jonathan stone's blog

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what about women?

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.

39 comments on “what about women?

  1. travjohnson
    July 19, 2008

    I whole heartedly agree, Jonathan.

  2. Don Warrington
    July 19, 2008

    I’m glad you brought this up.

    At the last General Assembly (which precipitated the article you link to, thanks so much) one of the Hall of Christian Excellence your mom’s department chose was introduced as a member of her Church and Pastor’s Council. As they say, “right in front of God and everybody!” So there’s more progress on this than you might think.

    Also: you bring up 53% of the Body of Christ being women. In Evangelical churches, it’s higher than that. Evangelical churches struggle with appealing to men, this in spite of a largely male clergy and regulations such as the one you cite above. Something is not right in the way we’re doing this.

    Finally, if we want to see some of the future of women in ministry in the COG, we should look at this:

    http://www.vulcanhammer.org/?p=74

  3. Joel Clackum
    July 19, 2008

    It would indeed be positive to pass item number 13, but also ridiculously ambiguous. Its time to respond to the Spirit and allow women to be fully vested in the COG. Nice post!

  4. jonathanstone
    July 20, 2008

    Travis, thanks for the amen!

    Don, that story about the introduction is hilarious! It sounds familiar now, but I had completely forgotten about it!

    Joel, I found out today that there is an O.B. out there with some influence working on a measure that would extend “striking the male” (how funny!) from all ministerial positions. I don’t have a lot of hope for the change to the O.B. to happen that way. But who knows?!

  5. mike mcmullin
    July 20, 2008

    I bet you think it’s okay for women to cut their hair and wear pants too!

    What’s next? makeup?? 😉

    I was surprised how much of an issue this was at my last church. In fact, they seemed surprised that I was so open to the idea based on my “knowledge of what the scripture says on it”. It seemed funny that they allowed women to lead men into the presence of God through singing and worship but not a business meeting. Which one should be more important?

  6. jonathanstone
    July 20, 2008

    Mike, that’s a great point about worship leaders! I don’t think I’d heard that observation before…I’m really glad you mentioned it!

  7. Louis Morgan
    July 21, 2008

    Any idea where that woman was from? Sounds like the woman from my home church who was inducted into the Hall of Christian Excellence at the last Assembly.

    Here’s another interesting fact… we have allowed women to serve as local church clerks for at least for as long as there have been printed lists of church clerks in the Minutes– going back to the teens. And, Blanche Koon served as the secretary who took the Minutes during the first meetings of the Executive Council (then known as the Elders’ Council or Council of 12). I cannot understand how we perceive a woman capable to have this level of responsibility (not to mention serving as Pastor) and not capable to serve on a Pastor’s Council. Our logic is flawed.

    And, women were also among those appointed as State Directors of the Sunday School and YPE (which was the predecessor of state youth directors). My great aunt, Mava Morgan McCoy, was the first one appointed in Louisiana, while she also pastored the West Monroe COG. Annie Heath was the first one appointed in Mississippi. This was in the 1930s.

  8. Don Warrington
    July 21, 2008

    Louis, she was from Mississippi, which is a hoot when you consider Jon’s last post.

    Jon’s mom didn’t miss the opportunity to make a statement here, either. She introduced the HCE inductee as “the first female elected member to her pastor’s council.”

    One common objection to female Council members and church officials is the issue of female headship. But we’ve had women pastor from the start. It it’s okay to have lay people under women’s headship as pastors, what’s the problem with our ministers?

  9. Kindra
    July 22, 2008

    More than the obvious reasons that this annoys/devastates me, as a female, it seriously concerns me as a theologian.

    What exactly does it say, theologically, that woman in the COG cannot lead?

    It seems, to me, that there is this (mis)understanding that the blood of Jesus Christ redeems men fully (they are obviously saved to the uttermost and therefore repeal the effects of the curse)–but Jesus Christ, and his sacrifice, cannot quite cover the sin of women (so, obviously women are not saved to the uttermost and so they must continue, even after salvation, to suffer the effects of the curse).

