Monday, March 06, 2006

Women, Ministry and the Church

Having gone to the Shepherd’s conference Saturday and listened to Ligon Duncan speak on the issue of women in ministry and the importance of dealing with the subject, it reminded me of how the church today wants to do things the easy way. If you take a stand that women have roles to fill, just as men do, you will often be labeled as subjugating women. The issue is all too often laden with emotion and the simple fact that one might say that some ministry is not permissible is not acceptable in today’s culture. The church has bought into the world’s idea that if it is something you desire you should be able to “do it.”

What is amazing is that when it is said that there are limits to women’s ministry people forget that the same is to be said for men. Not all men can be elders no matter how good they teach or how successful they are in business. However, the church has missed the boat in that arena as well. At the heart of this all is that the heart of mankind desires to do whatever it pleases and if they are told no that just does not sit well. The whole issue of entitlement permeates the church and everyone feels they are entitled to do as they please.

We miss the point of observing the Trinity in that the 3 are one in essence, all God, but all have a role to fulfill. We do not see Jesus telling the Father, “no I would rather have your position because that is what I feel called to and who are you to say no since I am God.” Each member did as they were called to in the relationship: The Father sent the Son and the Son sent the Holy Spirit. So it is with us, we all have a part in the church and God has designed those parts not us. Once we start messing with the church to make it in our own image what a mess it becomes.

As a side note, this is not just an issue of women in ministry it is also about interpreting scripture. I think it is not a coincidence that those denominations that now ordain women now either condone homosexuality or are having to deal with the issue on a very serious basis. Once you start making everything in scripture culturally relevant there is really no end to what will happen as culture continually changes.

I do not say any of this is easy but if we truly see God’s word as it is, I can say it is not a burden. Nike’s saying does have merit in that when it comes to scripture we do need to “Just Do It.” Not without study and prayer but when the plain truth of scripture stares us in the face we need to comply and thankfully we are given that ability as believers due to the hearts we have being changed by God to allow us to comply and desire to do so.


RevyRev said...

I liked what you said about eldership and the spirit of entitlement in our culture. Or from the other side, we might say its the lack of submission to God's Word, ways, and purpose for us in the church. Some of us need to submit to God and take loving responsibility and others need to submit to God and loving submission.

It shouldn't be surprising to see an entitlement culture and egalitarianism has an eroding effect on hermeneutic and biblical clarity. At least that is what Grudem and Piper say, and i would agree.

Perhaps in the midst of church-growth-models, evangelism-models and leadership-models in churches and parachurch organizations can make us fall into the trap of "making leaders out of everyone". I guess it matters what you mean by "leaders", I haven't seen many evangelical leadership models that didn't blur or ignore complimentarily.

David Powlison described complimentarily and roles as an orchestra where we all have different instruments and tunes but we all play to the key and tempo of the Gospel. But if everyone wanting to play the trumpet it will just make a mess of the symphony. But everyone should be playing in the key and tempo of the Gospel and living out the proper roles and calling of servant-headship and servant-submission.

Tony said...

Hey Dave:

Thanks for the comments.

To build on the orchestra example and based on comments I often hear. If a person insisted on playing an instrument because they were very good at it but the composer did not have that instrument in the score it would detract from the composers work regardless of the skill or proficiency of the musician. So, not only are all the different instruments in different roles and resulting in being as the composer designed it but if something is done differently than the composer intended it takes away form the design. I am sure this analogy would fall apart in some fashion but it does give a picture, albeit imperfect.

So it is with the church and God as the designer/composer of it. HE has set up specific roles for men and women to fulfill so the church is as He intended. Even within the genders God has set up roles for individuals and those are for the good of the whole as well. This is always a sticky issue since in the end it always seems to come to an emotional response that drives the biblical interpretation,