Letters to the Editor (August)

Commentary on women

I read with mixed feelings Mary Hilgendorf’s Commentary, “It’s time to encourage, equip women as Christian leaders!” in the July Reporter.

The article seems to imply that since women are in the majority, they should fill a higher percentage of the leadership positions in the LCMS than they currently do.  However, the idea that numbers should determine influence in the Church derives from the culturally related notion that anything one wants, including access to office, is an entitlement.  Principles no longer have the weight they once did.

Since Dr. Hilgendorf cites Luther, it should be mentioned that Luther strongly felt that women should be active within the domestic sphere and not in the public sphere that is the province of men.  Walther and Pieper concurred.
 
Leadership positions in the Church that place a leader in a position of authority or accountability over other men or policy (since this affects both men and women) fall within the public sphere.  There are ample biblical references stating that Christ is the head of the Church, Christ is the head of man, and man is the head of his wife.  Acting in the stead of Christ, pastors are to be men.  Indeed, to ensure the harmonious observance of these relationships, St. Paul did not allow women to have authority over men in the Church.  The reasons he gave are independent of culture and normative for all times.

Women share equally with men in Christ’s salvation, and their talents should be fully utilized. But rather than assume, as our culture would tell us, that the roles of men and women are interchangeable, we should ask ourselves what the biblical roles are for men and women in the Church.  Clearly, the Bible encourages women to be leaders for Christ with respect to other women and children.  Deaconesses in the early church were outstanding leaders in this manner while also caring for the sick and poor.  By their love of God and example of service, they also witnessed to men.

There is plenty to do on earth in the service of our Lord.  Biblical relationships should be respected.  In no way do they impede our service.

John F. Lang
Forence, S.C.

Everyone has seen the many talents and accomplishments of women, especially in our present day.  Our church body has had many a faithful female do great things for His church.  Yet the question remains — how much is too much?

But I believe that is the wrong question.

Walking together, in relation to men and women, means so much more when we consider their creation in Genesis 2.  Adam was alone and this was the only thing not good, according to God. Woman was formed.  She was entirely suitable and fitting, unlike any other creature in the garden.  They were one flesh, created from one body and united as one body.  So Adam and Eve walked together, and even walked together with God.

Unfortunately, well-meaning Christians want this to mean equality.  But God tells us that we each have our own place.  Women, submit to your husbands (Eph. 5:22, 1 Cor. 14:34-35, 1 Tim. 2:11-12, Tit. 2:5, 1Pet. 3:1-6) and husbands, love your wives as Christ loves the church (Eph.5:25-33).  Our God even shows us through the unique gift of childbearing that men and women have different purposes.

All things considered, it doesn’t matter if you are contemplating women’s ordination or an LWML activity.  We must ask ourselves if we are upholding the order of creation that God gave for us.  Is this one flesh, truly walking together and trusting God’s order? 

I am encouraged that only 14 percent of the 2004 Synod convention voting lay delegates were women.  That means 86 percent of the men were doing a great job of serving in their headship role.

So what advice do we give our women who want to serve?

We encourage them in the same way our Lord would have us speak to His children.  Women, love and support your husbands.  Honor the great gift of marriage God has given His people.  Continue to trust in the gift of your head.

Cynthia Koch
St. Marys, Ga.

We applaud the commentary by Dr. Mary Hilgendorf … and urge you to find additional qualified writers to explore the subject of women in the church, including controversial matters.

Let us hope that the Concordia University System becomes a fountainhead of such explorations and practice.

Unanimously adopted,
Voters’ assembly of July 9
Faith Memorial Lutheran Church
Valparaiso, Ind.

Placements in homosexual contexts

The Commission on Theology and Church Relations is to be commended for its unambiguous (not to mention biblical and churchly) opinion on the matter of LCMS-recognized agencies placing adoptive or foster-care children into homosexual contexts.  The Board for Human Care is to be commended for raising the issue in a timely manner.  In this the board and commission members perform a vital service both for the Church and the culture.  Bravo!

Rev. Patrick Erickson
Garland, Texas

AMEN!

The LCMS blesses us with unwavering leaders making decisions based on the Word of our Lord and Savior.  Thank you from a grateful LCMS family.

George and Kemmie Haslett and children
Jackson, Mich.

It is good and very encouraging that the Missouri Synod takes a scriptural stand on the matter of homosexuality and placing children with same-sex couples.

But I take issue with the headline that says such placement is “contrary to Synod doctrine.”  Since when does the Synod have a doctrine set by the Commission on Theology and Church Relations, or even synodical resolution?

Of course, the article says what is meant — that the CTCR does make statements on doctrinal issues, as prescribed by Article 1.6.2 of the Synod Handbook.  However, such statements must be based on what Scripture says, and therefore the term “Synod doctrine” can be misleading – tantamount to an encyclical of the papacy or even a church council.

Clearly, the Synod by majority vote is empowered in administrative and polity matters. But doctrinal matters are not decided by majority vote.  They are decided by the clear words of Scripture.

I understand the problem on deciding exactly what Scripture says on controversial matters, but it never is “Synod doctrine.”  Scripture alone is Missouri’s doctrinal stand, not CTCR opinion or synodical resolution.

Take a look at the article.  There is not one reference to Scripture passages, only the repeated phrase as “the Bible clearly teaches that homophile behavior is intrinsica

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