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Women in Ministry - Framing the Conversation

Women in Ministry - Framing the Conversation

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Published by GleanerNOW

Jim Wibberding takes a look at women in ministry and what the biblical background is.

Jim Wibberding takes a look at women in ministry and what the biblical background is.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: GleanerNOW on Nov 20, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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09/17/2013

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WomeninMinistry:FramingtheConversation
ByJamesWibberding,D.Min.
Introduction
Sometimeduringmymid-teens,awomanpreachedatmyhomechurch.Overlunch,adiscussionensued,withthegeneralviewthatthisnewexperiencewasbad.The"reasons"rangedfromthedestabilizinginEluenceofPMStotheunpleasantlyhighpitchedsoundofawoman'svoicethroughthechurchspeakers.Later,Ijoinedthechorusofvoicesrepeatingstrainedargumentsthatcontendedforapre-sinsubordinationofwomentomen...ortriedtosqueezeadeEinitivewordfrombetweenthelinesoftextsaboutoverseersbeing"thehusbandofonewife"...orpushedformaleheadshipthroughthemarriageparadigm.Intheyearssincethen,IhavestudiedScriptureformyselfandreachedtheoppositeconclusion.Ifmybeliefthatwomenshouldserveasequalpartnersinministryiscorrect,whyhasn'teveryseriousBiblestudentreachedthesameconclusion?Theanswermaybeverysimple:Theonewhoasksthequestionswinsthedebate.Perhapstheeasiestwaytotwisttruthistoasknarrowquestionsandignorethebroadones.Forexample,ifIaskagentlefriendwhetherhehasstoppedbeatinghisdog,Isethimup.Ifhesays,“yes,”headmitstothebeatings.Ifhesays,“no,”headmitstheycontinue.Bythequestion,Iprovetheguiltofaninnocentfriend.Theconclusionispreset.Sadly,narrowquestionslikethishavedominatedthediscussiononwomeninministry.Weneedtoaddressthenarrowquestionsinordertoundothefog—tochallengemisconceptionsaboutcertainScripturetexts.Forthemoment,however,letusriseabovethehazeandlookatfourbroadquestions.Bybroadquestions,Imeanthosequestionsthattakethewholepictureintoaccount.AskingbroaderquestionsletsScripturesettheagenda.
ThePrimacyofFunctions
TheEirstbroadquestionisthis:WhatministryfunctionsdoesGodcallwomento?TheNewTestamentchurchdidnotthinkintermsofofEicesortitlesbutfunctions.ThisappearsinthewaythatchurchofEicesdevelopedpragmaticallyaroundtheneedsofthemission.Thechurchestablisheddeaconsandeldersassocialandspiritualneedsarose(Acts6:1-7;14:23),andthenadaptedtheirfunctionsasneedschanged.Forexample,deaconPhilip(Acts6:2-6)shiftedfromhisdeaconfunctionofcaringforsocialneedstoanapostlefunctionofpreaching(8:4-8)whenthemissionrequiredit.ThisfunctionalpragmatismsuggeststhattheywerenotconcernedaboutofEiceboundariesbutinterestedinservingthefunctionsthatthemissionrequired.Whenlookingatthebiblicaldata,weneedtounderstanditwithinthisframe.ThehierarchyofauthorityasweknowittodaywasabsentintheNewTestamentchurch.AquicksurveyofthefunctionsGodhascalledwomentodemonstratesthatGodhascalledthemtoeverymajorfunctionofamodernelderorpastor.Miriamandotherwomendemonstratedhighlevelsofspiritualleadership(xod15:20;Micah6:4;Acts21:9).Deborah,Priscilla,andothersservedasadministratorsamongGod’speople(Judg4:4;Rom16:1-4).Variouswomenengagedinpreachingandteaching,inspiteofculturalnormsagainstit(Acts2:4,16-17;1Cor11:5;Phil4:3).Finally,womenengagedinwhatwecall
 
