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Time for the church to wake up and smell the coffee

Spiritual traveler, Prog Rock aficionado, husband, dad, retired Anglican priest figuring out what ‘retirement’ means, Paul Walker over his 38 years as a church minister, heard some songs that left him shaking his head in disbelief. {The 10 Craziest And Inappropriate Songs I Heard Played At Funerals I Conducted}

He was born in 1959 — which makes him 63 years old, though he thinks he doesn’t always act like it… and his wife tells him he doesn’t look that old.

He writes

I grew up through the 1960s and 1970s. Ah, those were the days!

and looks back at what he remembers from his childhood

— a 14-inch black and white screen. There was no remote — someone had to get up, walk across to the TV, and press a button to change the channel.

He looks at the changes in this world, since the 1960s. For us in Europe it was also a time that the Roman Catholic Church seemed to be put in a tumble drier, turning around and looking for some dry islands. That Catholic Church claimed to be the successor to St Peter, but by the years all over the world trying to adapt to the local customs, it had gone very far away from the teachings of Christ and from the first Christian community (or first Christian Church). Europe receiving more visits from Jehovah’s Witnesses, made the Catholic churches to be very annoyed and trying to have the people believe that they were a very dangerous sect. They also started taking the name of God away, and after having used the name Yehowah for years they suddenly did as if Yahweh was the real name of God. It stung the eyes that Jehovah’s Witnesses could attract more and more attention from ‘their’ believers. But Protestant churches also began to suffer from the new preachers going door-to-door and handing out their booklets ‘The Watchtower‘ and ‘Awake’ at train and bus stations.

Somehow, the focus on the Word of God must have sounded good to priests’ ears too, and the church began to offer Mass celebrations in the language of the people, where from that period onwards, some more texts from the Bible were quoted anyway. Because of those visitors who proclaimed the Word of God, more people also began to question what the church actually stood for and wondered what and who they should actually believe.

During the 1970s, confidence in many churches began to wane and more and more people no longer felt at home. One may wonder what the expectations actually were in those times, but also what they are in these times.

Mr Walker writes

The church is not a club where you pay dues to get your perks and privileges. It is a gospel outpost where we put ourselves last. Jesus says: die for the sake of the gospel.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple famously said,

The church is the only institution that exists for the benefit of non-members.

My experience was that it is common in churches to obsess over things that don’t matter.

Also, the role of the male priest came in debate.

This November Pastor Mike Law from Arlington Baptist in Virginia wrote an open letter to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention calling on them to amend the SBC’s constitution to include the requirement for Southern Baptist churches to not

“affirm, appoint, or employ a woman as a pastor of any kind.”

So far, he has garnered more than 700 signatories to his letter.

Paul Walker takes a deeper dive into what’s going on there.

The Southern Baptist Faith & Message statement adopted in 2000 says that

“while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

For the most part, this view has held sway among Southern Baptists — although most SBC seminaries accept, train and graduate male and female students, only about 0.1% of active Baptist pastors are women. therefore Walker wonders

I’m not clear why Southern Baptist seminaries accept female students only to slam the door in their faces once they complete their training.

In several countries, women can also take theology courses. In doing so, one may ask why and to what use do these women go there.

Last month, trustees at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, doubled down on this practice by unanimously approving a resolution to continue theologically training both men and women, “but with men alone reserved for the office and function, and thereby title of pastor.”

The matter was brought to a head last year when the largest and most outwardly successful church in the SBC, Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, ordained three women in what appeared to be an open challenge to SBC leadership.

With more than 40,000 members, Saddleback might have considered itself beyond disciplinary action, but it hasn’t stopped some within the SBC from sniping from the sidelines.

Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren, the author of the global bestseller The Purpose Driven Life, took to the stage at the SBC 2022 conference to mount a vigorous and unrepentant defence of his church’s position. Warren has since retired, handing the reins to the heir apparent Andy Wood, who immediately installed his wife, Stacie as a “teaching pastor” and included her in the church preaching rota as recently as last month.

