Gnosis, your appraoch is reduced to two points:
You’ve dismissed the passages of Scripture which talk about the bishop, priest or deacon’s necessity of being male as nothing more than a patriarchial bias.
You’re conflating the passages of Scripture which note that all may partake in the Eucharist with all who may serve in the Church
- On the one hand, you’ve dismissed the passages of Scripture (such as those from 1 Timothy Chapter 3 for example – which do say that these people of position must be male) as nothing more than a patriarchial bias. It’s not. These are instructions from the Holy Spirit via the Apostle Paul.
Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)
He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
In the same way, their wives are to be women worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.
A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well. Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
The Scriptures have developed three distinct roles of Church hierarchy.
At the highest level, we have the Bishops (episkopos). The Bible refers to them in Acts 1:20, Acts 20:28, Philippians 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-2, Titus 1:7 and 1 Peter 2:25. The Bishops are priests with special responsibility and can be traced back to the original apostles.
Next we have priests or elders (presbyteros). They are referred to in Acts 15:2-6, Acts 21:18, Hebrews 11:2, 1 Peter 5:1 and 1 Tim 5:17.
Deacons (diakonos) are the third level and the Bible mentions them in 1 Cor 3:5, Phil 1:1, 1 Thess 3:2, and 1 Tim 3:8-13.
- On the other hand, you’re conflating the passages of Scripture which note that all may partake in the Eucharist with all who may serve in the Church as bishops, preists and deacons.
Whereas before, under the Mosaic law, the women were excluded to the ‘women’s court’ during cerain aspects of worship, now, under the Covenant of Christ, all people may participate in the Eucharist so long as they are baptised and confirmed in the faith.
[quote=1 Corinthians 12:13]For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.
[quote=Galatians 3:26-29]You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
As Dave Armstrong points out, Protestants, following Luther, cite 1 Peter 2:5, 9 (see also Revelation 1:6) to prove that all Christians are priests. But this does not exclude a specially ordained, sacramental priesthood-- since St. Peter was reflecting the language of Exodus 19:6, where the Jews were described in this fashion.
Since the Jews had a separate Levitical priesthood, by analogy 1 Peter 2:9 cannot logically exclude a New Testament ordained priesthood. These texts are concerned with priestly holiness, as opposed to priestly function.
The universal sense, for instance, never refers to the Eucharist or to the sacraments. Every Christian is a priest in terms of offering the sacrifices of prayer (Heb 13:15), almsgiving (Heb 13:16), and faith in Jesus (Phil 2:17).