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  • Kingsley East

For Women in Ministry

Updated: Apr 23

Last week, I spoke at Redeemer Presbyterian Church (part of the PCA denomination) for their "Theology After Dark" discussion on women in ministry. At these events, Redeemer invites guests to present a view that their denomination/church disagrees with. Then their head pastor presents their church's view on the topic. They've had talks on Calvinism/Arminianism, infant/believer's baptism, spiritual gifts, etc. I was both intimidated/overwhelmed and excited/grateful to come share on women in ministry, specifically women in church leadership.


We were given the same 4 questions to answer in our presentations:

  1. Are there any offices of leadership in the church, such as elder or deacon, that women are prohibited to serve in? Why or why not?

  2. How do you interpret 1 Tim. 2:12 regarding the role of women in ministry?

  3. Are there any misconceptions about what you and your church believe about women in ministry?

  4. Finally, what are the consequences of not believing what you believe about women in ministry?


For a little background, Redeemer is not a random church to me. I attended Redeemer for the first 4 or 5 years when I moved to Waco, and I was a member there. My brother and his family currently attend Redeemer. And I had a great experience there--I loved the preaching, got to know great families there, and always felt supported by that community, even when I started seminary. I left Redeemer in the middle of seminary in order to more intentionally explore my own vocational call to ministry. Because the PCA church does not ordain women to ministry and I had been introduced to new ways of interpreting the Scriptures on this topic, I wanted to explore a church that does support and ordain women to all levels of church leadership. That's how I ended up at DaySpring Baptist Church, where I serve as the Minister to Youth.


At DaySpring, it's easy for me to take for granted that women should preach, teach, and lead in the church. So, I was grateful for this opportunity to re-explore and take an even deeper dive than I did in seminary on why I believe women are called and commissioned by God and their communities to ordained ministry. Plus, I treated this time as part of my own process in discerning my call to ordained ministry.


Above, I've shared the video from this "Theology After Dark" night at Redeemer, which includes both my presentation and their pastor Jeff Hatton's presentation on women in ministry. We both agree that men and women are made equal and with distinctions. Because of our differences, I believe the church needs both men and women to lead the church. Based on my reading of the creation narrative in Genesis, I believe God created men and women to work together for God's Kingdom.

If, according to God, it wasn’t ok for man to be alone in the garden, why do we think it’s ok for men to be alone on church staffs? In deacon or elder meetings? At church votes?

Pastor Jeff argued that a woman can do anything a non-ordained man can do in the church, namely teach with authority (see 1 Timothy 2:12). I argued for a different way of interpreting this verse and passage. Our main disagreement came down to one Greek word in that passage, which he interprets as "to have authority" but I interpret as "to abuse." So, I argue that Paul says women cannot teach abusively or in order to dominate/stiff-arm/put men down, as was common in the local cult of Artemis.


During the Q&A, one woman asked how we can hang our position on one word/verse/passage in the Bible. To this, I said that I don't! I spent the first half of my talk on examples of women leading in the Bible and being commended for this work. We must take all of Scripture as the true and authoritative Word of God. When Scripture seems to contradict itself, we have work to do to interpret what God is saying.

How could Paul say that a woman cannot teach and have authority over a man in one book of the Bible, but also commend the female leader Phoebe as a deacon, Priscilla as a co-laborer, and Junia as outstanding among the apostles in Romans 16?

You'll have to watch, read, or check out the resources below to see why I believe women are called to all levels of leadership in the church. Plus, listen to Pastor Jeff's perspective against mine. Then you can keep exploring the topic and decide for yourself!


Note: This picture of Pastor Jeff and me was taken after our presentations and Q&A. See those smiles! This topic is incredibly important, but it does not have to be divisive. We are family in Christ, serving the Church in Waco in different contexts.


Resources:

Two Views on Women in Ministry with contributions from Linda Belleville, Craig Blomberg, Craig Keener, and Thomas Schreiner

"Why Mike Winger is Wrong about Authenteō" by Andrew Bartlett and Terran Williams on Scot McKnight's Substack

Church Blogmatics Substack by Beth Felker Jones

The Bible (NRSV, ESV, NIV, The Message) and the Greek New Testament :)


Read: You can read Kingsley's presentation below.


Women in Ministry_Redeemer 4-17-24
.pdf
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1 Comment


Sharon Carter
Sharon Carter
May 04

Thank you, Kingsley. You presented articulately, thoughtfully, and humbly. Excellent job!

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