Participants in the first consultation on “The Scriptural Relationship of Man and Woman” received a homework assignment from the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) as it continues work on a document to guide Christians regarding the topic.
During its Dec. 5-6 meeting, which followed the consultation, the CTCR asked the eight men and nine women participants to write about issues that arose. The commission will use these responses to develop an agenda for a second consultation with the same group on April 16-17.
Commission members attended the first consultation primarily as listeners, according to Dr. Samuel H. Nafzger, CTCR executive director. “We did our talking following the consultation, evaluating the process and identifying what we need to know more about. That led to the assignments for the participants,” he said.
The commission asked the participants to rank by priority nine issues that recurred during the consultation. The issues include considerations of Scripture interpretation, the impact of the “new creation” in Jesus Christ, influence of culture, instances of chauvinism or intimidation, defining key terms like “headship” and “equality,” the meaning of “our embodiment as men and women,” order of creation, roles of husband and wife, and variable contexts (such as home, church, or academia).
The consultants were asked to write about relationship issues as they affect the Gospel mission of the church, how the issues affect them personally, and whether these issues can be considered apart from a specific discussion of ordaining women to the pastoral office. A fourth question seeks ideas for the outline and principal arguments to be included in the report.
“We’ve got the right people and we’re off to a good start,” said Nafzger. “They are thinking about the issues and will be a big help to the commission and the Synod.”
Nafzger said that the CTCR already has produced several documents that respond to the 1995 LCMS convention request to study the scriptural relationship of man and woman. He said the consultations will help the commission complete its assignment.
The first consultation included presentations and responses followed by small-group and plenary discussions and reports. Dr. Gilbert Meilaender, a Christian ethicist and theology professor at Valparaiso University, spoke on “Men and Women in Christ.” Dr. Gregory Lockwood, a former CTCR member and now professor at the seminary of the Lutheran Church of Australia, spoke on “Biblical Insights on Men and Women in Christ.” Dr. Barbara Brunworth, director of Lutheran Counseling Services, Garland, Texas, spoke on “Men and Women in the Contemporary Context: Selected Insights from the Social and Behavioral Sciences.”
Posted Dec. 28, 2006