Women’s Ordination Debates in Anglicanism: The 2017 ACNA Report and the 2003 AMIA Report

I became an “egalitarian” in college, before I became an Anglican in seminary.

It’s taken some time for me to get used to the different contours of the women’s ordination debate within Anglicanism. Growing up, the debate was all about particular Bible verses and whether or not women could teach and preach. However, in Anglicanism, although those same questions/arguments are present, I hear much more about whether or not women can administer the sacraments as priests.

Over at Anglican Pastor, where I’m the Managing Editor, we recently published a three-part interview with Rev. Tish Harrison Warren, who is a priest in the Anglican Church in North America [ACNA].

In part 2 of the interview, Tish answers some questions about women’s ordination.

This prompted some negative reactions from some of our readers, and it’s caused me to revisit the 2017 ACNA Holy Orders Task Force Report as a starting point for coming to grips with the specifically Anglican debates about women’s ordination.

I still think that the ACNA Report is a fine starting point for this purpose. However, I’m disappointed that, in the “Evangelical” portion of Section 4: Arguments For and Against, the ACNA Report relies heavily upon this 2003 Anglican Mission in America [AMIA] Report—so much so, in fact, that the ACNA Report simply quotes at length from the AMIA Report when it comes to the exegesis of specific biblical texts.

(See pages 269–74 of the ACNA Report and pages 37–105 of the AMIA Report to see what I mean.)

Nothing against the careful work shown in the 2003 AMIA Report, but it’s odd to me that the ACNA Report relies so heavily on a document that it categorizes underneath the “Books not in favor of women’s ordination” section in its Bibliography for Further Study. (See pages 303–305 of the ACNA Report.)

Perhaps the ACNA Report’s conclusion that “The result is a ‘text jam.’” is perfectly justified, but I would have liked to see a little bit more direct exegetical work in this section of the ACNA document!


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