    Thus, a woman cannot lead or be ‘the head’. She is still paying for her crimes so to speak.
    Of course COG ministers don’t say that…if I recall correctly four years ago at GA as I sat listening to arguments in this matter (next to one of my Seminary professors who holds a doctorate but still cannot vote because she is female), people who had never studied Greek in their lives were mispronouncing deacon and deaconess in the Greek as their argument against women on pastor councils. That and that as soon as we allow those women to be on councils next thing you know we would be ordaining those gays. I had never been so ashamed to be a part of the COG as I was that day.

    I wonder, why does the COG not have a group of biblical scholars made up from our University and Seminary, respectively, to give a report (or better yet a lesson) on what the text actually says?

    This issue is infuriating at best and spiritually lethal at worst. What are we saying to 53% of our community of faith? I fear that we are telling them that Jesus isn’t enough. His sacrifice does not redeem them, I mean, not really. His sacrifice has not redeemed them it has merely been some sort of perverted spiritual placebo that allows them into the courts but not the holy of holies.

    Geeze. I am glad I know Jesus loves me, ’cause if I only listened to those men that day I would have to wonder if I was gonna make it to heaven!

  10. jonathanstone
    July 22, 2008

    Louis:
    You’re exactly right. Our logic is flawed. I’m going to be very discouraged if this doesn’t pass this time. Thanks for the historical examples.

    Don:
    I had forgotten my mom’s involvement in all of that. Too funny.

    Kindra:
    Thanks so much for sharing your passionate perspective, and letting us in on some of the personal pain that this policy creates. I don’t think that we (males) understand how deeply personal this is for women. It is a deep existential/ontological issue of identity/being for women…not a mere structural and policy issue. We are doing more than cutting ourselves off from the larger portion of our membership. We are cutting them off from their identity in God. So, you’re right, it would be infuriating to women AT BEST. Unfortunately, we have not created that best scenario, we have created an unhealthy, or more precisely as you put it, lethal spiritual environment. This is no longer merely unfortunate. It is, in fact, dangerous.

  11. Don Warrington
    July 22, 2008

    An interesting document relative to this issue (from the AG) is

    http://www.paludavia.com/4191_women_ministry.pdf

  12. bishop-jla
    July 22, 2008

    Historically the role of the GA is judicial, not legislative, we are to search the scriptures, pray for the direct guidance of the Holy Spirit and open our eyes to what God is doing among us at present and submit. The scriptural basis for Women in Ministry is well established, the Holy Spirit seems to have had no problem baptizing the women in the upper room for the stated purpose to be his witnesses in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth and the obvious anointing and wisdom I have seen in the lives of women has convinced me that God is no respecter of genders when it comes to choosing his instruments. It is well past time we recognize and affirm that God is raising up both Men and Women of the Spirit to lead our churches.

  13. Pingback: a woman’s place in the cog « jonathan stone’s blog

  14. Louis Morgan
    July 23, 2008

    Just as a reference… here’s a link to a Fall 1997 publication from the Dixon Pentecostal Research Center about women in the COG. Be sure to notice the picture and caption on page two. It is of Dorcas Freeman Bowers, believed to be the first woman evangelist licensed by R.G. Spurling sometime between 1894 and 1900. It is also interesting to note that she, along with her brother who was at the first Assembly, chose to remain independent from the other churches forming the General Assembly. This is probably because of the early teaching focusing on the local church form of government and against creeds. (BTW, at least one of those Christian Union congregations that chose not to become part of the General Assembly is still in existence today).

    Here’s the link:
    http://faculty.leeu.edu/~drc/Resources/History_Heritage/New%20History%20&%20Heritage/Files/1997-fall.pdf

  15. Dale P. Combs
    July 23, 2008

    I have only one question that I would like some to answer and then I will enter a discussion on this topic.

