In the near future, it will be possible for women to be ordained to ministry in the New Apostolic Church. This announcement was made today by the international Church leader in a globally transmitted video address.
“On the basis of gender equivalence and equality” it is possible to entrust women with ministerial authority, said Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider. This applies to all levels of ministry: Deacon, Priest, and Apostle. In consideration of global cultural differences, the following also applies: “The associated ministerial mandate will be issued wherever it is accepted by society and the congregation.”
“It was extensive reflection on ministry from the perspective of faith that has led us to this decision,” explained the Church leader. This began in 2014 with questions such as: “What is a ministry?”, “What happens during the ordination?”, and “How does our Church configure its leadership functions?” The Church’s leading decision-making body put the corresponding regulations into effect on Pentecost 2019.
Once the questions of “what” and “how” had been answered, the next matter up for debate was the question of “who”. Traditionally, the New Apostolic Church has only ordained men. However, there was no doctrinal justification for this in any of our literature, said the Chief Apostle. “Only a proper evaluation of the biblical evidence can give us the answer” to this theological question.
The video address mentions the following results of this extensive biblical analysis:
- man and woman are equally created in the image of God. They are of the same value and dignity and are equally responsible before God.
- neither the words nor the deeds of Jesus provide a clear reason for acting contrary to the will of God as expressed in the creation.
- individual negative statements found in some New Testament letters concerning the active participation of women in divine service and the congregation do not constitute sufficient grounds for excluding women from ministry.
“It is now the responsibility of the apostolate to make a decision about the future of the Church.” said the Church leader in reference to the Apostles’ duty to order congregational life. “We have deliberated on all these questions very intensively and in great detail in the District Apostle Meeting, and have discussed the answers with all the Apostles.”
The regulations surrounding the ordination of women will enter into effect on 1 January 2023. However, this does not mean that “women need to be ordained into ministry everywhere immediately.” After all, the following “applies equally to both women and men: it is God who designates a person to ministry, not the person.” This also rules out any sort of quota regulations. “God’s will is the deciding factor, not human will.”
“I am well aware that this decision marks a significant shift in our tradition,” pointed out Chief Apostle Schneider. “And it is also clear to me that you will still have many questions now. We will answer all your questions: in our media, in training courses, or in dialogue.”
20 September 2022