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Category Archives: Women in Ministry

The Great Equalizer, Illustrated

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of “equality” lately. You can’t do even a cursory study of the gender debate without running across this word a lot. There are so many arguments about it — what groups are actually equal with each other; what groups need to be; what groups claim to not have equality, but really do; and, “well, what is your group to tell me that my group doesn’t need it anymore?” etc. etc. There are tons of ideas of how to achieve equality, countless articles searching for the cause of its absence, and lots and lots of finger-pointing and/or self-pity regarding those who get the short end of the stick. It is such a dicey subject.

On one hand, I definitely agree with the overall concept of equality. We in the church are supposed to love, honor, and submit to one another in Christ, so we really should not be seeing vast swaths of people who are being systematically oppressed. We need to treat even unbelievers with kindness. Defending the oppressed is biblical, and it’s a great thing.

But on the other hand, it’s hard to justify by the Sermon on the Mount how it’s okay for any of us to stand up and demand our fair and equal rights. Although it’s right for us to be treated well, it’s not our job to fight tooth-and-nail to make sure that happens. The Bible actually seems to assume that we’ll be mistreated (Matt 24:9; John 16:33; 2Cor 4:8-11; 2Tim 3:12; 1Pet 4:12…just to list a few)! And then it tells us to do ridiculous things like turn the other cheek! But shouldn’t we stand up for what’s right?

Holy ideological minefield, Batman! What do we do now?

As I was mulling over this topic the other day, it struck me how I was coming at it from completely the wrong angle. The Bible actually gives us a really clear picture of what Christ-centered equality looks like. And it looks something like this:  Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on June 15, 2010 in Theology, Women in Ministry

 

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Hermeneutics Pt. II – Interpretation

Last week, we looked at the first step in good hermeneutics, observation. Observation is very simply just taking one’s time to see what the passage in question actually says. We have to resist the tendency to begin assigning meaning to things yet, but simply write down what we actually see in the Scripture.

Our example passage was Genesis 2:18-22. We ended up with a simple bullet list like this:

  • God said it was not good that man should be alone.
  • God said He would make the man a helper comparable to him.
  • God brought the animals to Adam to see what he would call them.
  • Adam named every living creature.
  • There was no helper comparable to Adam found among the animals.
  • God caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep.
  • God took a rib from Adam’s side and closed up the wound.
  • God took the rib He had taken, and made it into a woman.
  • God brought the woman to the man.

Ideally, this first step of observation should include a lot more of the biblical context, but for the sake of space on this blog, we’re taking on just a few verses at a time.

Now it’s time to start asking the question, what does this mean?

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2010 in Bible, Theology, Women in Ministry

 

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Examining Genesis 1-3

When I began studying the topic of women in ministry (I have so got to find a better way to refer to this topic), I was quite unprepared for how much Genesis 1-3 figured into the discussion. I was expecting to see a lot of argument about Genesis 3:16, but wasn’t the rest of it pretty straightforward?

Evidently not, according to some. This is rather serious, seeing as these chapters are are considered a pivotal foundation for any discussion on gender roles. Raymond Ortlund Jr., a contributor to a leading complimentarian book, said it about as bluntly as one could hope: “As Genesis 1-3 go, so goes the whole Biblical debate.”

Whoa. I guess we’d better take a closer look at these three chapters. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Bible, Genesis, Women in Ministry

 

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1 Corinthians 14 – “Let Your Women Keep Silent”

Let your women keep silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says.

This is one of the passages that is used as a deal-clincher in the debate about women in ministry. As we see, Paul clearly is saying that women should not be the speakers in church.

Or at least, that’s what he is “clearly saying” if we only read one verse and stop. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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A Secondary Issue That’s Really Quite A Big Deal

It’s been a while since I’ve released a post about women in ministry. I’ve still been studying the topic with great interest, but I have wanted not to be hasty in posting my ideas. Most of all, I want to be sure I have biblical clarity on the subject. I also want to be sure I have the clarity of language to say what I mean as precisely as possible. I don’t know that I’m saying anything particularly new, but I want to own the message myself, and not just parrot what I read in some book. It’s important to me to be able to sit down with just me and the Bible and be able to honestly see in the text what it is saying.

I am planning on putting up some posts soon explaining where I am coming from exegetically. But before I do, I feel like it’s important to clarify why I’m even writing these posts. Why make such a big deal out of it? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 14, 2010 in Women in Ministry

 

Why I’m Not an Evangelical Feminist

The semantics of this may be mostly relevant to me, but I think the principles are definitely worth some airtime on this blog.

When studying the topic of women in ministry, you instantly run into two big camps of thought. Complementarians believe that, although men and women are equal in their personhood, they are inequal (but complementary) as it pertains to their proper roles in life. Egalitarians believe that men and women are equal in their personhood and are not limited to specific roles/functions. Within these two broad categories, I would technically fall into the second, most particularly as it pertains to ministry.

If you’ve tracked with this blog very long at all, you’ll see that I’ve been doing a study on this subject lately. I’m still at it — albeit slowly — and currently I am studying through a particular complementarian book to try and see both sides of the argument. Now this particular book almost never refers to egalitarians as “egalitarians”. It prefers the term evangelical feminists.

I don’t want to read more into that term than was intended by the authors, but I have to admit it makes me squirm.

Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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Unintentional Clarity

So have you ever had one of those times where the Lord highlighted something to you totally out of the blue? You know… you’re minding your own business, tending to some task, and then something pops out at you in that task which answers a question you have, but weren’t even actively asking.

I’m probably not making sense. ANYWAY, the point is that I think I had one of those moments tonight. Read the rest of this entry »

 

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