Put on the full armor

"The New Testament does not contain a single passage authorizing female preachers. There were no female Apostles. No female wrote a book of the Old or New Testaments. No female was an Elder, Bishop, or a Deacon. There are no ministerial qualifications for females in the New Testament priesthood. " -Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor, (opposed to women in ministry)
I am not sure what resistance to women in the ministry you have heard of or even experienced. Depending how you came into ministry, you may not have "hit the wall," but it is likely that you at least know that not all people think it is a good thing for women to be in the pulpit. There is cultural bias against women moving into these positions but there is also opposition based on scripture. This negative use of scripture is a very strong weapon and it is powerfully wielded to keep women in their place. One must be prepared for the "sword of scripture" to be brandished against one's call to ministry. As persons who place a high value on scripture, we are particularly vulnerable to this form of attack. Put on the full armor of God so you can resist those who would side track you from your call.


More suggested readings

More Readings...notice there are both female and male authors...this is not just an issue to which women contribute
*Giles, Kevin. 2006. Jesus and the Father: Modern Evangelicals re-invent the doctrine of the Trinity. Grand Rapids, MI:Zondervan.
*Gill, Deborah, and Barbara Cavaness. 2004. God’s women then and now. Springfield, MO: Grace & Truth.
*Grady, J. Lee. 2000. Ten lies the church tells women: how the Bible has been misused to keep women in spiritual bondage. Lake Mary, FL: Charisma House.
*Grenz, Stanley, and Denise Muir Kjesbo. 1995. Women in the church: a biblical theology of women in ministry. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
*Huber, Randal. 2003. Called, equipped & no place to go: women pastors and the church. Anderson, IN: Warner Press.
*LaCelle-Peterson, Kristina. 2008. Liberating tradition: Women’s identity and vocation in Christian perspective. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic Books.


Suggested reading

Here is some suggested reading: (more next post)

*Becker, Carol E. 1996. Leading women: how church women can avoid leadership traps and negotiate the gender maze. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
*Bilezikian, Gilbert. 2006. Beyond sex roles: what the Bible says about a woman's place in church and family. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
*Cowles, C.S. 1993. A woman’s place? Leadership in the Church. Kansas City, MO: Beacon Hill Press.
*Evans, Mary. 1998. Woman in the Bible: an overview of all the crucial passages on women’s roles. 2d ed. Cumbria, Great Britain: Paternoster Press.
*Giles, Kevin. 2002. The Trinity and subordinationism: the doctrine of God and the contemporary gender debate. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.


A Liberal Ideology?

''Dr. Tilghman's [first female president at Princeton] administration has acquired a markedly different makeup that separates it from the traditions that have, historically, defined Princeton...There is an ideological notion -- unquestionably liberal -- within the context of women in academia that runs contrary to the Princeton of the 1950's and 1960's. It is impossible to divorce female appointments from overall liberal ideology.''-2004 (article in New York Times quoting Princeton student paper)
The first female president at Princeton (2001) was taken to task for filling 4 administrative positions (formerly held by men) with women. Sound familar? Interestingly, Princeton only admitted women beginning in 1969. (The Wesleyan Church has 'theoretically' been admitting women since the mid 1800's.) As we can see, resistance in the church to women in leadership positions is also mirrored in secular institutions. In some ways, it is reassuring that this is going on in other institutions. Unfortunately, we, the church, should be modeling a redemptive, forward approach rather than a reactive, backward one. Change is considered liberal by those opposing it. So, we will be called liberal, but we are truly representing a Biblical, Spirit-filled theology, not a "liberal ideology."


Christian feminist Critique

"...the Christian feminist critique, if taken seriously, could help us in the Wesleyan tradition to rethink many of our practices and convictions with the goal of making them more Biblical, more inclusive and faithful to our vision of the Coming Reign of God."--Randy Maddox
So there is that "F" (Feminist) word again. Do you think it really is possible that a feminist critique could help us be more Biblical? I think it is possible that Christian feminist scholars could help us be more Biblical as they look at Scripture and emphasize its trajectory leading toward the "Coming Reign of God." This trajectory (recognized by both women and men scholars) has positively led us away from slavery moving us toward egalitarian perspectives of equality with persons of all colors. I believe it can do the same leading us toward equality for men and women both in the church and outside the church. We need to be reading the Christian feminist theologians. I think we might learn from them. Are you brave enough?