Through a glass darkly

"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)KJV

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

More On The Journey From Hierarchicalism to Biblical Egalitarianism

On The View From Her blog one of the posters asked me the question "what's the driving force behind the evangelical egalitarian movement?"

My Answer: "While I do not consider myself a spokeswoman for the entire evangelical egalitarian movement, I can answer briefly what drives me. God has called me to use my callings and gifts for His kingdom in the most effective way possible."
I cited my earlier post here about having to stand before God and give an account of my use of the "talent" entrusted to me by the Master.

What this means, as far as my ministry is concerned, is that I believe I am not limited to serving only in those roles traditionally considered "acceptable" for women - teaching children or other women, helping in the nursery or kitchen, writing notes of encouragement, visiting the sick, stuffing church bulletins, or polishing church furniture.

A traditionalist might ask why I wouldn't be content to perform any of the aforementioned tasks, but the simple reason you will rarely see me doing any of these is that I'm lousy at them. Not one of these activities is something that I have enjoyed doing or shown much gifting in.

Although I do believe that I have the gift of teaching, I never had much patience for teaching small children (eventhough I did it for about 4 years) and many of the women I have ministered with over the years have accused me of being too "intimidating" to have a credible small group or one-on-one ministry to women. The "intimidation" factor stems from my choice of career path and technological knowledge (engineering), my marital status (never-married single), my lack of having children and the fact that I am definitely not your average "foo-foo" gal- all of which leads to a lack of common ground with them and hence, "intimidation." I have instead been better off teaching High School and College students who do not expect me to be like them and are intimidated by an adult authority figure anyway. I prefer to work in groups with men at church because it's what I do all day at work anyway; I understand and speak their language (I often say that I'm truly bilingual -I speak both "man" and "woman" language).

So you see, if I were limited to so-called "women's work", I'd have very little to do for God's kingdom. I have seen women with gifts of preaching, gifts of exhortation, prophecy, the gift to pastor, to be an evangelist and they have used those gifts to edify both men AND women. Yet, we do not interpret God's Word by our experience and it must not contradict what God has already spoken.

To me the evidence that God intended women to remain on the sidelines in supporting roles while men did all the heavy lifting in the kingdom of God was not as compelling as the evidence for our working together, side by side as men and women. The Scriptures that seem to restrict women from certain roles can be argued as not being applicable beyond their specific cultural context by exegetes as faithful to the authority of God's Word as those opposed. We are told in Galatians 3:28 that in Christ there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free. Women are commended in the Bible for prophesying, teaching men (Priscilla teaching Apollos),and leading (Phoebe, Deborah). The Holy Spirit does not distribute gifts based on gender, but as He wills for purpose and glory of God.

To the man who asked me I said, "As a man you should be concerned with this subject[of Women in Ministry], because if you are wrong in holding a more restrictive role for women, you might be hindering the work of Christ. In any case, you should be fully convinced in your own mind of your position by the best evidence available and not merely influenced by preconceived notions of what 'you've always heard' about the role of women."

I invite every serious follower of Christ to accept this challenge, not necessarily to believe what I have said, but to study it for yourself and decide.


  • At Thu Dec 01, 12:01:00 PM PST , Blogger Susan said...

    Since all Kingdom work is done in the power of the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God is given freely without regard to gender, divvying up spiritual work according to gender has zero value in the household of God.

    However I still prefer to let the strongest person on the worship team carry in the monitor speakers...

  • At Thu Dec 01, 06:06:00 PM PST , Blogger Ann said...

    Me too and I'm the "roadie". Wait, they don't call me that anymore - I prefer "Technical Director".


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home