[...] Today I want to look briefly at the issue of the ordination of women to Holy Orders, and I hope to do so fairly enough that you can't tell where my own inclination is.
One group addressing this issue might assume that the orders of Deacon, Priest (Presbyter) and Bishop are all very similar, and an argument that applies to one would logically extend to all three. Others might argue that each of the three orders is unique. Although they are additive, one might begin as a deacon, later become a priest, and possibly later a bishop, and the progression is in this order and not the reverse. There is such a difference in the authority and responsibility of each office that there may be very different requirements for each office, for example being a very good deacon or priest doesn't always mean that you are really an undiscovered bishop just waiting for proper recognition, though every priest and bishop does begin as a deacon. In the issue of women's ordination, some will assume that one argument, for or against will apply to all three orders, and some will believe that an argument might apply to one order or another but not all three.
Anglicans might have any of four points of view that bear on the discussion and argumentation over women's ordination. All four can look to some portion of Holy Scripture to find a basis. One view is that a priest and bishop should physically represent Jesus Christ at the altar, and therefore should be physically the same, i.e., a man. A second view is that the Biblical principle of masculine headship requires the one exercising authority to be a male. The third view is that the passages from Joel 2:28-29 and Acts 2:17-18 which speak of God in the latter days being an "equal opportunity employer," if you will, applies to the opening of Holy Orders at all levels to women. The fourth view is based on modern concepts of justice, fairness and equality, but would look to Scripture to validate their position.
The first two points of view would generally not ordain women, or would only allow women deacons, whereas the latter two would generally ordain women to all three orders. Although I have greatly simplified the points of view to the point of doing damage to them, if I have damaged them I hope I have done so equally.
The outcome you arrive at on women's ordination may well be predetermined by where you start and what you value the most, with Biblical citations, Biblical tradition, Biblical prophecy, and Biblical concepts of equality and fairness all as starting points. In conversations, it is equally as important to listen and ask questions as to inform others of your beliefs and reasoning. Even if no change of mind occurs, a better way forward is at least within grasp. In this I hope I have been fair to all. Now to the point.
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