I’ve been asked why I support the Biblical case that women should be ordained into the ministry, I realize that this is something that is hard to consider when the tradition we have grown from doesn’t accept this case. At one time I wondered but I don’t after much study into the scriptures (including the few parts that seem at first to exclude women from teaching men) which is the ruler to teach us what God would like us to do in all things concerning salvation.
A few points:
(1) Deborah was not a fluke in the Old Testament. I have read her portion I’m Judges several times. The scriptures say she was a prophetess (given her authority by God) and she judged Israel. She had her own Palm to govern from, and the people would come to her. As I read this, it seems like she is a template for Samuel’s ministry in that he then was also a Priest (Prophet Priest and Judge) who would listen to God and give pronouncements. Her story is reachable because there is no irony about her leadership. When it comes to leading up the Military, she searches for a man to lead, and when the man chosen doesn’t lead, she appoints him anyway – and they battle for God’s people. As a template, she shows us that those who are gifted, even in a male oriented leadership society, should lead when God prods them.
(2) The women who see Jesus first as Resurrected Lord, are the women who followed him. NT Wright emphasizes this rightly, because as witnesses in that era, it would make more sense for Christ to be revealed to the male Disciples. NT Wright in a Podcast also mentions Mary and Martha when they served Jesus in their home. Mary sits at the learning position at Jesus’ feet, which disturbed Martha who was preparing the hospitality. Mary was being prepared by listening to do ministry and it was showing how Jesus was revealing God’s will for both man and woman as image bearers who ought to serve according to their gifting.
(3) There are so many women leaders in the New Testament who lead House Churches, were deacons (servant leaders), and who lead missionary charges and supported the growth of the church through the businesses they ran. One that really grips me is Junia, who was greeted with two other men as among the “apostles”. Apostles main function is to go to new areas and teach what Jesus had passed to the church. There were efforts in later documents to write “Junius” rather than Junia, but a good study shows that the name Junia was common among women at the time and there aren’t records of Junius as a used male name. Junia was an apostle (There was The Apostles, then there were 500 who became apostles, then the church grew that role into a sort of position, which is likely what Paul is talking about). Looking at Lydia, Pheobe, Junia and Mary and others who must have grasped Paul’s teaching that in the New Creation there is no “Man and Woman” concerning the Kingdom to come. Not to gloss over gender differences of physicality, but those objections don’t come into play with the mind and the passion which is given by the Lord.
I could go on, and I’ll say that this conversation and the questions I’ve received predated the controversy w John MacArthur and Beth Moore. I’ve had to look into my predispositions and make sure that the Bible really did speak and affirm women in ministry, and I believe and affirm the ministry of our sisters in Christ.
For your further reading, here are some Evangelical Scholar’s thoughts on the topic which may be interesting.
Note: I will delete any comments that are not thought through or are inflammatory. I’m not looking for a flame war, but glad to civilly discuss. Thanks for your consideration and discernment.