Egalitarian Resistance Movement

There is a new kid on the block and she is called “Equity for Women in the Church.” Birthed as a community in the Alliance of Baptists, Equity for Women in the Church is comprised of clergy, denominational, and seminary leaders across the country from various races, genders, and 10 denominations.

Much to the surprise of Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood co-founder, Wayne Grudem, egalitarians are not giving up.

It did not turn out the way Grudem thought. This is a resistance that he did not expect, and while CBMW’s determination remains strong and their actions are more visible, there is a movement for equality as both women and men are calling for the end to male headship.

In Grudem’s own words:

I am surprised that this controversy has gone on so long. In the late 80s and early 90s when we began this, I expected that this would probably be over in ten years. By force of argument, by use of facts, by careful exegesis, by the power of the clear word of God, by the truth, I expected the entire church would be persuaded, the battle for the purity of the church would be won, and egalitarian advocates would be marginalized and have no significant influence. But it has not completely happened yet!

I still believe it will happen. Jesus Christ is building and purifying his church that he might present it to himself without spot or wrinkle. But on this issue Christ’s purification process is taking much longer than I expected! (CBMW Journal April 2012.

The Danvers Statement that was the charter statement of the CBMW (and the forerunner of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000) was conceived in 1984 and written in 1987 and is the largest single influence of male headship since women have gotten the right to vote. Before the 1920s, women were hampered by lack of education, limited mobility, pregnancy and large families, and restrictive clothing. Sixty years after the vote, men were again binding women to restrictive leadership roles in the church and home.

This restriction can be laid directly at the feet of Wayne Grudem, professor of theology and biblical studies, who penned the premise of the Danvers Statement and called for the first meetings which founded the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. While Grudem says that he is coming to the end of his advocacy for male headship (female submission), his work lives on in an increasingly larger way through others who received the mantle.

As a professor of theology and biblical studies, Grudem would know that just because someone claims that God is directing and leading, does not mean it is true. In fact, in the Danvers Statement, Affirmation #8 spells it out, “In both men and women, a heartfelt sense of call to the ministry should never be used to set aside biblical criteria for particular ministries. Rather, biblical teaching should remain the authority for testing our subjective discernment of God’s will.” Therefore, Grudem feels one thing, while others see God’s working in a different direction, based upon a different interpretation of biblical teaching.

Additionally, it is extremely offensive when Grudem makes the comment about the purification of the church, which includes wiping out women in leadership roles in the church and also in their own homes.

The larger question is: how can pastors and husbands read Grudem’s words and not find complete revulsion in the arrogance of purifying the church of women?

It is time to stand up. It is time to speak up against this atrocity against women and against the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We are the egalitarian resistance movement and we will not be marginalized!

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Why I’m an Advocate for Women’s Equality

bwebaptistwomenforequality:

Does God call women to preach is the most often read post on my blog. I encourage you all to read this and see how one man came to realize that God does indeed call women to preach.

Originally posted on "God is Love" (1 John 4:16):

I grew up in a home where male authority was the norm. My father learned from his father that men are supposed to be “leaders.” The denomination my father was raised in also taught that men alone should teach and lead in the church. When I first embraced Christianity, I faithfully attended a “complementarian” church. Like my father, they taught me that men should be leaders, and that women should submit to this leadership. They not only taught this verbally, they lived it every Sunday. Only men could teach and preach from the pulpit. Only men could be elders. Only men could be ushers. Only men served communion. I was asked to lead Bible studies; not because I knew the Bible (I didn’t), but because I was male. I was also encouraged to pursue a career in “ministry.”

I was taught that men are supposed to be “servant-leaders.” Feminists, I…

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Honoring Rev. Pam Durso

I was clapping as Rev. Pam Durso of BWIM received her Lifetime Achievement Award in Los Angeles. She was honored by Christians for Biblical Equality for her 30 years in ministry and advocacy for women.

Rev. Pam is educated in both secular and religious studies. She is a modern woman who is able to speak and preach the gospel effectively. It was a soul-satisfying moment for me to see her honored for her achievements as an advocate for Baptist women in ministry.

At this CBE (Christians for Biblical Equality) Conference, we heard from women pastors and their struggle in a church society that does not value them. Our hearts were uplifted as we heard how they overcame these adversities, even as we balanced that against the stories of women who could not answer their calling because of those Christians who choose to live in the past, and take all women with them.

