Randal asks, “Why does so much gender discrepancy still remain in our modern culture? Why must men hold most of the powerful positions in church life as women are still told that they are not allowed? Is not hatred at the heart of the inconsistency with which churches affirm women? As we look to the future, we must adopt a more progressive and inclusive stance for women. While our concern for the role of women in leadership may be biblical, it may not be Jesus like.”
Randall. Thank you for your question. Gender discrepancy persists in Worship, Church, Leadership and Theology because the discrepancy has history, root, foundation and validity to begin with.
Your use of words like “powerful positions” awakens any number of concerns for the Christian church especially when we assume that the world and its Godless hierarchy has anything substantially healthy to offer. When 3M, Starbucks, Intel and Google are set before the church as role models in church governance and theology, then yes, “inconsistency with which churches affirm women” is noted.
When has there ever been uniformity across the denominational landscape on any subject? Waiting for this to happen is like waiting for the church offering to go out of vogue.
You seem to want us all to feel badly for the plight of suffrage and prejudice women of faith are enduring if they are told Eldership (the pulpit and office of Presbytery-Pastor) is off limits.
Randall, is it correct to compare the church to the world at any level? Can we really assume corporate America is the new and best role model for how the church will do business? The genderless corporate ladder is for world and church alike because why? Is it not true that the world-view and the Christ-view of life and living should remain at odds with each other. (I John 2:15-16)
As long as the church is in the world and the world is welcomed into the church, we will search for an illusive “equity” that was never meant to be.
If Ford Motor Company was told that it should operate its business by using Apple Products management protocol–OR ELSE…Or else it was being hateful, misguided, misogynistic and anti-business, we would note the inconsistency.
Expecting the church to mimic corporate America produces the same results.
There seems to be a desperate tone in Randall’s writing that assumes a wrong is universally diminishing us all–Namely–female discrimination. (I feel an apology coming on)
Randall reveals the true rub of this matter in his statement,
“While our concern for the role of women in leadership may be biblical, it may not be Jesus like.”
What is wrong with this?
1-An assumption that the two (biblical and Jesus-like) do no mate consistently and firmly.
Jesus brought absolute dignity and value to women in a culture that had women on par with animals. He taught that what we do is not who we are—that no position or title can make us “somebody”, but he can.
2-An assumption that biblical anything matters to “OUR” concern.
By choice, the bible has become less and less of an “authoritative document” for the people of God. Rather, it remains a weapon in the hands of Fundamentalists who distort truth and prop up their empires. Men who abuse the scriptures by distorting them into justification for anything less than love, respect and value to women.
The bible also remains a veritable playground of cut and edit for the Liberal agenda of those who appoint themselves theological editor-in-chief, needing to meet worldly quotas before God’s justice is determined and accomplished for women in the church.
To the world, it is not enough that men and women have complimenting characteristics. In some quarters, this statement is anathema. Men and women sinfully seek to conquer and divide. It becomes KING AND QUEEN OF THE HILL.
The church, however, has its own mature male and female roles to act out.
“We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. (Ephesians 4:14)
How are we doing?
The weakened state of Discipleship in the church today and the resultant diminishment of male leadership in both home and church life are at the root of gender discrepancy. A man who denies his responsibility of leadership, both physical and spiritual, is inviting anyone and everyone to do it for him.
A closer look at our subject today also reveals that women’s desires for such leadership rises as men remain in their flawed state of sinfulness and their abandonment of God.
Such men will seek to dominate women or become passive puppies.
Such men will objectify women as mere sexual objects and more and more women will objectify their own (see Hollywood)—all the while screaming “objectification”.
Such men will never love women as Christ loves the Church.
Such men will believe themselves superior to women.
Such men will seek power and profit over loving relationship.
Such men will use the bible and anything else at their disposal to further their false bravado.
Such men are brave with a few beers and a gun but weak and spineless in the face of their moral skeleton of a life.
Such men are often cowards who will abuse women and children.
Such men will fight for the control of a television remote control, yet cower at responsibilities of home and family.
Such men are boys who just happen to shave and drive expensive vehicles and know how to pretend manhood.
Such men need to know Jesus in order to be a complete man.
Such men need a church with men who offer examples of Christ-driven lives.
THE REAL QUESTION?
The real question to ask is, “where are the men with changed hearts?” Where are the men who will trade in their dead sinful heart for the new life Jesus offers? They are playing. They are dancing. They are absent without leave. God wants every man to repent of his unbelief. This corrects his stinking thinking which translates into correct living, which gives us another male who lives out his leadership potential at home, work and church.
Then we ask; “where is the Church who would fish for these men?” The church can easily become women and children who just give up on the men. As this happens, men become even more disenfranchised with attending the soft cushiony, tissue provided, romantic ballad Jesus music, 30-minute lecture of pretty stories and experiences called a “church service”. Generations of this imbalance will emasculate the few remaining men we have right out of there. The average attendance in USA now is 60% women 40% men. 25% of women attend without their husbands.
AREN’T WOMEN EQUALLY TALENTED AND CAPABLE?
But aren’t women equally talented and capable? I would say NO. They are most often MORE talented and capable.
World War II was a lost cause without women. Our homes and churches are lifeless without women.
If God said anywhere that “Capable” was THE requirement for service, women have few limitations and even less competition.
Why their talents and gifts are sought after:
–Women are better at contact-fullness
–Women are more naturally nurturing
–Women care, empathize and touch deeply
–Women are most always better at verbal communication (better preachers?)
The list is quite long of things that women do naturally and most often, much better than men.
In fact, if we had no bible or any other role divining assignment, personally I might just prefer women do all the work!
But in actuality, “INCAPABLE” is the requirement for service to God. (John 15:1-5)
And then there is the fact is that women don’t sing bass in the octave of men. It simply speaks to design.
Also, is the reality that women share other not-so-good tendencies that make their leadership as improbable as men.
Women often use sex and their sexual prowess to obtain power, money and control. They cooperate with men who seek to use love and or power to obtain sex.
Both men and women need to be in amazement that God would use any of us, at any time, for any reason.
“My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.” (James 3:1-2)
In the world, Position is power and more money.
In the Jesus model church, Position is humility and lowliness.
Now I will admit that this church model is not very popular. Many men have corrupted and abused it and the Church. Yet others know well their place of servitude.
Pastor Phil Jones said, “Our calling is to be servants, from the janitor right own down to the Sr. Pastor.”
What–you mean you never heard of Phil Jones? This guy meant it and he lives it. He doesn’t need to flash his Reverend badge or Doctor title. His personal power and authority are non-existent. He is a mere representative of the only power. He is a water boy in a world (and church world) that glorifies and esteems the home-run hitter over “the least of these”.
TO TELL THE TRUTH
The only thing more over estimated than being an elder pastor to a bunch of stubborn sheep and children in adult bodies is natural childbirth. You just think you can do it. Speak to those men who have lived and served this role for many years and ask them just how “qualified” they feel. They will readily tell God to give it to the women, children and anyone else who wants it. Why should men have all the suffering?
I don’t see people in line begging to be servants. I see confused and misled seekers of personal fame and glory who bring the world and its values into the holy chambers of God. They know how very out of place they are, yet the quest of one-up-man-ship, status, power and money have soiled their consciences. They are not broken before God–they are not even embarrassed, for they have united with a cause against God and the Christ they claim to serve. They are the new money changers in town whose design it is to make not a house of prayer, but one of CEO, CFO and Boards of governance. And it seems they have no shortage of followers. The world wants its disciples too and it needs them for profit.
WHY THE CHURCH MUST NEVER PLACE WOMEN IN THE OFFICE OF ELDER
AND WHY THIS WILL NEVER CHANGE
So who is this bad guy putting a cork in the bottle of “success” for women in ministry everywhere?
The scriptures–GOD– prohibits women from leading the church as Elder, Bishop, Presbytery, and Overseer. Why?
To use the same scriptures, there are these reasons given to us:
1-The order of creation–Adam, then Eve.
2-The entrance of sin into the world–Eve, then Adam. (I Timothy 2:11-14)
Not because Jesus or the Apostles were male.
Not because men are superior.
Not because women are inferior.
So God is the bad guy after all?
We can debate this, bash it, debunk it, disqualify it, cover it, cut it out, or any other diminishing attempt. And we do. Then we wait to see if God will remain silent or take sides. Then we create God around:
Dr. I’mdegreed– PhD. Lmd. Rtc. DMin. Thd.Omyme because he believes the way we do.
We create God around The Right Rev. Getbackinyourplace and women resume slave status.
We trust that maybe, just maybe God is protecting us from ourselves yet once again while we once again clamor and beg to be ruled by Kings.
SELF-COMMENDATION IS VALUED IN THE WORLD AND OUT OF CHARACTER WITHIN THE CHURCH (men and women)
II Corinthians 10 reminds us that this subject of position-equality we now strain at is not new.
“But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (II Corinthians 10:16-17)
If the qualifications for women are all about energy, talent, looks, speaking ability, compassion, caring, being pastoral, biblical knowledge and the like, then YES–women can fry up the bacon, earn all the money, raise the kids, change the tires, mend the roof and go to war—AND shepherd the flock of God as an Elder-Presbytery-Bishop.
She may even do this better than many men, if not most.
Then reality hits home.
–Women have as many negative traits that follow them into ministry as do men.
–We learn then that in God’s economy and calling, it is not about the mighty, noble and poise of the verbose.
–Women are restricted from the office of Elder/Bishop.
–Women are not to usurp power, to rule over men as Elder/Pastor/Teacher. (I Tim. 2)
–The unchangeable order of creation cares not about ability or cultural quotas. It cares not about title or talent.
It surely does not regard Wall Street as a model for church governance.
GODS ORDER IS NOT ABOUT CAPACITY, CAPABILITY AND CRAFTINESS. IT IS NOT EVEN GENDER.
Neither women or men are wholly, humanly capable and neither should understand God’s calling from the view of “capability or capacity”.
As an example, many bankers and money managers are the worst possible candidates for serving in a church finance ministry. As such, we make service and office more about talent than giftedness. We practice politics over prime directives.
Emasculation is before us and increasing.
I wish I could join Randall in the feminine glow, and the fairytale view of real history–real experience, but I cannot.
Women may well prove themselves equal to and even superior to men, but they do so to their own poverty and peril. Instead of waiting on the man and God, a woman may rush ahead in selfish, prayerless ambition. There is no glitter or gold at the end of this presumed rainbow, only sorrow and dysfunction where God wants order.
Yes, the church is declining today in large part because we have disregarded biblical teaching and we continue to thumb our noses at God concerning SSM, Homosexuality, and the biblical roles of men and women. (Read Titus)
As “we look to the future”, I suggest we let the world shift all it wants and needs. It is going to anyhow.
Yet the word of God remains unchanged and faithful as ever.
“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” II Timothy 3:16-17
CHURCH OF GOD—-CULTURAL CONFORMITY IS BEING FRIENDS WITH THE WORLD AND AN ENEMY OF CHRIST
“You people aren’t faithful to God! Don’t you know that if you love the world, you are God’s enemies? And if you decide to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
It is the job of the world to tell us when, why and how we can be successful and happy—right? Oh yes, and men and women follow this Pied Piper with abandon.
Even the secular world acknowledges this ploy and lie.
“My theory is that over the past 40 years, as American society exited the “Father Knows Best” or” Leave It to Beaver” mentality of the 50’s and 60’s, we seem to have increasingly equated success and fulfillment with jobs, career advancement, position title, bank accounts, and other symbols of success. If you were one of those statistical women who took on job, career or economic goals as your “symbols” of success, you just might have wound up sacrificing what mattered most in hopes of greener pastures at the other end of job, career or economic goals. What if you won the race to the top: a better job, increased paycheck, more “toys” than the boys? Did you bargain for all that comes with it? Did you anticipate the sacrifices you would have to make to get there? How are those trades looking now?”
Russell Bishop Huff Post The Blog “Women are Unhappy? And You’re Surprised?” 2009
Church– Leave the world to its need to be the world. The world needs to neutralize the church and to disengage it from any biblical moorings. As it can do so, it feels as though it has removed a significant barrier from its need to be god.
The biblical role for men and women who make up the New Testament church must be biblical and as a result, Jesus-like. Gender roles in the church promote Christ-likeness and the order of God’s creation.
MEN—THIS IS JOB #1 IN OUR DOMAIN
“As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother to get married, and he becomes like one person with his wife.” This is a great mystery, but I understand it to mean Christ and his church. So, each husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and each wife should respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:31-33)
WOMEN WHO KNOW CHRIST AS SAVIOR are asked to “submit” to their husbands.
An explanation of “submission” (putting her husband first) Ephesians 5.
In the early church, cultural conformity was a battle to fight just as it is today. Present culture-dysfunction and misogyny remain.
1-Mutual submission , demonstrating reverence for Christ is the true springboard–tell-tale of motivations.
- This reverence is the revolutionary motivation for denying existing cultural norms. Submission is reciprocal (putting each other first)
- Submission is to one worthy of respect (though wives married to non-Christians must win them by quietness and gentleness)
2- Wives submit to husbands
- “In the same fashion” (not all women-and not non-Christians)
- As Christ is the head of the Church
- As the Church submits to Christ
3-This is within a Christian Marriage (with no illusions to Rome or Greece. In these cultures, men had no obligations to women)
- Obedience to Christ then assumes a dignity that men have duties to wives.
- Love, protection, partners in holiness, care, fidelity and respect.
4- When submission to civil authorities, parents, church leadership, or husbands, or “each other” becomes coercive or demanded, then a “Non-Christ” subversion is in place. God orders His design and authority, not man. We carry out this authority in daily operations and roles of decency.
5- Husband is to Love (Christ-himself,-wife)
- Wife is to Submit–put her husband first. (forgive the “oversimplification”)
6-Inferiority of women to men or men to women is never hinted. Truly radical for that day and culture.