Egalitarianism

The more I read about this, the more it seems to line up with what I see in the New Testament. There are a couple of great articles on it here and here. I also have a link to a great egalitarian website, Christians for Biblical Equality, or CBE. They have some grand resources for purchase and download. You can even join them and get subscriptions and discounts on different items. They also have information about local chapters. I tried to contact the local chapter but the email bounced back. I'll look more into this.

For those of you who don't recall, I have posted a couple of times on this issue, primarily this one. Basically, people should be chosen for the 'offices' of church leadership based on their gifts (which YHWH gives to men and women) and not on their gender. Although I am still wrestling with the details of this issue (as I think a lot in the Church are), I am pretty certain that it is right.

Furthermore, I think that whole idea of 'roles' or 'traits' based on gender needs some retooling. The idea that 'men' (or as I prefer, males; there is a difference) act a certain way because they are 'supposed to' is derogatory and offensive. Those of us who are Christians are to put away what the world values and its opinions. As St Paul wrote, 'Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think' (Romans 12.2). The 'behavior and customs' of what being 'male' looked like was stood upon its head in the Incarnation. 'Male' strength is not to fight back with fist or foot or word. Jesus did none of these things and yet who among us would say that he was not a 'man'. Moreover, the life of Jesus was not just an example of what a 'real man' looks like, but what a 'real' person; what true humanity looks like. His respect for women and children were radical, if not down right shocking, for his day. How much more is this needed now when women and children are still seen as 'second class' even in the Church. For example, when I was going to a small Southern Baptist church while in high school, our 'Youth Minister' was a woman in our church who was married and had a whole brood of children. But, since the deacons were the rulers (and I would say also because they were male and had such a 'worldly' view of the status of women), they removed this woman (who was a hell of a leader) and replaced her with one of the deacons. Now, as bad as that was, this guy didn't even have children! How is this possible? He certainly was not qualified in my opinion. And yet, the only reason given for the change was taken (out of context) from 1Timothy where St Paul wrote, 'I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly' (2.12). It was a very sad situation and, in all honesty, I think the youth group suffered for it.

What was that? How can I view 1Timothy 2.12 in any other way than what is written there? How can I say it is 'out of context'? Simply like this: Context is not just the few verses above and below a verse. Context, rather, is the whole paragraph; the whole chapter; the whole book; the whole Testament; the whole Bible. In addition to all of this, we must also look at the historical context as well. Now, I could go through all of this here but then, you wouldn't read the articles to which I referred above. :) But, just to give a little bit of my position on it, and this is a repeat from the other post I also mentioned above, in the NT we see St Paul acknowledge a women 'deacon', Phoebe, in Romans 16. An interesting point is that the word used there in the Greek is the same word that St Paul used of himself, Apollos, and Timothy! And there are other examples in addition to this one. The point of this is to, really, give us pause and reconsider what New Creation actually means--not only for the cosmos but for the men and women in that New Creation.

May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.

OD

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