Spiritual Sounding Board – This is your place to gather and share in an open format.
Discussion: The Blue Parakeet by Scot McKnight
From Chapter 11 – The Bible and Women: Women in Church Ministries 1
McKnight continues Chapter 11 discussing that women in ancient Jewish culture were viewed as inferior. There were the stand alone women, such as Esther and Deborah, however, this was the general view.
This view then transitioned into the early church. One theologian who had a profound affect on the church is Augustine. Augustine’s view was that only man was made in the image of God and women were created solely for the purpose of procreation and to be helpers to men. Even though these views were propagated by early church fathers, there are still churches and Christian teachers who hold to these views of women today.
The question McKnight asks is:
Do we seek to retrieve that cultural world and those cultural expressions, or do we live the same gospel in a different way in a different day? Is this a return and retrieve it all, a return and retrieve some, a reading of the Bible through tradition, or a reading of the Bible with tradition? Or, and I think this is the case, is this a tradition that needs to be challenged?
There are three views of women that Christians face today:
Hard patriarchy: This is a hard literalist view of God’s design of order in gender roles.
A woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and to love her husband and children. That is, if she is married and has children (exceptions duly noted). More narrowly now, she must submit to her husband in all things, she must submit to male leadership in the church and in all things, and she should also not find her way into leadership in society.
Soft patriarchy: Takes cultural considerations, but the principles are still necessary.
A woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and – if married – to love her husband and children (if there are any). More narrowly now, while affirming the importance of submission and gender and roles, this view frees the woman to do more than the hard patriarchy view. She can work outside the home in any manner for which she is qualified and competent, always with her primary role being wife and mother. She can participate in an appropriate female manner at church, but this would not include being senior pastor or teaching or leading men in any way.
Mutuality: Views women and men in terms of oneness and otherness.
…also believes a woman’s responsibility is to glorify God, to love God, to love others, and – again if married and if with children – to love her husband and children. More narrowly, a mutuality view liberates women from the tradition because it believes the biblical context is cultural and that even the biblical teachings reflect that culture. Even more importantly, it knows that reading the Bible through a long-established church tradition needs to be challenged.
You may not find this surprising, but I lean on the view of mutuality. This was why I pursued a ministry degree and fortunately, found a place that saw value in my gifts and abilities to support me in that pursuit. In the end, the Holy Spirit does not view gender as a hindrance when gifting. For that, I am very grateful.
I Corinthians 12
Brothers and sisters, I want you to know about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You know that at one time you were unbelievers. You were somehow drawn away to worship statues of gods that couldn’t even speak. So I want you to know that no one who is speaking with the help of God’s Spirit says, “May Jesus be cursed.” And without the help of the Holy Spirit no one can say, “Jesus is Lord.”
There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people.
The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.
There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.
You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it. First, God has placed apostles in the church. Second, he has placed prophets in the church. Third, he has placed teachers in the church. Then he has given to the church miracles and gifts of healing. He also has given the gift of helping others and the gift of guiding the church. God also has given the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages. Is everyone an apostle? Is everyone a prophet? Is everyone a teacher? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in languages they had not known before? Do all explain what is said in those languages? But above all, you should want the more important gifts.
Proverbs 12: 3
A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be be uprooted.
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you: wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness: protect you from the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing: at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing: once again into our doors.
Feel free to join the discussion.
You can share your church struggles and concerns.
Let’s also use it as a time to encourage one another spiritually.
What have you found spiritually encouraging lately?
Do you have any special Bible verses to share, any YouTube songs that you have found uplifting?
Photo credit: Kathi – Welcome Fall!