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The Role Of Women In Ministry

2067 words (8 pages) Essay in Theology

18/04/17 Theology Reference this

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There are number of controversies surrounding womans role in the church with woman in ministry being one of them. Should a woman preach. Is it appropriate for a woman to be a leader in the church? What does the Bible say about this issue? Although, a woman being a priest is an acceptable view in various churches it is still not widely accepted. This is one of the most debatable issues surrounding the life of the church with no ultimate conclusions made. Some people believe that the main role of a woman is to be a caring mother and loving wife. While others think that a woman is able to preach and can be an amazing priest or leader. However, this is definitely not the matter of men vs. women, or in other words, the discrimination of a gender. It is issue of woman’s role in the church, which basically arises from mistakenly interpreting Bible. In this paper I will explore the three diverging views on women in ministry in the church – (1) women can be a part of the church, serving as the preachers. (2) Women should fulfill their primary goal – to take care of the family, (3) Both men and women can be great leaders. One way to look at women in ministry in the church is to be supportive. In traditional Judaism a woman’s primary role is to be a mother, a wife, a housekeeper. Is this statement limits a woman’s eagerness to serve? The answer is no. Since traditional Judaism also claims that women have a big influence on all families’ spiritual life. Looking back to the ancient times, “Greek men considered women by nature intellectually inferior to men”. (Bell, 1994, p.197) They are the ones that teach their children about the truth of God. They are the ones who raise priests, rabbis, and the highest rulers of the church. The fact that women were not allowed to go to the synagogue does not necessarily mean that they have no rights into the ministry in the church and have no voice regarding the issues of the church. Religion does not simply appear only in the synagogue. The basics of the religion emerge at home, where women are spreading the Good News. “<…> There have been instances in which women have begun ministries, missionary endeavors, or Christian organizations only to be later displaced by men in leadership positions.” (Tucker & Liedeld, 1987, p. 435). This argument proves that women are able to set a good example, to be good leaders and serve others. “By showing hospitality, sharing the gospel, and giving generously to the needy, the women of the early Church contributed greatly both to the spread of Christianity and to the support of the Christian community of which they were a part.” (Lynn, White). Most of the times it is not a women’s decision to serve in the church, but the calling of Holy Spirit, that cannot be contempt.

