As the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention’s Annual Meeting draws nearer, the debate about women in ministry is escalating to a ridiculous height. On one side, we see the progressive women, like Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer, calling for women to stand up and claim their rightful place in the church while seemingly ignoring any semblance of what might be gender role distinctions in the Scriptures. On the other side, we see the conservative men and women of faith looking only at those texts which seem to forbid women from being an elder or preach/teach with authority over a man. We have ignored the part of the text that exhorts us to give a reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect. On both sides of this rather ugly debate, there is being made a mockery of the Gospel.
First things first, the Gospel is about exalting Christ, not people. Second, the role of an elder and preacher is that of a servant, not some elevated personality. Third, the organized church really has failed, in many respects, to invest theologically in women.
I believe that women have a special and distinct place in theology (knowing God more). This special place is described in Titus 2:3-5. Older women are to teach what is good, which means that they seek to grow in their own knowledge of what is good. Paul states that older women are to teach young women how to practice Biblical womanhood so that the word of God will not be dishonored. They are to do so while also being reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine. These are the character qualifications given for women who are being considered as deacons (1 Timothy 3:11).
It is our understanding that women have an honorable place in the kingdom and that the church needs to invest more in the healthy theological training of women. The problem that I have seen in most churches is that the church doesn’t really invest in proper women’s theological and Biblical studies. Like many of the men’s Bible studies and programs (which forget the Gospel in favor of having a manly “transforming” or “mobilizing,” emphases), women’s studies often forget the Gospel in order to emphasize the strength, beauty, or inner potential of the person. Christ is lost and people are elevated. All of a sudden there is a debate on whether or not women can be pastors at the neglect of our recognizing Christ as Lord and simply striving to serve Him according to His instruction. All of this stems from a failure to understand the Bible and our tendency to elevate self. There are many “Christian” programs that will do this and miss entirely the essence of the Gospel.
I want to simply call churches to invest in genuine theological studies. What we believe about God drives what we do and what we believe about everything else. The Bible doesn’t create programs or ‘bible studies’ for men, women, children, and youth. Instead, the Bible opposes those types of programs inherently when it states that we should not “exceed what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6) so that we do not become arrogant. If we are attracted more to a certain program than to God’s all-sufficient word, I would question whether we love Christ or love being entertained. We cannot do both. Women need to be invested in sincerely and Biblically.
All theology is theology for all and all Biblical study is Biblical study for all. The blog at Christoa.com is dedicated to expositing the Scriptures in a non-specialized way. Please subscribe to this blog and our podcast. We do want to recommend some external resources that are specialized and geared primarily toward women. These resources are Biblical and Christ-centered. They don’t offer three steps or seven promises. They exalt Jesus. They declare the Gospel. My hope is that they will inspire women to Godly ministry in Christ Jesus, our Lord.