    In the book of Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    What does this verse mean as it relates to the woman? I am especially interested in the phrase, “and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over you.”

    Thanks

  16. Jonathan Stone
    July 23, 2008

    This is Emily…Jon’s wife. This is an interesting conversation to follow! Although I am an ordained minister in the Church of God, I tend to follow these conversations from a close distance. Travis…where are all of us women on missionalCOG? I have been contemplating recently the reason why we don’t have much of a voice represented there. No one on that site has “banned” us and yet we, myself included, aren’t participating in the conversation. Why is that? I am still analyzing myself to figure it out! Do any restrictions make me feel “out of place” among other male ministers? Am I worried I will come across as a heavy handed female and be ostracized and thought of as un-feminine (God forbid!!)

    Dale, you were the last one to post. Of course, as a female minister I encounter these kinds of questions! But, even more so I wrestle with them because I am a woman and these verses are incredibly personal. I still remember when, while at seminary, I prayed and told the Lord that I would not be afraid of any verse no matter what it ended up telling me! I told God, through tears, that I trusted what His word said and where He would lead me. I am happy to testify that the very verses I had been “afraid of” have become some of my favorites!

    As far as this verse in Genesis, I will tell you how I interpret it. As a Christ follower, I am no longer under the curse. This is the curse. God has redeemed me. He has raised me up and healed (is still healing) the relational damage that took place at the fall between myself and my any other male.

    My father-in-law, among others, points out that verses such as this one in Genesis is talking about a woman and HER HUSBAND….not a woman and every other man on earth. My desire IS for Jon (and, hopefully His is for me!). My desire is NOT for all other men in the church or on earth.

    The question of headship gets acted out differently in different relationships. But, however you work it in your marriage…headship is within the MARRIAGE. It is not a factor outside of it. Genesis says that HER HUSBAND will rule over her…NOT the ordained bishops of the Church of God.

    And, on a funny note…I am pregnant with my third child. Although, I had my second child (9 pounds 4 ounces, thank you very much) with no pain medicine (I am woman…can you hear me roaring? 🙂 ) I had my first child pain free…thanks to an epidural. I do not intend to be bound to the “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” part of the curse. God has made a way out! I am redeemed!

    Now, I know that there are multiple layers of interpretation here. There is more to “sorrow” in bringing forth children than just the pain in giving birth.

    Thanks, gentlemen, for making room for my long post and taking the time to read it. It has been a pleasure. And, Kindra…keep on keepin’ on, sister. I love ya.

  17. jonathanstone
    July 23, 2008

    Well Dale, I wanted to respond to this question, but it looks as though my submissive wife beat me to it! 😉

  18. Tom Rosson
    July 23, 2008

    Dale,

    There is an obscure formulation in Romans 16:7

    Greet Andronicus and Junias, my relatives who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

    Junias is a female name. Paul includes her to be outstanding among the apostles. The preposition “among” is the Greek word “en”, often translated “in” or “within”. However, “among” is also a proper translation if understood as “one of”.

  19. Don Warrington
    July 23, 2008

    Tom, if your interpretation is corrrect–and I think it is–then, to use an expression I used to hear a lot, it’s all over but the shouting. (That expression has a different connotation with Pentecostals than with others!)

  20. Jonathan Stone
    July 23, 2008

    Thanks Tom, it looks like we need to add “Serve as an Apostle” to the list in the next post.

  21. Nick Park
    July 23, 2008

    Some good thoughts, Jonathan. I personally look forward to the day when we have women as Ordained Bishops (I also look forward to the day when we drop the title of ‘Bishop’ – but that’s another story!)

    I remember meeting a young woman in China who had been tortured for her faith and who had personally won over 20,000 people for Christ. Now, that woman is much more qualified to lead the Church than I am!

    Nick Park

  22. Dale P. Combs
    July 23, 2008

    Tom, the reference that you use in Romans 16:7 Paul referred to Junias as an apostle, while it can mean a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders

    1. specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ
    2. in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers

    it would seem to me that in keeping with the order that Paul deals with when it comes to Elder’s and leaders he is referring to Andronicus and Junias as predominate teachers within the body of Christ.

