Friday, January 27, 2006

One male is best represented by another male

J.I. Packer argues that a pastor or priest represents Christ when he ministers to individual members of his flock. Since Jesus was undeniably male, then the ideal form of the pastor is to also be male. "That one male is best represented by another male is a matter of common sense."

J.I. Packer, "Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters", Christianity Today, 1991-FEB-11, Page 18 to 21

I didn't know that this argument was still around. Since the church is the bride of Christ, is it not best represented by a woman. Wouldn't a woman better represent the church to Christ? What a blessing it has been to me on occasion to receive communion from the hands of a woman. Not that it should really matter but sometimes a woman simply wants to be aware that she does not have to be represented to God by a man, or have Christ be symbolized to her by a man.

3 comments:

Kenny said...

Interestingly, Paul's discussion of head coverings in 1 Cor. 11 seems to me to say specifically that women don't have to go through men to access God. The passage says that the head of woman is man and the head of man is Christ. It then says that the man should have his head, the symbol of Christ, uncovered when he prays, but the woman should have her head, the symbol of man (or specifically her husband? In Attic Greek I would say it means her husband, but I'm told that in Koine the article does not ordinarily have possessive force) covered. This would seem to be symbolic of cutting out the intermediary and going directly to Christ.

Of course, for Protestants who do not believe that priests or pastors have any kind of priveleged access to God, and especially for those Protestants who don't object to the laiety administering sacraments (or don't believe in "sacraments" as such) this observation is consistent with the belief that women cannot be pastors, so it is inconclusive with regard to that issue.

Suzanne McCarthy said...

Hi Kenny,

I am not actually trying to prove that women should be ordained. I do believe that they should be but I do not believe that I can prove it at this point.

However, this discussion explains my disappointment at finding the word anthropos translated as 'man' instead of 'human' or 'people'.

I have just read a great article on this whcih I will post soon.

I am more concerned that there is a strain of masculinist thinking that is controlling Bible translation, that in general, in the written word, the female should be represented by the male, so anthropos should be translated as 'man'.

Sounds a little quirky to me. I am disappointed in mainstream evangelicalism for this.

Peter Kirk said...

I am glad to say that this is not mainstream evangelicalism here in the UK. Certainly the sacramental argument is not; I am surprised that Packer, formerly a UK evangelical, holds a high enough view of the sacraments to care about this. Meanwhile the Church of England is discussing how to make arrangements to have women bishops while not driving out the small minority of congregations which do not accept even women priests - the idea is to offer some form of alternative episcopal oversight for these congregations.