All across American people will be waking up, hurrying to get breakfast on the table, taking their showers, finishing up last minute Sunday school lessons, and putting on their best clothes. Then black, white, red, and brown, families and singles, old and young, men and women, and children will all head out their doors to Church. Once at their places of worship, most will sing worship sets or hymns lead by male worship pastors, listen to sermons delivered by male senior pastors, be prayed for or have the Word read by male associate pastors, and if the youth are doing anything special that day it will be headed up by male youth pastors. So what’s the big deal?
Ninety-five percent of all protestant pastors are male. At the same time well over half the congregation is female. Of the ninety-five percent of pastors who are male ninety-five percent are married and thirteen percent of those have been divorced and remarried. In other words we protestants are more willing to ignore the Biblical teaching on divorce then we are to allow women to function in leadership positions despite strong evidence that the prohibition of women in leadership is not Biblical.
You may be asking, “What evidence?” Let’s start with Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” From there we could browse through the list of names in Romans 16: Phoebe, Priscilla, Mary, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis and Julia, all women who Paul refers to as fellow workers, servants, and outstanding among the apostles. The instruction in 1 Corinthians 11 for “every woman who prays and prophesies” is a fairly concrete example of women speaking during a meeting. And if that is not enough, were you aware that the word translated men in 1 Timothy 3 when Paul is giving instructions about deacons is actually gender neutral and the word translated wives could actual be translated women? In other word, Paul could just as easily have been describing the kinds of women he would expect to see in those roles as the types of men.
I can hear the question already: “But what about Paul’s statement in 1 Timothy 2:12 and all that stuff about Adam being born first?” Either Paul broke his own rule when he not only allowed women to have a voice but commended them for their labor or we have not fully understood Paul’s point by turning 1 Timothy 2:12 into a for all time mandate against women as pastors and teachers.
Why? Why do we ignore Paul’s example and so narrowly interpret his words? To get to that answer I have a couple other questions:
What was Adam’s sin? Or is other words, why was he banished from the garden? And, what were the consequence of the sin for both Adam and the woman?
Ponder those questions for a while and tell me what you think. I will get back to you next Sunday with my answers.