A few days ago I published two book reviews in one post. One book had over 15 authors who contributed and the other was written by one author. But all of the contributors were women. This got me thinking; why do we stop learning from women?
For the most part, women teach us how to eat, talk, walk and get dressed. Even when we grow up often it’s women who teach us many of the essential things in life. And so why are women hidden away in the Church?
I’ll lay my cards on the table, I am a complementarian. That doesn’t mean that I think women aren’t gifted. It doesn’t mean that I think women are unimportant. It doesn’t mean that I think men are better than women. It means that I’m convinced, from Scripture, that men and women were created as equals but with different roles. I believe that one of those differences should be seen in the Church. I believe that Scripture teaches that the roles of eldership and teaching, within the Church, are reserved for men. I haven’t come to this conclusion because that’s the way I grew up, I was raised in an egalitarian house and church (meaning both men and women could be in the eldership and teach). I came to this conviction after wrestling with Scripture, many discussions with people on both sides and through much prayer.
But, as a complementarian, I see a problem in our circles; women aren’t being given the voice or the platform they should be!
I recently saw an advert for a women’s conference on how to be a godly mother, wife and a godly women that was being taught entirely by men. What absolute nonsense! Many people were pointing out how silly this was because who better to tell a group of women how to be a godly mother than a godly mother?!?
But the problem is very much alive and kicking in our circles today, maybe not that ‘in your face’ but it’s there. When a women has a gift of teaching and is great at dividing and sharing God’s Word people seem to jump into hyper-sensitive mode and almost shout “you can’t preach!”
Instead of starting with the “you can’t” we should start with “please help us…” The best starting point is always where people can help, not where they cannot!
I’ve seen godly older women teach younger women in 121’s with such experience and wisdom. I’ve seen women do tremendous talks, teachings and lectures at seminaries and Bible colleges. I’ve read very helpful books by women, so why on earth do we hide them away when the Sunday service starts?
If you’re in church leadership and your reading this, please consider how often you have a women pray, read, share a testimony, do an interview and more in a Sunday service. There are so many gifted women in the pew who could do so much but they 1) haven’t been asked, 2) have been taught that they must always be silent (I might write a whole post on this one soon!) or 3) they don’t think that they can contribute anything worthwhile.
All three things are wrong and should be corrected. Ever since I started working for churches I’ve trained alongside women, I’ve learnt from women and listened to some phenomenal contributions by women.
I’m not arguing that we should leave our convictions on the teaching of Scripture behind, but I’m saying that we need to live then out! If you want to see women grow in their understanding of who they are put them in a 121 with an older women. If you see that a woman is gifted, give her opportunities to develop and use her gifts. If a woman is available get her plugged into taking part in Sunday services.
I’ve heard people argue that to read books by women is departing from the Scriptures teaching on the roles of men and women. I’ve heard people argue that women can’t be Professors in seminaries. I’ve heard people argue that no women can have a teaching gift. All of these things go beyond what Scripture teaches!
Personally I have learnt so much from women, and you probably have too, so why should we stop learning from them now? The opposite should be true, we should never stop learning from women!
Yes, I believe that Scripture teaches that there are specific things that are reserved for men, but the list of what women can and should be doing is far bigger than what they can’t do. Therefore, encourage and build women up in their service of the Lord’s people. Give women the voice that they should always have had and help them live out their gifting to the Glory of God and for the upbuilding is His Church!