After sixty years of involvement in the Southern Baptist Church, former American President Jimmy Carter has left. Over what? Over his disagreement with their stance over the ordination of women. Read the article here. The SBC articles forbid the appointment of a woman as a pastor, as they see this as a male-only role.
The role of women in the church is such an important issue. It's sad to see some people ignoring the issue while others continuing with man-made traditions and spurious interpretations of the Scriptures.
As world renown biblical scholar N.T. Wright profoundly says, the best place to start when considering the role of the women in the church is John 20 and Romans 16. In John 20 we see women as the first witnesses of the resurrection and as being personally commissioned by Jesus to go tell others that he is risen. In Romans 16, Paul thanks and commends many women who were active in the church, both in leading house churches and even one who was an apostle - Junia (vs.7).
Other texts that seem to silence women need to be taken in their local context, which is always a dysfunctional environment and not to be seen as the 'norm'.
God's original design was for men and women to partner together in life and ministry. Jesus and Paul seek to get us back to that intention. Let's do the same in our generation.
P.S. For further thoughts on women in leadership and our approach at CityLife Church, click here.
P.S.S. For those who want to do some more scholarly work, this issue, like all issues, should take us back to our understanding of God as Trinity. Our God has revealed himself as one God existing in three persons. The Trinity is the model for all human relationships, including marriage. Is their equality in the Trinity or is their subordination? In the incarnation, the Son humbled himself and became man but does this equate to the eternal subordination of the Son? Kevin Giles has written an influential book on this topic called The Trinity and Subordinationism: The Doctrine of God and the Contemporary Gender Debate. Click here for reviews of this book and ongoing discussion.