Here’s my heart in the matter

There are lots of voices out there discussing gender roles, women in the church, feminism, egalitarianism, complementarianism and the like. Some I agree with whole heartedly. Some I disagree with passionately. I have started and stopped several blog posts that I wrote to critique certain bloggers or up and coming books but for some reason, I kept getting stuck. I didn’t have clarity of thought. It’s like I had a head full of ideas and rebuttals to what certain people are blogging about out there in cyber world but nothing coherent to write about. I am a passionate person. But I also know the danger in that. I don’t want to be passionate about something to where I come at it from the wrong angle ie- criticism.

I think there is a time and place to properly critique something. And I may still do that. I am contemplating doing a book review of A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans who I disagree with on multiple levels. And as much as I wanted to write an article exposing her whole worldview, I realized that for now, it may be more constructive to share what I have learned in the positive about biblical womanhood in order to be an encouragement to other women who are seeking to understand what the Bible says about that and to live it out.

Then I realized that this is my 100th blog post. That’s kind of a mile stone for me. I have been blogging each month for the last year and two months. It’s funny how blogging can either be a cause of insecurity by putting stuff out there or a way to put insecurity to death…by putting stuff out there. I sometimes lament that I have few blogs that I feel really good about. Then I try to remind myself my original intent for blogging. A year ago I had just moved here, I needed an outlet for myself, to be creative, to document things that were going on in our lives, for family, to process what I was learning. At the encouragement of a dear friend I started the blog. At first there were a lot of posts about “thanksgiving” because that was a truth the Lord was driving into my heart. Well now, 100 posts later, I find myself adventuring into another realm.

Why do I want to write about Biblical Womanhood? Why do I say I am passionate about it? I think this issue is so critical in our culture today. I am someone who is vastly interested in culture. Maybe that’s why I was an Intercultural Studies Major. Every person’s individual worldview affects how they think. Christians have a responsibility to think with a Christian worldview. That’s what I want to do with womanhood and gender issues. From what I have been reading and learning about, we Christians have let a secular worldview often guide our thinking.

Dr. Bruce Ware has this to say about gender issues in our culture today:

“Post-moderns and ethical relativists care little about doctrinal truth claims…what they do care about, and care with a vengeance, is whether their feminist agenda and sexual perversions are tolerated, endorsed and expanded in an increasingly neo-pagan landscape. Because this is what they care most about, it is precisely here that Christianity is most vulnerable. To lose the battle here is to subject the Church to increasing layers of departure from biblical faith.” (Women’s Ministry in the Local Church pg .39)

I often read from Christian women who say it’s wrong to keep a woman out of the pulpit who feels a call to preach. One of the major problems I see with this statement is the use of the word “feel”. I think we are in a danger zone if we allow our subjective feelings of being “called” to override the objective truth of Scripture. What we need to do when examining the Bible for truth related to gender issues is put our feelings aside as much as possible and allow God’s Word to speak truth.

There are many today that prize the “seeking” over the “knowing”. In our postmodern world, it is wrong to know anything for sure. I have no problem with asking the tough questions. I am not afraid of them because I believe the Bible has definite answers. The difference lies in whether you are asking questions to come to a conclusion of truth or not. I don’t want to be a “weak woman” that Paul talks about in 2 Timothy 3:6-7 who is “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

Questions I want to explore and seek answers to over the coming weeks:

What does the Fall have to do with gender roles?

What does the Gospel have to do with gender roles?

What’ the difference between egalitarianism and complementarianism?

What’s the difference between men and women?

Can women preach?

Can you be a Christian egalitarian or a Christian feminist?

What does Biblical Womanhood really look like?

I’m sure I will come up with more but this just helps me have an idea of where I am going…and you too.

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10 thoughts on “Here’s my heart in the matter

  1. I watched a story on Good Morning America about that woman who did A Year of Biblical Womanhood – how she followed the OT laws and every command, literally. I had a hard time understanding the validity of it all. Hope to hear your view on that all.

  2. I appreciate your perspective, but I think you oversimplify those of us who believe women can be ministers. I don’t base the validity of my own call on feelings. I base it on what I see in the Bible, on my own gifts and abilities, on the people who come up to me after I preach or in the hospital or impromptu pastoral care session who are able to feel God’s comfort, experience God’s care, and understand God more clearly. I read the Bible differently than you do, but not with any less care or authority. I have studied, struggled with, and wrote a paper on Paul’s words on not permitting a woman to speak — and as I studied, I learned about the situation of the church and why he would say such things. Based on his praise of other women in the church like Junia, like those he says “colabored with him” in his missionary journeys, etc., — with the way that Jesus first appeared to women after his resurrection and sent them out to proclaim the good news . . . — with the way women are given honor throughout Scripture that they did not have in the culture of the time — I believe Paul’s words were for a specific purpose. He encourages women to learn — something not allowed in the culture. Women were not allowed to study with rabbis, not allowed to seek education. But women sit at Jesus’ feet as disciples and learn in the church because of Paul. Study of church history in the 1st-3rd centuries show that women held all sorts of roles in the church.

    You believe differently — and while it hurts me to hear those who believe that my gifting and desire to be a pastor are wrong simply because of my gender — that’s okay. But please understand that I came to this belief as you came to yours — through LOTS of prayer, through study, and through obedience to what I find in God’s Word.

    I also just finished reading an advance copy of Rachel Held Evans’ book. I thought it was marvelous and uplifting of ALL women — including those who read the Bible understanding clearly defined roles for males and females. She comes to different conclusions, but has real, meaningful discussions and friendships with those much more conservative than her. And she honors them by calling them women of valor.I understand disagreeing with her conclusions, but I hope you won’t miss that Rachel would refer to you as a woman of valor, too.

      • Jennifer,

        Thank you for stopping by and for congratulating me on my 100th post! It’s rare that I stick with something for so long! While we do disagree and while I would love to address the things you wrote about, I want to save the discussion as I will be delving into these very topics in upcoming blog posts. It’s hard addressing these things thoroughly in the comments. Again, thanks for taking the time to read and commenting! I stopped by your blog too 🙂

        Emily

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