    Emily, I have no issue with your thoughts as far as a woman. However, this world is still under the curse. The pronouncement that God gave to Eve shows that a woman would always desire to rule to take the authority from the man God said it would not be so. Why in the New Test. did Paul not clarify his statement when he addressed the office of Elder and simply say be the wife of one husband as well as the husband of one wife.

    I have no issue with a woman taking lead roles in the world we live in. They are as capable as any man under most every circumstance. They can serve in any position C.E.O on down with in the system of our world. Yet I am under the opinion that the Ecclesiastical world is different. God set an order of things. Like it or not. I don’t necessarily like it on certain levels, but we are hard pressed to make the assumption that just because I have been redeemed therefore I can now take authority over the man. Christ likens His church to the marriage, He gave man the role of leader not the woman. There is no argument there. If His church is like the marriage then why are we always trying to put things our of order. I do not think that men are to be dictators in the marriage and that there is a joining together, however when Adam stood shoulder to shoulder with Eve as she ate the fruit and he never spoke up, that set into motion what we are dealing with today. Why did Satan attack Eve instead of Adam? The Bible says she is the weaker vessel. He should have spoken up, he should have defended her. he did not! Ever since that day, women have fought to take authority from the man, ever since that day, women have had to deal with the fact that she does not like to be considered the weaker vessel. She is not the leader of the Home nor the Church God gave that responsibility to the man.

    I know there are many today that disagree with me. There was a time I disagreed with me. However, I have seen the damage that has been done to the Body of Christ simply because we fail to adhere to the order God sets. Do I believe a woman can teach, preach, win the lost, prophecy etc as the list above says, YES!!!! Do I believe she should sit in the seat of Leadership over the Church No! Not because she is not capable, but because God has an order, I think that every man needs to realize that this is not about cultural relevance or any other world view, this is about what God has set as an order for His Church.

    Well, again I know that this will cause a great buss, but hey that is why i am getting into this blog thing anyway. I appreciate the feed back I am willing to continue to look at this in greater detail.

  23. Don Warrington
    July 23, 2008

    It’s interesting to note that, in the Anglican Communion (where women’s ordination has been a serious issue for 30+ years) the first women to be ordained were in China during World War II.

    They’re good business people too:

    http://www.vulcanhammer.info/china/4.php

  24. jonathanstone
    July 24, 2008

    Nick:
    Thanks for that point. She must have been a powerful spiritual leader!

    Dale:
    See my response in the other thread on women.

    Don:
    Great story! And once again it’s Chinese women leading the way!

  25. Dawn
    July 24, 2008

    Kendra & Emily:
    Thank you for speaking up and giving women some representation here.

    Emily:
    Your mention of the absence of women’s contributions on the missionalcog site is an important note. And while I’m with you on not having a great answer, we should recognize that women have not been ‘banned’ from contributing to these conversations. I do read the posts regularly, and have personal conversations with a couple contributors. I think your comment about women who voice their opinions coming across “as a heavy handed female and be ostracized and thought of as un-feminine” hits a nerve with most women in ministry. Many women find themselves thinking, “Is this going to be worth it?” – Well said. Thank you.

    There are women in the COG who would add GREAT value, but are denied the opportunity. I’d go as far as to say that if some of our GREAT women were put into office, light would be shed on some of the weaknesses in the administration. Think of the can of worms that would open! “If you want the job done right, send in a woman.” 🙂
    Think of the repercussions. Maybe some have…

  26. Don Warrington
    July 24, 2008

    Since the issue of women in the CoG blogosphere has come up, let me draw upon my experience in the Anglican/Episcopal one. There are some very prominent women bloggers there on both sides of their very acrimonious conflict. I’ll present three examples.

    Let me start with the “reasserters.”

