|Gender Equality In the Church||| Print ||
|Written by drk|
|Thursday, 23 October 2008 17:57|
Gender Equality in Church Leadership
For centuries, philosophers and theologians tried to bind women’s minds like the Chinese culture bound women’s feet. But, no more. We just won’t allow it. Finally, the day has arrived that Hosea spoke about, “After two days, He revives us; and on the third day (our personal Resurrection Day) He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight” (6). That third day has come and His resurrection power transforms us by name, “Lazarus, (say your name) come forth!” Accurate understanding removes the disfiguring and binding grave clothes. This almost unbelievable Good News of total redemption brings metamorphosis… We’re neither a wretch, nor a worm.
He does not ignore the cry of the afflicted. (Ps. 9:12)
Sozo (the process of salvation which brings us to wholeness) changes us from worms to butterflies. Even the flap of one wing causes change. Our old cankerworm nature was the distorted carnal view of ourselves that ate up our hopes and dreams. But, when that worm transforms, the old fallen nature is swallowed up in Christ and the new life occurs in the dying of the old. The new nature reveals itself with a promise that God will restore what the cankerworm has eaten (Joel 2:25). The struggle of new birth strengthens and develops that new creature. As a recent banner portrayed, the oppressed are free to fly, no longer worms—but they still have to get rid of the cocoons.
Yes, all creation groans and labors with birth pangs (odin), waiting for their promised deliverance – for equality to be fully formed and operating within the Body of Christ. The Phillips’ translation of Romans 8 elucidates this expectation of wholeness and unity, “The whole creation stands on tiptoe to see this wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.”
Our waiting upon the Lord renews our strength. Finally, the transition stage arrives; all there’s left to do is “push!” If there’s any resistance to the delivery, then we just need to change position a little bit. And push again. The emancipation is near. “Likewise,” Romans 8:26 says, “the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses (inability to produce or give birth).” Christ forms in us, because the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us, and He comes alongside () to mutually bear the same load and help us be transformed.
From the dead places of failure, angels come to roll away the stone –the stone of hindrances, the stones of indifference. Now, with undeserved vindication, we glimpse into the nowness of the eternal resurrection life of God. The hopeful universe desires to catch a glimpse of this unmistakably redeemed Christian. Out of our own ashes, we emerge as the mature sons (men and women) no longer expressing our excessive divisiveness and prejudices (Rom. 8:19).
This new corporate creature is called the “sons of God,” not teknon the infant-child, but huious which according to Zodhiates lexicon means, “the grown up offspring that are descendants, irrespective of gender... demonstrating the character of the parent, full grown, blameless, giving evidence and dignity to the likeness of God’s character.”<[i]
This new overcoming creation is being birthed out of God. Matt. 24 tells us that the beginning of sorrows (odin, again the word for birth pangs) will mark the end of the age. Paul says in Gal. 4:19, “My little children (infant infant technon), for whom I labor (odino) in birth again until Christ is formed (matured, transformed) in you.
His plan perfectly unfolds when we embrace the heritage and destiny of the eternal mind of God. With spiritual eyes, we see that God’s Kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. It comes in you and me. Christ in us, revealed in us. He declared us “not guilty,” even though we will always be undeserving. He already filled us with His goodness, gave us His right standing, and promised us His glory (8:30). We receive the power (to be changed into His nature) by the Holy Spirit.
There’s a cataclysmic advancing of the kingdom of God. It’s coming. Nothing can stop it. The kingdom comes -- not with observation (not seen externally), but from within, growing like a tree, like leaven, like talents rightly used. The Tree of Life laden with fruit, desire fulfilled, emerges from within us.
"Life has seasons, each spectrum of life can be complete...” Prov. 13:16a
As we correctly re-examine the Word and the issue of womanhood, we clearly understand that out-of-order behavior was always the issue. We hear the cry of Paul in Romans 12:6, “Having gifts differing according to the grace given to us, let us use them.” It is not even a matter of equality – it’s an issue of service.
This assurance escorts us to the finish line, to the end of time! “Come closer,” He calls, “let me show you who I Am.” “Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken... But thou shalt be called Hepzibah” (Is.62:4). I will adorn you with honor and clothe you with heavenly light. You shall be called “Hepzibah,” meaning, “My DELIGHT is in you.”
