharist as a matter of flesh and blood to an abstract and pale symbolism." Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 339 fancy without any further ado, because everything is allegedly 'only a human construct."'^^ As an aside, this constructivism is not only behind socio-politically dominating "gender mainstrea~ning,"~A but also behind the churchly capitulation to the homosexual movement that is connected to the former, no matter how far the effects of this capitulation have developed. Such a constructivism was combated full force by the Reformation in its struggle against enthusiasm in all its forms. Not surprisingly, the criteria of the Confessions for the shaping of the churchly life can by no means be reduced to some abstract gospel or even a "center of the gospel," but explicitly takes up the solemn ordinations of God that alone can establish divine right in the church. According to Reformation conviction, the salvation-historically anchored commandments of Jesus and his apostles attested to in New Testament create certainty regarding what is to take place in the church by divine right for the salvation of man and for the edification of the church.75 This certainly is not some ahistorical bondage, but corresponds to perceiving the presence of the triune God who speaks and works through his commandments that are historically handed down in Scripture. "Historical account and commandment," Prenter says, "come together in the gospel as a whole."76 What is at stake here is not only the authority of Scripture, which, just like the authority of Luther, is invoked on all sides, but above all its efficacy and sufficiency which by no means can be reduced to its exemplar). nature in the time-conforming accommodation of the message. Rather, Scripture is effective and sufficient in that the triune God, in creation as well as in the order of redemption, works what he says by means of the words of institution handed down in Scripture. The conflict is therefore an ontological one. For if God works what he says, then we are dealing with present realities when it comes to the biblical coordination of male and female in the congregation as well as in questions of the office- realities which the living God, by means of his historically attested canonical word, establishes and defines here and now, as Dietzfelbinger put it, "not onlv 'time-bound,' but central and all the way to the last - - - - ;3 Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Diesseits der Hermeneutik: Die Prodirktiorl vorl Prascnz (Frankfurt am blain: Surkamp, 2004), 80. 74 See Volker Zastrow, "Politische Geschlechtsumwandlung," Frnnkfirrtcr Allgerneine Zeitting, June 19, 2006,8. -- ,- See Prenter, 0rdit:ntion der Frauen, 8, where he speaks of "commands of order" "which want to guard the right, appropriate handing down of the gospel." 7t. Prenter, Ordiiintion der Frnuen, 9. foundations of human existence."" Based on the witness of Scripture and the Confessions, Prenter writes on the office: "It i5 thus part of the institution of the office . . . that it is not only an institution as the establishment of an institution which then can be administered by the congregation itself, but that it is an ongoing sending so that everybody who enters the office stands under the same divine mandate as the apostle. They thus act as representati17es of Christ."'B If one closes one's eyes to these realities, if one engages in their deconstruction to construct or conceptualize what is new and timely, then one loses the salutary things God speaks and works by his word.79 IV. The Ecclesiological and Eschatological Consequences A final confirmation for the truth of the assertion that women's ordination is indeed not about a marginal question, but about the foundations of the church, emerges when one perceives the consequences and continuation of the hermeneutical and material-dogmatic conflict on the ecclesiological and eschatological levels. This affects thc determination of the doctrinal consensus that constitutes the unity of the church and the determination of the notion of heresy connected to it. This also touches on the last things, which is finally shown in the question regarding the certainty of salvation. The Conflict Regarding Magnus Consensus and Heresy Both parties to the conflict appeal to the maglzris couselzslr- and want to express their connection to the Lutheran Reformation also in this way. The Theological Commission of the EKD points out that the introduction of women's ordination took place by tnagnus ~onsensus,~"vhich is why n Dietzfelbinger, Veriinderutzg u~td Besfnndigkeif, 318. See Brunner, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 328: "The order that governs the relationship between man and \\.oman has been established by God in the beginning of all things; it did not come about in history but is given with creation. . . . Paul here looks at the account of the creation in Gen. 2." See also Brumer, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 335-336. 