I believe in male leadership in the church. And I believe the Bible allows for women to do more in our worship services than sit and observe.
Those two beliefs often put me at odds with people I love and respect. On one side, many feel that I’m an out-of-touch relic from days gone by, resisting the movement of the Spirit to abolish all gender-based distinctions. On the other side, many feel that I’m disregarding the plain teaching of Scripture, allowing culture to move me beyond what is written.
Personally, I feel that I’m ducking a pendulum swing. In the past, some in churches of Christ taught that women were inferior and incompetent of taking leading roles in the church. Rules were created as to what women could or couldn’t do in certain situations, rules based on interpretations of Scripture. As I read Scripture, I find some of those rules to be at odds with other passages and other interpretations.
It’s my belief that we’re going through a pendulum swing right now. As has happened on so many topics, I see Christians reacting to an overly restrictive interpretation by rejecting all hints of limitation. That’s not to say that everyone who has embraced a fully egalitarian outlook (dismissing all distinctions based on gender) are merely reacting to previous interpretations. It is to say that a perception of past abuse has made many extremely open to making a full break with that history.
What I see on both sides is a tendency to pick and choose biblical texts. While accusing the other side of using proof texts, each side produces their own select verses to make their case. While claiming that those that disagree are ignoring biblical examples, each carefully presents the stories that support their interpretation while downplaying those that would suggest something different.
I’m not claiming to be exempt from those faults. I am calling for charity from all involved. I’ve decided to take another look at this issue, despite an admitted weariness of the subject. For now, I’m going to post links to articles I’ve written in the past. That should give you enough fodder for any attacks you’d like to make on my person. If you can’t resist such attacks, fire away. I’ll be hurt, but I also know that in the end I only have to answer to One. If you can hold off, however, we all just might learn something.
Here are links to some of what I’ve written in the past:
Thinking about the thinking about women in the church
Women, men, and what the church is supposed to be focused on
My understanding of gender roles in the church
The Bible, Culture and Gender Roles
Gender roles and the cultures of the Bible
Does Paul go against the rest of the Bible on the topic of gender roles?
Does Galatians 3:28 provide the final word on gender roles in the church?
Do we dare appreciate wives and mothers in the church?
What does the creation story tell us about gender differences?
Miscellaneous thoughts on gender roles in the church
Women speak to the value of motherhood
Submission and gender
Phoebe, Junia, and the women of Romans 16
Microphones do not a leader make
Form versus function, revisited
Form, function, and passages about gender differences
Men, women, and the resurrection
Ephesians 5 for husbands and wives
What 1 Peter says about husbands and wives
How we live out submission and leadership in our marriage
Veils and heads, men and women
Women in the church: Silence is golden?
Holy hands and simple clothes
Silence or quietness? What does submission call for?
Spiritual giftedness and gender
Baptism, gender, and Galatians 3
The discussion of gender in the church is more than a two-position conversation
Jews, slaves, women, and baptism
Gender by design
The woman desiring her husband in Genesis 3… it might not mean what I thought
Men, Women, and The Curse
Culture: The Uninvited Guest
Proof texts, women judges, and pushing our own agendas
Let’s give Huldah her due… and just that
When we’re just an accident, almost anything goes
Gender discussions in the church
OK. So spend some time reading all that, then we’ll get on with this discussion. :-)