Welcome to the twelfth blog entry of New Direction, where we search the Spirit, Scripture and more discovering the New Direction God is leading his church in this post modern culture. Today, we take a look at “Christian Feminism.”
In our last entry of our first ‘season’ of New Direction, I decided to jump out into left field, to discuss a topic which really contrasts our New Direction with the old direction. Today, we’re going to talk about women’s role in the church. And since I generally limit each entry, we have a lot of ground to cover in little space.
Most churches regulate women’s role in the church. Many do not allow women to teach the congregation at large, perform baptism, wedding ceremonies, etc. Some allow them to teach smaller classes, however. The list of rules and exceptions runs longer than the Mississippi river.
Leaders will quote a few New Testament passages as their reasons for having such rules. Others will point out that they feel the Bible shows women should follow, not lead, in the marriage relationship, as well as the church.
Logically, I have a few issues with these approaches. First, as I have discussed several times in this series, and on my personal blog, God clearly did not give us the New Testament letters as a blue print on exactly how to run church. If He wished to do so, God could have given us instruction as clear as He did to the Israelites in regards to the priesthood and temples. Instead, Jesus gave us the Spirit to lead us in such matters. Paul did address women’s role in the church of that age, in context of the culture of that time. He was not laying out eternal principles when addressing those issues, no more than he was when he told Timothy to take some wine for his stomach.
That leads me to another logical challenge with how church approach the Bible. They cherry pick some principles as guiding principles for how to run church. Yet, they completely ignore others. While enforcing Paul’s note about women in the church, they ignore passages like 1 Cor 14 where Paul instructs the church to allow others (outside of the first) to speak. Yet, in our services, no one but the pastor may teach for the most part.
Yet, when a church says that a woman cannot teach the body, it leads to more challenges of logic. If a woman meets a man, and he comes to a saving faith through her testimony, no one questions that man’s salvation or faith. No one says, “Well, a woman taught you about Jesus… that’s not permitted. You can only learn it from another man.” So, clearly, a woman CAN preach and lead others to God. This logic extends to teaching, as well. My wife has taught me plenty about the Bible through word and deed. Only pride would cause me to dismiss those lessons since they originate from a ‘mere woman.’ However, that’s exactly what we do in most traditional, organized churches, where we restrict a woman’s role in the body. It makes no sense to a thinking believer.
Which brings me to my last point. Jesus taught us that love is the highest principle and measure. All laws and the prophets hinge on the law of love. In some parts of the Old testament, God gave commandments for the treatment of slaves. Later, in the New Testament, Paul said, “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ.” (Eph 6.5). Yet, today we do not have slaves in America. Appealing to the greater law of love, we, as a Christian nation, cast out the idea of slavery as, ultimately, it failed in the light of the law of love and equal treatment. We now dismiss those directions as cultural… why do we not do the same with the role of women?
Yet, we continue to hold onto archaic notions in our treatment of women, and their role in the body. We sugar coat our position, attempting to demonstrate that it’s a ‘different, yet equal’ role she holds by placing arbitrary limitations on what they can and cannot do, yet we have no such limitations on men.
In a post modern society, we, as Christians, must lead the way in love. We must learn to treat others with humility. We must never be too proud to listen to what others have to teach us, no matter what race or gender the speaker may be.
This wraps up our first seasons of New Direction. Hopefully, you have learned a few things with me and enjoyed this series. If you have, please drop me a note. I currently have no immediate plans for a second season, as I do have other ministry ideas to pursue. However, I would seriously consider changing those plans if enough of you would like to see more. If you do drop me a note, let me know what subjects most interest you for future show ideas.
Until then, feel free to reach out to me with any questions, thoughts or comments. You you’re interested, you can always keep tabs on what I’m working on via my blog and twitter feed.
In the mean time, check out “Response to John Piper”
Thank you so much for watching. You can email me at jcservant at cyberlightcomics.com. You can follow me on twitter @jcservant . You can, of course, write comments and questions right here, below. And, who knows, I might address your question right here on the air. Until our next show, may God bless you!