The Role of Women, Part 1

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By Guest Blogger Christa Bryant

For many years a debate has split numerous congregations and denominations. What should be the role of women be in the church in a drastically changing society? Women have no limits in the corporate and academic world anymore. Cultural rules allow women to dominate relationships. Should the church allow women to serve as leaders also? Societal norms did not create women, and their sacred beginnings need to be understood in order to understand their role in the church. Women are a powerful influencer but also a great example of love and submission. We need to understand the reasons God created us and how to approach him. Unfortunately, there are many things we do not understand.

We no longer understand worship. The Hebrew word for worship is shachah. It means to “bow down.” The Greek word proskeneo also means to “bow down.” When we as a corporate body enter to worship, we should be bowing down not only physically but spiritually. We are prostrating our hearts to the will of God. If our concern is drawing attention to ourselves, we cannot be spiritually prostrate before God. He does not want worship to be a time of showcasing our talents, he wants the submission of our hearts both male and female.

We no longer understand the gift that God has given women. We insist upon our own desires instead. There is nothing more energizing than sitting with your brothers and sisters in Christ and expressing your love for the Father in prayer and song. Likewise, there is nothing more peaceful than experiencing the love of the Father through scripture reading and communion. God gave us a gift when he commanded us to worship. Each week we experience an hour or more of the purest love communicated. That love and relationship are holy. They are sacred. It should be accepted with grace and gratitude. In 1 Timothy 2:8 Paul writes, “ I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling.” The men who are to lead in worship are to be mature men who are without conflict and distraction. They are not to be the center of attention. They are to point us to God and not themselves. Women have the great fortune to simply engage in worship with God to feel love and to demonstrate love. Only certain men have the heady responsibility to lead that worship. That leader is not to be engaged in people following but pointing us to God.

We no longer understand biblical equality. Many women feel that God through his word slighted women. They are not equal because they cannot do what men can do. Are women not as capable of public speaking? Yes, they are! Do their prayers lack passion? Absolutely not! Some of the best public speakers are women. They are trained to communicate to audiences young and old and with compassion that few men have. Unfortunately, twenty-first-century America defines equality as everyone being able to do and have all the same things. This is not why women were created. We were made to be different, and different does not mean second-class. By being so focused on not having the same things, we fail to see the beauty in our differences. God loves us all the same despite our distinctions. He loves the quiet widow on the back pew just a much as he loves the charismatic preacher on the front. This love for all is evidenced throughout scripture by the way he honors women. We see blessings bestowed upon Eve, Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Hannah, Abigail, Esther, Deborah, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Elizabeth, the Samaritan woman, the woman caught in adultery, Dorcas, Lydia, and Priscilla. The list goes on. How dare we say that God does not treat us as equal. He is the standard-bearer of equality. He gives love in all circumstances to all people despite their roles or their position.

We no longer understand the role of women. Society says that the traditional roles of women as wives, mothers, and help-meet are less than jobs. They aren’t as important or as meaningful as other positions. Perhaps some women even cringe when reading 1 Timothy 2:12 when Paul writes, “I do not permit a woman. . .” How dare Paul put restrictions on women like that! Afterward, Paul refers back to the creation account and the fall. Eve sinned first but was formed second. Genesis 3:16 says, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;/ in pain you shall bring forth children./ Your desire shall be contrary to your husband,/ but he shall rule over you.” Paul has a good reason for writing that. It is reflective of God’s hierarchy. God also said women will want to be in charge by being contrary to their husbands. God gave us the domain to be in charge. He will rule over the management of our homes and our children. We have the ability to manage classrooms and businesses. We can handle multi-layered projects. He also commanded us to be still in worship and to show our love and obedience through submission. God didn’t make women second-class citizens. He made us extremely capable first-class citizens with an extraordinary task to show loyalty to him. Are we up to the challenge?

When approaching God we cannot forget his sovereignty. He created us with a specific goal and a specific job in his kingdom. As women wholly devoted to him, we must understand the great opportunity God gave us to be in his kingdom.

Image courtesy of Omar Lopez / Unsplash.com