How can we witness to the world of the saving grace of Jesus, when we deny women in our churches that same saving grace? Oh, women can be saved, but according to current male headship teaching, she is not extended the same grace men are because her Christian service is limited by church tradition and bylaws, and by a patriarchal culture.
Three examples of this that I encountered in the past few days:
- Unequal in the church
72% of Christians agree they could worship with a woman pastor but only 9% do! Christian movie provider, Pure Flix, recently discussed this on their blog: https://insider.pureflix.com/news/is-the-american-church-embracing-female-leadership.
Just today I was talking with a woman who assured me that her church (Assembly of God Cowboy Church – we live in the South), promoted women as equals. The Assemblies of God have male headship as their core belief in a marriage and usually we see that when a woman is the preacher, she is usually the wife of the man preacher in the church, and probably does not have any seminary training. But the fact is that this woman believes women should be equal, and does not see that women are denied equality in her own church. There are obviously many like her.
2. Unequal in the law
A federal appeals court ruled on April 27, 2017, that employers can legally pay women less than men for the same work based on differences in the workers’ previous salaries. In contrast, a business columnist for the Houston Chronicle, Chris Tomlinson, wrote “Society’s message to women: Don’t work.” Actually he should have headed the article “Churches’ message to women: Don’t work” because that is what male headship teaching is telling today’s modern woman. Tomlinson was referring to the salary inequity faced by female doctors in Houston. This is an example of what is taught in churches bleeds out into society and laws are made and business owners abide by it.
3. Unequal in the faith
Open Doors (World Watchlist 2017) ranks the top 50 countries where Christians face the most severe persecution for their faith. The United States of America should have been listed for their persecution of the women sitting in their pews each Sunday. Pastors preach from the pulpit, they preach on the airways, in their books, in their blogs, in their conferences, in their seminaries, and write in their by-laws, that women are second class citizens in the kingdom of God. And then they take this message to the world that already persecutes women through their culture, and try to tell them that Jesus came to save them.
I don’t know how they do it with a straight face. “Submit graciously to your husband.” These women live in a culture of complete ownership by their husbands. Shouldn’t Christians be bringing them a new message of Jesus and freedom and hope? Even the Apostle Paul did that. His culture was male headship but look what Paul said to the men. He found it necessary to remind husbands to love their wives. And then he goes one step further and tells them that since they would not give themselves a black eye, not to give their wives one either. He told them to be better than that. He gave them something to strive for – a new way for husbands to treat their wives. No more beatings, and food and care for their wives. But we tell husbands that their wives are to submit graciously.
We tell this story to the nations: Wives, submit graciously. Women, you cannot serve as God calls you because we have decided to limit your service.
It is 2017. 72% of Christians say they could worship with a woman pastor, but only 9% have that privilege. What are you going to do about it?