Wednesday, April 02, 2008

It’s anchorMAN, not achorLADY!

The case of Sherri Klouda vs. SWBTS, Dr. Patterson et al is well known in the SBC. The issue of women in ministry is one that every church has to address at some time on some level.

I share with you a list I compiled, an exercise that I've done before on the topic.

101 practical scenarios regarding women in ministry.
Cogitate about the biblical principles that determine what a woman may or may not do within the body of Christ. Some passages to start with might include 1 Cor 11:2-16; 14:33-35; Eph 5:22-33; 1 Tim 2:12; 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9; 2:3-5; etc. (others?)

After you have drafted up some theoretical, biblical principles that should govern such activity, relate them to the following, asking yourself, "If it were up to me, would I be on board with a woman doing X?"

Be prepared not only to answer "yeah" or "nay" but to support your answer.

In addition, you may want to distinguish for yourself, and for us, those things which you think are (a) biblically prohibited and those things which you're just (b) "not comfortable with" or want to play it safe with, etc. One other suggestion: You may want to try to put these on some sort of continuum and decide where you "draw the line" so to speak.

It seems to me there's a tension. On the one hand, we don't want to violate biblical texts like those above, yet we also don't want to unnecessarily limit the usefulness of the gifted sisters God has graciously given to us.

(N.B. The term "mixed" refers to a group containing both men and women.)