It is 2015 and Christian women are still relegated to a culture that made sense 2000 years ago, but does not make sense today.

I want those Christians who deny women their calling to realize and come to grips with the fact that we live in the 21st Century. We can’t go back 2,000 years. We do not live in a time warp where men can proceed into the future while women are bound by laws and church restrictions that have absolutely nothing to do with our witness as Christians.  As Christians, it is not our business to subdue women and to elevate men. Our business is to elevate Christ in order that others may see Him through us – through all of us, women and men alike.

We should not have had to be there. But we were, and it was my great privilege to clap my hands as Rev. Pam Durso stood at the podium and received her award.

Will you join me in speaking up for women’s equality so that more women like Rev. Pam can answer their calling and preach behind a pulpit on Sunday morning?

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One woman’s story

Does God mislead women when he allows a heartfelt desire to preach come into their heart?

One of my most widely read posts is “Why doesn’t God want women to preach?”  This morning, I received the following comment from a reader that I am sharing with you.

I’m all for an out and out strike. Let the holy men tend to the children and do kitchen duty at the fellowship meals.

Eeeessssh. The way some of the male commenters on this post talk, it makes me feel like it’s a sin for a lowly, inferior woman to darken the doors of a church!

I don’t feel called to be a pastor or a preacher. I just want to be a real member of my church and not an almost-but-not-quite-member. I’d love to be able to participate in business meetings. I’d love to be able to participate in discussions in our Sunday school class. I’d love to be able to teach Sunday school and VBS classes to teenagers (I used to be a math teacher, grades 7-12, and i have taken 2 classes through an SBC affilated Bible college). But I’m not allowed to do any of that because I’m a woman.

It irks me to no end that a 9-yer-old boy can preach from the pulpit, but a 50-year-old-woman can’t even make a comment in the adult Sunday school class! What good does it do for me to read the Bible when I can not use anything I have learned? Women are outcasts. We are treated like stepchildren of God instead of true children of God.

It is time to speak up to your pastors and to your denomination. But, they will probably not listen. I encourage you to use my free Bible Study for Gender Equality – Reclaiming our equality. A 5-week plan to reclaim our newbirth right. It is available at my other website Equality Junction. Enlist a church member or a facebook friend to work through this with you. Also on this site you will find many egalitarian books to help you understand why women can preach!

 

 

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She drank, Jesus ate

 

Jesus told the woman at the well that he could give her “living water,” and we often overlook what this encounter did for Jesus. Listen to what he told his disciples, “I have “food” to eat that you know nothing about.” That is a strong statement and I do not know where Jesus made such a declaration about his encounter with anybody else.

This story of the woman at the well is found in John 4:4-42 and begins by saying, “Now he had to go through Samaria.” It is best translated that “he purposed in his mind” to go through Samaria, because the Jews had found a way, even though it was inconvenient, to avoid Samaria. They thought they were better than these poor cousins, the Samaritans, and for a Jew to deliberately go through Samaria was unusual.

There was something in Samaria that Jesus needed to do in order to complete his earthly work.

It appears that Jesus was covering the bases with women. A few examples are:

  • The Jewish woman, Mary of Bethany, who Jesus welcomed to sit at his feet right beside the men, and learn at a time when learning scripture was forbidden to women.
  • The Gentile woman to whom Jesus revealed that he was not sent only to Israel, but to all people, which included her.
  • The Samaritan woman to whom Jesus revealed that he was the Messiah, who the Samaritans were also expecting, since they claimed theirs was the true religion of the ancient Israelites.
  • Mary at the tomb completes the gospel declaration.

These are pivotal stories because they show that Jesus gives the voice of the gospel to women just as he gives the voice of the gospel to men. These stories also set the stage for the empty tomb where it was women who first encountered the resurrected Jesus and where the full gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus would unfold. So, yes, Jesus purposed in his mind to go through Samaria, because he had something to complete in Samaria.

The completion of this mission was so satisfying to him that he told his disciples, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” The conversation he had with this woman had an effect upon Jesus that was profoundly different from his other encounters with men or women. This is the only scripture passage in the Bible where Jesus said that what had just happened was so meaningful to him that he felt that he had been fed. In other words, mission accomplished.

Verse 42 says “…we no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.” These men first heard the words of Jesus from a woman, and then they heard the same message from Jesus himself.

