John has begun his response to my initial post on the issue of women in ministry. John’s first response is entitled, “Women in Ministry: Why the Issue Matters.” I agree with him about a woman’s competence for ministry. I don’t think competence is an issue. I know there are women competent for pulpit ministry, just as clearly as I know there are men who are not (but are in the position anyway). John’s post tugs at our heart strings a bit, but the reality is that, even if a woman’s path to ordination is endorsed, or would be endorsed by me, that isn’t going to solve any problem for her in the future. She will still face serious obstacles and opposition.
Now a rabbit-trail. For the commenter who presumed to know something about my “privileged background,” I am no stranger to opposition to going into ministry. Once you’ve had to tell your parents you’re willing to leave home as a teenager to follow Jesus, or you don’t come home during a college Spring Break because another relative discovered your parents planned to take your car if you did, or you’ve been fired from a job for doing the right spiritual thing (while having two little mouths to feed), you gain clarity about the victim argument. Opposition is not a thing to shy away from. If a woman really trusts God with her calling, she will believe He will honor His own call. If she doesn’t believe that, she doesn’t belong in the ministry. Playing the victim will not build her for service; it will spiritually emaciate her. Whining is not for people who want to be in the ministry. God needs tough-minded people to lead, not whiners. Give me a tough-minded, spiritually-tested woman with a spine in the pulpit over a man that lacks them any day. I’d trust God with the outcomes if that were the choice I had to make. As I noted in the first post, I believe God will say “well done” to such a woman. My only hesitance in this topic is something that I like to call “honesty” (which is why The Naked Bible is what it is). I don’t feel like I can exegetically defend her decision, but until my job description matches that of the Holy Spirit, I’m not getting (or dispensing) a word from the Father to stand in her way.
This is a roundabout way of letting you all know that I have little time for the victim argument.
John’s first response is just a warm up for John, though. More substantive is his second post, entitled, “What the New Testament has to say about women in ministry.” I’ll read through that one again and jot some things down to move the discussion.