78 Prenter, Ordination der Frnuelr, 12, taking up Augsburg Confession XXVIII. On focusing this representation on the power of the keys, cf. Prcntcr, Or~lir~i~lic-i~ ~ler Frn~icn, 13. 79 See the conclusion by Weinrich, "It Is not Given to Women to Teach," 214-215: "A 'know-nothing' hermeneutic which finds itself satisfied when explicit and particular prohibitions are wanting in Scripture will not be competent to inquire after the inner and organic relation between word and act, between what the incarnate \I-ord did and what the Church must do to be faithful to the Gospel." * Kote the contrary judgment by Dietzfelbinger, Verailderu~zg u11d Bcstn~ldigkcit, 319: "That the problem, on which, after all, hinged all the centuries of church histon up till Wenz: The Arugment over Women's Ordination 341 objections to it cannot be tolerated. In this way, this decision, according to the Commission, even shares in the authority of Scripture and the Confessions and demands absolute obedience.81 The casus corlfessionis declared within the church also affects the eczlnzene between churches. "False ecumenical considerations" in this question are harshly rejected by the Theological Commission of the EKD; in fact, precisely "out of ecumenical commitment" "the evangelical church must" teach and practice "that there are no reasons based on Scripture and the Confessions to exclude . . . tvomen from the ordination to the pastoral office."82 Dietzfelbinger still held the view that with the "step to women's ordination" the Lutheran church had "left the ecumenical center" "and allotved itself" "to be marginalized."s? However, Reinhard Slenczka pointed out that, according to the Reformation view, there can be no majority decisions in questions of Scripture and the Confessions. The magnus consenslls formulated in the Lutheran Confession came about by setting forth the teaclung that agrees with Scripture and the catholic church and by publicizing it as an offer to all Christians in this church, connected with the invitation to join this consensus. Mag)zzls consensus is thus first of all about the proof of the apostolicity and catholicity of one's own doctrine, about the diachronic doctrinal consensus that spans the ages wluch then sustains and defines the synchronic, contemporary consensus. Thus, the consensus must not refer to the present or the future only, as it is, according to Johames M'irsching, tvpical for heretical phen0mena.M Moreover, it certainly will - - - - - - - - now and prett!- sizable ecumenical problems, had been solved or led to a consensus- that could not be said b!. any means." " 5ee Fri~~i~rlordiilntio,~ lind Bischofinmt, 8. 5' Fri7lieilurCli1li7tiun ntld Bi.sc/lofsnmt, 8. k' Dietzfelbinger, I.'crLir~rierut~g und Bestandigkeit, 319. Cf. for the debate in the SELK and the rvarning by Martens going in the same direction, Stellung?zal~me III Volker Stolle, 48. P-' Johames LVirsching, Kirclle und Pseudokirclle: Konturen der Hciresie (Gottingen: k'andehocck and Ruprecht, 1990), 176-177: The heretic "is unable to believe without supplementing the seeming poverty of his faith by additional evidences. . . . This is why the heretic also does not understand his confession of Christ as a witness to the truth of Jesus Christ in communion with the fathers and brethren (horizontal ecumene), but as a program of an elite or avant-garde congregation outdoing the fathers and brethren (vertical or futurist individualization). In this perspective, the heretic does not want to testify to something, but, above all, wants to accomplish something . . . . In all this, heresy proves to be revolutionary, not reforming. The Christian revolutionq always ends up establishing a party (meant to be church), although he wants to remain in the church and presene it as a pure community of faith, if not even restore it as such." not do, by disregarding the distinction of the two kingdoms, to place a consensus with society or politics above the consensus with earlier generations of the church." Brunner, applying the ttvo-kingdoms doctrine, writes in all clarity: "An argument, therefore, that thinks it possible to deduce the possibility of placing women into the shepherd's office from their changed position in civil society, has no place