Roles in the Church

Why Ministers Must Be Men

Given the obvious interest in the topic of women teaching women (as seen in the comments of the last post on this topic), I thought I would put up a link to this little booklet that Athanasius Press published in 2010. It’s “a brief survey of the roles of men and women in the church.” With the world leading the charge to put women into every role assigned to men, it’s important we don’t just drift along assuming we know what we think. That’s why I have appreciated so many of the good comments and questions that have come in. It’s a good exercise to have to defend your position, refine your position, and be clear about what the Bible says.

 

 

Kind Husband Article

My husband has a great article up at Desiring God, and I thought you might like to read it!

Strong Testimony, Weak Argument

IMG_9697When I was a little girl my Dad’s office was in the back room of Crossroads Bookstore, which was run by my Grandpa. My Grandpa was and is an avid evangelist, the bookstore was full of christian books, my Dad was a pastor, and I was generally surrounded on all sides by stories of faith and conversions. Back in those days there was also a series of books for kids that I think I read at home but also in the bookstore. They were illustrated in very pastel colors and always seemed a little sad somehow. If my memory serves me correctly, I think they heavily featured weeping willows and kids feeling lonely or angry or hurt somehow.

Well in one of these books I got to the last page and it was a conversion moment of sorts. I cannot remember the specifics, but I think it was something about Jesus being a true friend to me when I am lonely, so I will stay with him forever. I remember sitting there staring at it and thinking back to other books and testimonies I had heard. There was the one about some poor kid that was with the wise men and had no gift so he gave his heart. Then there were people I had heard who were afraid of death, who were sick of sin, who were sad, or whatever. I myself prayed officially because I was afraid of the dark – where does that fit in? Well I gathered myself up in what were probably my high-watered corduroy pants and went to find Dad. Just what does this all mean? What is the real way to become a Christian? Which one of these things is right?! Continue reading ‘Strong Testimony, Weak Argument’

Women Teaching Women Part III

In my last post on this subject, I listed some of the areas where women are given opportunities for teaching in a Christian context. Since then I have thought of another one. Certainly evangelism is a form of teaching, and all believers are called to this: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

But now I’d like to address the stickier subject of just what kind of teaching is biblically excluded for women. 1 Timothy 2:12 is our main text: “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.”

Before trying to apply this verse, I’d like to look at the overall context of Paul’s letter to Timothy. Paul is laying out instructions on how to be a good pastor and a faithful teacher. He gives detailed instructions on many church-related topics: church government, prayer, church leadership, qualifications of church officers, what to teach, how to treat the church members of different ages, and specific instructions regarding men, women, widows, elders, slaves, and the rich.

The recurring theme in this letter is the central duty for a minister: faithful teaching. Paul addresses Timothy repeatedly about this: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister Continue reading ‘Women Teaching Women Part III’

Women Teaching Women, Part II

It turns out my post “Women teaching Women” has generated some good questions that I’d like to begin to address here. To be honest, since coming to the conclusion that teaching an inductive study on the book of Colossians to a mixed group of men and women was inappropriate (back in the 70’s), most of my focus has been on what I can teach, not on what I can’t.

After taking a short break the first few years of our marriage, I have spent the last thirty-plus years teaching Bible studies, book studies, and topical studies to women of all ages. I have felt much freedom in doing so and a great deal of contentment in the field God has given me to farm. I have spoken on biblical topics at women’s conferences, women’s workshops, break-out sessions for women, etc. I have not been yearning for other fields because this one is enormous and keeps me more than busy. Frankly, it has never occurred to me to wish I could be a plenary speaker at a Grace Agenda conference, or any other conference, for that matter!

But even so, I would like to answer some of the questions that have come up in the comments on the “Women Teaching Women” post I wrote a few days ago. I do see that even though it has seemed pretty simple to me all these years, there are genuine areas of application that call for our reflection and wisdom.

1. Women can teach Bible to their children and grandchildren. Paul says of Timothy “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15), and in chapter 1 (vs. 5) Paul reminds Timothy of “the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” Timothy’s father was a Gentile (Acts 16:1), and there is no mention of his conversion, so in all likelihood, these faithful women had a hand in bringing Timothy to Christ.

The last chapter of Proverbs (31:1), written by King Lemuel, is identified as “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him.” Proverbs 1:8 reinforces the idea of mothers teaching their Continue reading ‘Women Teaching Women, Part II’

Friends

photo(70)

Navigating friendships can be challenging, even for little people like my granddaughters! They are so cute, what could ever go wrong? But even the sweetest little friendships need oversight if we want them to blossom into lasting friendships.

Of course the Bible has plenty to say on the qualities of a friend, and our children need to grow up understanding these basic principles. As in everything, before we can teach them and guide them, we have to know and do this ourselves.

But let’s back up and start at the beginning. What is a friend? Here’s what the dictionary offers: A friend is a trusted companion for whom you have mutual affection, who is a source of joy, and whose company is a pleasure. That’s a pretty good place to start.

Let’s consider the kind of friends Jesus had. Among his many followers, he chose His twelve disciples, whom He called His friends: “My friends, do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” (Luke 12:4). Of the twelve, He had his three special friends, Peter, James, and John. And of those three, John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 21:20).

But Matthew 11:19 says that Jesus was also “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” He did not limit His friendship to only His disciples, but He had different levels of friendships: close, closer, and closest. From this we can see that it is only natural for us to have dear friends, close friends, and friends who are acquaintances. Because we are finite, it’s obvious that we cannot have an infinite number of friends, no matter what Facebook might lead us to believe.

Not only did Jesus, the Son of God, have friends, but the Bible teaches that God was a friend to Moses and to Abraham.  “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
“‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).

To be a good and godly friend to others, we must first be friends with God. His friendship is obviously the most important one. Jesus is the best kind of friend we can have. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He has made a covenant with us. He has given us His Word, our covenant book. He has given us many precious promises. He has given us the Holy Spirit. He is particular about His friends in one way (He died for us), but He is inclusive in another way (we were all sinners). Continue reading ‘Friends’