On April 28th, I posted this blog entry regarding some of the articles of confession at the The Together for the Gospel Conference. As an egalatarian, and as someone who fully supports women in all forms and positions of ministry I took defense to what they had drafted up. Since that conference there has been a flury of activity on the internet regarding the gender issue, but I have had a hard time myself keeping up with all the posts and comments from various bloggers.
This has been an issue that has changed and developed for me over the years. I grew up in a non-denominational Bible church, graduated from a Southern Baptist College, completed my Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and currently serve as the college director at Bel Air Presbyterian Church. So my position on this issue has moved over the years, primarily from one of indifference to one of great support of women in ministry. In fact, I would say that my current graduate work in Marriage and Family Therapy has even moved me much further in the direction of egalatarianism than I was after completeing my M. Div., but that is a blog for another time and place.
There are a lot of great and wonderful Christians on both sides of this issue. In fact, I would say that that has become more clear as this discussion and debate has heated up. I have been able to have some wondeful conversations with those that I both agree and disagree with. And I hope this continues.
JollyBlogger has been posting about this here, here, here and here. He and I disagree on this issue, but I hope that we can continue to dialogue, especially as we will be working together at the GodBlog Conference at Biola in August.
As well as many men posting on this issue, this is one of those topics where I received a lot of email and comments from women, as well as coming across a lot of blog postings.
There are many, many more that I could cite, but it eventually becomes very time consuming to follow the tracks all over the place.
When it comes to my understanding of women and ministry and my full-support of that position, I want to mention some people who have been very influential in my thinking. There are many of them and a lot of my own thinking is pulled from a lot of different areas, but here are four thinkers that I have greatly appreciated.
Miroslav Volf and his unbelievable book Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. This book has been life transforming and Chapter IV on “Gender Identity” is paradigm shattering.
Dr. Ray Anderson’s great book on practical theology, The Shape of Practical Theology: Empowering Ministry With Theological Praxis. Chapter Six, “The Resurrection of Jesus as Hermeneutical Criterion” makes a great theological and biblical case for women in ministry. Read pp. 90-101 under the heading “A Case for Sexual Parity in Pastoral Ministry.”
I have also recently been greatly challenged and enlightened by the work of biblical scholar Phyllis Trible and her work. Two of her books, God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality as well as Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives are very challenging. Two great books, and unfortunately many I’m afraid will not read them because the word feminist is a loaded word and has negative overtones to many. Trible is a great scholar and makes some wonderful arguments, and I find her female voice a much needed addition in biblical scholarship.
The work of Paul Jewett and his books, Man as Male and Female: A Study in Sexual Relationships from a Theological Point of View and The Ordination of Women: An Essay on the Office of Christian Ministry.
These scholars and writers have been very influential in my life and I know in the life of many others. I am thankful for them.