pastoralcare(Rom16:1-2;Acts9:36).ThereisnomajorministryfunctionthatGoddidnotcallwomento.
UnderstandingAuthority
Thesecondbroadquestionisthis:WhatlevelofauthoritydoesGodcallwomento?ManywhoopposewomeninpastoralministrysuggestthatitisnotaboutthefunctionsGodmaycallthemtobuttheauthorityoftheofEice.Weshouldcarefullyweighthispoint.First,wemustunderstandthattheauthorityofchurchleadersdoesnotresideinthem.Instead,itisanextensionofChrist’sauthority.WhenJesuscommissionedtheEirstministersoftheChristianchurch,HeidentiEiedHimselfasthesourceofauthority,saying,Allauthorityinheavenandonearthhasbeengiventome.Thereforegoandmakedisciplesofallnations...AndsurelyIamwithyoualways,totheveryendoftheage.”(Matt28:18-20).Inotherwords,ChristhastheauthorityandHisagentscanserveHismissionifHegoeswiththem.Thepastororelderhasnopersonalauthorityoveranyone.Theirministryisonlylegitimate/authoritativewhenChristworksthroughthehumanagent.Wemustalsounderstandthatauthorityisnotabstract.Itistheauthoritytodosomethingwithlegitimacy,toperformafunction.ThecaseofPauldemonstratesthatauthorityaccompaniesfunction.AfterhistheophanyontheroadtoDamascus,Ananiasordainedhimtoministrybythelayingonofhands(Acts9:17-20).Later,thechurchofAntiochordainedhimagainforanewmissionbythelayingonofhands(13:2-4).Clearly,Paul’sministerialauthorityaccompaniedthefunctionhewascalledtoineachcase.Ifitresidedinhimpersonally,hewouldhaveonlyrequiredoneordination.SincetheauthoritytodoministrycomeswitheachministryfunctionGodcallsapersonto,wemustconcludethatGodcallswomentoalllevelsofchurchauthority;becauseHehascalledthemtoallmajorfunctions.
StatedRestrictions
Thethirdbroadquestionisthis:WhatstatedrestrictionsdoesGodplaceonwomeninministry?Weneedtolookfordirectstatements,notinferencesdrawnfromotherstatements.WecanEindnone.Thisisoddforanideawithsuchvehementopposition.IfGodsobadlywantstoexcludewomenfromcertaintypesofministry,wouldn'tHebothertotellusplainly?Ifwecarefullyexamineeachstatementproposedasaprohibitionofwomenbeingeldersorpastors,weEindthateveryonefallsshort.ventheonesthatEirstseemtheclearestfallfarshortofa“thussaiththeLord,womenmustn’tdothis”.ThetwotextsmostoftenusedtoopposewomeninministrycomefromtheEirstepistletoTimothy.Neitheronesayswhatithasbeenmadetosay,althoughthesedoappeartobetheclearestanti-women-in-leadershipstatementsavailable.BylettingPauldeEinehisownlanguage,weuncoverElawedinterpretations.TheEirstofthesetextssays,“Awomanshouldlearninquietnessandfullsubmission.Idonotpermitawomantoteachortohaveauthorityoveraman;shemustbesilent.”(1Tim2:11-12).Itsoundslikeacategoricalforbiddanceoffemaleleadership.Oncloserscrutiny,weEindthatPaulintendednosuchthing.Inthistext,PaulpairstheGreektermsforwifeandhusband,notthegeneralwomanandman,whichmeansthatheisaddressinghiscommentstothemarriagecontext.Further,hetellsallbelievers,notjustwives,tobeinquietness(v.2)andsubmission(ph5:21).Historically,theteacher-studentrelationshipcarrieswithittheideaofsuperiorand

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Alberto Vazquez added this note
Poor arguments...needs more elaboration
Jason Castner added this note
...although Thank you, for in no other way has it been made so clear, but by your rebellious action and that of those who are like minded--unrighteous, unsanctified, unfruitful, and worldly--that this IS the Laodicean Church. Therefore, I do plead that you repent and turn to your God, before His wrath is poured out on you and those that would seek to corrupt THIS church. "The Lord Rebuke You."
Jason Castner added this note
Sir, you have, like so many before you, turned a commandment of God into a tradition of man and thereby made it of no effect. Additionally, you have set up "straw man arguments" which you then go about knocking down, but in reality have nothing to do with BIBLICAL truth. The simple fact is, a pastor holds the position of Christ. To place a woman in that position symbolizes a lesbian marriage.
Sheri Oster liked this

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