Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jim Packer: can women teach in mixed congregations

"Teaching, in other words, is a different exercise today from what it was in
Paul’s day. I think it is an open question whether in our day Paul would
have forbidden a woman to teach from the Bible. It is an open question
whether he would have regarded what happened to Eve in the Garden of
Eden as sufficient reason for forbidding a woman to teach from the Bible.
When you teach from the Bible, in any situation at all, what you are saying
to people is, “Look, I am trying to tell you what it says. I speak as to wise
men and women. You have your Bibles. You follow along. You judge
what I say.” No claim to personal authority with regard to the substance of
the message is being made at all. It seems to me that this significant
difference between teaching then and teaching now does, in fact, mean
that the prohibition on women preaching and teaching need not apply."
J. I. Packer

Jim is a honorary canon at St Andrew Cathedral Sydney.

Now, I've heard at least one member of that church say that if anyone says that women can teach, they are a false teacher, a heretic, and should not even be eaten with, they deny the authority of the scriptures, are misleading the church etc etc.
He has come under quite an attack in Canada recently.
So I was really happy to see this affirmation of Jim Packer by ACL president Mark Thompson

The ACL notes with alarm the Bishop of New Westminster’s threat to revoke Professor J I Packer’s ‘spiritual authority as a minister of Word and Sacraments’.

Professor Packer, one of the leading Christian voices of the twentieth century, is amongst those who have voted to stand with authentic and orthodox Anglicans rather than those who have undermined biblical truth over many decades and most recently by their innovations regarding homosexual practice. As one of these he has now become a target for revisionist aggression. Once again the intolerance and anti-liberal heart of liberal Christianity has been exposed.

Professor Packer continues to be held in the highest regard by all those who seek to live in faith and obedience to the Scriptures as the written word of God. As a disciple of Jesus Christ he has provided a remarkable example of faithfulness and steadfastness for more than fifty years. We in the ACL assure him of our love, support, and continued prayer for him at this difficult time.

This latest incident highlights what has been happening to authentic and orthodox Anglican men and women in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom in the past few years. Ministers have been deprived, congregations have been forced to leave their buildings, law suits have been instigated and campaigns of misinformation have been launched in the religious and secular press. Others have simply been threatened with these things and more in an attempt to silence them.

This use of coercion by revisionist bishops has not been publicly addressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury or by those who champion the so-called ‘Windsor Process’. Their silence is deafening and shameful. In the light of this it is little wonder that so many of us have very little confidence in this process or in the resolve of those behind it to focus on the most important issues.

We look to the Lord of heaven and earth, who is more than able to protect his people and vindicate his own word. If even the gates of hell will not prevail against Christ’s church we need not fear ecclesiastical bully-boy tactics.

The ACL also give thanks to God for those who have begun to act to bring about genuine reformation and a renewed vision for the gospel mission in world Anglicanism and eagerly anticipate much good from the forthcoming Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem.

Mark D Thompson
Anglican Church League

March 2, 2008.


Mike Bull said...

Unbelievable what goes on behind the scenes. Also from people who cry out for tolerance when in the minority, then use the system to crush opposition when they get into power.

Sadly, Packer's view on women teaching men is a little crack that leads to the "gaping chasm" issue he has bravely countered. He's a victim of the non-symbolic view of creation we are currently suckered with. Should get into some Jordan to sort him out on that issue:

byron smith said...

Professor Packer continues to be held in the highest regard by all those who seek to live in faith and obedience to the Scriptures as the written word of God.
That's quite a claim. Presumably, some of those in this category haven't heard of Packer. Does this claim (taken at face value) amount to making Packer a canon not just of St Andrew's but of true Christianity? But I'm fairly sure Mark Thompson's hyperbole is just a sign of his frustration.

Mike B: do you have some examples of what you're talking about when you say "use the system to crush opposition when they get into power"? I'm not disputing this claim, but am interested in your experience.

Mike Bull said...

I read an article about the strategies used by gay clergy a year or so ago. They begged for tolerance, then, once tolerated, were completely intolerant of those who refused to fellowship with them. They used their denomination's legal system to convict and sentence the opposition---the same legal system they would have been sentenced under. Wish I could remember more details.

Hey - my book's out:

It's on as well. I'd be happy to send you a review copy.

byron smith said...

Congrats on your book coming out. What kind of review were you hoping for? (blog, Amazon, other?)

Mike Bull said...


Any of those would be great. And no pressure if you decide it's not for you once you see it.

You can send me your postal address through this link: