Some Advice to Both Sides of the Women in Ministry Debate

jonalyn.jpgJonalyn Grace Fincher’s blog is consistently deep. She’s not one to write light and fluffy pieces about her day, but rather in-depth analysis of issues or extensive glimpses into her thought process.

She recently had some great insight into the often vitriolic debate about the roles of women in ministry and the household. Her thoughts jump off of two articles from Christianity Today last month titled Wounds of a Friend: Egalitarian and Wounds of a Friend: Complementarian:

While I do not believe Adam’s first sin was his silence (God never judges or rebukes him for this) I do believe men are guilty of silencing their God-given partner. Koessler warns complementarians from using Scripture to push a certain social construct and control over women, one of which is manifest in calling stay-at-home mother’s as those who are accepting “God’s highest calling.” As one woman friend tells him, “My children are grown and out of the house. So when I hear people say that a woman’s ‘highest calling’ is to be a wife and mother, I find myself wondering if there isn’t anything else for me to do for Christ.”

This is precisely what some complementarians have done to women, in their eagerness to uphold the excellent work of mothering, they’ve allowed all other valuable, excellent jobs, vocations, ministries to pale in comparison. This is not what Christ teaches, which Koessler points out in detail in his article. I mention this here because of a recent post and long, dedicated discussion many of you contributed to the topic of stay-at-home mothering.

In a follow-up article, Dr. Sarah Sumner warns egalitarians (those who believe women and men should serve in any capacity in which they are gifted be it elder, deacon, pastor, teacher) in her article “Wounds from a Friend: Egalitarian” that egalitarians need to be careful to use carefully exegeted passages to defend their belief in women’s public ministry, not political ideologies (and I’d add gut feelings like, “I feel very strongly that women should be permitted to preach.”) Egalitarians must be careful about taking Scripture out of context, not slapping just one definition of “head” on I Cor 11, to be wary of a marriage where there is no mutuality, but only independent individuals operating without the other’s input or love and to guard against a genderless church.

There’s more to the post on Jonalyn’s blog. And if you’re interested in more of her thoughts, check out her book, Ruby Slippers.

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