Someone sent me a video that is making a very big hit online. The news article about it said that within 24 hours, the video had garnered 1 million views. “The video has struck a nerve” the article explained. What is this big, splashy, video?
It is from an organization called Sojourners. Sojourners has the latest news and commentary on faith, politics, and culture, their tagline says. Sojourners is a website/social media outlet/movement aiming to transform the world. That is actually their slogan, “Building a Movement to Transform the World.” So this should tell you something about the organization’s mission and overall focus. Their focus is not on Jesus, but what the world thinks about Jesus. Or should think about Jesus. Or should think about the world. Or something.
Anyway, they are all about “social justice” and one glaring injustice, according to Sojourners, is that there is a glass ceiling in the church and women need to break it. It is a 2000 year old trend that just needs to be smashed. Right now. Women’s “sacred worth” isn’t being taken seriously, because they are continually being denied opportunity to serve at the top. They should be allowed to lead, the thrust of the message goes, because it’s 2016, after all.
Their video is very clever and funny. Since they focus on culture, and right now the biggest culture war is the one regarding gender and gender roles, the video is a satirical push-back on why women should not be pastors. They took the usual old excuses which had been used to deny women places of authority in the culture, and applied them to the church, and reversed the roles. So when women used to hear “Their time of the month makes them hysterical and emotional,” Sojourners took that excuse and applied it to men…in the church…as a satirical look at why women have been denied opportunities to lead.
However, their video, in addition to being clever and well-done and therefore attractive to those without biblical understanding, is founded on some old work they dug up from Fuller Seminary’s recently deceased Professor, Dr David Scholer. Dr Scholer was a biblical feminist. For 36 years at four seminaries he taught that women should lead, explaining that a careful reading of the gospels and letters of Paul demands full inclusion of women in church leadership. So says his In Memoriam notice.
As a side note, one can immediately see how the liberal theologians do damage to the faith. The video and its main thrust having been founded on a seminary professor’s work, lends it additional credibility. “Look! A Seminary Professor thinks women should be ordained! It must be true!” Never mind that Fuller Seminary jumped the shark years ago. John MacArthur writes a short piece on Fuller’s slide into ultra-liberalism, here, but as far as most people are concerned, a seminary is a seminary.
I read Scholer’s paper on women leading in the church, female ordination etc, and it is very well-written and makes a great argument. An unbiblical argument to be sure, but a solid and credible argument using logic with scripture interwoven throughout, that would be difficult for the lay person to refute. If you read it, you might think, ‘Hey, they make great points, maybe I ought to rethink this.’ No. No you shouldn’t. If you watch the video, you might say, ‘This is funny and true, I like it. Maybe I ought to rethink this.’ No. No you shouldn’t.
And so Sojourners, wading into the culture wars over gender roles, produced “7 Reasons Men should not be Pastors.”
“Can women really lead in the church?” We still hear this question in our churches, often coupled with silly, irrational, or demeaning thinking. Would we put up with the same excuses for excluding men from leadership?
The video’s introduction above from Sojourners is devilishly excellent. Just as satan did, the issue is phrased in the form of a question, and inverted too, just as satan did. God had told Adam “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16).
Yet satan reversed that command, asking the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1) [emphasis mine]
The Sojourner query, can women really lead in the church, is phrased to insinuate doubt, form a negative, and lead the willingly deluded to the poisonous water from which they will soon drink, as the next line states. The reasons women can’t lead in the church are “silly and irrational”. Not biblical. A neat blame-shifting trick.
Dr Scholer’s 1983 paper stated,
Modern debates over the ordination of women often miss the crucial and basic issues of the holistic concept of the ministry of the Church reflected in the New Testament. Of course, no person should be ordained or given any responsibilities of ministry within the Church because of gender or for the sake of a “point.” On the other hand, we have affirmed in the Church that no person, called and gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the Church because of one’s gender.
The phrasing here is that no one should be denied any role of ministry or leadership… Well, of course no one should be denied the opportunity to minister in the church. It’s what we’re all called to do. But attaching the word leadership with ministry is disingenuous, because though all are called to minister, not all are called to lead. Not even all men are called to lead. But the insinuation here is that ministry IS leadership and vice-versa.
