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women in ministry: part 2

November 27, 2012

yesterday I explained why I have a problem with bishops, and the irrational and anti biblical worldview that having a hierarchy presupposes.

Today I want to address the other fundamental issue at the heart of the women as bishops debate, that of the “either/or” worldview.

Essentially the way the arguments are presented we either accept that women are valuable, gifted and equal and given them the right to be bishops, or we somehow suggest they are useless, have no purpose other than carrying children and making tea and try to make them disappear.

Of course life is not like that, there are many shades in between these polorised positions, and the quality of the arguments have not done that justice. The biblical argument is that the man is head of the woman, in the same way as Christ is head of the church. To accept that this gives licence for men to exploit or subordinate women is frankly ridiculous – it is simply a statement that within a partnership there has to be someone who takes final responsibility.

In fact the whole subjection and abuse of women does not come from the bible story, it comes from the choice of man (each and all of us) to reject Gods ways and go our own way. This is what the bible calls sin!

It is a sin when a husband drinks his wages and does not provide for his children.

It is a sin when business owners or landlords  (often men) exploit their workers or tenants.

It is a sin when men (and it is mostly men) sexually abuse the women they are responsible for.

It is a sin when a man makes decisions for his family without talking to his wife and children and finding out what they want and what is in their best interests.

BUT by naming the above abuses as sin we still leave a huge area where men and women together can lead families, communities, businesses or churches. Where decisions are made in prayer and with consultation, but where the man still carries the final responsibility.

If that was what was on offer, I suspect that the argument would be a lot less polarised.

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