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July 1972 · Vol. 1 No. 3 · pp. 101–2 

Book Review

The Ministry and the Ministry of Women

Peter Brunner. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 1971. 39 pages.

Reviewed by Vern Ratzlaff

Brunner presents a forceful exegesis of key Pauline texts (1 Tim. 2:11-15 and 1 Cor. 14:33-36), an exegesis informed by basic Lutheran {102} systematic theology drawing heavily on the concept of the Order of Creation. He thus sees the relation of men and women in a kephalestructure, a head-position ordering. For Brunner, “the order that prevails between men and women is not one that has developed in the course of history; it was established by God from the beginning” (p. 25); the present order is a continuation of Genesis 2. Also, because of the fall which focused on the responsibility of woman, another element of judgment as reflected in “subordination” enters in. The final “obviation” of this relation is eschatological, although “the reception of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. . .begin to transform” the “basic creaturely elements” (p. 29). These relations are “in effect in the Christian church until the Last judgment” (p. 31). It is in this way (i.e. the Order of Creation) that Brunner distinguishes between Paul’s words about women praying with heads covered, and positions of authority: the former is a sociological statement, the latter a theological (p. 24).

Brunner concludes with a listing of functions of men and of women in congregational ministries (women may serve as teachers of theology, may baptize and dispense the cup at the Lord’s Supper; only men may ordain or be ordained).

The booklet concludes with fifteen questions focusing on the theological issues discussed. Although The Ministry is written from strong Lutheran presuppositions, the careful attention to scripture makes it an excellent guide for use in Sunday School electives and other study sessions where the ministry of the church and the biblical view of women’s ministries are considered.

P.S. Did you know that about 200 of the ordained ministers in the Dutch Mennonite church are women?

Vern Ratzlaff
Bible College

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