“Half the Church” by Carolyn Custis James has captured my attention these past few days. I have read it and am reading it again, and it will be a door prize at the CBE Houston conference in April 2012. I know, because I have purchased several and will be giving them away.
“Leadership is male; following is female. It is argued that this is the way things were meant to be – the way things have been since the beginning.” Page 94.
That is the argument. If God intended for women to be equal, why did Paul say such things? Why haven’t women stood up and spoken up? Why is it that in the 21st century, women are still followers if God intended for women to be leaders?
In other words, I can justify how I think about women by how women have always been treated. I can’t believe that these pastors have ever read “The Lost Apostle: searching for the truth about Junia” by Rena Pederson, 2006. This book deals with the inequality of women down through the ages, and the written sex-change that was made on the female Junia who became known as a male called Junius down through Biblical history.
They have never read “Equal: women reshape American Law” by Fred Strebeight, 2009. While this book is not religious in nature and does not support women in ministry, it deserves to be read by all who want to learn more about the inequality women have been subjected to in this country. This book portrays the dramatic story behind the movement toward legal recognition of sex discrimination in this country. This is not a book about abortion. It is about equality laws for women being hard fought in our Supreme Court. The church should be the first place a woman would look to for equality. Instead, it had to be fought out in court, and the church still has not caught on.
Which brings us back to the question: If God intended for women to be equal, why did He allow such mistreatment against women for all of history? And why have women allowed it?
The answer is simple. Complex. Hard to understand.
God has allowed mankind freedom to do wrong. Individually and hopefully collectively, we will see that our hateful actions against any group is wrong.
This is what Ann Bayliss says about our conference in Houston:
Scriptures which form our theology tell us that when Jesus died, we weren’t just saved – we were changed into His likeness and His body. It tore the dividing wall of hostility when we became new creations in Christ. That is why slave and free, Jews and Greeks, Muslims and Christians, black and white, are not limited by ANYTHING when it comes to access to God. It isn’t just about salvation. It isn’t about gender. It isn’t about roles. It is mind-blowing transformation of EVERYTHING that we thought we knew.
We are here to lay down tracks for what the scripture says (Dr. Philip Payne), how it adversely affects people when legalists try to make grace into law (Dr. Katie Hays), what it looks like when men and women are free to serve God in leadership via mutual submission and outward service (Dr. Todd Still), and how our culture is affected by wrong thinking, and how we can transform that thinking and influence culture (Dr. J. Kirk).
This is a paradigm change for men and women to be encouraged, for people of color, for all nations, and for gender.
Will you join me in getting the word out that a new day for women arrived with Jesus and we are reclaiming that freedom in Christ.