 Will you allow a woman to stand up in your pulpit and declare the words spoken to women 2,000 years ago? If not, why not?

(excerpt from my book Dethroning Male Headship)

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Father’s “roles”

Last week was Father’s Day and we can be sure that in many churches, men were told that God had designed them to be the spiritual leaders in the family. I am sure “role” was mentioned a few times.

So let’s break it down. If your pastor said, “We all know fathers are the spiritual leaders of their families,” then we have juggling of the scriptures to do to make that fit.

  1. If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must have scripture to back it up. Where is the scripture that backs that statement up? Not what they used to do 2,000 years ago (where they got many things wrong), but what we are supposed to do in 2015 that advances the kingdom of God.
  2. If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount the words and actions of Jesus who didn’t seem to care a whit about husbands’ spiritual leadership. Examples are:

(a) Mary of Bethany had no husband to spiritually lead her after Jesus welcomed her into the circle of learning with men;

(b) the Gentile woman – who was told by Jesus that he would be the Savior of the Gentiles – had no husband mentioned;

(c) the woman at the well had no husband when Jesus told her that the Messiah for the Samaritans  had come;

(d) Mary at the tomb who was the first to see and speak to the resurrected Christ. No husband is mentioned.

  1. If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount 1 Peter 3: 1 where women are instruments in winning over husbands – without even words or behavior – just their presence!
  2. If we know that husbands are the spiritual leaders, we must discount 1 Corinthians 7:15-16. Instead of giving the leadership role to husbands, the scriptures actually say that it is both men and women who can be the spiritual leaders and who can lead the other one to Christ by example. These passages teach that both husbands and wives can lead, and make no case for male leadership.

On Sunday morning, we all look out at families where the women brought the kids to church and there is no husband in sight. Perhaps he is at home. Perhaps she has no husband. But we can never discount her spiritual leadership as being second place, or taking the place of the husband. Both husbands and wives share in spiritual development of children. However, most often it is the wife.

Stand up to your pastor! If he makes the claim that husbands have been given the “role” of spiritual leader over the family, ask him to explain those scriptures above. You have the right to speak up to your pastor. Maybe he misspoke, but he should be aware of the words he is saying and their meaning to the listener.

Will you stand up and speak up for what is right?

 

 

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“Great Awakening” will continue the nightmare

As we sang “Open Our Eyes, we want to see Jesus,” I looked at Jesus’ photograph in the back pew. There is a picture of Jesus between the pages of the Bible in the pew, but I doubt that many really want to see the Jesus portrayed there.

I seriously doubt the SBC wants to see that photograph of Jesus. If they did, it would mean facing some hard truths and I don’t think they are ready for that. Over 200,000 members have left the SBC but I suspect there are many more who have slipped away because they no longer relate to the message sent by those churches.

“I want to reach out and touch him and say that we love him” formed in my mouth and I stopped singing. Will the Jesus we claim we want to see understand why women cannot preach and why women are held to a submissive standard? Will that Jesus be pleased at the seminars, blogs, websites and preachers who deny over one-half of God’s human creation? Will he be pleased at the way women are treated by their church, by the Southern Baptist Convention leadership, by SBC seminaries, by Baptist Associations, and by other Baptist entities?

Open their eyes, Lord! Open their eyes.

Will the Jesus we find in the pages of the Bible be pleased at the meanness of SBC leadership when they seek to remove an Alabama church and unpaid staff member because they said out loud what many are believing but are afraid to say – that they support same gender marriage? (Baptist News: Just prior to the convention, the SBC Executive Committee will consider removal of an Alabama church already ousted from its local association because the pastor and an unpaid staff member said publicly they support same-sex marriage).

The SBC is going to hold a prayer meeting Tuesday night and pray for a “Great Awakening.” They are looking for a religious revival.

It won’t happen. It can’t happen. What are they going to awake to? They don’t like the picture of Jesus found in the Bible so they certainly are not going to awake to that. They like their laws but not the people who are affected by those laws. Matthew 23 is a mirror that they will not look in.

Open their eyes, Lord! We want to see the Southern Baptist Convention “awakened” to become the reflection of Jesus.

It is our fear – and should be the fear of all Christians – that the SBC will continue the nightmare of denying women the fullness of God and their salvation, and will continue their meanness against churches and people who are trying to live like Christ.

 

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