Search this Site

(Enter your email address)


 Subscribe in a reader

You can also subscribe to follow the comments.

Join us on Facebook


New Church Perspective
is an online magazine with essays and other content published weekly. Our features are from a variety of writers dealing with a variety of topics, all celebrating the understanding and application of New Church ideas. For a list of past features by category or title, visit our archive.

Entries in ordination (12)


1. Ramifications of an All-Male Priesthood

Over the next two weeks, Brian Smith and Kristin Coffin offer a dialog-style collaborative piece on the subject of the ordination of women in the General Church. Brian presents arguments in support of an exclusively masculine clergy while Kristin argues for the inclusion of women. The dialog ranges over 5 subtopics as follows:

  1. The ramifications of an all-male priesthood.
  2. Systemic sexism in the Church.
  3. The burden of proof and the status quo.
  4. Doctrinal arguments.
  5. The role and purpose of the clergy.

They have also chosen to ignore material that Swedenborg did not publish himself in order to side-step any additional argument related to the validity of these posthumously published theological works. This is the fourth (set of) essay(s) in the series: Women as Ordained Priests (or Not). -Editor.

Kristin, speaking on the ramifications of an all-male priesthood in the General Church

Before we discuss anything else, I think it’s important to establish that the General Church’s policy of the all-male priesthood comes with some very serious consequences. Among these consequences, I see

Click to read more ...


A Home for Love

Ronnie Schnarr takes the fourth slot in the series on Women as Ordained Priests (or Not). However, acknowledging his current lack of firm conclusion on the subject, Ronnie sidesteps debate and takes a different approach to the subject. He paints a picture which conveys the beautiful blessings we might pursue by rethinking our priorities as a society. -Editor.

First of all, I would like to say that my opinion has not been fully solidified on this topic so I would I hope I wouldn’t be tied down to my opinion, but for the sake of balance I thought it would be useful to make this post. I think the most important thing about this question is the context in which you look at it and here is a context that I would offer for your consideration.

Here is a question for you and a quote to ponder:

How does love come into the world?

Click to read more ...


Women in the Ministry

Joel presents an argument for why women should not be ordained in the General Church. He draws passages from the Writings that support his opinion, while admitting that the writings are absent of a clear position on this issue. This is the third entry in the series: Women as Ordained Priests (or Not). -Editor.

This article addresses the question of whether women should be ordained into the Ministry of the General Church of the New Jerusalem. This can be a very complex and frustrating debate. My own position, that I have come to after much uncertainty, is that it is better to have an all male priesthood. This is based on my understanding of how men and women operate and on the role that the priesthood is to play in the church. My hope is that in this article, I can share with you a little of how I believe that this position is consistent with the truths we are taught in the Word and in the Doctrines.

Click to read more ...


The 21st-Century Debate on Women in the Priesthood Part II: “Side-Notes” and Tradition

Here's part two from Alaina Mobaso. Staying with the theme of the ordination of women, Alaina shifts her focus to zero in on another inconsistency in the defense of an exclusively male clergy. She points to the problem of painting the proponents of change as heavily influenced by cultural forces while at the same time grounding the supposed doctrinal defenses of the status quo in traditional cultural assumptions. Another well written, easy read which provides valuable perspective on the discussion. Find Alaina's first contribution here. This is number two in the series, Women as Ordained Priests (or Not). -Editor.

This summer, I’ve had the privilege of helping my grandparents into a new phase of their lives. Though they grieve to leave the large, beautiful house where my Dad and his sisters grew up, they know the time is right to downsize.

I’ve spent the last few months purging, sorting and packing their belongings. As devout General Church members active in their community, my grandparents have gathered a lifetime of New Church publications, sermons and papers. Through them, I discover Church controversies in the voices of the time.

One clergyman’s paper from many years ago bemoans upheaval, doubt, and emerging challenges to the authority of General Church policy, especially on questions of proper gender roles.

These problems originated in the 1960’s, he says.

Click to read more ...


The 21st-Century Debate on Women in the Priesthood Part I: Dangerous Feelings

Reflecting on the dialogue about women in the ministry heard at the 2011 General Assembly, Alaina highlights the double speech circulating on this issue. While the some of the clergy praise women's sensitivity to feeling as their singular virtue, they silence this perception and prevent it from participating in the formal discussion of women in the priesthood. This is the first essay in our series called: Women as Ordained Priests (or Not). The seoncd essay, also by Alaina, is called Part II: "Side Notes" and Tradition. -Editor.

“The Writings are clear that the priest represents the Lord. The Lord is male. No-where in the Word do we see a ‘Mother God’. Therefore women are biologically not equipped to be priests.”

This, a New Church minister said in a small group discussion at this year’s General Church Assembly, is the “best reason” for denying ordination to women. The body she was born in cannot represent the Lord.

Click to read more ...


New Series - Women as Ordained Priests or Not

Whether or not to ordain women into priestly leadership has been one of the most significant organizational questions facing churches over the last century. In some ways, the movement by now is a mature one in which many churches have already answered the question and drawn lines in the sand. But in other ways, just like in the romantic relationship between the sexes, the balance of role division and mutual respect remains elusive and dynamic.

Though the majority of New Church organizations now make no distinction between the sexes with regard to ordination into the priesthood, several continue to distinguish the role as a uniquely masculine function.

The essays published over the next several weeks give special attention to the General Church of the New Jerusalem as one of the organizations which retains an exclusively male priesthood. It is our hope that the topics of appropriate spiritual leadership and role division between the sexes are universal to all worship groups. Presumably the attention given to the General Church as a case study will have relevance and interest even to those in other traditions and organizations.

Certainly these topics are likely to hit readers at a gut level and raise deep emotional responses. Please join the conversation and add your perspectives. But use this as an opportunity to exercise and develop your ability to listen. Allow for the possibility that other people are sincere and well intentioned. You can remind yourself of our comment guidelines. Enjoy the series!

Looking for even more on the topic? We've compiled a collection of additional papers and studies.

Entries in the Series:

1. The 21st-Century Debate on Women in the Priesthood Part I: Dangerous Feelings by Alaina Mobaso.

2. The 21st-Century Debate on Women in the Priesthood Part II: “Side-Notes” and Tradition by Alaina Mobaso.

3. Women in the Ministry by Joel Glenn.

4. A Home for Love by Ronnie Schnarr.

5. A Dialog about the Ordination of Women in the General Church by Kristin Coffin and Brian Smith. PART: 1 2 3 4 5

Page 1 2