Women and ministry

ENGLISH If one of your aims — as a woman — is to become personally equipped to lead church in thoughtful and informed dialogue, not in confrontation, how would you respond to this frequent feedback women often receive?

WOMEN ONLY: ‘Why are women not happy in the role they already have? Mary was not trying to be a teacher. Humility is what is missing in these women who complain about not being priests.’

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This is the argument I often heard as a fresh believer in a free evangelical church in the eighties. Stricter denominations, as well as the traditional churches, still maintain similar views.

Now, how would you (man and woman) respond to women not being allowed to teach or hold positions of leadership in church?

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Right, Mary was not trying to be a teacher because that wasn’t her vocation; she was The Mother of God. Arguing that no other women should be teachers either is effectively arguing that all mothers should be mothers of gods. And we know that most men are far from aspiring to godhood.

Now, maybe listening to the prophecy of Joel is in order? His prophecy foretold of the abolishment of age, gender and class discrimination upon the receiving of The Holy Spirit, effective as of the first Pentecost after the Ascension of Christ.

“And afterward,
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days.» (Joel 2:28-29 NIV)

This citation is truly valid, as Peter himself repeats it on the day of the first Pentecost, so as to explain that the prophecy has now happened.

«When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4 NIV) [..] Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.» (Acts 2:14-18 NIV)

So there you have it.

God has spoken.

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