Role Reversals by James A. Altena


Role Reversals

Sex, Women's Ordination & the Rejection of Hierarchy & Equality

Part I: Fundamental Theological Principles

Is there an irreducible theological connection between women's ordination and ethical normalization of homosexuality? Surprisingly, few attempts have been made to ground arguments here on fundamental theological principles, rather than on empirical evidence and intuition. Consequently, much of the controversy over women's ordination, including its possible relation to sodomy, exists precisely because many Christians do not start from such fundamentals, but instead short-circuit the process of theological reflection by starting at some point further down the line, with consequent errors in their reasoning. The issue can only be addressed by starting from often unarticulated, and hence unexamined, root assumptions, ultimately grounded in how we think about the very being of God, the Trinity, the Incarnation, and our resulting theological anthropology.

Every theological question ultimately is rooted in our received understanding from divine revelation of the nature and being of God himself. One of the most important and unique contributions of Judaism and Christianity, not found previously either in other religions or among ancient philosophers, is the identification of God with Being (existence) itself—the "I AM WHO I AM" (Ex. 3:14)—rather than as a being who merely exists among other existent things. In other words, existence is not a property or predicate of God as it is of created beings; rather, God is uncreated and eternal being, perfect, complete and self-sufficient.


James A. Altena is the associate editor of Fanfare magazine, a comprehensive bimonthly periodical for reviews of classical music recordings. He is a member of All Saints Episcopal Church in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

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