I’m so not going to go crazy on this. I leave it to others!
This past Sunday, Roosevelt Community Church re-launched a periodic adult-centric series of discussions. Looking at leadership within the church, Pastors Vermon Pierre and Bob Korijan, placed the topic of gender within the context of a larger topic: What does it mean to be a shepherd?
I’m not going to go crazy, because I pretty much agree with everything they said—which may come as a surprise to people. I’m good with the “limits,” if you will, on women—if limits they are. Why?
Because they’re not limits.
And because I thought Pastor Vermon thoughtfully spelled out the problems associated with churches getting all “manly.” All patriarchical. Uh-oh, am I getting heated?
Rather than spell out all that was said at this session, I’d rather drop the Bible verses for your own perusal, and just note the challenges.
Consider these verses:
Genesis 1:27 – a starting point and context
Acts 1:14, 2-42
Acts 18: 25-26
I Corinthians 11:2
I Corinthians 14:26
I Timothy 2:11, 12-14
I Timothy 3:14-15
In essence, there is a distinction between special leadership—which is elder-specific—and general leadership. This distinction is very important, clearly biblical, and reveals the importance of women in the Church.
In order to interpret Scripture on all topics, but especially “hot topics” like this, we might keep in mind three principles for interpretation (as Pastor Vermon said, we want to be relentlessly biblical):
1. The Bible means what it says.
2. The Bible does not contradict itself.
3. The Bible is the best commentary on the Bible.
And so, in light of these verses and these hermeneutics, we might suggest these WRONGS (Ladies, I know you know what we’re talking about here . . . )
1 Investing primarily in men for theological training and leadership (DO I HEAR AN “AMEN”?)
2 Instead of cultivating brother and sister relationships, we promote a kind of macho-man culture that ends up objectifying and sexualizing women: men either want to have sex with a woman, or stay away from them. (THIS IS THE BIGGIE. IT SO PROFOUNDLY AFFECTS WOMEN, PARTICULARLY IN REFORMED CIRCLES—AND ITS IMPACT IS WIDESPREAD, HURTING SMART GIRLS, PRETTY GIRLS, PLAIN JANES, “TRADITIONAL” AND “UNORTHODOX” ALIKE. THE SHOCKING CHRISTIANIZATION OF OBJECTIFICATION!!! I COULD GET CRA-CRA HERE, BUT I’LL RESIST.)
3 In order to be careful that we don’t violate I Tim. 2, we close down any role for women in any setting of the church (APART FROM TAKING CARE OF THE KIDS).
4 Not creating opportunities for non-elder men and women to exhort, encourage, and proclaim the gospel to one another
5 Framing the conversation around protecting the authority and power of elders and men
6 Marginalizing women into a corner
I might’ve missed some! But, rather than go ballistic, I’d prefer to raise the issues—and urge everyone to really ponder the issues.
And encourage all to especially think about this idea of the Christianization of Objectification . . .