in the church . . . One nonetheless can observe a reception of political consensus-finding mechanisms in the church; this holds for the introduction of women's ordination as well as for the debate on the blessing of homosevual partnerships. In the dialogical process, which is charged with quite superstitious salvific eupectations,P; there is first a step~vise change of opinion and finally a majority opinion favoring a "new consensus." However, it is quite interesting that, for example, in the EKD and in the Church of Sweden there is definitely not a "protection of minorities" that is customary in politics. This observation alone shows that a politicization of the church does not mesh with the gospel entrusted to it. The mingling of the two kingdoms that takes place leads to totalitarian results. The church authorities' radical calls for obedience directed at the opponents of women's ordination-calls which take place in a seemingly pluralistic and tolerant age -speak for themselves. One can certainly observe how there are already harbingers of impending totalitarianism in the phase of appeasement. Where Scripture and the Confessions become the objects of our de- and re-constructions, a polarization of the church takes pIace which theologically has to be called a hereticization in the sense fi' Stolle, "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," 79: "The church will have to decide the question of women's ordination today because it lives in an age that is on the wav to the emancipation of women. I think the church has, based on the New Testament~and today's place of man and woman in society, sufficient criteria for such a decision." In critique of this, see Martens, Stellur~gtrn!~r~ie zii t'olker Stnlle, 43. Furthermore, Stolle, "I Kor 14,26-40 und die Gottesdienstrefvrm der lutherischen Retormation," 135; Dietzfelbinger, tferanderllng lirlii Bestiflldigkeit, 317-318: "Yet the stronger emancipatiun movements became in the whole society, the more unequivocal, because the call of female theologians for the pastoral office and ordination like the men"; see also Sasse, "Ordination of Women?" 402-404. Brunner, "Hirtenamt und die Frau," 334. Martens points out that the Scripture principle is in danger when one introduces "Scripture and society as criteria": "The latter bne would then, based on the Lutheran Confessions, certainly have to be called a heresy." St~llu~~gnnl~~~re zu Voiker Stolle, 43. See also Th. Junker, "Theologische Aspekte zu den Beitragen 'Frauen im kirchlichen Amt?'" in Oberursder H~ft 28 (1995): passim. p; Sasse, especially in view of women's ordination, speaks of todav as "an age which has a superstitious belief in dialogue as the infallible means of settling eventhing." "Ordination of LVomen?" 402. Wenz: The Arugrnent over Women's Ordination 343 formulated by Peter Brunner: "The subscription to the confessions is replaced by the subscription to the opinion of this or that theological school, which now necessarily has to assert itself with the exclusive authority of dogma. Where the authority of Scripture is lost, the llniresis of the school replaces the confessio of the church."88 Whoever does not join the formation of schools is caricatured ("hierarchically aloof"), reviled, and met with suspici0ns;8~ he is declared to be unfit for dialogue or even ideologically blinkered and, respectively, stuck in traditional role-models. The confessional principle sine vi, sed verbo (CA XXVIII, 21) can evidently be abrogated in both phases, in the phase of appeasement as well as in phase of the final enforcement of the "school." The media are not infrequently instrumentalized,w or a seeming contradiction to secular laws is pointed out. The politicization affects even the material discussion. This is seen wherever the relation between man and woman, office and congregation, which is qualified by Scripture and the Confessions as a spiritual-theological reality, is reinterpreted as "role models."91 Criteria that are appropriate in the societal context but foreign to theology are brought to bear on the contents of Scripture; in fact, these criteria are to define the so-called agenda of the church more and more.9' @ Quoted in Slenczka, "Mrrgnus Consensus," 36. An inquisitorial semantics of "suspicion" permeates especially Stolle's argumentation against those who do not want to share his line of argumentation on the subject, whose material arguments he thus avoids in a psychologizing manner. E.g., StoUe, "Neutestamentliche Aspekte zur Frage der Ordination von Frauen," 78; on this, see Martens, Stellungnniu?le z~r Volker Stolle, 42, and Junker, "Theologische Aspekte zu den Beitragen," 87. " See Slenczka, "Mngnuc Consensus," 35, and Martens, Stellu?lgnall?ne zu Volker Stolle, 47 (on the role television played in the processes of deliberation leading to the introduction of women's ordination in the Lutheran territorial Church of Schaumburg- Lippe and in the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Baden). 