Certainly, redemption restores us to the pre-fallen Eden-paradise (also literally defined as the place of delight!) relationship with God. Delight yourself in Him and He rejoices (vs. 5). Stand in totality, trusting only in Him -- without excuse, without reaction or anger, and without looking for acceptance from people.
Having defeated the enmity that long derailed us, we accomplish His purposes – becoming a new race that stewards this earth -- in Love. A Glorious church, not of ourselves, but because of Him.
Winter ends. The turtle dove sings. We find our Lover no longer hiding behind the lattice – because nothing separates us anymore. His superior, unchanging and eternal priesthood seals up inside us, and we become enveloped in Him. Because of His poured out blood, we are fused together into Him, flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone (having united with one another as one with Him, being In Him and He in us, Eph. 5:30).
It’s time to rouse up into the time for love. The Body of Christ awakens to taste His lips that drip with myrrh. Fresh oil gushes from our understanding. We, the comparable helpmeet, are bound to Him eternally with a covenant of LOVE. We’re the epitome of God's desire, faint with love, and unified by the Spirit of God (Song of Solomon). Jesus is our all in all.
Throughout history, most religions have mistreated people of races other than their own. We know much of the history of racial bigotry and oppression. Very similar to racial bias is what has happened to women due to religious injustice.
Throughout time, religion took the woman's children and babies to sacrifice to the angry gods. Rulers killed their babies or took them to raise for war. In Greek times women were used as prostitutes in the temples (as part of the worship). And today, in several areas of ministry and employment, women are still discriminated against.
Women were viewed as second-class citizens, objects of scorn, or sexual objects. They were not allowed to learn - to read or even sign their own name. They could not own property. Generally speaking, they were not valued in any religious circle…nor in their cultures… until Jesus came.
The words and actions of Jesus totally change everything. Christianity was really the only major force to begin to free women.
Jesus' first miracle was performed in response to a plea from His mother (John 2:1-11).
Women stayed with Him throughout His crucifixion, even after the men had left (Matthew 27:55-56).
I Cor.11:3-16, covering & the divine chain of command
In reading this Scripture, notice that Paul doesn’t say, “Every woman who prays or prophesies should stop doing that!”[i] Rather, he encouraged women to speak. Then he says, “With her head uncovered dishonors her head.”
Does he mean she dishonors her own actual head and hair, or does it mean a man has to be nearby? Does Paul want a woman to wear a bandanna over her head and hide under it?[ii] Or should she have extraordinarily long hair if a man isn't present? Could he be warning the church to avoid the bald and shaved fashions of the temple prostitutes and pagan priests?[iii] Until recently, a Catholic woman was expected to cover her head with a lacy handkerchief or a beanie, to keep herself from dishonor. Holiness groups still encourage women to have uncut or long hair as their “covering.“
Some major denominations still interpret this verse to mean that a married woman must be totally under the “covering” of her husband; they say single women must be under a male authority of her church. Some (any) male must be “over” every woman.
This viewpoint suggests the argument that somehow a woman is a step more than a man away from God! It also maintains that a married woman is necessarily subservient (under) to her mate, even though Scriptures declare that Jesus put all believers, male and female, in a superior state. Women are not created just to be menial assistants to men.
Beloved, we’re all supposed to be bondservants of the Lord, voluntarily chained as Paul was on his way to Rome. We have no private agenda to chase, no personal ambition to achieve. The work of the Holy Ghost puts us into a recognition that we’re all here on earth to serve God and one another. Mutual submission and covenantal accountability is the answer.
HE sent His Word to set us free
[i] Adams, Q.M. "Neither Male Nor Female," (Christ for the Nations Dallas Texas),
[ii] The word for veil isn’t used in this passage, but keta kephales (down from the head).
[iii] Perhaps this shorn look was a punishment for adultery, a vow, a punishment, a mark of a slave, a pagan ritual for girls reaching puberty, or on prostitues. See Hull ibid. pg. 254.
|Last Updated on Sunday, 12 February 2012 12:40|