Women In Ministry: Following Christ's Example
Welcome to our Hub.This One will be on that very controversial subject of women in ministry. As you may have already gathered from my Hubs that we are highly in favor of encouraging women in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the one who opened the door to Oneness of men and women to join in his priesthood of all believers, 1 Peter 2:1-10, Genesis 3:15 and Mathew 28:18-20, Revelation 3:7-13. Jesus Christ's work is Egalitarian in nature in which both men and women can contibute equally and vitally to his Work, Matthew 6:33.
I will be using another interesting article from Christian For Biblical Equalities - Arise E-Newsletter, which seems to hit directly at one of the major reasons why some men think women are not qualified to be in the ministry. This 'Article' will be from Efrem Smith, who is superintendent of the Pacific Southwest Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church. He has held leadership positions in organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of America and Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and is the author of numerous articles and books.
In this article Efrem will be relating to us about an experience he had with an male pastor on supporting women as senior pastors. He says, " I have asked many men this question."So let's see what the reaction to Efrem's question was by this male pastor. "As a man, when you see a woman up front preaching or teaching, what is the first thing you think about?
"Well,the first thing that comes into your mind is if she is attractive or not. This distraction is one of the main reason's women should not be senior pastors or preach to men." Efrem was somewhat shocked by this argument. Not because his friend believed this, but because he said it out loud and so boldly. He stated it as if it were a biblical truth. To me, his statement was more about sexism within evangelicalism connected to the sexism within the broader society, than some well thought out theological position on women in ministry leadership.
At least he was honest and pointed to the real issue at the foundation of why many evangelical men struggle with women in ministry and pastoral leadership. Some try to cover up the truth by using the words of Paul in the New Testament. I'm not going to to go into all the scriptures which support women in ministry and pastoral ladership because this has already been done.
What Efram says is: Should the words of Paul - which could very well be situational - be used to argue the case for women in ministry? Should not the actions of Jesus with women and the equipping of women by God speak louder than the words of Paul. I don't in anyway negat the words of Paul or them being from God, but these words of Paul are put in their proper context when put up against and compared to the works and words of Jesus. Why is this important? Because Jesus is God and Paul is not. God speaks higher than God's servants simultaneously. This understanding is important in dealing with the issue of women in ministry.
What do the actions of Jesus with women in the gospels tell us about God's empowerment of women, and should this speak louder then Paul's words, which I present were situational, not universal? Jesus transforms and empowers the life of the Samaritan woman at the well. Jesus had a woman anoint and prepare him for the cross. Jesus answers the prayers of the Canaanite woman. Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood. Jesus stands with the woman caught in adultery. Jesus gives life to a teenage girl left for dead. A woman is at the tomb first to acknowledge the resurrection of Jesus.
All of this is not about women in pastoral leadership, but it's about the bigger issue of God being mindful of the second-class ctizenship of women and dealing with it as a kingdom agenda. Jesus challenges the place and role of women to the point that his own male disciples were annoyed every time they witnessed his empowerment of women.
When it comes to women in mnistry and pastoral leadrship, we should join the position of Jesus and also acknowledge our sexism. Amen.
Now, we see why women were first to the tomb and were sent by the angel to evangelize the men, Matthew 28:1-10. Also, we see Jesus ordaining Mary Magdalene as the first woman apostle, and then telling her to go tell his male disciples that she has seen the Lord alive, John 20:13-18. God acknowledges woman as good work-women, 2 Timothy 2:15.
Why some men have a hard time accepting women in Christ's ministry is hard to understand? It might be they are not famliar with the traditions of the scribes and Pharisees of Christ's day. Women were treated by the Jews as second-rate humans. This reminds me of a recent article my wife and I read in the daily newspaper about certain indepentant Jewish women called "miniyam" ( or egalitarians) trying to change some of the customs of Judaism today.
We thought that this article, in the Living section of our newspaper, quite sad since women were ignored by their Jewish male leaders. This is a tough road to travel since the Verbal Torah was brought with the Babylonian Talmud into what is called Judaism. For some reason this very same reasoning with this very same hierarchical concepts of men came into the Christian churches starting at the beginning of the second century by patriarchal men who rejected Jesus Christ's Egalitarian Church message.
Did you know that Jesus not only came to die for our sins but to place women in his ministry, starting in 31 A.D.. This was on the first Pentecost and was fortold in Genesis 3:15, Joel 2:28-30. Woman still have that desire to be at one with men the way Eve was with Adam in Genesis 1 & 2. After the Fall, because of Adam's reluctance to rescue Eve from Satan's assault on her (Adam was present and heard everything said by the Devil and Eve). When Eve touched the fruit that should have been Adam's cue to step in and protect his wife. By not protecting his wife Eve, this has become the one big reason for the rise of male patriarchy and 4,000 years of abuse against women. This would last until Jesus Christ came to put our gender relationships back in their proper prospectives in his ministries of the New Testament, Galatians 3:28-29.
Of course Jesus was killed by the very same traditions of Judaism of his day that rejected the equality that Jesus taught.. His teachings were that women are meant to teach and preach and prophecy right besides the men in his day and in this day, Acts 2:17-18 ,which again was prophesied in the book of Joel 2:28-30. Not only were Jesus teachings in conflict with the tradition of Judaism of his day, they are also in conflict with the teachings of much of Christianity and Judaism and the Jewish Kaballistic Noahide Laws of today, Matthew 15:1-13
Jesus always treated women with compassion and dignity as first-rate humans, Matthew 19:3-11. Christ's new ministry was meant to include women even today and to be treated with the same kind of respect that Jesus had for them. Though there are not to many Egalitarian Churches today there are some like the Friends Church-Quakers, Pentecostal Holiness, and John Westely's Methodist Holiness Church, that have regular women ministers working alongside men. The influence of Platonic and Gnostic traditional teachings that came into Christianity are very similar to the traditions of Judaism and have been a major cause of why women are kept out of church ministries.
So, the point of Efram's article and our obsevations from proving all things is to give hope to women that there will be a big surge of women back into the ministry of Jesus Christ. We have faith that at least some Christian churches will reinstate women for a great Revival and witness before Jesus Christ's return. There will be Holy Spirit inspired women to help men give a mighty Revival.
Jesus Christ wants women in his church ministry and no Revival will be successful without them in leadership roles to get the job done. The Lord God of Israel is not happy with the treatment of women (keeping women out of his ministry) as if it were a good thing through the traditions of both Judaism and Christianity and makes this quite clear in, Malachi 2:11-17, Galaians 3:28-29.
God bless you women of Christian faith to step up with the men and may the same God of Israel help the Jewish ladies with their miniyams. Keep up the good (God's) work. God loves you ladies! God has not changed his mind, Malachi 3:6 > "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not destroyed ( notice it says sons)." & Hebrews 13:8 > Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever! God will get the job done , step out in faith now, 1Thessalonians 5:23-24 > And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who will also do it.
Women In Ministry: Following Christ's Example
- Christians for Biblical Equality
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