Following the letter to the BT I’ve been approached by some who
are less certain that women in ministry is a good thing. I can’t easily blog
all the reasons why I believe it is important we recognise the call of God on
women but I do think that those who disagree need to consider how we hold a
number of related issues together.
1. The trajectory that is established in Genesis 1:26-28 is
that male and female are created in God’s image, created for interdependence (2:18-25). We see this developed further in Acts
2:17-18 where the Spirit is poured out on men and women and in Galatians
3:26-29 where we see that in Christ there is no longer male and female.
2. The impact of the fall was considered the responsibility
of both Adam and Eve and this led to antagonism between the sexes and male
domination as seen in Genesis 3:16. This male domination was tempered by the
law but not eradicated until the coming of the kingdom with Christ.
considering the verses in 1 Corinthians we need to consider what Paul is trying
to teach when he appears to suggest in 11:5 that women can pray and prophesy in
worship gatherings but can’t speak in 14:34.
In addition with 1 Timothy 2:11-15 we need to consider what it means by
‘authority’ since it is the only time the word is used in the NT and basis for
this instruction is v15 where it states that women will be saved through
childbearing; we also need to consider why certain men were not allowed to
teach and whether this points to there being particular problems in Ephesus
which required such a response in order to maintain purity of doctrine and the
public reputation of the church.
Thanks for fighting our corner Neil, in your usual calm, thoughtful and empirical way. Perhaps those who still oppose women in ministry should question their own motives very carefully. They need to ensure that their basis is equally as robust and they are not just building a doctrine based on convenient interpretations of a small number of verses, which completely ignore the bigger picture of the inclusive and egalitarian message that Jesus gave.