Women in Ministry-
What are your thoughts about women in ministry? Today, my church celebrated “Women’s Day.” The colors were white and purple. I wore a black suit, white shirt and purple tie. The guest preacher was a woman. Many of the women in attendance today wore white dresses with purple accents. Rev. Dr. Georgia Hill, my associate minister was honored as the “Woman of the Year.” Rev. Hill has worked with me since 1994 – first as my City Council chief of staff for eight years. During her tenure with me at the City Council, Rev. Hill informed me that she felt a call to the ministry. I told her I was not impressed and that if she wanted I would give her a raise. She insisted she was serious, so we worked out a plan where she could work part time at the City Council, commute to Chicago and enroll at the McCormick Theological Seminary. Working part time, she graduated number two in her class, and a few years later she earned a doctorate of ministry, also from McCormick. When she obtained her first degree in ministry, I made an offer to Rev. Hill to work with me as an associate minister. Let me tell you why I am sharing my history with Rev. Hill.
There are several verses in the Bible that forbid women teaching men, even talking around men. I know of some churches that forbid a woman speaking or preaching from the pulpit. I have decided that even though I have read these verses that are negative about women in ministry, I still think it is appropriate for a woman to teach males and to be called into the ministry. I believe my congregation feels similarly. Rev. Hill is my second female associate minister, so I do not think the congregation has a problem with women in the ministry.
The question that must be asked is larger than should women be allowed to serve as ministers? The real question is this: how should a believer decide as to which verses in the Bible they do not follow? If the Bible is the Word of God, what should a believer do with verses they just do not believe in? Slaves in America were forced to listen to the Bible, but they chose to close their ears to verses like, “Slaves be obedient to your masters.” (Ephesians 6:5)
Many progressive theologians argue that the modern believer in Jesus Christ must read the Bible within the context of the culture within we live.
I have had some people to challenge me on parts of the Bible they think should be lifted as more important than others, such as condemnation of homosexuals. My argument is that if you are willing to look the other way regarding the Bible and slavery, then we also ought to make room for women as preachers of the Gospel, then you ought to also be willing to rethink if there is room to accept homosexuality.
When I have been asked as to what parts of the Bible are most important, I respond simply that I believe in God, Jesus as the Son of God and the Holy Spirit. The four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, tell of a Saviors love, Jesus Christ who does not contemn women or homosexuals, who offers forgiveness from sin and eternal life to all who confess that he is Lord and Savior.
1 timothy 2: 12 I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent.
Questions for Reflection:
- What do you think about women in ministry?
- How do you determine what parts of the Bible are central to your concept of God?
- What are your thoughts about verses in the Bible that tell “Slaves to be obedient to their masters”?
- What do you think about people who use the Bible as a wedge or hammer over people or life styles they do not agree with?
Prayer: Open my eyes Lord, that I might have a fuller understanding of your Holy Word. Lord, help me to understand your truth. I believe in your Word. I trust your Word. I need your Word to survive. Bless me, that I might rise above the temptation to be unfair in what I think about others. Lord, grant me a true faith. Lord, grant me love without bounds. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen.
Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Photo by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III
Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/