Women, Sermons and Sydney Anglicans
I've written in the past about the distinction I see between teaching with a little "t", which refers to biblical explanation and is urged upon all believers in Paul's general letters, and teaching with a big "T", which refers to the definition of doctrine for the whole church in defence of the apostolic tradition, and is restricted to qualified male leaders in the pastoral letters. A certain amount of scepticism greeted my initial article
- which is as it should be, when new proposals are made - and I thought that I was out on a limb somewhat. Then I came across John Dickson's Hearing Her Voice
, and noticed the similarities between us. Only this morning, however, I found an even more intriguing reference on John's blog
, and was fascinated. It turns out that theologians from the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, including Peter Jensen, Peter O'Brien and Paul Barnett, had made the following argument thirty years ago. (This is particularly interesting in light of the fact that it is the Sydney Anglicans who are now among the foremost defenders of the idea that only men can give sermons, and among the foremost critics of Dickson's own work, not to mention the fact the authors I have mentioned have impeccable conservative evangelical credentials.) This is from a document called Ordination of Women to the Priesthood of the Anglican Church
, produced by the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney in 1984:
Prophecy, as we have seen, always depends on a direct revelation of God, speaking to specific needs of the moment. Teaching, however, is often an exposition or application of Scripture (Acts 15:35; 18:11, 25; Rom. 2:20, 21; Col. 3:16; Heb. 5:12) or an explanation and reiteration of apostolic injunctions (1 Cor. 4:17; Rom. 16:17; 2 Thess. 2:15; 2 Timothy 2:2; 3:10). In the Pastoral Epistles, teaching appears to be an authoritative function concerned with the faithful transmission of apostolic doctrine or tradition and committed to men specially chosen (e.g. 2 Timothy 1:13-14; 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; 5:17; Titus 1:9). It is within this context that the specific prohibition of 1 Timothy 2:12 must be understood.