Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Briefcase: Priestesses in Plano

Now that all three parts of Fr. Hollister's analysis of the Plano Paper on Women's Ordination (entitled: Men, Women, Ministry, and the Mission of God) have been posted, I think it best to provide one link that carries individual links to each of the three parts. This is for convenience, like carrying a briefcase.

Part I

Part II

Part III

Fr. Hollister's lengthy critique has required close study of a very unpleasant subject. It is necessary. No matter how many times the advocates of the Women's Ordination innovation come up with their arguments, they always say these same things over and over, no matter how differently they arrange their case each time. This critique has, in effect, answered everything that came before it, and likely answers all that may come in the future.

As we have noted several times, their argument is not only similar to arguments in favor of same sex "blessings" and consecration of actively practicing homosexual bishops; they present the exact same arguments. In the past, I have referred to the gravity of logic, and said this:

"The fact is, once the 'ordination' of women was accepted, the movement to bless same sex unions was inevitable. The arguments for Homosexualism are not merely similar to the arguments for women's 'ordination.' Rather, they are the exact same arguments. The blessing of same sex unions, practiced now throughout the official Canterbury Communion, is performed as a church rite by sincerely lusting couples under the direction of clergypersons of both sexes and all genders, to be as close to the semblance of marriage as the Law of each state, province or nation makes possible. In short, it imitates the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and does so on the newly understood basis that the sex of a person has no significance in a sacrament. If Shirley and Maggie can be 'ordained' they can also be married [to each other], and so can Adam and Steve.

"The 'conservatives' among the Anglicans have failed to understand the gravity of logic. It works the same way as this illustration. If I stand at the top of a thirty-foot hill with a big round rubber ball, and decide to roll the ball only ten feet down the hill and no farther, like it or not, the ball will roll the entire thirty feet to the bottom before it stops after rolling even farther still. It does not matter that I intended only to roll it ten feet. Once I let go, gravity will take the ball the whole way. This is how a premise works in relation to logic. Once you let go of the ball, that is, once you state or merely accept a premise, the gravity of logic will take over. Perhaps you only meant to let women be priests, but not to let the premise take its own logical course to the final end. However, the premise itself is subject to the gravity of logic, and must keep rolling until you are 'blessing' Adam and Steve in the imitation sacrament of Unholy Unmatrimony. Those who want to argue that this was not inevitable have two problems facing them: First, we predicted this would happen, and second, it has."

"It is significant that in their paper, the Plano Three (Fr. David Roseberry, Rector of Christ Church Plano, Texas, along with one Fr. Clint Kerley and one Toby Eisenberg) have even gone as far as to use the same smaller arguments in detail that have been standard fare in arguments for same sex "blessings." In their paper they wrote: "Indeed, such arguments based on what is implied in Scripture and on one’s own experience and reasoning were used to justify American slavery, even though Christians universally reject the idea of slavery today...'[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God ... it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation ...'" quoting (of all people) Jefferson Davis, President of the CSA. Both Fr. Hollister and I refuted this point. *

The most frightening aspect of this is the degree to which they agree with the same sex "Blessing" advocates, the whole time considering themselves orthodox for no greater reason than their rejection of this newer innovation. In attacking an old worn out idea, namely advocacy of slavery by abuse of Biblical texts, they have carelessly presented that idea as quite possibly a genuinely Biblical one; and as generally accepted in ages past. In fact, it was neither (indeed, it was the Christian Abolitionists who quoted Scripture to great effect). In so doing, they actually criticize the Bible itself, implying that it is morally deficient in one issue, and therefore may be irrelevant in another. What is more, they do not know that they have made the same argument as Louie Crew and the supporters of Gene Robinson and of "blessing" same sex unions.

That is one detail, and I could cite here many other examples scattered throughout their paper. The logic of their position requires that we reject the clear meaning and teaching of Scripture, as understood everywhere and always by the Church, provided only that we may use some concocted theory about priorities as an excuse. They have released this premise, and cannot stop it from rolling the whole way to the bottom.
*The actual commandment in the Bible forbids slavery, inasmuch as the obvious meaning rules out any tolerance for treating people as property. Deuteronomy 23:15,16 makes this absolutely clear, so clear as to be unmistakable: "Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: He shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates, where it liketh him best: thou shalt not oppress him." If the fleeing servant's master has no claim, it means any servant had the freedom to quit his position; and that means no servant was ever to be treated as property (and there is, of course, no contrary commandment anywhere in the Bible). Although some translations use the word "slave" for עבד (ebed), it is not at all correct; the word means "servant," and in no way implies that such a person has become property. New Testament texts that teach Christian slaves how to live in the reality of their position were addressing real life in the pagan empire of ancient Rome, and cannot be used as an endorsement of that pagan system.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

This has also been posted by David Virtue.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what sort of response, if any, this painful Plano document is receiving in neo-Anglican and ACNA circles. As best I can detect (and my research skills are not outstanding), this never saw the light of day on either T19 or Stand Wobbly. (They do not like touching the WO topic if it can be helped.) VOL did run a story about it. The commentary was generally negative, even from ACNA personalities. Perhaps all is not lost in that quarter.

