Friday, January 27, 2006

What's a Woman to Do?

I’ve attended a variety of churches over the years. Some ordain women without hesitation. Others ordain and welcome women according to their giftedness yet are considered the black sheep of the denomination because of such actions. I have also participated with groups where women are restricted from certain church leadership positions.

Frankly, I am puzzled by this issue. There are plenty of scriptures that can be used to back either position. So which Christian sect is correct? And is it important? After all, there is no perfect church. Or is there?

Jesus replied, "You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you lock on earth will be locked in heaven, and whatever you open on earth will be opened in heaven."

Matthew 16:17-19

Sadly, the world’s view of the church today is similar to the response in Matthew 16:13-14. Many people thought Jesus was perhaps John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or another prophet. In other words, to them, Jesus was a leader with followers, no different than other great leaders but perhaps with a different perspective of life.

In John 17:22-23, Jesus says this about the church: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity (perfected into one) to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

There is nothing more exciting than to worship and minister with an ecumenical group of believers. Controversial issues often keep these experiences from happening. These issues can be stumbling blocks to those seeking truth. Or they can be obstacles which create a shadow of darkness keeping the light of Christ from being seen from certain positions.

Restricting the role of women in church is more than a controversial issue. This stance depletes the ability of the church to reflect the fullness of God. “God created man (mankind) in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”

Has Christ not restored mankind back to the relationship before sin? Must the church – the true church – live under the curse that resulted from sin? (Genesis 3:16 curse on woman - man will rule over her)

Where is the church Christ is building? Are the things locked by the church today also locked in heaven? Is the church seen by the world the Body of Christ or are we perhaps only human and cursed by our disobedience the same as those outside the walls of a church?

You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:26-28 (NIV)

Comments welcome.

1 comment:

Philip said...

When this subject is suggested, experience has told me there tend to be two branches. The first takes after Corinthins "Let the women keep silent in the churches..." and the other noting that Mary was the first preacher after the resurrection. My further observation is that the comments that follow are dependent upon the presenter's opinion using the verse of choice as support.
I am of the impression that there is a personal accountability to God concerning one's position and actions in the same. I further believe there is a family heirarchy established in the Old Testament in which authority is designated. That said, churches become a blend of both and the result may be confusing to those not involved.
I have heard women preachers, male preachers and even kids (teens) preaching at various times. Personally, I don't have a problem with any of the above as long as the person is following their personally designated calling from God.

the mission:
PROCLAIM the good news; HEAL the sick and oppressed; BRING JUSTICE
~ Luke 4:16-20

Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing (John 14:12)
~ Jesus 

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