    The first one that comes to mind is Sarah Hey, the South Carolinian (I think) who is a contributor to

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/

    This is sort of the Anglican equivalent to MissionalCOG. Not a website for the feint of heart, and Sarah is right in there with the rest of them. She has an excellent article of objectivity in the media up now:

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/14650/

    The second is “Baby Blue,” the Washington, DC based blogger whose coverage of the secession of the Episcopal parishes in Northern Virginia has been especially good. (The legalities here are potentially relevant to the CoG.) Her blog is

    http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/

    On the “reappraiser” side is Susan Russell, the California lesbian who is head of Integrity, the Episcopal Church’s LGBT group. Her blog is here:

    http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/

    I took exception to her whole view of human sexuality at

    http://www.vulcanhammer.org/?p=359

    All of these and more have two things in common:

    1) They are articulate and express themselves in a straightforward manner.
    2) They don’t stick with purely “women’s” issues.

    So bring it on!

  27. Don Warrington
    July 24, 2008

    Since the issue of women in the CoG blogosphere has come up, let me draw upon my experience in the Anglican/Episcopal one. There are some very prominent women bloggers there on both sides. Let me give three examples.

    Let me start with the “reasserters.”

    The first one that comes to mind is Sarah Hey, the South Carolinian (I think) who is a contributor to

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/

    This is sort of the Anglican equivalent to MissionalCOG. Not a website for the feint of heart, and Sarah is right in there with the rest of them. She has an excellent article of objectivity in the media up now:

    http://www.standfirminfaith.com/index.php/site/article/14650/

    The second is “Baby Blue,” the Washington, DC based blogger whose coverage of the secession of the Episcopal parishes in Northern Virginia has been especially good. (The legalities here are potentially relevant to the CoG.) Her blog is

    http://babybluecafe.blogspot.com/

    On the “reappraiser” side is Susan Russell, the California lesbian who is head of Integrity, the Episcopal Church’s LGBT group. Her blog is here:

    http://inchatatime.blogspot.com/

    I took exception to her whole view of human sexuality at

    http://www.vulcanhammer.org/?p=359

    All of these and more have two things in common:

    1) They are articulate and express themselves in a straightforward manner.
    2) They don’t stick with purely “women’s” issues.

    So bring it on!

  28. Dale P. Combs
    July 25, 2008

    Just a question, Is it the Anglican/Episcopal church that just recently elected a open homosexual as the Head Bishop? Or am I confusing that with another denomination?

  29. Don Warrington
    July 25, 2008

    Dale: not yet.

    The current Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church is Katherine Jefferts Schori, who is heterosexual AFAIK. She is the first woman to hold that position and is very, very liberal.

    In 2003, TEC (The Episcopal Church) ordained V. Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire. Robinson is an open homosexual who “tied the knot” (I think it was a civil union) with his lover in June. His ordination largely ignited the civil war in the Anglican/Episcopal world which is, IMHO, the most important unfolding history going on in Christianity right at the moment. Ever since Robinson’s ordination there have been seceding parishes (and now one entire diocese,) and the intervention of African Anglicans to oversee the seceders.

    My purpose in following/blogging the Anglican situation can be found here:

    http://www.vulcanhammer.org/?page_id=710

  30. Emily Stone
    July 26, 2008

    Dale,

    Sorry, it has taken a while for me to respond. My week has been very full! I have enjoyed perusing the conversation thus far.

    I wanted to address your comment on the woman’s desire to lead the man. I am going to speak from personal experience since this is a personal issue. What I hear you are saying is that as a woman I have a sinful desire to take over and lead men and that I will always have that desire. I read between the lines and “heard” you say that one of my constant battles as a woman will be to overcome this desire to lead men. Let me know if I read that wrong. That is how I took it.

