Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Women in Ministry


I'm currently reading a book called "Women in Ministry: Four Views" which combines essays and responses from Christians on the topic of women and their role in church ministry that range from ultra-conservative to ultra-liberal. As usual, I tend to fall somewhere in between.

If you can get past the fact that you're reading a book that was not designed to keep your attention, but is rather an assimilation of academic arguments made from 4 different people... then it isn't a bad read. Don't expect, however, to be riveted with entertaining content.

I happen to be reading this book as we, as leaders at our church, prepare to implement a new adult course system and must address the question: who is eligible to teach? Ironically, I'm working through that topic while simultaneously, the class that I am teaching at present has reached chapter 3 in our study of 1 Peter. As I've been preparing, a quote from the book matched very nicely with a quote from the passage, and I thought I'd share to see if you find the same connection.

In response to the often touted argument that Biblical restrictions on women in ministry were merely outgrowths of the culture in which they were written, Susan T. Foh (yes, a woman advocates male headship in the book) writes:

"Another cultural setting must be noted in the interpretation of Scripture: that of the interpreter.... Equality is a current banner held high (it is un-American to speak against equality) and it is assumed to be an indisputable theme in Scripture. But is it?"

With that very intriguing thought fresh in my mind, I began reviewing the text for my lesson this Sunday and a verse jumped off the page at me:

"For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful" (1 Peter 3:5).

Wait, you mean to tell me that the actions of Semitic tribal women circa 2000 B.C. living in a different time, place, and culture can actually be relevant to serve as a model for 1st century Greek women? That must mean that the 1st centry Greek culture wasn't so enlightened, so advanced, so liberated from the shackles of history that it could dismiss culturally irrelevant issues of days gone by. Phew, but it's a good thing we've reached the pinnacle of civilization today so we can do just that, eh? Er... umm... wait a sec....

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3 Comments:

  • There are many more ways to see women in ministry (i.e. women's freedom to teach the bible without fear that they must be prejudiced and turn away any who come to them to learn) as a freedom without the label of liberal.

    "Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?" is a 4 DVD set that deals with all the hard passages of scripture on women in a thoughtful manner that regards scripture as fully inspired and that the culture of the day explains why the scriptures were written to address issues that sometimes are puzzling in our 21st century. The introduction is online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0e9TL5TWdac and clips from other sections are also on line.

    I would encourage you to also entertain views that cannot be called liberal but which work hard to take the inspired scriptures with their inspired words and grammar and allow them to fit the context without contradiction.

    By Anonymous Cheryl Schatz, At November 6, 2008 12:04 PM  

  • The best and most God honored way a woman can serve in ministry, is to serve her husband....

    ans if anyone thinks that this role is somehow derogatory or demening...

    well they dont know God

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 25, 2008 8:53 PM  

  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with serving your husband as long as your husband is not demeaning you while you are doing it and make sure first of all, that your marriage is truly honoring God, not in the way "Man" says it should, but the way God says it should. There are too many hypocrites perpetrating loving a wife and it's actually being controlling.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At January 22, 2009 10:02 AM  

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