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I once preached a sermon entitled "What Place do Women Have in the Church Today?" in reading your take on the subject, I got some deeper insights into the role of women, not only in the church, but in the home. In this message, I used the following opening texts: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28 NIV) "How true it is that God does not show favoritism." (Acts 10:34 NIV) I gave a bit of historical background, some of which I'll include here: God has used women throughout all ages to minister to His people—from Old Testament prophetesses and judges to New Testament deaconesses. In the book of Acts we read about the four unmarried daughters of Philip who were “prophetesses.” (Acts 21:8-9) Paul talks about the leadership roles of Phoebe, a deaconess, (Rom. 16:1-2) Priscilla, a woman worthy of high honor, (Rom. 16:3-5) and two of his co-workers in Philippi: Euodia and Syntche. (Phil. 4:2-3) Mary Magdalene was the first to announce the good news of the resurrection to the incredulous disciples. And a woman of Samaria became an evangelist to her own townsfolk, convincing them that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. (John 4:28-30, 39-42) Old Testament Scriptures speak of Moses’ sister Miriam being a prophetess. (Exo. 15:20) Deborah served as judge over Israel. She not only prophesied, but under God’s direction, ruled over a nation of men and women. (Judges 4:4) The Lord sent the prophetess Hulda to convey a divine message to King Josiah and to the high priest Hilkiah. (2 Kings 22:14-20) A woman as an adviser to a king and a high priest? Despite these biblical exceptions--and the exception proves the rule - I have to agree with S. Michael Houdmann's premise that in the natural order of things, as God planned it, women are in a complementary role. I went on to relate the story of Teresia, a Christian woman in Nairobi, Nigeria, who wanted desperately to serve the Lord. She decided to hold a lady's Bible study in her home. Several women came and some were converted. The Lady's Bible Study group soon outgrew her home. It grew from 17, to 55, to 105, to 200 - during the first month. They moved the Bible Study to a city auditorium that held 2,000, but 4,00o women showed up. She moved to the Convention Center which holds 5,000; 12,000 women showed up. Thousands were being saved and delivered. But because her English Missionary husband had abandoned and divorced her some years back, some preachers were warning the women in their congregations not to attend the meetings of a "divorced" woman. But that seemed to have a reverse effect. She secured the use of Uhuru Park and over 100,000 came to her "Lady's Bible Study." By this time, many of the husbands also showed up. One evangelist in Nigeria went to the Lord in prayer. “Why Lord,” he asked, “did you choose a divorced woman for this great ministry? We have so many wonderful men in our Bible schools, men who pursue You with all of their hearts. Why did You choose her and not one of our graduates?” God’s answer affected him deeply. “I chose her because I wanted to show the world that I could take a broken vessel and make a vessel of honor.” “How this humbled me,” the missionary said. “We’re not chosen for our great qualities. We’re flawed servants who must depend totally on Him.” Teresia had suffered the ultimate humiliation of divorce, but God had lifted her up to a platform of powerful ministry—all to the glory of God! “I, the Lord, do not change.” (Mal. 3:6) “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) Peter said, “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism.” (Acts 10:34 NIV) I guess God has the final say! He has every right to make whatever exception to the rule He chooses!
"Egalitarianism" means "men and women are equal". "Complementarianism" means "men and women have different and complementary roles". The Bible shows that men and women are equal when it comes to salvation, and to what will happen in the resurrection: " 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." (Gal 3:27-28 KJV) This shows that God equally accepts both males and females into his Kingdom, into the body of Christ. " For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." (Mat 22:30 KJV) This shows "egalitarianism" in the eternal kingdom. But in this life, God has given men and women different roles. That is "complementarian". IN MARRIAGE: "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." KJV Eph 5:22-24 "Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands.... For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves. They submitted themselves to their own husbands, like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her lord. NIV 1Pe 3:1-6 "Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord." ESV Col 3:18 The Greek lexicons show that "submit" means...SUBMIT!... BDAG (Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich): "the state of submissiveness, subjection, subordination, as opposed to setting oneself up as controller" Friberg: "submission, obedience, subjection" Louw-Nida: "obedience" Gingrich: "subjection, subordination, obedience, submission" And in case somebody told you it means "willing submission only", check out this verse where the same word is used--is this "willing submission"?... "And the seventy returned with joy, saying, Lord, even the demons are subject unto us in thy name." ASV Luk 10:17 "The young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands" NKJ Tit 2:3 "But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the husband is the head of his wife, and God is the head of Christ. Any man who prays or prophesies with something on his head disgraces his head, but any woman who prays or prophesies with her head unveiled disgraces her head -- it is one and the same thing as having her head shaved. For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil." NRS 1Co 11:3-6 IN THE CHURCH: "Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor." ESV 1Ti 2:11 "Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord's command. But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored" NIV 1Co 14:34 So to put it in a nutshell... in regards to salvation, and in eternity there is complete egalitarianism of men and women. But in the current life, God has ordained some differences in the roles of men and women, which can be called complementarianism.
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