Guest post by Heiko Poth: Women and the Great Commission

Heiko Poth is a chemist, a musician, and writer. He and his family are involved in simple/organic church in the southwest part of Germany. A few weeks ago, he sent me some comments which were so pertinent to our current discussion on 1 Timothy 2:12 apparently forbidding women to teach men, that I asked him to rewrite them as a guest post. Here they are:

Do women have to obey Jesus? (Silly question, isn’t it?) Are they also entrusted with the Great Commission? Are they authorized to make disciples? Let’s have a look at the Great Commission and its implications, especially in regards to the question of whether a woman can ever teach a man.

In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus told his eleven remaining disciples (who should soon be twelve again) to go into all the world to make disciples of all nations. In order to do so, they had to

  1.  baptize them
  2. teach them to obey everything Jesus has commanded them 

Now let’s play through a possible scenario that results:

The apostle Peter meets a fellow Jew named, say, David. He tells him the Gospel, and David wants to become a disciple. What is Peter to do? He baptizes him, and then tells him to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, Peter will have to tell him: “David, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

So David meets Deborah. He tells her the Gospel, and Deborah wants to become a disciple. What is David to do? He baptizes her, and then tells her to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, David will have to tell her: “Deborah, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

So, Deborah meets Marcus. She tells him the Gospel, and Marcus wants to become a disciple. What is Deborah to do? She baptizes him, and then tells him to obey everything Jesus commanded. Among many other things, Deborah will have to tell him: “Marcus, one of Jesus’ commandments was to go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations. So you too have to go now and obey that commission. You do that as I do it – baptize them and teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded.”

What if there was a universal commandment that women are not allowed to teach men? Then the last generation of making disciples as described above could not have taken place, because Deborah would not have been allowed to teach Marcus anything. But does this comply with the Great Commission itself?

The Great Commission is to go and make disciples of ALL people of ALL nations. That includes women. There is no gender discrimination in the Great Commission. Women are to be made disciples, not “just believers or attenders” or whatever. And ALL disciples are commanded to be baptized and to obey ALL that Jesus has commanded.That goes for female disciples as well as for male disciples.

Now ALL that Jesus commanded includes two other very universal commandments: The Great Commission itself again, from Matthew 28:18-20, to go and make disciples of ALL nations. So women are also to go and make disciples of just everybody they can – including men! Another commandment of Jesus is the Great Commission as it was given in Mark 16: To go and preach the Gospel to EVERY creature. Women, as female disciples, are also obliged to carry out this order, as they are to obey ALL that Jesus has commanded. So they have to preach to everybody – including to men!

This means that if there is in fact a universal commandment for women to be silent and not to teach men, they could not obey the Great Commission about half of the time! They could not make a man a disciple! Is that really the case, or are we turning a special instruction, that Paul wrote to a church in a special situation to fix a specific problem, into something more than it was intended to be? Slowing down and delaying the fulfillment of the Great Commission would be the cost of limiting half the harvest workers in what they can do,?

Guest post by Ed Waken (part 1): Discovering what’s been stolen

Are all of us called to evangelize? This series of blog posts has been on simple/organic mission and evangelism. It has provoked a slew of questions. I am blessed to know Ed, an evangelist who is involved in organic churches. Here is his unique take on some of the questions.

 

Ed WakenEd is a leader in a network of organic churches in Phoenix Arizona.  He also serves with Church Multiplication Associates on their leadership team as an Evangelist.  Ed mentors and coaches a variety of leaders around the world in areas of leadership, discipleship, evangelism and organic church principles.  Ed and Debbie have been married since 1978 and they have three grown children and two grandsons. 

Web Links: edwaken.blogspot.com

                         valleylifechurch.org

 

For too long the truth, adventure, mystery and joy that comes with giving away the life of Jesus has been stolen from the ordinary believer.  We have been taught methods of sharing Jesus that feel more cold, distanced and dutiful than life giving.  We have heard that just a few gifted ones will really be successful at evangelism.  This is yet another blow designed to sideline the ordinary person from engaging in the supernatural act of sharing the life of Jesus with those who are so thirsty to taste the goodness of God. 

The Truth

The great commission is often seen as Jesus’ marching orders to make disciples which must include the initial and ongoing sharing of Jesus’ good news with those who have not yet heard.  The great commission and Jesus’ similar instructions to the twelve in Acts 1:8 were delivered directly to His twelve Apostles.  This has caused some to believe that not every follower of Jesus is responsible to engage in giving away the life of Christ; it simply is not their gift.  This is not the truth.  There is an often overlooked statement in the great commission that instructs the Twelve to be teaching their disciples “…to obey everything I have commanded you”.  The Twelve were to teach the ordinary believer to obey everything Jesus taught them which includes the making of disciples or the being a witness to all the world.  Everyone is responsible to be intentionally sharing the life of Jesus with the world. 

The truth is that the ordinary person is a competent minister of the good news (2 Cor. 3:6).  The truth is that success in evangelism should be measured by conversations about Jesus not conversions to Jesus.  Ordinary people are only responsible to tell about and demonstrate the love of Jesus.  Only Supernatural beings are responsible for the results, “I planted, Apollos watered but God was causing the growth.” (1 Cor. 3:6-7).  Everyone is an evangelizer and success is measured by obedience to share.