13.12.08

True woman?

Well, I can't help but be interested in 'The True Woman' initiative. It's supported by John Piper so it doesn't take a genius to work out that it will be selective in proof-texting scripture verses which can be interpreted for a promotion of male headship and female submission. The last paragraph of my essay on women bishops contained a point about how it is the confusion of the word submit with subordinate which is really the source of all the confusion. More later.

To the point - I have signed up for the 30 day 'True woman' makeover' to see exactly what it will require of me - this could be interesting and I will keep you posted. If you want to find out more about this much debated network of Christians see here and for opinion here.



Conclusion to my recent essay (What are the key theological issues which divide those who would argue for the ordination of women as Bishops, from those who argue against it? )

Proverbs 18:17 describes how 'The first to present their case seems right-- till another cross-examines them.' It is difficult for advocates and opponents to come to any kind of consensus. Whether it be an appeal to reason, tradition or scripture or a combination of all three, an antithetical conclusion can be drawn. In raising the theological issue of apostolicity being male throughout time, examples can be found of female deacons, priests and bishops. Where women assert their sense of calling, opponents judge this too concordant with the prevailing culture and the church is charged with succumbing to social pressures. Those who argue that women bishops are the result of a movement of the Holy Spirit face the theological views of the cessationists for whom there is no new revelation.

Perhaps at the very core of the debate is a confusion over the concept of submisson. Christians can not deny that Christianity is about submission: submission to the Godhead, the gospel and the Church which we are called to serve. As regards whether one gender is to submit more than another, this seems an appropriate question to ask when the word seems to have become associated with subordination. In Grudem and Rainey's 'Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood', they describe that the 'Biblical View of Submission ...requires her to submit to him..., while no passage indicates that a husband should be subordinate to his wife.'1 It is in the casual exchange of the word submit for subordinate that significant problems lie. These two words are not synonymous because the former is theological and about 'dying to self', the latter is worldly, denoting inferiority. When a woman's Christian submission is also subordinationism to men, she is denied the role of oversight in the Church.

E L Mascall, despite being a traditionalist, says that 'behind St Paul's thought about the man and the woman... the fundamental relation is not one of inferiority but of mutual perfection and of derived partnership.'2 Advocates of women bishops will reassert that Christianity is about servanthood and not authority to counteract the proponents of male headship. About servanthood all Christians are agreed but advocates will stress this aspect of Christian distinctiveness as they explain that women and men should serve the Body of Christ in the ordained offices because of their spiritual gifts, without it also depending on their gender!


1GRUDEM W & Rainey D (ed.s) Pastoral Leadership for Manhood and Womanhood, p.203-4

2 MASCALL, E.L., 'Women and the Priesthood of the Church' p.119

1 comment:

DaveW said...

Rachel,

Thanks for the link. I have not yet been brave enough to sign up for the makeover so I look forward to hearing about it.

DaveW

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A little background reading on the two theological integrities in the Church of England regarding women in ministry.