FT. WORTH, TEXAS: Former Episcopal Woman Priest Now Opposes Women's Ordination
The priesthood of women is informed by feminism and Process Theology, not by Scripture or sacred history, says American anthropologist
By David W. Virtue in Ft. Worth
July 20, 2015
Catholic Anglicans have a special role to play in the revitalization of Anglicanism worldwide. "We have a responsibility to oppose feminism, process theology, reductionism, fundamentalism, and iconoclasm," said Alice Linsley, anthropology lecturer and speaker to 350 clergy and laity from around the world at the first International Catholic Congress for Anglicans (ICCA), entitled One Church, One Faith, One Lord.
"Fundamentalist readings of sacred texts such as the Torah, the New Testament, or the Quran tend to result in iconoclasm. In the past year we have seen tragic examples of this with Islamic fundamentalist smashing statues and destroying icons in Iraq and Syria," added Linsley, a former Episcopal priest who renounced her orders.
The Kentucky-based scholar has written extensively on the Book of Genesis and is the author of blogs like JustGenesis (http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com/), Biblical Anthropology (http://biblicalanthropology.blogspot.com/), and Ethics Forum (http://college-ethics.blogspot.com/). She has also taught World Religions, Philosophy, and Ethics at Midway College, Midway, Kentucky. She believes Anglican Catholics are duty-bound to stand at the crossroads and direct others to the ancient paths.
Her cue comes from the Prophet Jeremiah, "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls." (Jer. 6:16) But the people said, "We will not walk in it." In refusing to walk in the ancient paths, people have become lost. The disorientation is so great that they no longer know good from evil, truth from falsehood. They have no idea how far they have wandered from their Creator's boundless love."
Linsley claimed the one threat to this is the temptation to create a designer church or to seek to reproduce the late great Episcopal Church. "No new ground can be won by facing backward. We have entered upon a great adventure as pioneers on a new frontier."
"There must be no more draining away of Anglican Traditionalists to the Ordinariate. Catholicity is salt that preserves and enhances our Anglican flavor. More catholic Anglicans are needed, though our perspective is often misunderstood and not always welcome.
"Anglican Traditionalists have been telling the truth about the Gospel and the priesthood because you care for people and you love the Church.
"I for one, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am living proof that your witness bears fruit," said Linsley who was ordained a priest at the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, PA, a flagship Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Pennsylvania. She later renounced her orders.
She observed that the wreckage of women's ordination can be seen in the same diocese that put forward Barbara Harris, the first African American female bishop; Geralyn Wolf, the first female bishop to have converted from Judaism; and Mary Glasspool, the first partnered lesbian bishop. "I knew them all...their perspectives on the priesthood were informed by feminism and Process Theology. Our paths diverged dramatically once I began to consider questions about the origin and nature of the priesthood from the perspective of anthropology."
Linsley noted her sympathies were always with the Anglican Traditionalists, even as a priest. "In my early years I didn't understand how my being at the altar caused confusion, nor did I recognize the inherent dangers of this innovation.
"Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is our Great High Priest. The Church is His bride. One day there will be a great wedding feast and our Lord and King will then be enthroned forever and His Queen, the Church, will also be exalted. Christ is the head of the Church. He is kephalē, the master and the husband in relation to the Church. To speak of Jesus Christ and the Church in any other terms is to set forth an errant Christology. We do so when we place females at the altar. If that is not explicit enough, we should remember that the Greek word ke-phalē is related to the Greek word phallōs, a reference to the male reproductive organ."
During her six years in the Antiochian Orthodox Church, Lindsley came to appreciate the power of images. "To those who ask me about women's ordination, I pose this question: 'Were we to contemplate the Blessed Mother of Christ and the Incarnation, would we place before our eyes a masculine image? Why then would we place before us a feminine image in the contemplation of Christ our Great High Priest giving Himself to us and for us?'"
ADORATION OR VENERATION
"As Anglicans in the Catholic Faith, we recognize the distinction between adoration as worship and veneration as giving honor where honor is due, especially to the Blessed Theotokos. However, this distinction is not widely recognized among Protestants who have a tendency to iconoclasm. Yet they understand the value of images in social media, in stained glass, in the image of the Cross, and in textbooks. Veneration is something that Anglicans must learn if we are to experience the fullness of the communion of saints. Further, we will be blessed in showing the proper honor to the Blessed Woman of Genesis 3:15, the Mother of Christ our God."
Linsley wondered if some Anglicans accept women at the altar as a sort of compensation for the lack of female imagery in the churches. "Would this be corrected were Anglican churches to have a central icon of the Blessed Theotokos, as is done in the Orthodox churches? What if we too were to celebrate the 'holy myhrr-bearing women' who were the first witnesses to the Resurrection? Have the women of our parishes heard that the Bible is essentially the story of the Woman who would conceive and bring forth the Seed who would crush the serpent's head? Are they aware that the Prayer of Humble Access alludes to a woman who Christ commended for her faith?"
ALL MALE PRIESTHOOD
"Catholic Anglicans uphold the faith once delivered, and the integrity of the all-male priesthood. We value the historic liturgical tradition of the Anglican Way," added Linsley. "We understand that Anglican orders are valid and of greater antiquity than generally recognized. The apostolic order of priests was already established in Britain by 44 A.D and there is much archaeological, anthropological and linguistic evidence linking its founding to the Christ-following members of the Sanhedrin who alone were qualified to ordain priests.