On the other hand, there are many disagreements about woman being a priest. One of the main disagreements is that firstly she has to accomplish her main goal – childbearing and housekeeping. Men and women were created for different purposes, to fulfill his/her duties. Woman was sent to this earth in order to take care of the family. Having an important role in ministry in the church would not allow her to devote herself fully for the family. What is the purpose of serving in the church, if one’s children are not fed and crying at home? It is believed, that woman is not able to serve and take care of the family at once. If she is fully devoted to God, then there is no time left for teaching her own children. Another point, which is proved by Bible is that women should not have an authority over men, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man” (1 Tim. 2:12) or another verse emphasize that women should not teach or preach in the churches, “<...> women should remain silent in the churches” (1 Cor. 14:34). As it is mentioned in the book “Daughters of the Church”, “Then the argument runs: woman is not inferior, but God himself has ordained a submissive role for Church her that excludes certain church activities.” It is widely discussed that women are not allowed to have an important role in the ministry in the church simply because Jesus was a man. Also, his twelve apostles were all man. Catholic Church declares that “While He was on earth, Jesus chose men to be His apostles and He passed on authority to these men to carry out His work of preaching the good news and forgiving sins.” (The Priesthood, 2010) It is believed that there is a reason for that. Looking from this perspective, woman’s calling is to take care of the family, be modest and let the men to take a role in the ministry at the church. “When women care about the Church and sense the Holy Spirit calling them to share the Good News and nurture believers, the stained-glass ceiling used by Church to limit women’s authority quickly becomes oppressive. ” (Finger, Sandhaas, 2011, p. 67) In order to appreciate what God has said, one have to consider, that the boundaries for women to be an authority over men, does not necessarily mean that they cannot be teachers or spiritual leaders. “The Bible also does not restrict women from teaching children. The only activity women are restricted from is teaching or having spiritual authority over men. This logically would preclude women from serving as pastors to men. This does not make women less important, by any means, but rather gives them a ministry focus more in agreement with God’s plan and His gifting of them.” (Lynn, White) Therefore, women primarily should concentrate on their family and do not try to get involve into the life of the church and to obtain an authority over a man. Last, but definitely not the least, is the perspective that both women and men can encompass significant roles in the ministry at the church. I strongly support this view, since it can be proved by Paul’s saying that, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28) According to Bible, both men and women are created by the image of God. If people would interpret this statement correctly, without any routing around, it would be clear that actually women are equal to men. As long as woman and man are in Christ – they are one and the same. One’s calling or mission is not superior to the other. Theologians Tucker and Liefeld claim that “Christians-both male and female-should, like the Son of Man, come to serve, not to be served. Questions about authority in the church, and particularly about the ministry of women, might be resolved more biblically if attention were given to the fact that “ministry” means “serving”. (Tucker, Liedeld, 1987, p. 441). This statement concludes that women can also preach and serve if their calling would be interpreted as “serving”. As it was mentioned before in this paper, women are able to teach and to preach as good as men do. Therefore, if there appears a situation when women’s help is needed, she always can endure her ministry in the church. The most important thing is that women would not neglect her family. For proper interpretation of this issue Bible has to be understood in a full context. Most of the debates come from New Testament passages, however, Old Testament has many great proves of women in ministry. First of all, it is written in Genesis, “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen 1:27) This issue goes along with the Imago Dei doctrine, since everybody is equal in the eyes of the Lord. God has no intentions to set a barrier between the genders. Also, there are many examples of women in ministry in early church. One of them is Deborah, who was considered as a prophetess. She was a judge of Israel, who demonstrated great leadership to the entire nation. Also, four daughters of Philip are excellent examples of how the Holy Spirit works trough women and allows them to contribute to making God’s promise come true. There are much more great examples how women did their contribution to the spread of Christianity and helped to fulfill God’s will. To my way of thinking, to restrict women’s role in all of the life of the church is an obvious denial of gospel. The only issue that could appear is that women can be too spiritually devoted. If this problem appears, she should focus on her primary duties. To be a mother and at the same time a spiritual leader is a big challenge. Therefore, this is the main issue why women could not be fully engaged in the life of the church. However, I do not find it inappropriate if a woman devotes herself only to God and serves people, if she has a calling from Holy Spirit. A great example is a Mother Teresa, who devoted her life for serving other. Till these days she is the most honored woman in the life of church. She had a great impact on millions of people and fulfilled her mission on earth in the best possible way. A famous orthodox priest once said, “Today women make enormous and significant contributions to human societies. Their nurturing rule role within the family as grandmothers, wives, mothers and daughters provide a stabilizing influence upon the structure of the family. Indeed as Christians, women provide the church irreplaceable assistance.” (Seraphim) From all of these examples, I can state that women can indeed have a great impact on other people, therefore the distinctive line should be eliminated regarding women versus men preaching and serving in the church. Based on the discussion provided in this paper, should women have a role in the ministry in the church? There are many diverse opinions regarding this issue, however, I would state that both, men and women could be a good leaders and both could have an important role in the ministry in the church as long they have a calling and it does not contradict their primary duties. I would claim that the issue of the role of women in ministry in the church is ambiguous. To my way of thinking, the main problem is false interpretation of the Scripture. People often take few Bible verses and interpret them in their own way, without a full context, meaning and deeper understanding of the traditional Judaism culture. It is ussualy based on narrow thinking; which is mixed with pagan understanding and is useful for some particular layers of society. In the traditional Judaism women were highly valued and had an important role to educate their children. Only because of an excessive responsibility that they had in family and their devotion to the beloved ones, they could not be fully engaged in ministry in the church. After all, every woman, no matter who is she, a mother or a wife, if she is dedicated to serving God, if she feels that she is called by Holy spirit to take care of others, she has to appreciate this gift from God and not be afraid to fullfill the God’s will. Women, who are actively involved in church’s life, are surrounded by many different assessments. Nowadays women are working in various theology departments or conferences. Even in LCC International University we have women proffessors, who are dedicated to their work and are willing to share their experience, knowledge and complete their missionary work. The main problem is that our thinking is biased and it is framed that only men can dominate and be great leaders. In my opinion, as long as you have a gift from God to lead, to teach, then there is no longer an issue if the leader is a man or a woman. If it fulfills God’s wish to spread the Good News, everyone could be a teacher. Overall, both men and women should be engaged in the life of church, and both can bring their contribution to all levels of ministry.

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