    I have really searched my life, heart, and personal experience on this one and I honestly cannot relate. In fact, I have been in a place where God has been convicting me of the exact opposite. For the first 5 or 6 years of our marriage I really wanted Jon to make decisions. I did not want to have to deal with them. I let him run our budget completely. I did not want to know how things were. I wanted to have my children and let him lead. I wanted to check out of reality! How nice that felt! How safe! How dishonest!

    Then I realized how much pressure my unwillingness to step up the plate and lead/make decisions with my husband put on Jon. I felt like God was telling me that it was time for me to be an adult. I was responsible for our life, too. It is hard work meeting each month to work on our budget. It is hard work having responsibility. Sometimes I wish I could just be another dependent in the family. But I am not. The bible does not say that the man is the head of the house. It says that the man is the head of the woman. And together we lead the home. I think Proverbs 31 does a wonderful job of revealing the leadership responsibilities of a woman in all areas of the family.

    I have watched families live out the fundamental strict adherence to a “man is the head of the house” mentality. I become more and more aware of what happens. I see one of the following often taking place:

    1. The man is under so much pressure and there is growing disdain for the wife until, worst case scenario, domestic violence erupts. The woman becomes more and more insecure.

    2. The man is the “head”, but let’s get real! Who does the budget? The woman. Who organizes the family life? The woman. Who influences every single decision in the house? The woman.

    It honestly becomes like a game. The hispanic culture and southern culture is all too familiar with it. The man is the “head”, but everyone knows that the woman rules the house. The woman is forced to have the “iron fist in a velvet glove” if she wants her family and marriage to survive. She must learn to help “lead” without really leading so that everything works out smoothly. And all for the sake of “order” and “headship” when the bible does not even say that the man is the head of the house! He is the head of the wife.

    Dale, from where I stand I can tell you…I would love to go over to your side. You can ask my husband. I am very open to hearing all sides of the issue on this. In many ways it would so easy for me to just give in. I don’t have it all figured out. I am on a journey as a woman to be what God wants me to be as a woman.

    But, if giving in is what I am supposed to do, then why do get convicted when I try to do that?

    I am purposefully staying very personal in my posts because for me, it is. And, I believe that my “testimonies” is following the example of Acts chapter 15. When the “certain sect of the Pharisees” wanted the gentiles to be circumcised “according to the law” what turned the tide for liberty? Testimony. Paul and Barnabas spoke out in testimony of what God had done among the gentiles.

    We can go on and on about this verse and that verse. While I am not discounting scripture at all I think that these circular arguments could go on and on without ever bring much resolution. Have we made room for the testimonies concerning this issue? What has God done through women? What is God doing through women? How do these testimonies address the question of eldership and the leadership of women in the Church of God?

    I doubt we will ever get to hear the testimonies of the women. They aren’t allowed on the floor.

    Emily

  31. Dale P. Cmbs
    July 26, 2008

    Emily,
    I am very thankful for your comments. It is great to see a wife that is so supportive of her husband. The scriptural mandates for wives and husbands are clear and there is not space or time in a blog to deal with all of them. You have given a great personal testimony of the grace give through salvation in your life and how it is translated in your every day affairs of home, work, relationships and ministry.

    It is not my intent to make you feel less than what God created you to be. I personally beleive that the woman is God’s crown of creation. He saw the man’s need for a mate and brought her to him. He was the caretaker of all in the garden. Together they worked side by side all was well until, until sin entered the scene. From that point on things changed. Were it not for that event, we would not even be having this conversation. Things would be as they were then. It was through Christ, we reestablish the order of things. Because of salvation in our lives, husbands and wives are not in competition for position. They (borrowing a movie phrase) complete each other. You are correct man is not the head of the house (If I implied that I stand corrected). Headship belongs to Christ, the man falls under His authority. He is delegated the authority, then the woman who walks in submission to him because he loves her as Christ loves the church. God gave man the mandates, Guide, guard, govern. (this is seen throughout scripture) the last time I checked, that had not changed. Man still walks under the authority of Christ. If Christ likens the church to a Bride and a family, is there not an order here as well. A husband and wife decide together, how the home is to be guided, how to guard it and even govern. however when it is all said and done, The man is still the one held accountable for the actions done in the home and from where I sit in the church. Your husband, as you shared must be a great man. His love for you and his willingness to share is what the word of God calls for us to do. It still does not remove the curse that is on the world that we live in nor does ones relationship with Christ halt the temptation to fall to the desires of sin. It is always there, Thanks be to God who gives us the victory. When we walk in light of His Word we are safe. PTL.

