*The part one of this post was published over 2 months ago. I wrote part two, but wanted to expand on it. However, I feel now that there is room in this conversation for expansion at a later time if necessary. For now, I will reiterate: I am not a pastor, I hold no leadership position (nor, frankly do I want one at this time in my spiritual development; as there is an exponentially increased accountability, laid out in scripture for those who lead, which is too weighty for flippant pursuit of such positions.); I am neither a philosopher nor scholar nor teacher. I am merely a student of the Bible; a follower of Jesus, in love with the Word, figuring out this whole journey as I go. And I’m attempting to pass along what I have learned, that I may avoid spiritual greed or pride. I do not ask that I am listened to, but that in considering scriptural matters, the faithful will listen to and reason through both sides of the issue at hand. Not merely take the majority position because “that’s how I was raised,” or “that’s what my church teaches.” Paul praised the Thessalonians for testing all they heard against the scriptures. As a literate society, so should we. We need to constantly return to the scriptures, asking, “Is that what it really says?” Because, in returning to the scriptures as our litmus test for our theology and practice, we may be taught and rebuked (when needed) by the Holy Spirit into a deeper likeness of Christ.*
In part one of this post [click here to be reminded of that oh-so-long-ago conversation], I mentioned that the “regional director” of a non-denominational church plant with which I am intimately familiar recently spoke these words:
“Women who want the title aren’t the kind you want
to be spiritual leaders.”
To be entirely fair, this director did later in the evening expand that statement to include men who seek the title “elder.” And while this is likely true, for servant leaders do not seek titles for titles’ sake, this line of reasoning is greatly flawed. Primarily because the title is bestowed upon the men and subsequently refused to women. If the test for genuine servant-leadership is the distain of titles, shouldn’t they be done away with altogether? If it is deemed appropriate for one sex to hold the title, then recognized leaders of the opposite sex must also be eligible for the title as well.
Another point this director made during this conversation, was that this particular issue had come up at the national conference of “directors” at least three times in the past few years. Because of this, our gentleman-leader felt that the organizational stance is on the brink of changing in years to come. Fantastic! However, this line of thinking raises the point that there are but two reasons for the impending change:
1. The current stance on the leadership of women is counter scriptural
2. The board of directors for this denomination is likely to abandon clear scriptural guidelines in favor of popular opinion.
[I’ll be honest here: neither option sits well with me. At. All.]
However, the director admitted that he personally felt this stance was flawed; and while he did not directly endorse the following, he did present this example as a viable option:
· His “solution” is an elder team. Men hold the official title, but women may be members of the team (without the title). This circumvents organizational mandates and still gives women a “voice.”
In effect, this practice of this leader-qua-leaders is
1. Admitting his denomination’s counter scriptural stance
2. Subversively circumventing this problem, so as to “fly under the radar” and not draw attention to the erroneous position of the denomination
3. Encouraging blatant disobedience in his subordinates, thus undermining the very authority he was commissioned to represent and invoke.
Which raised the question, can I follow a leader who recommends the purposeful disobedience to selected, denominational directives. If so, who decides which I follow and which should I toss aside? Me? Him? Somebody else in a position of authority? And more importantly, is his stance in line with scriptural teaching on authority and the submission thereto?
The reason in this stance and its subsequent practice collapses under scrutiny, as suggested with my above questions. Therefore, for all of his “good intentions,” this leader-of-leaders had not thought through either his position or praxis. His behaviors and ideology were are odds; thus rendering each null and void. Thus argument becomes mute through the behavior.
In closing, I will let the organization speak for itself. I did a small bit of research on their website, and found that women are able to hold different positions outside of the United State, in the mission field; but in their home country, adhere to a different set of requirements. [See the full list here.] I find these very allowances contradictory; and the fact that they exists,…
well, in the words of Miss Alanis Morissette,* isn't it...
*[forgive me, Mother, but I couldn't help myself]