I’ve been thinking a lot about women in ministry over the past few days, mainly because I’ve just read a chapter in Dan Kimball’s They Like Jesus But Not The Church called The Church Is Dominated By Males And Oppresses Females.Â This was a fantastic chapter to read, Dan came at it from a really interesting angle.Â Today I was visiting Scot McKnight’s blog, and read his post called Women in Ministry.Â There are some really interesting comments there, and I added my own, which I’ve copied below.Â It was a little longer than it should have been, and maybe I went off tangent a bit, but hey!
I think there are some interesting comments on this post, and equally there will be a few more interesting ones to come! Iâ€™ve been thinking about women in ministry for a while now. It does say in the bible that men and women were created in the image of God, which indicates that God is both masculine and feminine. Men and women complement each other, therefore we are incomplete without each other. My husband is a church pastor, and for many years served at a church where there were only male elders. Quite often heâ€™d return from meetings, and whilst talking about the evening Iâ€™d say to him â€œwell didnâ€™t you think of doing â€¦â€ or â€œhave you all discussed approaching the issue this wayâ€ and heâ€™d reply â€œnoâ€. Inside I knew that if a woman was on that eldership team, she would have looked at issues from a different perspective to the men, and therefore made their discussions complete. Throughout the bible we read of feminine traits such as grace, mercy, tenderness, caring, affectionate, patience and beauty. This complement more masculine traits of strength, assertiveness, decisiveness, aggressiveness, provider.
Many people use one or two of pieces of scripture, the most common being 1 Corinthians 14:34 to say why women shouldnâ€™t be in church leadership. Like all scriptures though, this should be viewed as to who the letter was written to and why, what was happening then etc rather than taking it out of context. Conveniently scriptures which refer to women and Gods feminine traits are ignored. Constantly throughout the bible God is referred to as being like a mother. Maybe one of the best passages is Matthew 23:37 â€œO Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.â€
Jesus surrounded himself with women. After his death the first person he revealed himself to was a women. He called the church the Bride of Christ, and he is the groom. There are many women – a handful of them deaconesses, and possibly apostles who feature in Acts and Paulâ€™s letters in the new testament – Lydia, Priscilla, Phoeba, Tryphena, Tryphosa to name but a few.
I think a lot of it comes down to power and dominance. If we, as Christians, are going to get picky and say â€œit says â€¦â€ in the bible, then we have to follow the bible literally. We canâ€™t just pick and choose the pieces we like and donâ€™t like. Realistically thatâ€™s what itâ€™s like though – â€œI agree with that scripture, so Iâ€™ll follow that, I donâ€™t agree with that though, so Iâ€™ll ignore it.â€
Women have a lot to offer. Maybe some men feel threatened by that? Some start going on about women who want to be in leadership are just feminists. That is wrong. A lot of us are not feminists. We are just seeking to be reckonised for what we have to offer and can bring to the conversation, to be respected and made to feel like our opinions count and are listened to, not just brushed under the carpet because we are female. God has given many women great gifts, which go way beyond hospitality and banner making. Men and Women in church leadership must be reflected as a healthy balance of both sexes, who complement each other and bring completeness to the Body of Christ.