91 In a particularly strilung manner, Stolle writes on Luther's understanding of the office: "Roles are assigned without equivocation. The office bearers are giving; the congregation is to be receptive. And this understanding of the office is nowr taken into the rule of man over woman as an integral component. The doctrine of the office thus is conceptualized in correspondence to social doctrine." Stolle, "Luther, das 'Amt' und die Frauen," 16. 92 Slenczka, "Mrrgnu Consensus," 33: "However, to the extent that these bodies follow parliamentaq precedent, consensus will become the goal that determines everything for the preservation of cohesion in the ecclesiastical polity, as well as for the pushing through of certain resolutions. Given this presupposition, it is not surprising that the spectrum of public opinion and political directions is reflected in the ecclesiastical bodies as far as the selection of topics as well as the respective attitudes is concerned." The decisive criterion for defining and delimiting consensus and heresy is ultimately only social damage. Damaging or disturbing the harmonious communitv must not be tolerated even in cases of conscience and is therefore punished by disciplinary measures. Reinhard Slenczka rightly asks: "What has happened to a church of the Reformation when it declares majorit). decisions of churchly entities as necessarl; for salvation; when those who contradict based on Scripture are defamed; and when finally consciences bound to God's lvord are disciplined by coercive means?"'3 It should give pause that the churches acting in this way become more and more like a quasi-papist totalitarian rule-all the \ray to the claim of infallibility.94 The Conflict Regarding the Certainty of Salvation It is all the more remarkable that precisely in this situation the legitimacy of the female pastoral office appears implausible to individualsg-' or churches, so that they return to the original consensus in spite of all resistance and countermeasures. The Reformation consensus, however, know-s as highest criterion, not "social damage," but "salvation damage" (Johames Mrirsching). Here one knows that the church does not create its boundaries bv itself but discovers them when God's institutions are left behind. Here one at the same time lives out of the promise that it is not we who can sustain the church, who are able to secure it bv being accommodating to society and its norms; this work of sustaining and securing is done only by the Lord hmself by his word and sacrament. Where it is proclaimed in its truth and purity, one comes together with those who do likewise, no matter how that might look at first on an organizational level. When churches allow themselves to be led back to Scripture and the Confessions, as this has taken place in Latvia, then this is a reason for joy, just as when the brothers and sisters excluded from the Church of Sweden gather in the "Mission Province." Both events are - concrete examples of the fact that, as Slenczka writes, also after the introduction of women's ordination, "the unchanging \cord of Holy Scripture continues to exercise its disquieting influence on consciences; even ecclesiastical decisions can never cancel its effect.''96 93 Slenczka, "1st die Kritik an der Frauenordination," 202-203. yA See Slenczka, "1st die Kritik an der Frauenordination," 205. 45 See Martti Vnahtoranta, "Dies Geheimnis ist grog-der Sinn von 'des Herrn Gebot' (1. Kor. 14,37): Einige sehr personliche iiberlegungen," L~itherisci~e Beitripe 10 (2005): 35- 42, and Ulla Hindbeck, "Women and the Ministry," Login 9, no. 1 (2000): 21-22. q6 Slenczka, "Mngizus Conseii;lis," 35. Wenz: The Arugrnent over Women's Ordination 335 Comparing the discussions regarding the question of certaiq in the two phases of the conflict described initially leads to a highly critical point and offers an ultimate proof for the deeply ~sclratological character of the conflict. kt-hile during the appeasement phase the rejection of women's ordination based on the argument of a lacking certainty of salvation in the case of the exercise of the pastoral office by w-omen is caricatured or even psychologized and ridiculed by pointing to a dependence on role models,g; exactly this argument reappears in the arsenal of arguments and disciplinarv measures of its defenders after the introduction of women's ordination. Thus it sa1.s in a report by the former bishop of the Lutheran Church in Hanover, ors st Hirschler, quoted by Slenczka: When one talks about contesting the right of the ordination of women, then a different lel.el has been reached. This is no longer on the table in our church. 