My Journey to Affirming the Ordination of Women (Part XI)

As I was reviewing my slate of draft blog posts in various stages of completion, I noticed that I never shared the intended final post in my series on my change of perspective on women’s ordination. While I had intended to put a nice bow on the series, I will just conclude with a list of resources that I read, and one brief comment.

Reflecting on the #metoo and #churchtoo movements of the last year, and revelations from and about many church leaders concerning sexism, sexual harassment/assault/misconduct, it seems imperative now more than ever for complementarian and egalitarian churches to renew a commitment to healthy structures of accountability–for leadership and laity. These allegations and admissions have surfaced in churches of various theologies concerning women in ministry–so, let the one who thinks his/her tradition stands, take heed, lest s/he fall.

It is certainly not enough to have some token female elders, staff members, or board members–though this is a start.

Fostering a culture of holiness and relational wholeness is the responsibility of both men and women in the church. Older men and women need to teach boys and young men to regard women as more than mere objects–either objects of sexual desire, or fearsome Delilahs who are a threat to their moral purity. Fathers and mothers in the church have a corresponding responsibility to teach young women, in a hypersexualized culture, that they are more than their sexual desirability (whether this is presented as a source of shame or as “female empowerment”).

As part of all this, we need a church culture where single and married brothers and sisters are loved and valued for more than their “gendered” contribution to the life of the community (i.e., marriage and children), and where we open ourselves to moral accountability–sexual morality, and other areas as well.

Resources on Egalitarianism and Women in the Church

William J. Webb, Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (IVP, 2001). In my opinion, it is the best book on the subject–almost singlehandedly changed my position.

Richard B. Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament: Community, Cross, New Creation (Harper Collins, 1996), especially his contrast between the acceptance of Gentiles in the church and gender equality on the one hand, and homosexuality on the other (pp. 389-400 in my edition).

John G. Stackhouse Jr., Finally Feminist: A Pragmatic Christian Understanding of Gender (Baker Academic, 2005). Stackhouse’s experience somewhat mirrors my own, though I don’t consider myself a feminist.

One of LCC’s first Theology graduates: Lina (Andronoviene) Toth, Transforming the Struggles of Tamars: Single Women and Baptistic Communities (Wipf & Stock, 2014).

Several publications by Christians for Biblical Equality:

Hubner’s doctoral dissertation at UNISA: “A New Case for Female Elders: An Analytical Reformed-Evangelical Approach.”

Two videos from Seven Minute Seminary (Asbury):

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About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, living and learning in Eastern Europe…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth…eldest sibling to three, brother-in-law to Hannah, Josh and Josh…uncle to Marshall and one on the way...son-in-law to Claudia.
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