Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gender or Giftedness?

In these troubled times the church appears as an eight cylinder engine that is running on only four cylinders - no spiritual power, ability to maneuver in traffic, or inner strength to do the task Jesus has given us.

Have many abandoned God's spiritual gifting of individuals in deference to gender? Are only men allowed to take certain responsibilities, not because of their spiritual gifting but because of their gender? Have women been pushed into roles where their giftedness can not be utilized or where it is largely ignored?

We are all aware of the ministry roles of men in the New Testament. However, just to site a few examples: Paul spoke of Junias (a woman) as an apostle (Romans 16:7); both "sons and daughters will prophesy" (Acts 2:16); Priscilla was the primary teacher of Appolos (Acts 18:26); and Phoebe was a deacon (Romans 16:1).

Could it be that the other four cylinders have not been allowed to use their God-given spiritual giftedness today as they did in New Testament days? It is time for the church to be an organism of people who use their spiritual gifts rather than being an organization with only men taking the responsibilities that appear to be "leader" oriented. Since all gifts are necessary for the body to be healthy, shouldn't we be identifying our spiritual gifts and encouraging everyone to use them, regardless of gender? Using all eight cylinders would give the church the necessary health to be functional instead of fractured.

Asking the tough questions ~ Bob


  1. Thank you for giving us some food for thought.

    I wonder what the church would be like if women were welcomed into leadership? More nuturing, more perceptive into the heart needs of people?

    How do we rightly interpret those passages of Scripture where it speaks against women leading/teaching men?

  2. Thanks for your question. I, along with Biblical scholars whom I have asked, fail to find passages in Scripture that speak against women teaching men, or that say women can teach only children. Priscilla is obviously the trainer of Appolos in the book of Acts.

  3. Can you help me understand 1 Timothy 2:12? I would like to understand the meaning of this passage.

    Thank you.

  4. Well, we should have a more rounded out and balanced church. Some churches that don't allow teaching-gifted women to have more teaching roles (besides children and bible-studies) seem to get bull-dozed by the male-run church tradition and power trips. That destroys the church and isn't teaching anyone God's ways.

    It's worth a shot because of the decline of the church in these days. Something's not right in the church body. All the body parts aren't working as they should!

    When Jesus was here on Earth, Jesus treated women with respect; not as a sub-class of human being. Unheard of in those days. He is showing us women are as important to God as men are.

    Many women are already the spritual leaders of their homes out of necessity because the men aren't stepping up to the plate or are not there. Why not spritual leaders in a church as well if they are called to do so? Why does the a female who's a gifted-leader/teacher have to leave her mighty gift at the church's door? It doesn't.

    God uses all of His children to further His kingdom. God's gifts and His call are irrevocable [Romans 11:29]

  5. Great question about a passage that has been problematic to many, in consideration of Greek vocabulary, the current situation, Greek tenses and consitency with the rest of Scripture.

    From my perspective, this passage does not address equality of men and women - that was addressed in Genesis where both are created "in the image of God".

    The subject here is captured in vs. 4 - the desire for people "to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." In both prayer and in public worship, people were hindered from coming to the truth because of the demeanor of the proclaimers. Unlearned women, addressed here, had not helped the situation.

    Paul addresses hindrances to the goal, namely, the demeanor of both men and women. Women are not to be distractive in their behavior or their dress. The Greek word for silence is not about keeping your mouth shut; it is about respectful listening. It is used of rabbinic students or disciples who learned so that they, in turn, could teach. II Timothy 2:2 - "entrust to faithful people (not just men) who are able to teach others." Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, is a good example.

    Women and men had engaged in false teaching, gossip and other practices that would have distorted the gospel and kept folks from the vs. 4 objective.

    Paul here elevates women, just as Jesus did, to learn respectfully and receive the truth in the same way men are to learn the truth.

    After learning the truth, they will be prepared to teach properly - at the present time (considering Greek tenses) they were not prepared to teach in a manner that would bring people to the truth.

    Upon learning, women as well as men (II Timothy 2:2) are to teach others the truth.


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