11.07.2009

Separate Authority?

Equality in ability does not mean equality in authority. An attorney may be twice as qualified as any one of the partners in his firm, but this does not mean he determines the strategy with which the most important cases are handled. A physician may be skilled in surgery far beyond her chief of staff, but this does not always result in her choosing the procedures of the hospital. To say separate authority has been given to men and to women does not demean either
gender.

Do you think this is a legitimate argument as to why women should not be ordained ministers in The Wesleyan Church?
If women cannot have access to the same level of authority as men, does that not demean them?
Please let me know what you think.

5 comments:

  1. In these examples cited, the person has the posibilty, and perhaps even the hope, of attaining the authority spoken of. It is usually a matter of experience, of proving skill, wisdom, discernment.

    If there is no hope for promotion to this authority because of gender, or race, or some other hindrance that is neither under the control of the person, nor is "fixable" by any means at all, then it is a judgment of worth or value.

    It sounds nice to say that "separate authority doesn't demean either gender." However, it does demean one gender, when it says that no matter what, that level (which is higher, no matter what this author may claim) cannot be attained.

    And really, for me, it is a matter of God's call, not authority. I don't care if I have authority or not. But I do care that I be allowed to do what God has told me to do, which is to preach His word, help people to grow in their faith, and to lead the charge in bringing the Gospel into a lost and dying world.

    This can only be done if authority is granted to me. Insult my personhood if you must. Believe I am worth less because I have two X chromosomes - I don't care! But don't stop me from doing what God has asked me to do. People are going to Hell while we argue about a woman's place in leadership.

    It seems to me we would all be better off if those against women as pastors would focus instead on the real issue. The lost need Christ! Who cares if it is a man or a woman who reaches them. Just make sure SOMEONE does!

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  2. Thank you so much for your response. In my opinion, there is too much fuss about authority. I do not believe women seeking ministry as ordained pastors are seeking authority in terms of rule above or over. They are merely trying to do what God has called them to do.

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  3. Is there too much discussion about authority? I think so. But, do not forget that the issue of authority is not a man-made one, but a God-given one. The term from the New Testament can be translated as overseer and Paul specifically outlines different categories of ministry. One of these is evangelist, which is what it sounds like is being discussed above. He specifcally separates this from pastors, etc. Finally, let us be careful about saying because we feel called to do something that makes it okay. People kill each other every day and say God told them to do it, but of course we would deny that their particular feelings about it make it acceptable. I'm not saying women can't or shouldn't be in ministry (at least not at this point), but at least the arguments for their inclusion should be followed to their logical conclusion. Those who advocate for women in ordained ministry (which by the way is a specific category of authority as granted by The Wesleyan Church) should welcome every opportunity to examine their reasoning to be sure it holds water theologically and logically.

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