Monday, January 2, 2012

Regarding Women In Ministry

January 2, 2012--I pause, tongue in cheek--to share with my Missouri friend Joan Hart, pastor at Oakland Heritage Church in rural Lebanon, MO and her female peers. Women clergy have been subject to the thorny issues of Women in Ministry at various times and places in the Church of God--weighty discussions.

We traditionally ordain women preachers. We also refuse to bend, bow, or budge, when it comes to holding the more significant positions and pastorates et al for the male wage earners. In some places, it has been a totally dead issue since Adam and Eve--only heretics recognize female clergy.

For whatever it is worth, FWIW, here is an article that speaks to some of my clergy peers, because it comes from the pages of The Gospel Trumpet (1-24-1895). I cannot be certain D. S. Warner wrote it, but for those for whom The Gospel Trumpet means something, you can file it with traditional authority. If it means little or nothing to you, file it wherever you please.

The column is subtitled “Ordination of Women” and the author concludes:

“A brother writes that there is a disturbance of the peace and the unity of the body in their place over this matter: the ordination of female elders and deaconesses. ‘Some of the ministers, he says, have already taken a stand against ordaining women, and are teaching it, and the result is division.’ The brother adds, ‘We know all divisions between God’s people are of the devil.’

“Surely so. Now we wish to say that every preacher or professed Christian that takes a stand against God, or is becoming so in pursuing such a course. We have never known that course to fail to rob the soul of the real Spirit of God. And as sure as division is of the devil, and the word of God says, ‘There is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.’ Gal. 3:28, so sure this contention against females acting in these callings when chosen thereto of God, is of the devil.

“The superstitious notion arises from the fact that ‘a man’ is always spoken of as ‘desiring the office of bishop.’ etc. But the same erroneous notion would exclude a woman from being born of God. ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom.’

“Except a man be born of water, and the Spirit’ etc. Nothing is said of women. They are therefore, it might be ignorantly contended, excluded from salvation.

An elder is to be the ‘husband of one wife,’ therefore, it is the thought, a woman must not be ordained. But it is also written that a deacon is to be the husband of one wife. And the same apostle who said so, commended Phoebe as a servant--Diakonon, deaconess--of the church at Cenchrea. Rom. 16:1.

He did not therefore mean to exclude women from either the calling of elder or deacon, no more than Christ did from the new birth. In the name of Jesus, we say to all who have been contending in this matter to repent, and pray God to forgive you, and hereafter let God use whom he will, and that is neither male nor female.”

Thus saith the early written tradition of the Church of God (fwiw) … Anchored on that authentic authority recovered from our early beginnings, let contemporary church and pulpit committees herewith open pulpit arms widely to include “your sons and your daughters [who] shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even upon my bondslaves, both men and women, I will in those days pour forth of my spirit and they shall prophesy. . .” (Acts 2:16-21, NASV).

From Warner’s World,
let the Word of the Lord go forth …

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