Have you seen the pro-life checkbooks? My sister uses these, and as a kid I got a kick out of reading them.
A person is complaining to God, “Why haven’t you sent someone to cure cancer or world hunger?”
God replies, “I did. But you aborted them.”
This is how I feel about our traditional understanding of women’s roles in the church and family. For example, I have often heard oversees missionaries worry about “Timothys.” These are the young men who they hope will take over the ministry one day. Or, American pastors wonder where are the men to step into leadership spots in their congregations?
They ask, “Where are the men? God, why haven’t you sent someone to lead in your church?”
I wonder if God is replying, “I did. But it was a woman.” And, she was overlooked.
The church thrives when it embraces the leadership and gifting of ALL its members.
I consider myself a Reformed Baptist, so I could address God’s sovereignty in this situation. Yes, I believe He is at work regardless of how the church has used or misused gender in His body. Yes, women are ministering to other women, children and as servants; and are contributing in valid, commendable ways. Yes, I believe gender limitations in the Western church have pushed strong, courageous, Spirit-gifted women into the wilds and sparked revival in India, China, Africa, Ecuador and elsewhere. He WILL use his body, even when we try to amputate parts. God will do his work. I believe this.
But, what more could the church do if it doubled its leadership team? Korea is home to the world’s largest church. In the book, Why Not Women?, the pastor of this uber-church answers the question of what is key to the success of his church?
I told them to release their women, but they insist that’s not the problem. They ask me “What’s the key to your church?” I tell them again, “release your women…”
No wonder some churches are hurting for godly leadership. They are ignoring half (and sometimes more than half!) the Christians the spirit has gifted to teach and lead his congregation.
Freeing women from gender constraints is right.
I know it bugs some people when I compare gender issues with slavery. (Ha! my husband won’t even let me bring it up in argument.) BUT, I’m gonna anyway. And this is why. I insist, the core principle is the same.
In Christ, all people are one. If that is the heavenly reality, why on earth do we make such a fuss over people born with certain unchangeables (skin color, body parts, or geographical birthplaces)? Even though the Bible affirms the culture of slavery (in parts), we realize slavery is wrong. Even though the Bible affirms the culture of patriarchy (in parts), we need to follow suit and renounce gender discrimination in God’s family. Freeing women from gender constraints, as the church worked to free slaves and include Gentiles without conversion to Judaism, is right. As Christians, that is our duty. To do right.
A duet of man and woman is God’s ideal.
God tells us right from the start that man alone is not good. Men partnering with women – are good! Men and women working together, even in the highest ranks, bring a balance that is needed to care for ALL of God’s flock.
What’s to be gained by erasing gender roles in the Christian community? A thriving, righteous and complete church of God.
5 thoughts on “What’s to be gained by erasing gender roles?”
Kay, after reading your blogs, I do take your thoughts and consider them when studying God’s Word. I just can’t get past some basic premises, though.
There ARE Bible restrictions placed on women who would serve in a church. Thanks to the cross, that will never mean we are less capable of understanding God’s Word or being led by the Spirit as women or as slaves or as Gentiles. In that, we are equal to all mankind.
You said “men and women working together, even in the highest ranks” – is a good thing. So the bottom line is that you would see women in authority within the church equal to men, right? I can respect your argument that the church is missing valuable partners in AUTHORITATIVE ministry, but I’m not convinced from Scripture that women have to be in authority to solve the church’s problems. There has to be a lot of revisionist thinking to the Word – always dangerous – to say God COMMANDS women and men equal in authority within the church. Equal in discernment and understanding of God’s Word, yes. Just not equal in authority and leadership.
Where have I said…”to say God COMMANDS women and men equal in authority within the church?” I have not. Because I do not believe God commands anyone to have authority in his kingdom.
Authority is where we differ. This definition may be helpful. Authority is the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.
I do not believe Jesus taught that his followers should be authorities (in fact, he forbade it), but servants. The first shall be last. “Those who sit at Jesus’ right and left hand, according to Jesus, will not be at the top of a hierarchy, taking authority over others. They will be at the bottom, lifting up others.” Kristen Rosser. In Matthew 18, the disciples ask Jesus, “Who is at the top?” Jesus’ reply? A child. In John 13 , Jesus tells his disciples to copy his behavior of acting as a slave washing feet. “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Do we think this is just symbolic? Individuals hold no authority over other individuals in the spiritual realm – that is a distortion of Jesus’ teaching. Matthew 28, Jesus says he has all authority. It is because of HIS authority, we are to make disciples.
Erase this false idea of the people in the church holding authority, and the gender problem of “women in authority” is erased.
“Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.” – Virginia Woolf
A lot of Christians think women are meant to be mirrors, reflecting, affirming. But a reflection isn’t another person, and you’re still alone.
I was so close to saying this to my uncle when he was lamenting the lack of “godly young men” in his church. Specifically young men, too, because the young women were faithful attendees. At the very least, can’t anyone look to the story of Deborah? Or the story in James where you’re not supposed to bring the person that looks like you to the front of the room?
Stephen is ignorant for dismissing the emancipation angle. It’s in all of feminist literature. And you can dismiss that too, but how nice for him.
While watching Lincoln, I had to laugh when the Congress erupted in chaos when a congressman declared giving slaves racial equality was a slippery slope to women voting and God Forbid! women joining the Senate. We shared a significant look, and the point was taken.
I’ve suggested women leaders to the same man myself.
It’s the White Male that has had historical eminence (lately). It’s odd to dismiss the Male aspect of that and accept the White just as it would be odd to dismiss the White aspect of that and accept the Male. Why would people favoring those who look like them end at the color of their skin? <— rhetorical