Are you on board with a Christian woman …
  1. Being the president of a denomination?
  2. Being a member of the governing board of a denomination?
  3. Teaching/preaching/speaking at a national denominational meeting?
  4. Praying at a national denominational meeting?
  5. Being the senior pastor in a church?
  6. Presiding over the Lord's Supper?
  7. Distributing the elements of the Lord's Supper?
  8. Collecting the offering?
  9. Administering baptism to a woman in the church service?
  10. Administering baptism to a man in the church service?
  11. Administering baptism to her daughter in the church service?
  12. Administering baptism to her eight-year-old son in the church service?
  13. Administering baptism to her seventeen-year-old son in the church service?
  14. Being the permanently designated leader of a (mixed) home church or cell group whammy?
  15. Teaching the lesson(s) for such a cell group/fellowship family, etc.?
  16. Being the committee chair for a mixed church committee (e.g., finance, missions, etc.)?
  17. Being the director of Christian Education/Sunday School overseeing mixed teachers?
  18. Being a foreign missionary in charge the whole operation, including the teaching, etc.?
  19. Leading a mixed short-term mission trip?
  20. Being the mixed choir director?
  21. Being on a mixed praise team that leads the congregation in worship?
  22. Being the lead vocalist on said praise team?
  23. Being the leader/organizer of said praise team?
  24. Being the minister of music who chooses and leads the congregational singing?
  25. Singing a solo during the worship service?
  26. Singing a duet with her husband during the worship service?
  27. Singing a duet with a man not her husband during the worship service?
  28. Singing in the mixed choir?
  29. Singing with the congregation during the worship service period?
  30. Being an elder?
  31. Being a deaconess (i.e., female deacon - assuming biblical understanding of deacons as servants and elders in place to govern)?
  32. Being the church secretary?
  33. Being the church treasurer?
  34. Member of a governing board that operates as an elder board for a congregation?
  35. Speaking/preaching/teaching during the "sermon time" on occasion under supervision of elders and senior pastor?
  36. Performing a baby dedication during service (assuming on staff)?
  37. Speaking in a mixed Sunday school class (i.e., as part of the discussion)?
  38. Speaking in a mixed Bible study (i.e., as part of the discussion)?
  39. Speaking in a congregational business meeting?
  40. Moderating a congregational business meeting?
  41. Voting in a congregational business meeting?
  42. Being the president of a theological seminary or Bible college?
  43. Being the department head over male professors at a seminary or Bible college?
  44. Teaching Bible or theology in a theological seminary to a class of women?
  45. Teaching Bible or theology in a theological seminary to a mixed class?
  46. Teaching Greek or Hebrew in a theological seminary to a mixed class?
  47. Teaching Greek or Hebrew in a Bible college?
  48. Teaching counseling to a mixed group in a theological seminary?
  49. Teaching English (or math, history, etc.) to a mixed group in a Bible college?
  50. Teaching any subject at a secular university that would allow male enrollment?
  51. Being the principal of a Christian school that has male teachers?
  52. Being the teacher of a mixed class in a Christian high school teaching art?
  53. Being the teacher of a mixed class in a Christian high school teaching Bible?
  54. Being the leader of a mixed Christian high school camp?
  55. Being a camp counselor in charge of a mixed (high school) group?
  56. Being the supervisor over a Christian man in any secular work environment?
  57. Being the teacher of a mixed adult Sunday school class?
  58. Being the teacher of a mixed Senior High (ages 15-18ish) SS class?
  59. Being the teacher of a mixed Junior High (ages 13-14ish) SS class?
  60. Being the teacher of a mixed Elementary (ages 5-12) SS class?
  61. Being the teacher of an adult female Bible study?
  62. Being the leader of a kids program (e.g., AWANA) that has male leaders?
  63. Organizing VBS (assuming mixed teachers)?
  64. Teaching on occasion in a mixed adult SS class, under supervision of male teacher?
  65. Giving her testimony in the congregational worship service?
  66. Giving her testimony in the mixed adult Sunday school class?
  67. Writing a book on theology (not specifically designated for women)?
  68. Writing a commentary on a Bible book as part of a series with a male editor?
  69. Writing or editing a study Bible?
  70. Contributing notes for study Bible with a male general editor?
  71. Leading a translation team for a Bible version?
  72. Being a translator on a translation team for a Bible version?
  73. Editing or writing a Bible or theological dictionary?
  74. Editing a Christian magazine (e.g., Christianity Today)?
  75. Editing the church newsletter or bulletin?
  76. Contributing an article to a Bible or theological dictionary (under male editor)?
  77. Speaking/preaching evangelistically to an intended mixed group of non-Christians?
  78. Evangelizing a man in a random personal encounter encompassing the two of them?
  79. Praying to open or close a Bible study or Sunday school class?
  80. Praying (aloud, representing the congregation) during the worship service?
  81. Reading Scripture aloud to the congregation on a Sunday morning?
  82. Reading Scripture to the Sunday school class or Bible study (upon request of male teacher?
  83. Praying among a mixed group of praying folk in a Sunday school class?
  84. Praying among a mixed group at a congregational prayer meeting?
  85. Reading Scripture among a mixed group at a congregational prayer meeting?
  86. Participating in the congregational Scripture reading during the worship service?
  87. Praying for the mixed group before they consume a meal at a restaurant together?
  88. Praying for the congregation at the park before they consume a picnic meal together?
  89. Being ordained and bearing the title "reverend"?
  90. Having the title "pastor" (e.g., Children's Pastor, Women's pastor, etc.)?
  91. Having the title "minister" (e.g., Children's Minister, Women's Minister, etc.)?
  92. Being a paid member of the pastoral staff (e.g., overseeing children, women, etc.)?
  93. Giving the announcements (regularly) to start the worship service?
  94. Giving an announcement on occasion dealing with kids during the worship service?
  95. Welcoming people at the door as a greeter before the worship service?
  96. Driving the bus to pick up kids for Sunday school?
  97. Driving the van of mixed adults going to a denominational convention?
  98. Organizing the trip of mixed adults to go to a denominational convention?
  99. Owning a Christian bookstore (while employing men)?
  100. Managing a Christian bookstore (while supervising men)?
  101. Being responsible for (and choosing) inventory in a Christian bookstore?

Labels:

8 Comments:

At 02 April, 2008 15:36, Anonymous J BoBo said...

What is mentioned in Q:36? I don't see any scriptural reference for this, um, whaddoyoucallit, "baby dedication." What does it matter if a woman does this act or no if its not prescribed in Scripture?

