. . . posts on faith and life
Lots of talk going on right now (especially here) about what needs to happen at the upcoming General Assembly for the CoG. There are definitely some significant items on the agenda and everyone has an opinion on each of them. One item that has been conspicuously absent from most of the conversations I have seen is the issue of women serving on the Church and Pastor’s Council in a local church. Currently the bylaws read that:
Members of the Church and Pastor’s Council shall be loyal male members of the church.
The agenda item number 13 (wow, can’t we get a break?) proposes the striking of the word male, which would open up the role to all genders. Yes, everyone of them! 😉
A few thoughts about this.
First, the fact that a woman can serve as a pastor of a local church, but not as a member of the council of a local church makes no sense at all. As Don Warrington likes to say, the issue of women in the ministry for Pentecostals is an unfinished work, and it’s time for us to finish it. This really isn’t an issue that you can go halfway on. If you do, you end up in the crazy contradiction that we are in. I’m glad that the agenda item is presented with a sound, biblical explanation. Perhaps this will finally pass.
Second, if I was planting a church today, and the church was at a point that it made sense to consider officially organizing, I would have an extremely difficult time organizing the church with the CoG because of this issue as it currently stands. I cannot fathom building a church with one hand tied behind my back (actually more like 53% of my body!). My options would be to either organize as an independent work, or find a way to work around the current position, assuming that the position will change soon. I honestly cannot remember how pastors that want to keep women off of church councils justify their position, but I do remember that it’s some of the dumbest rationale I’ve ever heard. Irregardless of the way the position is espoused I think we all know the real motivation: fear! There are pastors out there that are terrified to open this up in their church.
Third, I am going to feel very encouraged once this passes. Like I said, it’s really the one thing that would potentially keep me from organizing a church plant with the CoG. So, I’m going to smoke a proverbial victory cigar on this one in a couple of weeks.
Fourth, sadly, this will not finish the work. We still will not offer to women the highest rank in ordination, the Ordained Bishop. Here again I cannot relate to the mentality on this issue. However, if it helps anyone that has that mentality I will offer this: WWII is over, you got your jobs back, we can quit casting vision for women to leave the workforce and quit pretending that a woman’s highest contribution can be found at home. I have been surrounded by many incredible women ministers. I have also been surrounded by many incredible women administrators. In fact, in my experience it is quite common in a marriage for the woman to have more administrative gifts than the man.
Anyway, I will be happy when we take this next step. But I will also lament the fact that we are still in-between on this issue, still contradicting ourselves. So, when it comes to asking the CoG, what about women? The answer will still be, who knows? Because we obviously do not.