Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood (Blog of Retha Faurie)

Posts tagged ‘spiritual gifts’

Perhaps this is why there are few males at church?

According to gender restrictionists (complementarians), women could only teach women and children at church, not men.

That, in practice, mean that men have, at first, a wider choice of ministries available to them: Anything which is not gender-specific and reaches a cross-section of people, is only meant for men. Meanwhile, there is only two roles for women, to use all those gifts of prophesying, teaching, discernment, leadership, etc. which God, who is no respecter of persons, may give out to them: 1) Towards other women and 2) towards children.

The picture of available ministries looks like this:

I made the last block bigger on purpose, as most churches have more recipients of ministry involved here, which includes the Sunday morning sermon.

Now, assuming the church has an equal number of men and women who want to get involved, and each get involved where he/she is called to, involvement would look like this:

For  the sake of this argument, I called those who limit the roles of women right. I assumed no woman was called to teach a mixed gender group, or a group of men. Therefore all the women are in the first two boxes. But God never restricted men from teaching women or children, so I will put some men in these boxes too.

Now, you may notice a very interesting thing: There is  a much bigger women’s ministry and children’s ministry than men’s ministry. Why? Because God gifts women equally much, and her gifts for building up the church are used solely there.

With a bigger women’s ministry than men’s ministry, women will be reached better. This would mean that more women than men are effectively discipled. It would mean more women in church.

Also notice the children’s ministry block. Of course, a boy in Sunday School will get the impression that the church is feminized. Almost all his Sunday School teachers are women! And the unchurched man will see the church has an abundance of ministries to women and none/ few that reach out to him.

What can be done to solve the problem?

I can see these potential solutions:

1)      Deny that God gave gifts to all to build up the congregation. Say God gave gifts mostly/ only to men. Or that women’s gifts should not build up the congregation. That will equalize the picture:

But it would solve the problem by contracting, not expanding the work of the church.

2)      Eliminate any group-specific ministries, and make the church “family integrated.” That will eliminate anything where those “weak”, “easily misled” women could use their equally big gifts:

Once again, this decreases what the church does, and how effectively it uses gifts. Half of the congregation’s gifts still are not used to build the congregation.

3)      Allow women to use their gifts as widely as men, and preach so that they know their gifts are as many and as varied:

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Did Paul find “women keep silent” preposterous? (Part 2)

Should women be silent?Different views on how to understand 1 Cor 14:34-35

Possibility1) The complementarian view: Women should indeed keep silent.

It is the simplest interpretation of those 2 verses in isolation. But it runs into lots of trouble when compared to the rest of the passage. It seems to contradict “all have a psalm/ doctrine/ tongue/ revelation/ interpretation, all (psalms/ doctrines/ tongues/ revelations) should be used to edify (the gathered believers)… All could prophesy… Desire to prophesy… Forbid not to speak…” context of the :26-40 passage. It also contradicts some other evidence of women as teachers, apostles and gospel workers in the New Testament.

I have never seen any complementarian effort to reconcile these apparent contradictions. Their view doesn’t explain the “What! Did the word of God go out from only you? Or did it reach only you?” following right after :34-35 either.

And it has the glaring problem that nothing in the Old Testament law says it. Paul knew OT law, so why is the words “as the law also say” in the passage?

Possibility 2) “Silence” is meant only in a certain regard

Paul tells tongue speakers to be silent – unless an interpreter is present. (1 Cor 14:28) They could speak again later – when there is an interpreter. (more…)

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