Women in Ministry
There has been some heated discussion about women in ministry on the following weblogs.
I’d like to contribute. I will preface my comments by saying that I am part of a house church that affirms women in leadership.
Understand the debate
Many of the people who don’t affirm women in leadership roles are simply trying to be faithful to scripture and 1Tim in particular. This isn’t sexism. There is solid scriptural evidence to deny women leadership in the church. If we don’t honestly and humbly engage with scripture on this issue we essentially have decided that we base our theology on what we think is right. I’m not willing to go there because our cultural values are rarely the same as God’s values. If we fail to move beyond our own postmodern cultural bias we will make the same mistakes the church has been making for almost 2000 years.
Two sites I recommend for further research
A recent survey found that 37% of pastors admitted to engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviour with someone in the church. Cross gender one on one mentoring is a bad idea because the risks are too high and there is too much too lose. That doesn’t mean people can’t be taught, trained and equipped in groups or even as couples.
Women in the emerging church
The emerging church has almost no hierarchy. Any one can comment on the Ooze, start a house church, or maintain a weblog. There are various ways people can exhibit leadership. Unless people want to start talking about specific organizations I don’t know how the path to leadership could be more free for women.
Is the emerging church so narrow that it cannot allow for people to follow the traditional interpretation of 1Tim 2? If we are going to move beyond the petty political/theological debates that often tear denominations apart we are going to have to let honest Christians come to legitimate interpretations of scripture that are different from ours. This includes traditional conservative ones.