As this final installment has been run, I have a feeling that I havent had for many years, the feeling of having read the last of a stack of C minus or D quality student term-papers. Canon Holister, no purgatory for you.

palaeologos said...

Stand Firm has run something about it (which I didn't really read). They are soliciting comments, but only if one promises not to use that nasty word "priestess" or any similar construction, like "pastorette".

Well, ACNA seems intent on replicating the struggles that were going on in TEC before they all flounced out, so expect an infinite recursion. I give it about 10 years before some of them start making the "Paul was only referring to temple prostitution" arguments about Romans 1:27. We knuckle-dragging troglodytes will just have to fend for ourselves, I suppose!

Cherub said...

I agree with Fr Hart and congratulate him on the thoroughness of his approach. You might like to have this quote from Harvey Cox of "The Secular City" fames who said this about conservatives in relation to women's ordination.

"Frightened conservatives, as usual, are partly right in the arguments they advance against the ordination of women. Unlike enlightened symbol-blind liberals, they know full well that this is not just an equal opportunity issue. Female priests would, despite themselves, modify the meaning of the Mass. But what conservatives fear, I welcome: a Christian sacrament enriched by the presence at the altar of the Great Mother, the Scarlet Woman, the Whore of Babylon and the Virgin Queen. So the conservatives are right in their panic but wrong in their conclusion." (New York Times 1 October 1973) When I lived in England it was common knowledge among Anglicans that the proponents of women's orination (esp. MOW) would support Gay liberation once their goal was achieved. If one accepts that men and women are interchangeable where ordination is concerned, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that the Church should "marry" same-sex couples.

RC Cola said...

As one who struggled with discerning a vocation to the priesthood, I was constantly second-guessing myself as to my intention. Was I trying to elevate myself? Am I doing this out of pride and arrogance? Do I have the proper humility and spirit of sacrifice? Am I doing this for the right reasons, or for self-aggrandizement? etcetera, etcetera.

When I read material such as the "Guano from Plano" I get angry because all I see is expression of the very spirit of self-elevation that I prayed to God to remove from my heart. All this talk of "equality", "rights", "ability", "gifts" and so on are little more than men and women saying, "I deserve to be a priest. I've earned the status," etc., etc. The lack of humility is absolutely staggering. Not a single article, essay or book I have read in support of WO has discussed submitting to the will of God, and to the Church. Rather they have all discussed power, changing the Church, personal rights, etc.

The only priests I know who think they have earned the right to be a priest by their own skills and talents (even if they give God credit for those talents) are horrible priests. On the other hand, those priests who describe the humility of submitting to the will of God, and their unworthiness, have been excellent priest. The former expect to be served, while the latter are too busy serving to think about anything else.

Humility, service and sacrifice are completely foreign to the WO vocabulary.

poetreader said...

Thanks for a discerning comment.
I've always said (except at times I've been too full of myself) that

If I think I deserve anything, I don't.

If I claim any rights for myself, I'm wrong.

If I am absolutely certain that I'm right, I've missed something very important.

If I think I'm better than someone else, I'm not, he is.

Early Christians were accused of turning the world upside down. Maybe there was truth in that, or maybe the world was already upside down and they were trying to right it.


Anonymous said...

You are wise to keep the primitive Church as a model.At it's best life in the Continuum is like the experience of the Church in the earliest days.

Canon Tallis said...

I am so thoroughly glad that Canon Hollister has finished this. It was absolutely painful to read in its smugness, its "we know better than God and the church" outrageousness.

Ed and RC have the right opinion of it. These are the folks who want to do damage to the world and to the Church without caring whom they hurt and what they destroy. Cherub was absolutely right to pull up that quotation from Harvey Cox. It was entirely to the point and I very much appreciated it.

poetreader said...

A cleric of AMIA has posted a comment worth reading back in part one of this discussion


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