Thursday, January 17, 2008

A Women's Seasons

One of the main objections to the complementarian position surrounds the issue of women and teaching. There are many women who believe that they have teaching gifts and are called to teach in God's church. I've come up against so many objections to complementarianism because it simply doesn't allow a women to teach in church. This irritates me no end and to be brutal, it's complete rubbish. One of my convictions is that if every woman who believed they had a teaching gift sought to use it within the boundaries of what Scripture teaches we'd have a far healthier, well rounded church!

So what am I saying? Well, I don't see men jumping up and down, claiming discrimination and feeling that they can't use their teaching gifts when they read Titus 2:3-5. I don't hear them bemoaning the fact that Paul exclusively commands Titus to teach women to teach other women within the church. Sadly, if you asked many women in the church today about these verses they would be unaware of it's direct implication for women. Here is a clear command that women need to grasp and obey. We have a unique opportunity and responsibility to take seriously these words:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.
I do recognise that this mandate calls for more practical hands on teaching, but not exclusively. In our church over the last year or so we have believed it necessary to offer teaching seminars and small group teaching on issues of biblical womanhood - valuable instruction by women and for women.

I've just finished reading this superb article (HT: Radical Womanhood) by Susan Hunt who is a pastor’s wife, mother and grandmother, and director of Women’s Ministries for the Presbyterian Church in America. Her article, A Women's Seasons goes head to head with women and their preoccupation for rights and roles, laying down the gauntlet of Titus 2:3-5. Here's a snippet:
Let’s revisit Titus 2. This mandate is electrifying! Titus was pastoring a church on Crete in a pluralistic, decadent culture. Of all the things Paul could have told Titus to tell the women to do to combat that decadence, he bore down on the importance of older women encouraging and equipping younger women to live godly lives.

In recent years I have observed a troubling phenomenon. Many women of my generation have relinquished this high calling of nurturing younger women. Every where I go I meet young women who long for spiritual mothers.

My generation has abandoned this calling for many reasons. Some think they have nothing to offer. Some are intimidated by the intelligence and giftedness of the younger women. And some have decided this is the season to indulge themselves. I plead with my peers not to squander this season of your life. You have a perspective on life to share. Your sensibilities have been tempered by time. Your faith has been stretched and strengthened by your life-experiences.

I plead with the church to equip women for this ministry. God is gifting His church with incredible young women. They are a sacred trust; we must be good stewards. Many of them are first-generation Christians. Many are separated from their families because of the mobility of our society. We must teach them the truths of biblical womanhood. We must teach them how to pass on the faith to the next generation. The consequences of our accepting or abandoning this calling will reverberate through several generations.

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