"We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace". William E. Gladstone
I am utterly confused. If, as some claim, the issue of the role of women in churches is defined in Scripture, why are so many Bible believing churches all over the map on this matter? I know conservative pastors who allow for women pastors and I know some churches that do not believe that women can even speak in church. I have seen Christian women’s groups that study systematic theology and other groups that spend much time discussion how to decorate the home in a Godly manner. And then there are some that do both.
I have had conservative pastors “diss” other conservative pastors for their views on women. Some allow female deaconesses; some do not. Some allow women to take up the collection. Other churches are adamantly opposed to such a thing, stating (as one pastor did to me when I asked why women couldn’t be ushers) that people would get the impression if women took up the collection that that church allowed <GASP> women deacons.
I have lots and lots of questions. This is not a diatribe on egalitarian versus complementarian because I have decided that I am going to become a “servantarian”. In other words, I would like to see both sexes outdo one another in being the servants to one another. Is this a cop-out? I’m sure you all will have an opinion.
I have a whole bunch of question and I am not being tongue-in-cheek when I ask them. I do not understand the rules for gender roles. Everyone who has a dog in this race claims to have the "correct" interpretation of Scripture. I have read the CBMW website, Wayne Grudem, and even CJ Mahaney. I have read the other sites that advocate for an egalitarian perspective. I have been reading the debates on this site and I become confuseder and confuseder (another made up word like Calvinista).
So, here are the questions.
-If it is said that women cannot be elders because the Biblical text says an elder must be the husband of one wife, then why can’t we have slaves if the text tells slaves to obey their masters?
-If one claims that a women cannot teach men, explain the rationale of the following situation. I went to a talk by a young assistant pastor on the role of Christians and government. He explained how Christians could participate in the political process and did not seem very well versed on the matter. Suppose Sarah Palin was a member of his church. Why would she not be allowed to teach both the pastor and the class on this subject? (No snarky comments- pro or con on Palin).
-What constitutes teaching? Does that mean inside of a designated church building after the class has been called to order and a prayer said? What about during a small group meeting, after it has been officially convened? If there is no pulpit involved, is it teaching?
What about this scenario? I am at dinner with several elders and their wives. An elder says he knows very little about the church in the Middle Ages. I then teach him and the others about the roles that monasteries played in preserving the Scriptures during this time period. He now has learned something from me and can say he was taught something by me. If he is in a church that does not allow women to teach, must he confess his sin?Of, does the venue matter? If it is in a restaurant, is it OK? But isn't the church really the gathering of the saints? So, is it off limits for a woman to teach if there is a group of Christians which includes men even if it is at a hockey game?
-Sheri Klouda had an earned doctorate from SWBTS. She was asked by Paige Patterson to come teach languages at SWBTS. She made sure there would be no problem because she was female. She moved her family and had a sick husband. Then, Patterson decided that she could no longer teach men Hebrew and fired her, leaving her without benefits.This caused tremendous hardships on the family. What is there in Scripture that would preclude a woman teaching a man Hebrew? Is Hebrew a “holy language” and therefore off limits for women.
7/22-Correction" Thank you Lydia for making this correction. I had forgotten that, although Patterson had NOT hired Klouda, he did tell her position was safe when he arrived at SWBTS. Remember she was caring for her sick husband. Lydia's quote, "
"Before Patterson let her go the process he used was cowardly. First he told her, her situation was safe. Then he demoted her to some short term job in the Library not doing what she was hired to do. (He was trying to make her leave)."
You can read the entire story here on The Wartburg Watch.
Could a woman teach students Hebrew in a secular university? Could a woman teach men Spanish in a Christian university? What is the difference between Hebrew and Spanish in the Scriptures? Does this mean a woman could not teach any language that any of the disciples or Jesus spoke? Would this include Aramaic and Greek?
-Since all truth is God's truth, shouldn't that mean no woman should teach any man anything? Why is 2+2= 4 any less or more truth than Nehemiah building the walls?
In this story, read how Paige Patterson joked about women when he said that he believed that everyone should own at least one (woman). Why did he feel comfortable saying this? Would he have made the same joke about African Americans? What is the difference about joking about women versus people of color? Is this joke appropriate? Why do I feel offended?
-The SBC International Missions Board recalled women missionaries that might have had authority over any man while on the mission field. So, if a woman was the head nurse in a mission hospital and had male nurses under her, was she in violation of that order? Or did that only apply if a woman was the teacher at a small Bible Institute and had a male functioning as a part time Bible teacher? If so, what would be the difference between the nurse and the teacher, assuming that the nurse used her position to train the male nurses how to witness while changing dressings?
-I have been told that the SBC is not really a denomination that rules its member churches and that each church functions independently. However, the SBC threw out a church that had a woman as a pastor. How could they since it is not in their purview? Also, why would they throw out a church that has a woman as a pastor but allow a church to remain that had a a pastor stay in the pulpit after knowingly concealing a pedophile pastor in its midst? Is pedophilia a better sin than a woman pastor?
-If leaders such as Paige Patterson believe that women are the weaker sex and need to be protected by men, then why did he tell a woman to return to her physically abusive husband and rejoice when her husband beat her up?
-Why aren’t women forced to wear veils in church since it is an admonition of Scripture? Why do some women leaders of women’s groups wear flashy gold jewelry since it is discouraged in Scripture?
-If women are allowed to teach their sons as children, at what age must they no longer do so?
-God has given me a love for studying church history and systematic theology. Why would God give me this passion if I am not allowed to teach theology? Is it a trick of the Devil?
-It is said that women and men have separate roles but these differing roles are equal. Some would argue that this is not true. One reader asked the following question. “What do you think an African American would say if a white person told him that he was equal in every way to white people but he would not be allowed to teach or pastor a white person? Do you remember the old separate but equal schools? Were they really equal?
-I know a wonderful Christian family in which the mom is a gifted doctor and excellent communicator. She has served in a number of Christian organizations and is active in prolife causes. They have two children. The husband, sensing her gifts, decided to stay home with the children and encourage her career. They have raised two healthy Christian women and are a strong, stable family. What is wrong with them switching traditional roles?
-Since God created both men and women and both were made in the image of God, what are the unique traits of women that are found in the Godhead? What are the unique traits of men that are found in the Godhead? Did the fact the Jesus choose to come as a man and God is also referred to as the Father, reflect that that God is essentially male? Or am I getting this all wrong?
I do not believe that this matter is slam-dunk. I also agree with my good friend Junkster that this is a “B” or even “C” issue. I also believe that those who believe that they have the definitive answer are either arrogant or superficial in their approach.
I close with this silly example that I have read about on the Sovereign Grace survivors sites. It appears that Carolyn Mahaney was raised as a Mennonite. In this culture, there are many rules. One rule is that kitchen counters are to be absolutely bare. No coffee pot, no hand soap, no radio, etc. So, it became an obsession amongst the SGM women to keep their counters bare. Somehow, I believe that women were meant for much, much more.
Addendum 7/24-Thanks to Radiance for a link to Sarah Palin preaching behind a pulpit. I can't resist.