My buddy Mike recently published a rant in response to a Christian Standard interview of Eleanor Daniel, the brotherhood "Dean of Christian Education." Apparently Eleanor has some "out of step" thoughts about the role of women in the church.
Consequently, I thought I would take a few moments to elucidate my thoughts on the role of women in the church. In a sentence: "I don't have a problem with a women preaching; I do have a problem with a woman preacher."
What does that mean? For too long we've said, "it's okay for a woman to speak to the assembled on Sunday morning provided she stands on the floor and not on the stage; so long as she stands behind a music stand or lectern and not a pulpit; and oh by the way, everyone would feel much better about it if she held the slide projector remote control in her hand at the same time."
This, to me, seems inconsistent.
There are times when a word of exhortation from one of the fairer sex is appropriate. I wonder, for example, why I ought to stand before women on mother's day and tell them how to be better mothers. Wouldn't a word from an experienced well respected woman be more appropriate? Or when I preach something like, "What Every Wife Wished their Husband Knew About Women," doesn't it seem more genuine coming from a female? In situations such as these, I have no problem with a woman who, in submission to the church elders and under their express authority to do so, stands before the congregation and delivers a word of exhortation.
I do, however, take issue with a woman preacher. In the sense that a preacher is an elder "whose work is preaching and teaching," a woman cannot meet the requirements of scripture that an elder is a male.
The issue is one of authority, is it not? In the first instance, a woman preaching under the submission of her husband and the elders is, in fact, submitting to the authority of the elders. In the second instance, despite what us preachers might want to say about being in submission to our elders, we nevertheless yield a considerable amount of authority in the church, particularly in congregations that are considered "staff led" churches.
This is my position. It is one that I hold loosely, and am open to changing. It places me to the left of some of my brothers and to the right of others. That puts me in the middle, I guess. I wonder, is it lonely here, or are others nearby?