Warren makes it clear

So, if anyone thought Rick Warren’s retirement would make the “problem” disappear, think again.

The message emanating from Saddleback is clear: We WILL have women in the role of a pastor going forward.

Whether the SBC has the stones to eject the largest and most well-known church under its umbrella remains to be seen.

Over the last two decades, the debate on whether or not women should lead in the church has regularly flared up. Even though several Protestant churches have previously come to the finding that a woman may also lead the church service, it is still a difficult and debatable issue to this day. Among Christadelphians, this also came up for discussion during the corona period, when church buildings were closed and services had to take place via Zoom, where women took the floor more often than actually happened in the church building.

Traditionally in Christadelphian communities, the biblical passages of 1 Timothy 2:11–14 and 1 Corinthians 14:34–35 have been that God, writing through Paul, requires all women in all ages to maintain a literal silence in church meetings and to submit to all men. For centuries in several churches this precluded women from praying, reading scripture aloud, open discussion, “leadership” roles, leading Bible studies or speaking “from the platform” in any context. Though in modern times in Bible classes women could say their word and could also lead the prayer session.

In the corona lockdown period we saw that in several Zoom meetings more women were allowed to speak openly. We could not ignore that in several countries many members of the Christadelphian community, men as well as women, questioned the rigid Pauline interpretation, which was a little bit considered woman-unfriendly of that apostle, who retained such views from his former temple role. In the belief that husband and wife should be on the road together, one can also ask to what extent the wife should also support the husband in growing up in his faith. Several Christadelphians or Brothers in Christ opined that it is God’s will that we treat each other equally, and to that extent, everyone who wants to follow Jesus Christ also becomes an equal brother or sister in Christ.

Excluding a certain gender or group from church duties also creates an inequality in the group which can also discourage people instead of encouraging them to proclaim the Good News and act as an instrument of God.

In Newbury and in the Belgian ecclesiae, the same as in the Lille ecclesia there was agreed last year that women should totally be recognised as equal church members with the same rights and duties as male church members.

Though from surveys it is known that there is a massive inconsistency in men and women asking questions in seminar groups.

According to one Princeton research team in the Economist, that set out to measure how much less women talk, it was concluded

Men are disproportionately more likely to ask the first question at a seminar. If a man has asked the first question – men are then more than twice as likely to ask a question afterwards. But when a woman asks the first question, men and women both ask around 50% of questions afterwards”.

Katty Kay, author of The Confidence Code says

Do we (women) believe our words are less valuable, but we don’t have the nerve to say them? A man in a room with mostly women talks just as much as he always does. When men are in the majority women speak 75% less”.

It is wrong to think women had nothing to say in the first churches. Clearly the News Testament speaks about women followers of Christ who managed to bring non-believers to the faith in Christ. We even find that they were the ones leading a meeting. so why not today, having ladies leading a church meeting?

Aimee Byrd says

‘It is by seeking the brother-and-sister closeness we are privileged to have as Christians. True, godly friendship between the sexes that embraces the family we truly are in Christ serves as the exact witness the watching world needs.’ Why can’t we be friends.

We need to change our culture. We need to stop viewing women as a child, a usurper or a temptress & instead treat each other, with absolute purity as brothers and sisters in Christ. {She needs brothers for her to speak in your church}

Marcus Ampe wrote

We need to change our culture. We must not get stuck in the Pauline notion that a woman should be silent in the ecclesia.We need to stop viewing women as a lesser member, a usurper or a temptress; instead treat each other, with absolute purity as brothers and sisters in Christ.

and many others could share with that idea.

Nay Dawson wrote

As women and men proclaim the gospel together, we have an opportunity to show the world to show what restored, sibling relationships look like. Men and women working together adorns the gospel and points to a better story! {She needs brothers for her to speak in your church}

It is that co-operation we should aim for.

