Posted by: minnow | March 14, 2009

Questions Answered re: Women in Ministry

Okay, so one more post about women in Church leadership and then I promise I will move on to another topic. Each time I have written on this topic I am asked the question, “Why?” Why open this can of worms? Why keep beating a dead horse? Why make a mountain out of a mole hill? The next set of questions I usually am asked is even more insidious. What do you want to do that you are not allowed to do, now? Are you not the one saying your gifts are less valuable (rather than leadership) by insisting on teaching men as if they were more important to teach than women? What authority are you willing to have in your life?

What is the problem with such questions?  The why questions are an attempt by the questioner to trivialize a topic that is important to the person questioned.  They imply that no matter what is found to be “wrong” the wrong cannot possibly be worth the effort it would take to examine the situation.  The more insidious questions are an attempt to blame the victim or change the focus.  Both options ultimately avoid the original subject. 

So, why do I pursue the issue of women in leadership within the Church?  The short answer, for me, is because truth is important and I believe with every fiber of my being that neither the Bible nor God deny women leadership, teaching, and decision making roles within the Body.  These are man made policies which manipulate scripture to maintain an ungodly power base.  They ultimately harm the whole Church, abuse women, and dishonor God.  For these reasons, as someone who desires to honor God, help to heal the hurting, and build, embrace, encourage, and support the Church I must expose the lies we have been taught to believe and resist the enemies plan to steal, to kill, and to destroy.

To ask: “What do you want to do that you are not allowed to do, now?” implies that I should not only know but that if I do not have something in mind I am just criticizing for the sake of criticizing.  Such a stance ignores the fact that for my whole life I have probably been taught not to want, that to question the “authority” God  has place above me is sin, and that women are not fit, designed, gifted, able, to lead, teach, or take on a decision making role.  The sub text of the “what do you want to do” question is that it is somehow your lack rather then a rule that holds you back from pursuing a given path, and that if you were not lacking your gifting would be recognized, encouraged, and trained.  In truth, the belief by some that women should not be allowed to function in certain roles causes blindness.  The way this attitude would limit the individual woman is obvious.  Her gifting in a particular area of ministry would not even be acknowledged, let alone promoted.  Thus it is easy to understand how the individual might feel a longing to do more but at the same time be hard pressed to explain just what the more is.

When I hear the question: “Are you not the one saying your gifts are less valuable (rather than leadership) by insisting on teaching men as if they were more important to teach than women?” I feel like screaming.  Desiring to share one’s gift with the entire Body does not diminish any one part of the Body any more than wanting to expand our sphere of influence through missions to Africa means our home Church is unimportant.  By limiting the ways women are allowed to contribute to the whole we render the Body a debilitating stroke. In the long run the entire Body loses out for they miss the insights, discernment, vision, and creativity these women might bring to the table were they allowed and encouraged to do so.

The final question: “What authority are you willing to have in your life?” suggests that women who want to use their gifts to their fullest are unwilling to heed godly authority.  The truth is a very few men and women are called to walk under the authority of the Holy Spirit alone.  Those I have been privileged to observe do so with a self consuming passion and profound humility.  The rest willingly (and not so willingly) submit to a variety of God ordained and God tolerated authorities.  Some in these circumstances thrive, others barely survive.  Some, due to their circumstances, others in spite of them.  If I have noticed any difference between men and women as they function “under authority” it is generally that women wait more patiently then do men for “authority” to give its approval.

Women are in bondage all over the world.  Some of it is physical but a great deal more is spiritual.  I do not believe Christ will be returning for a shackled Bride.  He came once to set the captives free.  He demonstrated that freedom is intended for women as well as for men when he healed the woman with the issue of blood, when He spoke to the woman at the well, when He cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene, when He raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, when He let the woman caught in adultery go with the instruction to sin no more, when He defended the “sinful” woman before the Pharisees for washing His feet with her tears and then forgave her, her sins, and when he sent Mary Magdalene to tell His disciples that He lives.  Who are we to deny His freedom?

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Responses

  1. Great post! I especially like this point: “By limiting the ways women are allowed to contribute to the whole we render the Body a debilitating stroke.”

    If women are gifted to preach or to teach adult men, they should be allowed to do so. To silence them is to silence the voice of God bubbling within them. Why should anyone want to do that?

  2. i’m thankful i happened upon your blog today. thanks for the truth speaking.


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