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Women in Ministry

A few years ago I finally visited our neighborhood church. Having driven past it almost daily for over a decade, and then looking for a worship community closer to home, I decided to scout it out and see if it could be a fit for our family. My vivid first impression was of the two pastors, Pastor Stephanie and Pastor Ed, standing up front to greet the congregation and deliver announcements. I was immediately struck by the remarkable chemistry they demonstrated in the way they played off each other, practically alternating sentences. Their way of interacting set a welcoming tone and suggested an environment of close community and leadership through partnership. I had never witnessed this sort of real-time collaboration between pastors and it provided a strong clue that I had discovered o... Read more
In Part 1 and Part 2, I introduced why Alastair Roberts' view that an all-male "warrior priesthood" is essential is both non-biblical and illogical and looked specifically at the context of this in the creation story in Genesis 1 and 2. Today, we examine how the Bible supports unity and mutuality among men and women, which can only be fully restored in Jesus Christ. Unity and Mutuality, Not Male Dominance, the Core of Biblical Anthropology Therefore, the idea of “Man is created to be the authoritative leader, woman as his submissive assistant” is foreign to these texts, and has to be read into them from another source by those who hold to this idea.[1]  Nor do these texts in any way support the concept of a masculine leadership, wherein aggression and t... Read more
Last week, I introduced why Alastair Roberts' view that an all-male "warrior priesthood" is essential is both non-biblical and illogical. Now we turn our attention specifically to Genesis 1 and 2. The True Teaching of Genesis 1 and 2 Some interpreters speak of “two creation accounts” in Genesis 1-2.  My own view is that Genesis 1:1-2:4 is a chronological, though somewhat abbreviated historical account of creation, in which certain key events are highlighted.[1]  Furthermore, I understand that Genesis 2:5-3:24 as a further elaboration and clarification of all that happened during “Day Six”, with a flashback in 2:5-24 to what occurred before God gave Adam and Eve the “cultural mandate” of Gen. 1:28, and then a review and expla... Read more
This month marks the 31st anniversary of my ordination. I have spent about 28 of those years serving congregations as a pastor. As October rolls around, officially "Pastor Appreciation Month," I'd like to share my perspective on how you might appreciate your own pastor. Recently, a younger pastor, also a woman, wrote to me:   "I find being a pastor an incredibly awesome and wonderful calling. In what other job can I study God's word, proclaim the gospel, pray, reach out to the hurting--and get paid for it? I feel blessed and privileged to be able to serve in such a position."  I feel encouraged just by reading those words--that being female has not been an impediment to the vocation this woman has received. When I was ordained in 1983, I wa... Read more
A recent blog post by Alastair Roberts, “Why a Masculine Priesthood is Essential,” has recently stirred up fresh controversy and heated debate among egalitarians and hierarchical complementarians regarding the nature of Christian ministry and leadership, due to the promotion of his unique model of “masculine priesthood” which goes beyond the usual concept of a “male priesthood” to that of a warrior priesthood.  Such is the confidence of Mr. Roberts in the arguments of his presentation that he asserts: “I believe that opposition to women in priesthood should not merely arise from the interpretation of a few isolated verses, but that it springs up from the very core of biblical anthropology, something that is reaffirmed throughout the biblical n... Read more
“Hear, O LORD, and be gracious to me; O LORD, be my helper. You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness, That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to You forever” (Psalm 30: 10-12). If there was ever an embodiment of these verses, it is in the lives touched by Channels of Hope for Gender in rural Durham. From middle-school children dramatizing the importance of HIV awareness, to children mesmerized by a math teacher, to Sunday School teachers, youth and pastors who have welcomed the liberating message in Scripture, one that free males and females from bondage—newness of life danced before us these past few days. Yet, the deepest transformation seemed to... Read more
Is my pain bad enough to count? Does the injustice that I suffer meet the standard? I attend a complementarian church where I am allowed to teach men in Sunday School, but I am not allowed to preach to them in worship because I am a woman. Neither may I serve on the board of elders which leads the church. For now, I believe I am to remain a member of this church. So I suffer the injustice of being denied these privileges. But is “suffer” too strong a word? Christians in Iraq – and so many other places – are tortured, raped, and murdered for their faith. If I were to meet those Christians in person, I wouldn’t dare to mention the injustice I suffer in my church. My pain is a pinprick compared to theirs. Do I have a right to complain? Does CBE have a ri... Read more
In regard to certain passages of scripture that can serve to either empower women or subordinate them, one can sometimes identify misleading changes in translation with the use of these methods: adding of words (interpolations), removal of words, withholding of information that would alter translation decisions, and inconsistencies in translation in which identical words in similar contexts are defined differently. Other important differences may simply be gaps in translation. 1. The interpolation of “a veil, a symbol of” before “authority” in 1 Cor. 11:10: In 1 Corinthians 11:10 instead of translating the word exousia (ἐξουσία) for authority in the active sense as it has been translated throughout the letter (1 Cor. 7:37; 8:9;... Read more
This post originally appeared on Scot's blog Jesus Creed on August 5, 2014: patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/08/05/beliefs-known-by-praxis/. What we believe and how we behave are not quite perfectly matched, at least not this side of the kingdom, but it is not unfair to say that what one believes is seen in how one lives. If you say you believe in God but never pray, or if you say you believe in forgiveness and hold grudges, or if you say you believe God loves all but your circle of friends is restricted to folks like yourself — well, your acts reveal what you really believe or you have acted outside the bounds of your beliefs. Sometimes, however, it works another way: sometimes what we believe needs praxis to reveal what the beliefs entail. Sometimes the beliefs are... Read more
Happy Friday! Another great week of posts speaking out against patriarchy and lifting up the biblical ideal of mutuality in marriage and leadership. Be encouraged, dear friends. Apostles, Deacons, and the Women of Romans 16, by Nicholas Quient One can only imagine the honor of hearing the stories of one of the most outstanding women God has given to the world, and what a debt we owe to her. Christian history, it seems, is built off the deeds of such women. 10 Ways Male Privilege Shows Up in the Church, by Gail Wallace (The Junia Project) I think many Christians are becoming more aware of racial and class privilege, but I don’t see the same level of awareness about male privilege in Christian circles. A Legacy for Women, by  Michelle Mosier Would... Read more

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