Hold Fast

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you--unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2, ESV)

Location: Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

One Last Note On Women Pastors

I was deeply encouraged to see some of the comments on my last post of the "To Address Some Concerns" series, especially this one:

I agree. And I'm a woman, and I don't think you hate me :P Thanks, Betty!

Interestingly, it was all women who responded, and two of the three that did were strongly supportive (the second of the three, I must confess, left me rather confused...)

Betty's insights cut right to the heart of the issue. As she pointed out, our purpose as Christians is not self-fulfillment - though Christ is the most fulfilling of all things! No, our ultimate purpose is much higher than selfish concerns:

And most of all, it isn't about us anyway; it is for the glory of God, so to get caught up in it otherwise, I would argue, is selfish and missing the point of serving God. It isn't for self-fulfillment. It IS servanthood as you mentioned, and ultimately it is for God.

Nicole, for her part, directed us to look toward the danger of such practice:

I think it's a shame how our Christian churches today feel the need to put aside scriptural truths to make Chritianity more appealing and acceptable to the world. The Bible could not be more clear on this subject!!!

No, it could not. And this is what I was getting at when I said, "To explain away Scripture's commands about the function of women in the church and household is to do tremendous damage to the authority of Scripture, and opens the door for practically any other doctrine to be similarly 'contextualized' and ignored."

Am I simply being alarmist by pointing this out? I'm not. Consider this: in a poll released in January 2004, the Barna Group, which specializes in church statistics, determined that of the 601 Protestant pastors they surveyed across North America, merely 51% of them have a Biblical worldview (defined as belief in several key Biblical teachings, such as absolute moral truth, the Biblical basis of such truth, sinlessness of Jesus, existence of Satan, etc.) This is shocking in itself, but when broken down by gender, it gets far worse:

The survey brought to light some unexpected differences based on pastoral background... The largest gap related to gender. Whereas 53% of male pastors have a biblical worldview, the same can be said for just 15% of female pastors. (emphasis added)

Barely one in seven women who hold a pastoral role believe in fundamental doctrines of the Christian church. Why is that? Well, first of all, I hate to point out the obvious, but there are always people out there who will take what you say out of the context it's offered - and so I will say this clearly:

It is NOT because women are in some way less capable of grasping Biblical truth - they certainly are able to do so! Personally, I know many, many women who possess a biblical worldview and a firm grasp of Christian teachings. I'm married to one, and count many others as good friends and among my family. The Bible, by assigning the responsibility to older women of teaching younger women the Christian faith (Titus 2:3-5), presupposes that women are fully capable of grasping Scripture. The picture in Acts of Priscilla, together with her husband, correcting and instructing Apollos in the true message of the faith (Acts 18:26) should dispel this idea.

So why is it? It's quite simple: in order to justify allowing women to hold positions of authority in preaching and teaching in the church, one must adopt a method of interpreting Scripture that allows you to ignore and reinterpret teachings that contradict one's beliefs. Or, in other words, one must appeal to culture, or to secular philosophy, or a worldly assumption about the roles of women, and then impose that on Scripture.

And once this has been done for one issue, and the tacit admission has been made that the Bible must be interpreted by some external (and higher / more relevant / more enlightened) authority, this hermeneutic (method for interpreting Scripture) opens the door for practically any other doctrinal deviation - be it abortion, homosexuality, rejection of the sinlessness or even deity of Christ, etc.

To sum up: a person (it's not just women, by any means!) who believes that women should be pastors does not derive this belief from Scripture - where all our faith and practice must come from - but from elsewhere. That person, therefore, is not in submission to God's Word - he or she submits that Word to human wisdom and understanding.

The comments left on my post are examples of women who seek to please God more than human beings - even themselves. And there are others out there - I think of bloggers like the Mahaney girls, Carla Rolfe, and Rebecca Stark, just to name a few. They're living proof that holding a Biblical view of manhood and womanhood is the foundation of freedom and fulfillment. May their tribe increase.


Blogger Carla said...

Thank you for your kind words.


6:04 AM  
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3:06 AM  

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