Secondly, the video posits the old canard that gender distinction is a bad thing. There are two distinct genders (though it seems not for long) and because they are distinct this is bad. It is the feminist and liberal theologian’s duty to equalize the two genders into mutually indistinguishable humans with interchangeable roles.
Scholer’s basis is that men and women are equal despite their gender, but the Bible asserts that men and women are equal through their gender. There’s a difference.
The Bible shows that first, man needed woman. The need is real and it exists because men and women complement each other. After man had named and examined all the animals there was no mate suitable for him. He was still alone. It is not good for man to be alone, and so God made woman.
However hard the feminists try, man will always have been made first (1 Timothy 2:13), and man began a relationship with God first and man received his instructions and duties first. Women are cursed with feminism (Genesis 3:16). It is a curse, instilled in us is a desire to rule over our husbands, to want to usurp the natural order of things. At the root, what feminists are attempting to do is reverse the order of creation. Yet they also cannot reverse the fact that God gave man dominion over the earth and a command to work the garden and keep it. It is man who has authority. (Genesis 1:26). He has been given this authority in the home and in the church.
This is not to say that man-woman-children-animals is a top-down hierarchy where women have no say, no worth, and no work to do. In Christianity, submission is a mutual submission, a joyful following of each other and of Jesus. (Ephesians 5:22-33). Each gender has their own role, created exactly for them by an omniscient God who knows what is best.
Women should thank God that “patriarchy is alive and well in the church” as I read in one of the video’s comments. The Head of the Church is a Man-God who has a Father to whom even He submits. Of course, they satirically and they THINK cleverly puncture the excuses for excluding women from leadership in a precious video they’re so proud of, but avoid the one excuse that truly excludes women from leadership- Father God’s prohibition.
The Ultimate Patriarchy is real, and thank God for that. Jesus came to earth as a God-Man, not a goddess, not a god-woman, and not a hermaphrodite. Jesus is a Man, under whom all authority in the universe rests. God Himself, though He is a spirit, is referred to as Father.
So the video is worldly clever, but the Bible says “Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:21). Ladies, don’t be swayed by a clever video promoting a coyly precious false doctrine. See the resources below which explain from the Bible in a true and not a twisted way as Scholer did, why women’s roles are prescribed, defined, and permanent. Even in 2016.
In a social climate of complete equality in all things, the Biblical teaching of only allowing men to be pastors and elders is not popular. Many feminist organizations denounce this position as antiquated and chauvinistic. In addition, many Christian churches have adopted the “politically correct” social standard and have allowed women pastors and elders in the church. But the question remains, is this Biblical? The Bible’s answer to this question is, “No, women are not to be pastors and elders.” Many may not like that answer, but it is, I believe, an accurate representation of the Biblical standard. First of all, women are under-appreciated and under-utilized in the church. There are many gifted women who might very well do a better job at preaching and teaching than many men. However, it isn’t gifting that is the issue. It is God’s order and calling. What does the Bible say?
One of reasons for male-only ordained leadership is the indisputable fact that Jesus Christ appointed only males to the office of apostle. The importance of this observation is often dismissed as being demanded by the social conventions of Jesus’ time, which supposedly left our Lord with no other possible approach. The idea is suggested that if Jesus were to start the church today, He would of course include women as apostles. But a little reflection on this will give us pause.
There is perhaps no more hotly debated issue in the church today than the issue of women serving as pastors/preachers. As a result, it is very important to not see this issue as men versus women. There are women who believe women should not serve as pastors and that the Bible places restrictions on the ministry of women, and there are men who believe women can serve as preachers and that there are no restrictions on women in ministry. This is not an issue of chauvinism or discrimination. It is an issue of biblical interpretation.
The only way to have a productive dialogue on the women pastors issue is to discuss it biblically. Yes, undeniably, there are men whose views on the issue are clouded by chauvinism. At the same time, there are men and women on both sides of the discussion. So, it should never be assumed that one holds a particular view due to latent chauvinism. The issue should be decided based on what the Bible teaches, not on who can make the strongest ad hominem attack.