women in ministry

A friend recently wrote to me in an email about a negative reaction she received from some people since she took a leadership role in a certain church. She asked me what my take on women in ministry was, so I decided to respond.

Here’s part of what I wrote to her:

“By the way–that frustrates me to hear that certain people had a negative reaction to your leadership role. This is one thing I’ve never understood the independent Christian church denomination, quite frankly (assuming that’s where the ire came from). For all of the insistence to return to “First Century/New Testament” Christianity, many people seem to ignore the historical precedence of early church Christian women in roles of leadership, namely Priscilla, Phoebe, and Prisca. Mary Magdalene–a woman, not a man–was the first one to see and proclaim the risen Christ. Astonishing to me that such an important detail in the story of resurrection is often overlooked or trivialized.

I believe there is a form of headship of the man over the woman (in both church and marriage), though not in the generally understood sense, apparently. In the church anyway, I believe that men are designed to be the leaders, the shepherds, the pastors, so to speak, and as a matter of personal preference I think I would only want to be part of a fellowship where the ultimate leadership is a man. I think that’s the order of things that God ordained, not to oppress or abuse power, but to demonstrate a facet of His nature: a kingship, a head.

But I believe that if no men are available to fill certain roles: teaching, evangelizing, worship leading, etc., then women are just as valuable and ordained and set apart to step up. There were no strong, godly men in the time of Deborah, so God called her forth to lead. If there are women who are called, capable, gifted and willing to serve, then they should be empowered to. Eve was called a “helper” and this is not in a quaint “Daddy’s little helper” meaning. God is also frequently proclaimed in Scripture as being our “help,” and I think the same strength and significance and purpose is infused in our identity as women…”

Thoughts? This is certainly a touchy issue for many…

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