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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 women (5)


An Interview with Frank Rose, Part 2

Here, in the second section, Frank and Alanna discuss the limited role of women in the church, which is a potential stumbling block for newcomers. Frank then shares two scenarios that the Theological School could take to enrollment. Each attracts a different student body to dramatically different ends. Where does the church want to go? Read the first part here. -Editor

F: So what’s another question you might have?

A: Well, one thing I’ve been thinking about is gender equality. I went to two different weddings recently. One was a Lutheran service led by a young female minister, who was my age, and another was a Jewish wedding led by a female Rabbi. I talked at both places to people about the structure of their churches, asking when women were welcomed into those positions and how that took place. The responses I got from each were similar - the shift took place in the 1970s and 80s. It felt odd to see that the church that I identify with is thirty or more years behind where I see other churches. I realized that if I brought someone new to the church it would be hard for me to explain to them why a woman couldn’t be a minister.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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