This is a reflection on the Sermon on Sunday. I find I am hesitant to even touch the subject, for fear of writing something which might be construed in a hurtful way -- so I applaud Pastor Ed for tackling this subject at all!
It was Mother's Day, so Pastor Ed took on the topic of how the Bible views women. Along the way he explained why our elder board at Gateway is men only.
The text he looked at is I Timothy 2:9-15, which is a challenging passage for modern readers. Pastor Ed stressed that Paul is addressing overall church order.
First, about Women and Fashion:
A Christian woman's approach to fashion should be characterized by propriety, modesty, and good deeds.
"Propriety" here essentially means "good sense."
"Modesty" means respectable and well-behaved. The same word is used for elders in the next chapter.
Good deeds are the way she honors God. This is how the Christian woman carries herself.
Then, about Women and Authority:
The spiritual growth of Christian women should be characterized by submissiveness.
But he pointed out that in the ancient near east, women weren't allowed to learn at all. Paul was elevating women with the sentence, "A woman should learn in quietness and full submission." Women were encouraged to learn. They weren't supposed to crow about it, but should be there in a humble spirit.
Remember: Jesus came not to be served, but to serve. This calling has nothing to do with power. Women are called to display this in a uniquely feminine way.
"I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man." Pastor Ed's view is that this is used as an official role of teaching elder in the church. It is not a prohibition against a woman preaching or leading a small group or teaching a class. It's about the role of teaching elder. Pastor Ed said, "I don't understand this, but I submit to it."
Then he talked about the justification that Paul gives:
1) The order of creation.
Adam was made to be the leader, the point person. Biblical leadership is about humble service, passion, and purpose. About laying down your life.
2) Details of the sin of Adam and Eve.
In Christ, the curse of the sin of Adam and Eve is being undone.
Men should not dominate, but lead.
Women should not be subservient, but willingly submissive.
A second symbol of Christian femininity is future-shaping. Child-bearing is a high and holy calling, a symbol of their future-shaping. All women don't need to be mothers, just as all men don't have to be elders.
John Piper: "Womanhood has to do with calling out and receiving leadership from men."
Women occupied important places of leadership in the early church.
Men have dominated women because they are not following their God-given calling of leadership.
Pastor Ed was especially moving when he talked about how his single Mom was not by any means weak -- and she called out leadership in him.
Women call out and receive humble servant leadership from men.
We serve one another and we are all elevated.
So -- a lot to think about! My small group did some discussing about it over lunch. I did like that I didn't feel like women were diminished in any way, nor were we patted on the head and told that being told we're incapable is elevating. I thought a nice balance was struck.
What do you think?