I recently read an article in the “Abilene Reporter-News” and the title was, “Women in the church: moving toward equality.” That title intrigued me because I found it hard to imagine a church that was just “moving” toward gender equality.
You see, I was under the assumption that everyone was familiar with and believed the words of Paul when he said, “”There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Why would a church in the 21st century just now be moving toward what the inspired apostle Paul affirmed nearly two millennium ago?
Well, actually, I do know why, but it’s really not about moving toward “equality,” rather it’s about moving away from God’s divinely appointed roles and responsibilities within the church.
The Mercy Street Church of Christ in Abilene, TX bills itself as a “gender-inclusive Church of Christ.” Now again, I never considered myself as a part of a “gender-exclusive” church, for there are probably as many woman as men where I preach. But what they mean by that is that it is their desire to remove any “gender-based role distinctions” in the church. In short, they want women preachers. In fact, they are pressing their desire for women to preach in their congregation to the extent that they advertise for women to contact the church, so that they may preach.
Allow me to briefly share a few thoughts on this subject:
- First, consider what the preacher at the Mercy Street Church of Christ said. He said, “I think it is sinful for the church to restrict the use of women’s (spiritual) gifts.” Yet later in the interview he said that he realizes his view has the potential to be divisive, thus his reason for starting Mercy Street rather than divide an existing congregation over the issue. Here’s my question. If it is sinful for a church to restrict the use of women’s spiritual gifts as he said, then why wouldn’t he desire to call people out of a sinful situation? Why would he leave them in their sin? Would he do the same for liars, thieves, drunkards, and extortioners? Seems to me that if it is sinful, you would do all you can to call people out of what is sinful.
- Remember that the gender-based role distinction between men and women is not culturally derived. This is the claim of of the Mercy Street preacher, but I ask you to examine the text itself. Turn to 1 Corinthians 11:1-12; 1 Corinthians 14:26-40, and 1 Timothy 2:8-15 and see if you can find a distinction between men and women’s roles that is culturally based. You won’t, but what you will find is that the gender-based role distinctions are rooted in creation order.
- Also remember that equality does not imply there are no role distinctions. This was the mistake of Korah (Numbers 16). He argued that since all of God’s people were holy, then everyone should be able to do what Moses was doing. He was wrong…read it. This is precisely the argument that is being made today with regard to the role of women.
- Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in and known exclusively for some agenda, even if it’s biblical. Instead, be known for your love for Jesus, and your submission to Him on every doctrine that He taught.