Scripture: subjection or liberation

25 Sep

Does God call and empower us in ministry, yet not provide avenues for the use of gifts?  Where are the Scriptural precedents for God lifting up individuals yet not providing the means of ministry?

Such questions don’t seem to sit well within Christianity.  In God’s realm, ministries do not remain unused or theoretical. Ministry is about people.  It’s about responding to call.  It’s about an overwhelming urgent response in love to the conversion brought about in our own lives.  It seems to us, that while life is unpredictable, God calls to every one of us, reminding us that the harvest is great and the labourers are few.

We don’t hear God surmising that perhaps there’ll be work to do, that possibly your gifts will be used.  The conversation with God is not about waiting in line until the time is right, until we all agree that you too can be a labourer in the field. Rather, we read of a sense of urgency, where all people are called for the harvest.

In the LCA, the CTICR (Commission on Theology and Inter-Church Relationships) has twice found that there are no theological blocks to the ordination of women, however, we find that some people still attempt to use Scripture to justify the exclusion of women from ministry.  Where there might have been pastoral leadership towards inclusivity,  we find invitations to continue the conversation on whether Scripture empowers women to pastoral leadership.

Blogger Marg Mowczko, from her blog, “New Life,” makes the connection with racism:

I find it difficult to believe that discrimination on the basis of race has been declared immoral and illegal in Australia (and other western-style nations) only in my lifetime. Moreover, it is shocking to me that previous generations often used Scripture to condone ignorant and hateful attitudes of racial prejudice and racial superiority. …

I also find it difficult to believe that in contemporary Church life, women are still discriminated against on the basis of gender. Women are excluded from many ministries that involve public speaking, teaching or leadership. … It bothers me that some Christians use Scripture to condone and support discrimination and prejudice against women in ministry.

via Race and Gender Discrimination in the Church.

In summary, two points.

  1. Jesus was radically inclusive.  Women were in his inner circle.  They were right there in the middle of his story.  He called them to serve. They were instrumental in bringing his good news to the rest of us. In ministry and faith there were no men or women, there were only followers of Jesus.  In Christ there was no east nor west, slave nor free … .  Today, in Christ there is no east nor west, slave nor free …
  2. Scripture has been used to justify putting others in their place, for keeping slaves under subjection and still today for keeping women out of the pulpit.  In contrast, the New Testament makes a big deal of unity, diversity and inclusion. Non-Jews were included as the children of God, including the despised Samaritans; prostitutes and tax-collectors were among the most intimate with Jesus, and Jesus directed his disciples to carry the good news to ‘all nations’.

How might you support women in your congregation?  What network can you build so that the issue gains a higher prominence in your congregation?  What action can you take in your community?

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in history, theology


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