Monday, January 30, 2012

Females in Ministry and Leadership

I was asked recently, 'What's your thoughts on females in ministry'? I presuppose that the question derives itself from a history of predominantly men in ministry and seeks for me to add fuel to the kindling...

Personally, I don't even think there is an argument to be had today. Women and men. Men and women. Either can be leaders and either can be in ministry. To me, involvement in ministry and/or leadership relates more to spiritual gifts and skill sets, than the sex of the person in question. I know full well that some Christian traditions still hold very passionately to only men being allowed in leadership positions. I rarely come across Christian traditions though that fail to recognise women in ministry.

So what is the big deal with women being appointed into positions of leadership? In the New Testament we know that the twelve disciples were male. Our assumption is that the Jewish leaders in the Synagogues were all male, and when and if they converted to Christianity, they would have kept their strong views on men in leadership. Though, for me, the message of Christ, and the freedom that is found in him, sought to challenge the Pharisaical views of his day. I would argue that if Jesus was here on earth today, he would not have an issue with women in leadership. While he did not challange every social issue of his day, that is noted, he was nonetheless very revolutionary in his approach to being a Rabbi in the first century.

I would like to comment and say, while this can be an issue in some Christian circles and a debate that flairs up occassionally, the fact is, women in ANY form of leadership in the world today find themselves in a minority (CEO and senior management roles mostly). More must be done to seek after equality (especially when men are chosen over women when the women clearly has the greater skill set, and is the better Godly choice).

To support my argument from a biblical perspective I quote Galatians 3:28 that says, 'There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' This was not a sudden burst of compassion for the Apostle Paul, but rather a shifting mindset in his previously strongly held Jewish faith. What a paradigm shift over time for the Apostle Paul! For more on women in leadership, Bishop of Durnham, N.T. Wright pens the article, 'Women's Service in the Church' - Click here.  He unpacks 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 which is a prickly passage on women in ministry. I will not seek to delve into that passage here, but by all means, check that one out.

From being deeply involved in The Salvation Army, I have witnessed God use women significantly in ministry and leadership, and thank God for their contribution to the growing of the Kingdom of God.

1 comment:

  1. You may think this is changing the subject somewhat, but this is something that I find quite interesting with all the debate going on about gay marriage. Paul's writings seem pretty clear on both subjects - women can't be leaders in the church and homosexual relationships are sinful. Yet many Christians seem to be able to think that his words on women no longer apply, yet his words on homosexuality still do apply. Salvery used to be able to be justified by the bible, now it is almost universally condemned. Maybe that's why there are so many versions of Christianity about - it's all a matter of which bits of the bible we pick and choose to believe and apply.


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