The question regarding the role of women in the church has come to the fore once again with the expulsion of Saddleback Church from the Southern Baptist Convention for ordaining women as pastors and Rick Warren, the founding pastor’s, subsequent response (Rick Warren: The Great Commission’s ‘Go and Teach’ Applies to Women in Christianity Today at https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2023/march-web-only/rick-warren-russell-moore-saddleback-church-women-preaching.html).
One of our biggest problems is the echo chambers we live in that confirm and affirm our own point of view, along with the lenses we use to look at the scriptures, lenses that filter out the light from the texts we don’t want to wrestle with. Do you read and listen to people outside your circle?
I grew up in a complementarian home and church (we didn’t call it that then), I’ve served in an egalitarian setting, strong complementarian, then mild complementarian. Then I decided it was time to make a thorough study of the scriptures with an open mind and a willingness to hear what they are really saying.
In doing so, it amazed me how much we read scripture through our own personal experience, and how hard it is to break free from that, and hear afresh what scripture has to say – to hear the Spirit in the text.
That is not liberalism, or postmodernism etc… It is what every generation has to wrestle with. Even in New Testament times there were those who read and interpreted the word through their own filters and traditions, and Jesus, Paul and others challenged those interpretations and the motives behind them – think of the Pharisees who were originally a reform and renewal group who developed their own traditions and understanding.
Some get round it by simply accusing those in the complementarian camp of not holding to belief in the fully inspired word, and consequently that’s how they arrive at where they are at. Game, set and match. Argument closed. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe in the fully inspired word. I believe in submitting my heart, mind, and life to it. I don’t sit above it, or alongside it, I sit under it, it is my judge and guide. I find it sad that there are those who think you can’t believe it as much as I do. That somehow those who hold egalitarian views are less biblical.
When I started out, I thought I was going to confirm my own opinion. I didn’t. Scripture challenged me and by the grace of God I changed. But, it took time. Studying scripture, reading books, having conversations. It takes a lot to change your mind, especially if you’ve held a view for some time.
If you would like to read more, please see my book, Exploring the Role of Women in the Church. In it I stand back from the immediate go to texts (Timothy and Corinthians) and ask what scripture says as a whole. It’s comprehensive and concise. I cover the main arguments, but you won’t get lost in it.
Chapters include, Exploring the Big Question, Exploring the Role of Women in the Old Testament, Exploring the Role of Women in the New Testament, Exploring God’s Original Intention, Exploring the Nature of the New Testament Church, Exploring the Problem Passages, Exploring Eldership and Exploring Church History.
You can find it here on Amazon: https://mybook.to/GDeWF