It’s 2019 – and I shake my head at how the church still treats women.
Ninety-nine years since [most] American women got the vote.
Ninety-four years since Nellie Ross was elected Governor of Wyoming.
Fifty-three years since Indira Gandhi became Prime Minister of India.
Fifty years since Golda Meir became Prime Minister of Israel.
Forty years since Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
Thirty-eight years since Sandra Day O’Connor became a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.
Twenty-two years since Madeleine Albright became Secretary of State of the United States of America.
Three years since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed a gender equal cabinet (pictured above), and when asked “Why?” retorted, “Because it’s 2015”.
What about me?
Thirty-two years ago I was a solid complementarian. I remember visiting a church for the first time and quizzing the Pastor on the Church’s view of women of Elders. Yes, I was that kind of guy.
So what changed?
Thirty years ago the Christians for Biblical Equality released their statement “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality”. What struck me was that those who endorsed it were renown in the Evangelical community for having a high regard for scripture, being students of the Word, and sound theologically.
Twenty-eight years ago I got married to a wonderful, compassionate, gifted woman, who was much more capable in her ability to lead spiritually than I was.
I think my “eureka” moment came shortly after that. Here in a nutshell is why I changed my mind on the issue.
Biblical scholars make a strong case for women having all the opportunities to serve in a church that men do. I can point to many strong women who are suitably gifted. The treatment of women in the church has become a stumbling block to those who might consider the good news of Jesus (I can point to poll after poll that shows this).
The public at large affirm that women are perfectly capable of leading. Young people especially are particularly attune to this. So, when you cling to your old way of understanding scripture, when it can be reasonably interpreted differently, you are driving a wedge between Jesus and those he wants to come to him. It is a gospel issue.
What prompted this particular rant? A friend surveyed his followers on Facebook asking his largely evangelical following: “Should women be able to teach and exercise authority over men in the church when gifted accordingly?”
Sixty-six percent answered “No”.
I despaired. Thirty years after “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality” had been released, things hadn’t seemed to have changed.
What was even more discouraging was the comments that were made on the post.
And I shook my head and wondered if among his nearly 5000 friends there was anyone who took another step away from Jesus after reading those results.
“If anyone should cause one of these little ones to lose his faith in me, it would be better for that person to have a large millstone tied around his neck and be drowned in the deep sea.” Matthew 18:6 – Good News Translation.”
Your thoughts and comments are welcome.