Okay, maybe not all of you… but The Post Some of You Might Be Kind of Interested In, Assuming You Remembered It’s Coming is a much less compelling title. Anyway. This is the post where I intend to unveil the “mystery study subject” that I’ve been kind of cagey about lately. Drumroll please…
I’m studying what the Bible has to say about women in ministry and leadership.
Now to some of you, that might be a bit of an anti-climax. However, from my experience, this has the potential to be quite the can of worms — which is why I’ve been in no hurry to open it. It might be kind of obvious where I stand on this issue, because… well… read the “About Amanda” page. I’m a prayer leader, I’ve graduated the Apostolic Preaching Program at FSM, I’m training to become a Bible teacher, and I’m a woman (and a fairly young one, to boot).
This is not exactly a new topic to me; I have done some studying about it in the past. To be more accurate, I had read some books on the topic in the past. Now I’m actually studying, bringing out commentaries, doing research on the different viewpoints, and making notes. As in, studying it for real. Go me.
My slowness in bringing this up is because I understand this is an issue of great contention in some parts of the church. I’m not afraid of the argument, but at the same time I’m really not interested in arguing. There are some amazing, godly people who have come to a different understanding of this subject, and I have zero desire to come out against them with guns blazing to try to take them down. I have no bone to pick and nothing to prove. But I know what God has called me to do with my life, and I know other women who have struggled with the tension of walking out their call when people tell them they are out of bounds to do so. I work in a place with hundreds of young women who are, in different capacities and roles, called to be messengers. I don’t want a single one of them to forfeit that in fear of overstepping their misinterpreted biblical boundaries. And I want to have enough clarity on the Scriptures that I can say with confidence and a clean conscience what I believe the Bible says. I don’t want to say, “Well, so-and-so said this once, and I read a book by another guy, and, um, I think it has to be okay,” I want to say, “This is the Lord’s heart for you, this is what the Bible says, and this is why you should rise up in your destiny without hesitation and without excuses.”
Because there is so much to be said, I will be spacing this out in a series (don’t know how long yet). Before I jump into the series proper, I feel like it’s important I make some things very clear:
- I do not want to promote Christianized feminism. I really don’t care how much of the ordained clergy is or is not female. I don’t feel a need to rebel against centuries of gender-related injustice (real or perceived). I absolutely do not believe that Christian women should be fighting for their “fair share” of leadership. We should humble ourselves and serve in obedience to God, however it looks. The point is not to pump more estrogen into the upper tiers of church leadership. The point is to encourage women to run hard in whatever sphere God has called them, visible leadership or otherwise.
- I do not consider this to be an “us vs. them” kind of situation. Most people who disapprove of women in leadership are not mean-spirited misogynists who just want to keep women in bondage. Most people who approve of women in leadership are not rabid feminists who simply dismiss the Bible. I don’t want to assume anything bad about anyone’s heart. As far as I’m concerned, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ who are trying to stay true to the Bible while honoring the Lord’s callings on individual women. There are definitely people out there who are exceptions to that assumption, but I don’t want to anticipate that I’m dealing with them before they’ve even had a chance to share their heart.
- I personally have nothing to prove in this series and I am not seeking to defend my current position or what I believe my calling to be. I’m digging into it because I feel the Lord’s grace on my study right now. 🙂
- I do believe that the Bible is absolutely true and absolutely applicable to our time. The Word of God must be taken seriously and adhered to fervently. However, I also believe that we need to know the original context to which a particular scripture was written if we are ever to rightly understand its universal truth. While the original cultural context should never cause us to dismiss a passage, it just might change our understanding of it. This is very important for some of the verses I plan on discussing.
- I do believe that there are differences between men and women, but masculinity and femininity aren’t determined by how much you do or do not like cooking, sports, decorating, hunting, wearing pink or getting your hands dirty. It’s not determined by how often you cry or how logical you are. And while there are clearly inborn differences in men and women, overall, we have more in common than we have in differentiation from one another.
- I am absolutely not interested in starting a debate about this. I will gladly answer questions in the comments and I will take it without complaint if people end up disagreeing with me. But this is not a good context to argue about the different viewpoints. I’m anticipating that most (if not all) of my regular readers will be on board with me in this, but to anyone who may have just found this site: I will be deleting argumentative comments, simply because I don’t want to go into that on the blog, simply because it’s my blog so I get to make that call. 😀 If you really want to debate the topic, please use the contact box on the “About Amanda” page to get ahold of me, and if I respond, it will be through that avenue.
So there it is. 🙂 More to follow in the days and weeks to come.