I don’t ever want to make this page about me as a person or “personality.” That will never be my goal. However, when I hear issues or see issues I also don’t want to shy away from addressing them.
This is a photo of me preaching a few days ago.
I realize that this alone is enough for some people to get upset, but I thought I would put that out there before I go any further, because there’s something I want to address today.
I’m not going to name people or denominations, because I don’t think that is helpful to this conversation. But I recently saw a clip of a panel of men in some sort of conference setting, where one was speaking, I’m assuming answering some sort of audience question or topic prompt said a few things that left me feeling like I needed to respond.
The main point he was trying to make is that women need theology too, which sounds great on the surface, Of course ALL PEOPLE need theology, but his other comments went in another direction altogether.
He started out by saying, ”we do not believe a woman could be an elder” attributing that to the fact that, in “dangerous places of the world” he “would not want a woman by his side.” I’m not sure what these two things had to do with one another, but that’s how he decided to argue that.
He went on to say that women need more than women’s ministries whose goal is to teach women to make lemonade out of lemons rather than teaching deep theological issues of the bible. I agree 100% with this statement, but his was said in way of directing conversation to say that women shouldn’t feel limited because they can’t preach to men, because statistically 75% of the worlds population is made up of women and children (under 15)” so “women can do a lot of work.”
This is where it gets really interesting for me. He said that famous women missionaries and the biblical example of women like Deborah “shouldn’t have done that” but “when the men are so weak that God doesn’t use them, he will raise up women as a rebuke to the men.”
There are SO many things wrong with this.
This is where that “make lemonade out of lemons” teaching to women begins, because people limit what women are able to do and so what else are they to do except drink tea together in women’s meetings, because “clearly” they are incapable of doing anything more, so we will just have to wait around for the men to slip up so we can have a chance to be used by God in the things we feel in our spirit we are called to do.
I’m not falling prey to this kind of ideology. I was privileged to be raised in a home and go to a church that recognized my call to ministry and empowered and taught me as one of everyone else and equal to the men. My family and my church is full of strong women because of this. I am grateful to say, unapologetically, I am one of them. I am not in ministry to spite men, I am not here to try to take something from men. I am here because I am called to be here and because I am willing to be here, and I refuse to believe that God is only choosing to use me because somewhere, a man was “too weak.”
We find many examples throughout scripture of women who God didn’t simply use because there were only “weak men” around, I mean, for goodness sake, some were ministering alongside Paul of all people. I don’t think any of us would classify him as weak and unable to carry out the call of God…but these were women who contributed to the preaching of the word to all people.
Deborah was a judge and spoke God’s word, Phoebe was a deacon, Philip’s four daughters prophesied, Priscilla was a leader, Junia was an apostle…that’s just a few, there’s also Miriam, Huldah, Noadiah, Anna, and the women of pentecost.
The problem is the deeply rooted issue of some flat-out, incorrect translations of words in the original scripture paired with bad interpretation or an utter lack of trying to interpret scripture within its context that leads us down this road where we end up with this kind of divisive doctrine.
1 Tim. 2 :8-15 is probably the most common scriptures used against women preaching. One problem here is translation error, where it has been discovered that the word for “authority” should have been updated to say “abuse/misuse of authority.” This changes things immensely.
Even this statement was given in the context one leader speaking through a letter to another leader, giving specific advice about a specific issue in that specific church, yet this is the hill that some will die on for the purpose of restricting women in the body of Christ.
The ironic thing is that we choose to highlight this one group of verses out of an entire book and grasp onto these out of context verses as the only truth, when throughout the rest of Paul’s letters and the book of Acts, it’s clear that Paul supported the leadership of women in Philippi, Thessalonica, Cenchrae, and Rome.
So we’re pulling this verse selectively to argue a point that was not validated anywhere else and in fact contradicts many other passages.
Like in the passage about spiritual gifts, preaching/shepherding is listed as a spiritual gift, and the discrimination isn’t given saying if men have the gift they can preach to all, but if women have the gift they can preach to women and children under 15.
Men and women can have any of the spiritual gifts. There are not some applied to one and some applied to the other but with extra restrictions.
I didn’t think I’d be writing this post, and I DO NOT want this post to come off as some sort of “women are better than men” rhetoric, because it’s not. We need both.
Believing that God only uses women as a way of “rebuking men” that won’t fulfill their calling is flat out bad theology.
WE. NEED. BOTH.
By God’s very design in creation, it was determined that we are better together and that it takes BOTH to fulfil God’s mission on earth. The sooner we stop putting people in boxes or feeling threatened by someone else calling, the sooner we can glorify God in unity.
Grace & Peace,