1Vhoel~er has been called into the ministry of proclamation in our church does not have the right to question women's ordination. Why? Because on it hinges the question of certainty of salvation for the members of the congregation. When the ordination of women is not seen before God as an appropriate action of the church, when it is controversial, then congregants can no longer be certain that the worship service thev celebrate under the leadership of their female pastor is the place of the promised presence of God. They cannot be certain that God's r\~ord is spoken to them in the proclamation; that communion is trulv the Lord's Supper; that the forgiveness promised to them b?- the female pastor is God's forgiveness. Whoever participates in the worship senice must be able to be certain that here one speaks and acts commissioned bv God.gb In this clear statement, which is consistent in itself, are fulfilled the admonishing and ~carning prophecies of those who already in the first phase of the conflict knew that women's ordination in the realm of the Lutheran church must lead to a division of the ch~rch.~9 This insight that On tlus, see Stolle, Frt1:ierr irrl kircl~lidrerl Aiirk? passim, and the pertinent critical remarks b!. llartens: "Here too, the question of certaint>-, conscience being bound to the n-ord of God, is onl!- dealt \%-ith by way of caricature; not the side that changes the early church's practice, but that \I-hich retains it, is suddenly under pressure to justif,- itself for 'elevating' something 'as a criterion.' In this way, the problem is fully turned upside- don-n." Skelli~~rgri~rlr~r~tz :li L7oll;er Stolle, 28; see also 11-12, 50-31. q' Slenczka, "1st die Kritik an der Frauenordination," 208 n. 16. '"Tartens, St~llirr~gi!.zl~r~ze ;[I IJolker Stolle, 12-13: "The anathema pronounced b!- the Commission tor Theology makes clear that a coexistence of opponents and proponents of ~romen'i ordination in a church that has introduced women's ordination is, in principle, i~npoisible.' last things are nonetheless at stake, in fact, salvation itself, forces a decision.l@" The theological process of clarification that can be observed on both sides has led to a deepening of the difference between paradigm shifts that go further and further and a broad and renewed reassurance concerning the traditional doctrinal consensus of the church. The claims - made during the phase of appeasement-that by introducing women's ordination the gospel is not affected and church fellowship is not at stake-must, in light of the most recent developments, be considered refuted. It is thus not surprising that we now are in the process of entering a third phase of the conflict that is characterized by increasingly harsh disciplining 011 a church-official level and by the kind of church-historical revisions lve observed in Appold and Stolle which flank these measures, confirming them either in a supplementary or advance tvay. Our overview has also sho~vn, however, that it is by no means surprising that the argument over women's ordination is still ongoing. It is grounded in the acting of the triune God in creation and redemption. We therefore affirm with Rudolf Eles: Office and congregation cannot be disconnected from God's designs for creation and redemption. As far as their substance is concerned, they will never be emancipated under the law of different societal concretions alien to faith which change more slowly here, more rapidly there. Only males can be called into the office that represents Christ; and the congregation, which understands itself as bride and wishes to hear the voice of the Bridegroom, resists the dissolution of this earthly symbol of its relationship to Christ.'@' lo<' Sasse, "Ordination of Women?" 110 (my translation): "All these considerations on the basis of the clear words of Scripture make it impossible for the Lutheran Church to recognize women's ordination as valid and permissible. For this church does not cling to human traditions, but conscientiously abides by Holy Scripture as the ~vord of God . . . . We also cannot have fello\rship with pastors and bishops \vho carr!- out such ordinations that are against God's word." "'1 Eles, Mnrtin L~itller il?zd do5 Fmlle?lpfilrril(rlt, 30.