Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Church is dominated by males and oppresses females

This is the 3rd part (follow links for part 1, part 2) of my evaluation of They Like Jesus But Not the Church and whether the same issues apply here in the UK.

I have to say on first glance Dan K has it bang on here. I think there's no question that the perception is we can be sexist and even misoygnistic. It's one of the issues that gets church into the mainstream media, with the Anglican church continuing to wrangle over the appointment of women bishops for example.

Not only that but I'm part of a family of churches (Newfrontiers) that holds a complementarian view on ministry (with quite wide degrees of interpretation). We used to be called 'New Frontiers International' which quickly became tagged 'no females included' which was a bit harsh! Only yesterday I was talking with a lady whose daughter had left the church because of her views that we as a group of churches are sexist and I've had this discussion on numerous occasions with women in my own church about it. See, I'm not just being difficult!

Dan K is right that all sides need to be able to handle the controversial questions well so even if our conclusions are disagreed with, we've done our homework and presented intelligent, thought through responses to scripture and we need to ensure that we're allowing women to use as many gifts and talents as possible. Just so everyone knows we allow women to lead worship, speak at main meetings, lead small groups and do virtually everything except become an elder of the church. Dan K recommended an excellent book 'Two Views on Women in Ministry' and my own view is akin to that of Craig Blomberg.  

My own experience is that if you can genuinely live out 'equal but different' then that view is respected by emerging generations of both sexes. After all 'different' is kind of self-evident to women, they know they are in fact way superior to us fellows!

What is interesting though in the church in the UK and in my own location though is how hard it is to reach non-Christian men because their perception of the church is that it is dominated by women and a bit feminine, even of churches that have male only everything at the front but are full of women in the pews!  


jul on 20 July 2007 at 21:02 said...

We can't win! I agree that where we manage to actually treat women as true equals, the differing roles thing becomes quite a bit less offensive. I'm a woman who has complimentarian views but have certainly experienced male chauvinism in this segment of the church. It isn't dead! Sometimes it bothers me that so much focus goes toward banishing feminism but not the chauvinism, but that's neither here nor there as they say...doesn't change what Scripture teaches.

Blue, with a hint of amber on 23 July 2007 at 10:00 said...

Good points raised. Both chauvinism and feminism are challenges.

The problem is that some people hide prejudice behind doctrine. It is amazing what some people seem to think it justifies.

Some of my friends say "I couldn't be in your Church because you don't have female elders". Then I ask them about their Church and there are more women released into senior positions of leadership in my Church than there are in their Church, and they have a male "senior pastor".

ianjmatt on 23 July 2007 at 17:24 said...

My concern is that we take passages of the New Testament that were dealing with specific situations (such as 1 Timothy 2:12) and create a ppolicy for the whole church without explaining why this particular instruction has universal application. As far as I can see the New Testament is egalitarian when speaking about the universal church and only restrictive in specific situations.

I don't see this as an issue of sufficient importance that we need to insist on a specific policy (such as the restriction of women in the office of elder/presbyter) if it prevents the effective communication of the gospel.

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