When a theologian agrees…

I am no theologian. Nor do I have a background in ancient languages. So I’m very grateful for the many prominent theologians who hold the same position that I do on the topic of women in ministry. Scot McKnight, in his excellent book, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible, describes a visit to one of the most distinguished scholars of his day, FF Bruce, who specialized in the writings of Paul. Scot, (one of the best known theologians of our day) says this:

In the spring of 1981, as a doctoral student in Nottingham England, I piled Kris and our two kids, Laura and Lukas, into our small car and drove to Buxton. Professor F. F. Bruce, perhaps the most widely known evangelical scholar of the previous generation and a specialist on Paul, had invited our family to his home for late-afternoon tea. When we arrived, we were welcomed into the home by Professor Bruce, and we sat in the living room for about two hours. During that time our son managed to spill a glass of orange squash on the Bruce’s rug, which Professor Bruce dismissed with a “whatever can be spilled has been spilled on that rug.”

During a break, as Kris was talking to Mrs. Bruce, I asked Professor Bruce a question that I had stored up for him (and I repeat our conversation from my memory): “Professor Bruce, what do you think of women’s ordination?”

” I don’t think the New Testament talks about ordination,” he replied.

“What about the silencing passages of Paul on women?” I asked.

“I think Paul would roll over in his grave if he knew we were turning his letters into torah.”

Wow! I thought. That’s a good point to think about. Thereupon I asked a question that he answered in such a way that it reshaped my thinking:

“What do you think, then, about women in church ministries?”

Professor Bruce’s answer was as Pauline as Paul was: “I’m for whatever God’s Spirit grants women gifts to do.”

So am I . Let the blue parakeets sing!

(Used with permission)

5 signs that God may be on the move re women

In my last post, I suggested that the releasing of women to co-labor alongside men in the Kingdom may be one of the next moves of God. Here are five (somewhat subjective/anecdotal) reasons I believe this:

 Photo Credit:psd viaCompfightcc

    1. The  increasing number of respected theologians and leaderswho are vocally expressing their support of women–theologians such as Ben Witherington, N.T. Wright and Scot McKnight through their clear exposition of the Scriptures, leaders such as Bill and Lynne Hybels, Alan Hirsch, Dave Ferguson through both their words and actions.
    2. The number of books being written. Thirty plus years ago, when I first started examining this topic, it was hard to find a book written on this subject. There are an increasing number coming on the market–both theological such as Man and Woman, One in Christ by Philip B. Payne, and What’s With Paul and Women? by Jon Zens, and experiential–I think of Unladylike: Resisting the Injustice of Inequality in the Church by Pam Hogeweide and The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James. (And yes, I ask myself, is there a need for one more–the one I’m in the process of compiling? I hope so. It will take a different approach.)
    3. I’m beginning to see tracks for women in leadership at conferences, and seminars designed specifically for women who are taking a lead. Conferences that traditionally only had male speakers on the platform are making room for women too. It’s a small number, but it’s a start.
    4. An increase in opposition. The conversation is becoming more heated, which often happens when something worthwhile is about to break.
    5. The number of both men and women who are changing their minds about women in ministry. I hear this quite often at a personal level, and the book, How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership details a number of stories from prominent evangelicals who describe their change in belief.

Are there other signs that I’ve missed?