"Catholic Anglicans are not afraid to face reality and speak against the lies of our time." She cited Bishop Paul Hewett, SSC, third bishop of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, who said this; "It is an illusion to believe that same sex marriage or ordination of women or abortion or divorce on demand can in any way promote justice or freedom or equality for victim groups. Illusion, as with addictive behaviors, solves nothing, but is in fact a slippery slope to infinite unraveling, infinite unreality, infinite unlife, and ever less being."
"Our primary obligation is to uphold and defend the whole of that sacred deposit and sacred order that has been delivered to us by our faithful ancestors who gave their lives, often as martyrs, to preserve the unity of the Church in Truth," Linsley explained.
"Catholic Anglicans have a special role to play in the revitalization of Anglicanism worldwide. We have a responsibility to oppose feminism, process theology, reductionism, fundamentalism, and iconoclasm. Fundamentalist readings of sacred texts such as the Torah, the New Testament, or the Quran tend to result in iconoclasm. In the past year we have seen tragic examples of this with Islamic fundamentalist smashing statues and destroying icons in Iraq and Syria.
"Anglican Catholics are duty-bound to stand at the crossroads and direct others to the ancient paths. In refusing to walk in the ancient paths, people have become lost. The disorientation is so great that they no longer know good from evil, truth from falsehood. They have no idea how far they have wandered from their Creator's boundless love.
"If there is one concern that I hope we all share it is that the Anglican Way be God's way; that Anglicans walk along the tried and true paths, and that our Bishops exercise true spiritual authority in leading us. One threat to this is the temptation to create a designer church or to seek to reproduce the late great Episcopal Church. No new ground can be won by facing backward. We have entered upon a great adventure as pioneers on a new frontier."
Linsley pointed to an important principle in anthropological investigation. "That principle states: The more widely dispersed globally a culture trait, a practice or a belief, the older it is. So how old is Messianic expectation? It was already well established among the widely dispersed ruler-priests by 3500 B.C. This means that the core of our Christian Faith is the oldest known religion in the world."
NO GENDER CONTINUUM
"God did not create a gender continuum. Male and female is a real distinction.
"God is real. By virtue of our baptism we recognize God's realness as an echo. In our confirmation, we make a mature commitment to our baptismal covenant, and by the laying on of the bishop's hands with prayer, God strengthens the work of the Holy Spirit in us for the daily increase of divine grace in our lives and ministries.
"The echo to which St. Cyril refers confirms absolutely the existence of Christ our God, but it cannot tell us His Nature, for that is a matter of divine revelation and we find that in the Scriptures by which God has superintended the preservation of the oldest known religious hope that the Divine One would come to our aid and deliver us from sin and death."
"Process Theology ruled the day at Lambeth 2008 under the guise of indaba. As an anthropologist I have studied many African cultural practices, and I know that indaba could never work at Lambeth. Indaba pertains to problem resolution in a village where everyone is a blood relative and where the first priority of all involved is the preservation of the oneness of the community. It is quite evident that Lambeth failed to preserve the oneness of the Anglican worldwide community. Certainly right-believing Anglicans were not fooled by the controlled conversations that directed people away from resolution. The 'endless conversation was designed to obfuscate, not clarify, the real issues. The reflections revealed "elasticity" of doctrine, driven by a desire to accommodate secular culture.
"Colin Johnson, Bishop of Toronto, while at Lambeth said that he comes from a community with 'a very large lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual population' and he was determined through Indaba to keep that in the conversation. Frustration was high as it was evident that no progress was being made, despite the window dressing to make it seem that there was progress."
Linsley reported that Egyptian Bishop Mouneer Anis described Lambeth as a "great wall being put up by the revisionists" saying that the Communion's divisions over homosexuality are symptomatic of "a much deeper illness. The Church has become infected with a deadly cancer, and as is often the case with cancer, the disease is not recognized until in the later stages. People just go on as if there were nothing wrong. That is what happened in the Episcopal Church.
"Upon his return from Lambeth, M. Thomas Shaw, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, said that he would continue to ordain gay clergy, and gave the nod to the clergy of his diocese to continue to bless same-sex partnerships. Nothing that happened at Lambeth made him aware of his terminal illness.
"C. S. Lewis reminds us what needs to be done. In God in the Dock, He wrote: "We are to defend Christianity itself -- the faith preached by the apostles, attested by the Martyrs, embodied in the Creeds, expounded by the Fathers. This must be clearly distinguished from the whole of what any one of us may think about God and Man. Each of us has his individual emphasis: each holds, in addition to the Faith, many opinions which seem to him to be consistent with it and true and important. And so perhaps they are. But as apologists it is not our business to defend them. We are defending Christianity; not my religion.
"As the realignment and revitalization of Anglicans worldwide continues there is less stench of death and decay. We find common ground in a permanent virtue: the changeless Truth revealed in Jesus Christ. Through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit we are becoming the fragrance of Christ's resurrection, a testament to the power of the Lord, the Giver of Life, who makes a sick body whole and raises the dead to life."
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