Stephen Cottrell Gives a Masterclass in Eisegesis

This is stunning:


Eisegesis (from Greek εἰς "into" as opposed to exegesis from ἐξηγεῖσθαι "to lead out") is the process of interpreting a text or portion of text in such a way that it introduces one's own presuppositions, agendas, and/or biases into and onto it. The act is often used to "prove" a pre-held point of concern to the reader and to provide him or her with confirmation bias in accordance with his or her pre-held agenda. Eisegesis is best understood when contrasted with exegesis. While exegesis draws out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discoverable meaning of its author, eisegesis occurs when a reader imposes his or her interpretation into and onto the text. As a result, exegesis tends to be objective when employed effectively while eisegesis is regarded as highly subjective.

Stephen makes his argument using Gal 3:28, which, as I noted yesterday, seems to be considered Biblical basis for the case for women bishops and priests, being as it says there is neither male or female as "you are all one in Christ."

Galatians is one of my favourite Pauline Epistles. I would say it is easy to read it right through; why not have a go? This was the first thing I was told to do when studying Paul, because it is A LETTER. It is meant to be read from beginning to end. What's most amusing about Galatians is that when you read it this way, you get a sense of just how furious Paul is when writing to the Galatians. You can almost feel sorry for them!

Galatians addresses the question of whether Christians were obligated to follow Mosaic Law. After an introductory address, the apostle defends his apostolic authority (1:11–19; 2:1–14). Chapters 2, 3, and 4 show the influence of the Judaisers in destroying the very essence of the Gospel. Chapter 3 exhorts the Galatian believers to stand fast in the faith as it is in Jesus, and to abound in the fruit of the Spirit. Chapter 4 then concludes with a summary of the topics discussed and with the benediction. It has nothing to do with Orders in the Church. Paul is in fact well known to have an opinion on this issue for example Paul's Letter to Timothy, 2:12, as a counter text: "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence." Again, read in isolation this sounds appalling, but you need to understand the context. See how it works?

Stephen says it has taken 'the church a long while to figure out what it means'. Not really Stephen, you can read the commentaries of the early Church Fathers for example. Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Epiphanius, John Chrysostom, and Augustine all wrote that the ordination of women was impossible and the Council of Laodicea (363-364 A.D.) specifically prohibited ordaining women to the Presbyterate. So that's that one cleared up then.

The trouble with this is that we should be looking toward unity, not division. Tanya Marlow writes very movingly about the pain of the very dilemma, how she sees the arguments from both sides, but ultimately is more concerned about unity than division. Meanwhile, Steve Ray presents a shocking vision of the only direction this can be leading the CofE in.

The compromise measure that Stephen Cottrell talks about is surely a red herring? If the CofE takes this step, it reveals its continued direction, and that is away from orthodoxy. Away from Rome and away from St. Peter. It reveals its relativist agenda, constantly tossed about on the sea of modern opinion, the CofE consistently chooses the populist position out of fear of appearing 'out of touch' or 'out of date'. What consideration for objective truth can there be in this approach?

Look at 1 Cor 7:10-12:

To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.
To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 

There is a clear difference here between what Paul has received from the Lord and what he develops from that teaching. What he has received from the Lord he cannot alter. But then he takes what the Lord taught and applies it to a new situation, authentically, without changing the sense of it. Thus it is with the Church in regard to this teaching regarding priests and bishops. We are equal, but sexually differentiated  This differentiation is something to be treasured. It serves no purpose to try and somehow amalgamate or homogenise the two sexes and make them the same in the name of equality.

By nature of our union with Christ through Baptism, we all share the triple mission of priest-prophet and king. But ordination is something different by merit of the necessity of personae Christi and the sacramental reality of the blessed sacrament if nothing else.

The Church does not have the authority to ordain women. A bishop can lay hands on them and everything, but it would have no effect. They would not be able to confect the Eucharist, perform marriages, absolve sins, or perform any of the roles of a priest. It's as simple as that.

It's fun to think about why, but if, as a Catholic, you believe in Bible, tradition and reason, and that the Church was founded by God and thus cannot teach error. And since she has taught that only men can be ordained, that should be enough for you.

I finish thinking of Jesus' priestly prayer in John 17 and with this:
The union of Christians cannot be fostered otherwise than by promoting the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ, which in the past they so unfortunately abandoned; return, we say to the one true Church of Christ which is plainly visible to all and which by the will of her Founder forever remains what He Himself destined her to be for the common salvation of men. ...No one is in the Church of Christ, and no one remains in it, unless he acknowledges and accepts with obedience the authority and power of Peter and his legitimate successors... Therefore, to this apostolic See, founded in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the apostles, consecrated with their blood, to this See which is the `root and matrix of the Catholic Church', may our dissident sons return; let them do so, not with the thought and hope that `the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth', will sacrifice the integrity of the faith, but, on the contrary, with the intention of submitting to her authority and government..." Pope Pius XI: 1927 Encyclical Letter Mortalium animos.
Ultimately the issue isn't about what the synod decides today, it is about communion with Peter: "ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, ibi Deus", (where Peter is there is the Church and there is God).


Comments

  1. How does he get from both Jews and Greeks can be both Christians, to slavery is wrong, to women should be ordained priests? (However, having ordained women as priests I can't see that they have a leg to stand on in not ordaining women as bishops.)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for your comment. Yes, it is rather a stretch isn't it?

    ReplyDelete

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