 
At 02 April, 2008 15:57, Blogger GUNNY said...

Well, you can't find me any Scriptures against it, can you?

Some say it's an argument from silence, but the practice of infant dedications inferred in all the "household dedications," as in "... you and your house."

;-)

You wrote: "What does it matter ...?"

What does it matter?!

Next you'll be attacking the sacrament of Announcements!

 
At 02 April, 2008 19:05, Blogger KELLY said...

Gunny,
You are one brave soul! I won't even begin to share my thoughts your list of 100! Ha! Ha!
Great post - and you can bet I will be checking back to see the comments left by other brave souls! :0

 
At 02 April, 2008 21:09, Anonymous senied said...

# Giving an announcement on occasion dealing with kids during the worship service?
# Welcoming people at the door as a greeter before the worship service?
# Driving the bus to pick up kids for Sunday school?
# Driving the van of mixed adults going to a denominational convention?
# Organizing the trip of mixed adults to go to a denominational convention?
# Owning a Christian bookstore (while employing men)?
# Managing a Christian bookstore (while supervising men)?
# Being responsible for (and choosing) inventory in a Christian bookstore?

I don't think the Scriptures speak against the above items. So, who are we to prohibit something that God doesn't?

As far as allowing women to pray in a worship service, Paul seems to allow it in 1 Cor 11. He just requires a head covering. Which brings up even more questions. Paul doesn't prohibit women from prophesying and praying in the church as long as it's done biblically. Now, that's something to chew on.

 
At 02 April, 2008 22:02, Blogger GUNNY said...

Speaking of 1 Cor 11 and headcoverings ...

Something the other tour guides won't tell you.


senied said...
"So, who are we to prohibit something that God doesn't?"

Thanks for weighing in. I think that's the key question that has to be addressed.

While it may seem "safe" to say, for example, no woman can do any of the 101, there's a real danger there.

Is it possible to sin by prohibiting what Scripture does not? Is a church in sin when it forbids one of God's children from doing that for which He designed her?

I think so, but giving the "green light" to the 101 would be folly just as well.

It's easy to speak in the absolute terms when speaking theoretically or even theologically, but it's the real life application (i.e., the "nitty gritty") where any theologian really earns his, or her, money.


Kelly, I'm also look forward to some intelligent discussion and insight.

We'll see just how brave people really are.

;-)

One other thought, it seems to me that the biblical principles have to be contextualized. By that I mean, in what context do they apply?

Are there some things a woman may do outside of church that she may not do "in church"? Within the functions of the church, are there varying degrees of prohibition?

In other words, is there a difference between Cindy Lou Who telling Jethro that the term he's looking for is "supralapsarianism" when he's forgot at the lunch table after church vs. giving the same label to a theological view from the pulpit during "sermon time"?

I think there is, but how do/should we articulate such?

 
At 03 April, 2008 06:27, Anonymous Lance said...

A Christian thinker I respect was interviewed recently and asked about his thoughts on 1 Tim. 2:11-15 (as well as his opinions on a woman driving mixed couples in a 15 passenger van vs. an 8 passenger, to a senior adult swim party, the answer to which he was Klouless).

His response had to do with living by "the plain meaning of the text."

Oh, that it were so simple as that!

Methinks that if the text were so "plain," there would not be so many books and websites dedicated to explaining it.

Thanks, Gunny, for mucking up the stalls even more.

 
At 03 April, 2008 15:10, Blogger SelahV said...

Gunny...this is entirely too much work. Haven't you heard of blogging for fun? selahV

 
At 05 April, 2008 09:15, Blogger Rev. said...

Gunny, I'll be your Huckleberry... sort of (too much slooge, hafta just deal with some). The ones on which I feel adamant -

5-7. Definite No
9-13. Definite No
30. Definite No
31. Definite Yes
35-36. Definite No
89. Definite No
90. Definite No

 

Post a Comment

<< Home

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting