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TRADITIONAL ANGLICAN CHURCHES

"Continuing Anglican" Churches - We would argue the most consistently traditional or "classical" Anglican churches.

Continuing Anglican Miscellany

"Anglican Realignment" Churches (ACNA, AMiA, and others) - Conservative but markedly less traditional than the Continuing Anglican Churches.

Reformed Episcopal Church - Currently part of the Anglican Realignment but these days much more like the traditional Continuing Anglican bodies.

ANGLICAN BLOGS AND WEB SITES

1662 Book of Common Prayer Online

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A Living Text

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ἀναστόμωσις

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Red River Orthodox

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Throne, Altar, Liberty

Throne and Altar

Project Appleseed (Basic Rifle Marksmanship)

Turnabout

What's Wrong With The World: Dispatches From The 10th Crusade

CHRISTIAN MUSIC FOR CHRISTIAN MEN

Numavox Records (Music of Kerry Livgen & Co.)

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WOMEN'S ORDINATION TO THE PRIESTHOOD

A Defense of the Doctrine of the Eternal Subordination of the Son  (Yes, this is about women's ordination.)

An (Extended) Short History of the Diaconate

Essays on the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood from the Episcopal Diocese of Ft. Worth

Faith and Gender: Five Aspects of Man, blog of Fr. William Mouser, International Council for Gender Studies

Father is Head at the Table: Male Eucharistic Headship and Primary Spiritual Leadership, Ray Sutton

FIFNA Bishops Stand Firm Against Ordination of Women

God, Gender and the Pastoral Office, S.M. Hutchens

God, Sex and Gender, Gavin Ashenden

Homo Hierarchicus and Ecclesial Order, Brian Horne

How Ordaining Women Harms Ministry to Men, C.R. Wiley

Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters, J.I. Packer

Liturgy and Interchangeable Sexes, Peter J. Leithart

Male-Only Ordination is Natural: Why the Church is a Model of Reality, Steven Wedgeworth

Ordaining Women as Deacons: A Reappraisal of the Anglican Mission in America's Policy, John Rodgers

Priestesses in Plano, Robert Hart

Priestesses in the Church?, C.S. Lewis

Priesthood and Masculinity, Stephen DeYoung

Reasons for Questioning Women’s Ordination in the Light of Scripture, Rodney Whitacre

Streams of the River: Articles Outlining the Arguments Against the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood ,

Traditional Anglican Resources

William Witt's Articles on Women's Ordination (Old Jamestown Church archive)

Women Priests?, Eric Mascall

Women and the Priesthood, Catholic Answers

Women Priests: History & Theology, Patrick Reardon

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Thursday
Aug202015

Is Women's Ordination a "Heresy"?

As I stated here?

Dr. Witt and a person commenting on this question tonight are dismissive of my claim.  Per Witt:

As for accusations of “heresy,” yawn. I think it would take some real effort to make a theological case that advocacy of women’s ordination is not simply mistaken, but “heretical.” “Heresy” has to do with a position that is not only theologically mistaken, but touches on the center of Christian faith in such a manner as to distort the central “subject matter” of Christian faith. So Arianism is a “heresy” because (as Athanasius argued), only God can save, and, if Christ is not divine, but only a creature, then he cannot save us.

I don’t see how one could reasonably argue that “male only” clergy is essential to the heart of Christian faith in the same way that Nicene and Chalcedonian orthodoxy are at the heart of Christian faith. Disagreement about this issue is more along the lines of other disagreements between Christians, that while, important are, to some extent, adiaphora. As an Anglican, I disagree with Roman Catholics about transubstantiation, with Lutherans about ubiquity, and with Presbyterians about polity. I don’t think that their views are “heretical.”

Just so it's clear, I do understand the distinction between orthodoxy and orthodopraxis.  The ordination of women to the priesthood is an act (praxis), not a belief, so in the technical, ecclesially declarative sense it is not a "heresy."  However, I maintain that the practice of women's ordination is still "heretical", and this for two reasons:

1) The definition of αἵρεσις reads as follows: "a self-chosen opinion, a religious or philosophical sect, discord or contention." The belief in some dioceses of the ACNA that women may be ordained to the priesthood, and for some folks in the ACNA, the episcopate, most certainly represents a "self-chosen opinion" held against the consensus not only of the Church Fathers, but of the Reformers (which essentially undoes Witt's assertion that defenders of WO in the ACNA are "Reformation Christians").  It most certainly reflects as well the existence of a "religious sect" that promulgates its "self-chosen opinion" in the face of the belief of the vast majority of the world's orthodox Christians.  And it most certainly has introduced "discord and contention" into Anglican ranks;

2) The practice is likewise heretical because of the heretical beliefs on which the practice is based.  As many opponents of WO have argued, it is possible to discern in various arguments made for the practice, alternatively or together, gnosticism, aberrant triadology, aberrant christology, and an aberrant view of the creation order.

So, Dr. Witt and CarterS, that's our story and we're sticking to it.

If it were possible in our lifetimes to see the Great Schism healed and a great council of the Roman and Orthodox Churches convened to address the issues of the day, I am quite confident that one of those issues would be women's ordination, and that the practice would be anathematized precisely for the two reasons I've set forth above.  That is, if Rome's and Orthodoxy's current ruminations on what they view as the heresies underlying the practice of WO are any indication.  In that hypothetical Witt would certainly be compelled to revise his argument.

But it's a far-fetched hypothetical, so let's return to the issue of how WO is "heretical" here in the current ecclesial situation.  A heresy does not necessarity need to be ecclesially defined as such for it to be a heresy.  Before a controversy over a perceived departure from orthodox doctrine ever gets raised to conciliar consideration and judgment, the claim that it's a heresy must first be made, somewhere, by someone, after which a controversy ensues.  This is where we are right now.  The acceptance of WO in Anglican ranks is only a few decades old.  Even the ACNA says it's currently in a process of "reception."  The issue is not ripe for ecclesial assessment and judgment, though it seems clear that one day it will be.  Until then, the debate goes on.  Here are a dew examples of others who also call WO a "heresy".  (You'll have to slog through the articles to see where the accusations of "heresy" are made.):

Roman Catholic

Heresy and the Priestly Ordination of Women

Anglican Ordination of Women Bishops Ends Reunion Prospects

Orthodox

Thoughts on Women's Ordination

Anglican

Priestesses in Plano (Rearding a position paper issued by Christ Church in Plano, TX (AMiA), which apparently became the basis of an ordination that took place there several months later.)

"Nobody gives a ...": A good reason why we are Continuing Anglicans

However, as I read Witt's comments tonight, it's pretty clear that none of this matters to him or other such "Reformation Christians."  I suppose that's his way of saying "Nobody gives a . . .".   But then again, that has been the attitude of heretics - the holders of a self-chosen opinion over against the Church -- from time immemorial.

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