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A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

SELK: Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated

An outspoken advocate of of the "ordination" of women, Rev. Matthew Becker, recently published an account of certain conversations within our German sister church, the SELK, on this topic. His report made it sound like the SELK was on the verge of breaking with catholic tradition and Dominical command regarding the ministry. A reader from within the SELK, Rev. Wilhelm Torgerson, asked us to publish his response:

The article bristles with mistakes and unproven assumptions.

1: It was not "a special Synod of the SELK" in Hesse-North. Rather it was

a district convention in SELK. At the end they did not pass a resolution calling

for the introduction of women's ordination. Rather their vote was a personal

response to the presentations made, like "how do you feel about it?"

I know, that's embarrassing enough! But since when do we vote in district

conventions about what doctrine is to be valid in the church at large?

2: It is true that the (majority of) professors in Oberursel is in favour of the

ordination of women; one (Dr. da Silva, the Brazilian) is opposed, another

(Dr. Klän) believes it to be "possible" according to his reading of New

Testament evidence, but he also believes that the Church is at liberty to

decide either way.

3: Absolutely wrong is the assertion that "many of the seminarians" are in favour;

the contrary is true, by far most of the students are opposed -- God be praised.

4: On what factual evidence does Becker base the assertion: "Clear majorities

in the SELK" favour women's ordination? Fact is, the Church in convention has

at least 7 times (in words: seven times!!) rejected the introduction of women's

ordination. Our problem is that the proponents of WO keep coming back to

every pastoral conference and to every general synod.

5: It is right to point out that to change the SELK constitution (including Art. 7)

a 2/3 affirmative vote is needed. Never once has even a simple majority for WO

been achieved -- except recently that odd vote in the district convention in

northern Hesse.

6: Here I want to place my personal opinion, which is shared by many of the

SELK clergy young and old: Should a general synod of the SELK ever get to

a 2/3 vote in favour of WO, that would mean the end of SELK as we know

it! Even many of the proponents know that, they are aware this danger -- and

for that reason even some of them will not vote in favour of WO.

7: Last point -- Becker calls the consultation process on WO "cordial, civil,

evangelical, fraternal and serious". How does he know that? Was he part of

this process -- or did he have some Wikeleaks informant who gave him the

inside lowdown?

The consultation process was (perhaps) necessary, but it was at times diffi-

cult, heart wrenching and extremely time consuming. An east / west divide

became evident in our church. The mission outreach of SELK in Germany

and its confessional witness to the nation almost came to a standstill --

because we were so caught up in discussing internal church problems.

Relationships have suffered; friendships broke down. All because the WO

proponents held on to the issue like a dog biting his bone.

My conclusion: The church at large and many members in the parishes are

just fed up and sick and tired of what in most congregations is a non-issue.

Pr. H. R.87 Comments