Sooo… Is the role of women a secondary issue in the church?
Well. I have a very narrow definition of core issues. To me, it’s literally only the Gospel. And the Trinity. Everything else to me is secondary – baptism, Calvinism, everything. I believe that many different denominations with many different, to me, secondary beliefs will be represented in the New Earth.
So for me, because the role of women in the Church does not usually have to do with salvation in orthodox (as opposed to heretical) churches, I will include the role of women in this secondary category.
But is it of minor importance? Is it something to be brushed off as trivial or left for future generations to figure out?
Because it affects SO much about life in the church and home, and sometimes affects people’s view of salvation (such as when people say that women must either have children or be willing to in order to be saved), I would say no. I think that this is right underneath the Gospel in terms of importance. It affects to what degree women can serve in any role in our churches, whether we have solid support for marriages in which both spouses are encouraged to live Philippians 2:1-11 in the home, and it affects our Bible translations. This is serious!
Does the Holy Spirit Gift people as if there is no male or female in Christ Jesus? I believe that He definitely does. That is clear in the Bible.
So if He, to use Paul’s picture of each church as a body, gives a church an eye, but the eye is a woman, and her church says, “Oh no, women cannot be eyes,” then (on top of telling this woman that she is either lying or deceived), we have a problem. Either someone who is not an eye, perhaps a hand or a knee, will try to fill the role of an eye. Or another eye will try to fill the role of two eyes. And the eye in question will be forced to fill the role of something other than an eye!
I would say that, while it is not core to salvation that women are allowed to take their God-given roles in churches and homes, it is an issue core to the health of the Church and family. And it’s time we started treating it that way.
What do we do exactly? I’m not sure. But I know that this issue will play a much bigger role in how we pick our next church than it ever has before. And we will start praying for more widespread “gender role conversion” like the ones Brian and I have had over the last few years. I have started theBrokenCurse to talk about these things. The Bible contains the Truth, and He opens eyes to see!
Brian said that I needed to end this series with hope and resources. So here’s my hope: I fully believe that in Heaven, there will be freedom. Men and women will stand side by side and worship God and no one will be worrying if the women are staying “in their place” or if the men are staying as “strong in leadership” as they should. We will all be looking at Jesus and His beauty and have no time for such nonsense as is so important here (and while people are being oppressed, men, women, and children, it really is important). And until that Day – let’s work and pray that His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven! Let’s share our freedom in Christ, so hard earned by Him – so freely given to us. Let’s keep encouraging each other as long as it is called Today. Let us Love each other as He loves us. Let us be KNOWN by our LOVE. Let us test every teaching we receive, searching the Scriptures to see if it’s true. Let us keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.
And here are my resources: I have learned a lot of this stuff originally on The Junia Project website and from books like Let My People Go: A Call to End the Oppression of Women in the Church by Bob Edwards (though like I said, I look for other resources, too, both in agreement and in opposition). Another good website is Christians for Biblical Equality. Brian and I are at present reading Families Where Grace Is in Place: Building a Home Free of Manipulation, Legalism, and Shame by Jeff VanVonderen, which is a great resource for egalitarian marriage and parenting.
And I leave you with an exhortation: Jesus came to give us life. He came to give us a relationship with God in which HE is the ONLY mediator. He came to break the power of the curse. He came to set us free. Question any teaching AT ALL that conflicts with what Jesus did for us. Question any teaching that adds burdens, any teaching that restricts each individual person’s relationship with God and ability to hear what He says. Question any teaching which encourages division in His Holy Church – His Bride, that He made to be unified in love. Question any teaching that adds rules to His work. Question any teaching that is based on human reasoning or culture. Question any teaching that gives room for oppression or abuse.
Jesus set us free! And He’s alive to make sure we STAY FREE!