Like in our ecclesia we have not only the women preparing the coffee and meals for between the church service. Next time you smell already the coffee, awaiting you after the first part of the church service, think about it how blessed we can be with men and women bringing in their thoughts and enriching us with their views and insights.

*

Find more about it:

> Four Things I Learned From Many Years of Overcoming Conflict

> The Choice for the Christian Church Is Simple — Change Or Die

> Southern Baptist Church Doubles Down On Misogyny — Seeks To Completely Ban Women Pastors

> How Does A Church Capture Vision For The Future?

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Preceding

  1. Is Your Church a Patriarchy?
  2. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous
  3. Parish, local church community
  4. Judaism & Catholicism Universal ‘churches’
  5. What’s church for, anyway?
  6. Democratic principles for the church of today

++

Additional reading

  1. Called Christian
  2. Seeing the world through the lens of his own experience
  3. Charles Taze Russell never claimed to have found a new religion, or a new church.
  4. The Church, Body of Christ and remnant Israel synonymous (Our World)
  5. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
  6. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
  7. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
  8. Manifests for believers #4 Eucharist
  9. Silencing Women – Of God or Men ?
  10. Quit griping about your church
  11. Looking for a biblically sound church
  12. An ecclesia in your neighborhood
  13. Commitment to Christian unity
  14. Making church
  15. Parish, local church community – Parochie, plaatselijke kerkgemeenschap (Our World)
  16. Church sent into the world
  17. Judaism & Catholicism Universal ‘churches’ (Our World)
  18. Intentions of an Ecclesia
  19. Church is a Hospital for sinners
  20. Sociological changes to be taken serious by the church
  21. People who know how to pray to move God to take hold of our affairs in a mighty way
  22. What’s church for, anyway? (Our World)
  23. Democratic principles for the church of today (Our world)
  24. United people under Christ
  25. Claiming to be the successor to St Peter
  26. Synagogue, Church or Ecclesia for the Christian
  27. Engaging the enemy
  28. Pope Francis I on the Holy Spirit
  29. If You want to start winning the war
  30. Hello America and atheists
  31. Small churches of the few Christadelphians
  32. Not words of any organisation should bind you, but the Word of God
  33. Message of Pope Francis I for the 48th World Communications Day
  34. Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism
  35. Not everyone in the churches of Christ are “ungodly”
  36. Which Christian sect is the only true Christian church?
  37. Offering words of hope
  38. Not created to be on our own

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sexual

Related

  1. Women in the First Century Church
  2. A Victory for Biblical Scholarship
  3. Preach it, sister – part one
  4. Women’s Roles in Ministry – Part I
  5. Women’s Roles in Ministry – Part II
  6. Women in Ministry – Part iii
  7. Women in Ministry – Part iv
  8. A Guest Comments on My Cartoon, box #1
  9. A Guest Comments About Women #2 box
  10. A Guest Comments About Women #3 box
  11. Briefly Anglican…forever Baptist.
  12. An Uncovered Society
  13. The Role of Women in the Church
  14. Religion Journalist and Writer Peggy Wehmeyer Has Hit Another Home Run
  15. Included in the Eucharist
  16. giving up on the church.
  17. A Christian Woman’s Beauty and Duty (1 Tim 2:9-15)
  18. Beliefs and other things you should know before reading
  19. Roles of Men and Women in the Church: Objections Overruled
  20. She needs help failing in order to serve in your church
  21. She needs brothers for her to speak in your church
  22. She needs you to fix the leaky pipe
  23. She doesn’t want to be treated like a child
  24. Some days, I wish I were a man
  25. Women, be silent… or not?
  26. She can’t find a way back into ministry
  27. A man claims to be a prophet and baths women in church premises on 31st night
  28. Women’s Speaking Justified: Reflections on Fell, Feminism and History by Liz Cooledge Jenkins
  29. The Bible Clearly Says that Women Must Be Silent in Church. Is that Fair?
  30. Lead by Love

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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