We have recently received a number of emails from the Family Research Council sponsored Watchmen on the Wall. Their slogan appears to be: Championing Pastors to Transform America. The email is signed by Dr. Kenyn M. Cureton, Vice President for Church Ministries, Family Research Council.
Visiting their website, we decided to click on “Join the Movement”. This group appears to be very concerned about a number of important things—including marriage, family, freedom, and spiritual leadership. Interestingly, their biblical examples of spiritual leaders and their struggle for righteousness and justice are all men including Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, John the Baptist, and Peter. In addition, their examples of spiritual leaders from American history are all men. Including; Pastor Jonas Clark, Rev. Dr. John Witherspoon, Pastor Frederick Muhlenberg, Rev. Charles Finney, and Dr. Martin Luther King.
Makes us wonder…
First, regarding their word choice of “watchmen” which, if taken literally, appears to restrict or eliminate over half the church and many gifted intercessors who happen to be women.
Second, what about biblical women like the Apostle Junia1, Mary, Deborah, Phoebe, Priscilla—or in more recent history women who proved to be leaders for righteousness and justice like Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cody Stanton, and Jane Addams? We wonder why Watchmen do not highlight women like these (and countless others) as spiritual leaders.
Reviewing their website, maybe we missed it, but we could not find where women are specifically invited to be part of the Watchmen on the Wall team. If that is the case, then exactly where does righteousness and justice come into play as far as equality and the full inclusion of women?
It looks as if this group is calling pastors and spiritual leaders to get ready for battle. If that is true, might it be wise for Watchmen to clearly articulate that all followers of Christ—including women pastors and spiritual leaders—are invited to be part of their army?
Looking at the life of Jesus, when the going got tough, the Bible describes how Jesus’ male disciples betrayed, denied, and deserted Him. However, women’s response to when the going got tough was they stayed with Jesus to the very end.
In fact, while the men scattered and hid, women stood with Jesus—watching and praying. After Jesus death, it was a woman who went to His tomb. And, if we remember correctly, Jesus commanded the woman to—go get the ‘men’ so I can tell ‘them’ to spread the good news. No! The resurrected Christ engaged with this woman and called her by name. Mary—a woman—became the first evangelist in recorded history to spread the good news that Jesus is alive.
All that is to say, Jesus birth, life, death, and life-giving resurrection opened the door for men, women, and married couples to return to the principles of Eden. This includes celebrating mutual equality—both the man and woman made in the imago dei—image of God2. And co-leading in mutual authority—both the man and woman given the dominion and procreation mandates3.
In the beginning … before sin entered the story there is no specific mention or command from God relating to patriarchy, hierarchy, headship, female subordination, or the man designated the spiritual leader or the wife’s spiritual cover.
We believe the Scriptures teach that one of the first consequences after sin entered the story was it negatively impacted the mutual equality and mutual authority (co-leadership) God designed for humankind. And this opened the door to male rulership and female subordination, 4 and to later views of men, women, and marriage that included hierarchy and functional inequality.
Please hear our hearts … we think it’s valuable for men to watch and pray—and to intercede for important things like marriage, family, freedom, and spiritual leadership. But, we also think it’s important to invite women to watch and pray—and to be included without restrictions.
Our encouragement to every Christ follower is to humbly revisit what the Bible describes as a “more excellent way”5—the way of LOVE. Our prayer is we are not first and foremost known as soldiers or mighty warriors—instead we are known by our love. What an incredible calling, and privilege, to live out Christ-like love. A love that includes equality, mutuality, mutual submission, and reciprocal servanthood.
3Genesis 1:26b, 28
51 Corinthians 12:31b