26 June 2023 at 00:00:00 JST

The Bible does not give a clear answer regarding the question of the ordination of women. Therefore the apostolate must decide. Can they just go ahead and decide something like this? The Bible has clear answers to this.



Different aspects, same result. After detailed study of the gospels, the District Apostle Meeting determined→: “From the words and deeds of Jesus it cannot be clearly inferred whether or not it is possible to ordain women.” And for Acts as well as the New Testament epistles the finding→ is: “The biblical testimony is therefore ambiguous with respect to the role of women in the church.”


The conclusion is: “The decision is up to the apostolate which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, is responsible for the order of the Church.” In other words: “Consequently, the apostolate—which is endowed with teaching authority and charged with establishing the order of the Church—has a decision to make.”


But where does this authority and mandate come from?



Conceiving a modern life of faith

This question was answered by a teaching document→ on the topic of the ordination of women in a special edition of the Divine Service Guide (3/2022): “The Apostles are stewards of the mysteries of God,” the publication says with reference to 1 Corinthians 4: 1. This means that the apostolate not only has the duty to see to the proper proclamation of the gospel and the proper dispensation of the sacraments, but also has to ensure the order within the congregation.


“It is incumbent on the apostolate, led by the Chief Apostle, to inquire into the current order within the congregations and, through the activity of the Holy Spirit, find sound responses consistent with the Bible,” the document says further. “Especially when it comes to issues for which there is no clear biblical answer, it is up to the apostolate to arrive at sound decisions with the help of the Holy Spirit and reason. This is the only way to ensure that the life of the Church and the congregations is shaped and developed in a manner appropriate to the time.”


The teaching letter thus refers to section 7.4.1 → in the Catechism of the New Apostolic Church: “Paul speaks of the Apostles as ‘stewards’ (1 Corinthians 4: 1). A steward is responsible for the household, namely the church.” And: “Apostle Paul uses the term ‘steward’ in connection with the ‘mysteries of God’.” This includes, for example, the first major doctrinal change in the history of Christianity, namely that those who are not Jewish can also become Christians (Ephesians 3: 3–6).



If the Apostles are to define the appropriate order for each period, then the question immediately arises, how has this been handled in the past? And why? We will explore these aspects in the upcoming parts of this series. And there will be a few surprises.



Author: Andreas Rother

nac.today: New Apostolic Church International



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