So let’s start this post off with full disclosure. I was pissed. Actually, I think I still am!
Can I say that on a Christian blog?
I was in my Theology Class on last Thursday, and Women in Ministry came up again. I guess I had endured one too many male-dominant conversations that would render women silent in the church forever. I knew that the majority of the students, male and female would disagree with me. Yet being the man I am,
I do not believe that the bible forbids a woman from any other expression of ministry than that of the Pastor/Elder. Yes, that means that I hold that a qualified woman can preach from the pulpit, to men and all.
This, of course, started an uproar in class. Even the female facilitator tried to convince me that a woman, Biblically, should not teach men. She went on to explain that she doesn’t teach, she facilitates. Does a female facilitator not have authority over a male student? She certainly lets us know when we can speak and or need to move the discussion along. What’s wrong with that?
In my opinion, she is great at what she does, and every now and again she even dispenses these nuggets of knowledge. I dare not call it teaching lest she be fired, I suppose.
Anyway, after 4o years a local church has decided to allow women to preach and I say Amen and Amen again.
Elders of Irving Bible Church spent 18 months studying the question of women in ministry, including whether women should be allowed to preach. Their key conclusions:
•The accounts of creation and the fall (Genesis 1-3) reveal a fundamental equality between men and women.
•Women exercised significant ministry roles of teaching and leading with God’s blessing in both Old and New Testaments.
•Though the role of women was historically limited, the progress of revelation indicates an ethic in progress leading to full freedom for women to exercise their giftedness in the local church.
•Key New Testament passages restricting women’s roles were culturally and historically specific, not universal principles for all time and places.
•Though women are free to use all of their giftedness in teaching and leading in the church, the role of elder seems to be biblically relegated to men.
As a man I say this with all sincerity. The type of restrictions that some put on women totally disgust me. It turns my stomach and causes the same kind of righteous indignation that rises in me whenever I see gross injustice, like that of slavery.
I have seen men read from “The Daily Word,” (mess that up), and call it preaching. I have also been challenged by some incredible, well-prepared, gifted, and down-right talented female preachers.
To say that there is nothing that we (the church) can learn from a woman simply because of her sex is frightening to me. And look, I understand that men and women are different. So a man is to be the head of the household. I agree and I am. Does that mean that I can never learn from my wife? That I never have to submit to my wife? Does that mean that my 13 year-old son gets to be superior to my wife because he has a penis?
Get a grip!
Okay, I told you I was angry. I shall now return to my irenic, peace-loving self. Well until a fundamentalist, (whom I will love anyway), tries to get on here and quote:
1 Timothy 2:12, where the Apostle Paul says, “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
I will then ask for the following.
- Exegetical Statements (What did it mean then) to include the historical, grammatical, contextual and literary interpretations.
- The Theological Statement (The eternal principle extracted since this was, clearly, not written to us) and
- The Homiletical Statement (How exactly does it apply to us today?)
Finally, I will ask if you are in a position of authority. By that I mean a Senior Pastor or Elder. Just being a man doesn’t cut it here. I ask this because I keep wondering, how did so many men get the authority to forbid women in the church to do anything, if they themselves are not in a position of authority?
As always your comments are welcome.