    What I am saying is, In the church, there is established order just as in the home. There are things that are permissible within that order. I would hope that you are not trying to make me a Pharisee here. I disagree that this is a circular argument. I am not trying to get you to change your thinking on this matter. I am trying to be clear in my own mind on this matter. This is an item of great debate. On the floor their will be those who will speak for the woman. She will be heard. I just want to make sure that we are not just moving into something simply because it seems culturally acceptable or a feeling that this will enable us to be more in step with others.

    My desire is to walk in the light of the Word. This is an important issue. I thank you for your comments, I read your heart in this matter. I prayerfully desire that you read mine.

    God Bless

  32. Don Warrington
    July 28, 2008

    Jon: since we’ve had so much fun with your mom’s HCE 2006 winner from MS, I remembered that it was captured on audio and put on the web at

    http://www.lifebuilders.to/slides/hce2006/

  33. Emily Stone
    July 28, 2008

    Dale,

    I did have one more question (I think!). In your previous post on this page you state that “man falls under [the authority of Christ]” and “the woman walks in submission to him.” Is your understanding of “order” such that the man is a liason or “go between” or “priest” between the woman and God? I read your statement to mean that man is under God’s authority and woman is under man’s. That makes the man a sort of “priest” between the woman and God. Or would you word that differently?

    Also, do you take into consideration that Ephesians 5:20 and 21 start out the details of submission with “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves to one another in the fear of the God”?

    I take that as the first comment on submission, which is a statement of mutual submission, and what follows is a list of how we can all submit to one another. In the Greek the word submit does not appear in verse 22. It is inferred. In the Greek it reads more as “submitting yourselves to one another in the fearh of God (verse 21). Wives, to your husbands, as unto the Lord.” What follows is the discussion on the man being the “head” of the wife, which can be translated as “source” just as Christ is the “source” of the church. Surely, we can see in Genesis that the husband is the “source” of the wife. And, surely, without Christ, there is no church!

    Then, we have a commentary from Paul of how the husband is to submit to the wife through his self gving love.

    I am guessing you read this differently? I think you can tell how my “glasses” influence my reading of this section of scripture.

  34. Emily Stone
    July 28, 2008

    Dale,

    I also want to respond to the idea that man is to “guide, guard, and govern”. I agree about the guide and guard, but in the way you might expect. When the woman is called the “weaker vessel” in 1 Peter 3:7 as it states:
    “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” (KJV)

    or in the International Standard Version:

    “In a similar way, you husbands must live with your wives in an understanding manner, as with a most delicate partner. Honor them as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing may interfere with your prayers.”

    I love this verse! I believe that women are weaker. The have been marginalized socially throughout history. We are weaker politically, socially, economically, etc. etc. I believe that when Jon and others stand up for us as they are in this blog that they are guarding and guiding us. They are being the voice of the oppressed. These men have “knowledge” of our situation and they are championing our cause. They are honoring us as “heirs of grace.”

    I used to be frustrated by this verse until I remembered that Paul boasted in his weakness in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “but he has told me, “My grace is all you need, because my power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most happily boast about my weaknesses, so that the Messiah’s power may rest on me.” The “weaker” I am the more God can use me to give Him glory. The weaker I am the more of God’s power is revealed. May God use the weaker vessels!

    1 Peter 3:5 tells the wife to submit themselves to their own husbands. Notice it says “to their OWN husbands” (which also needs to be understood in the context of the mutual submission related in Ephesians chapter 5). It does not talk about other men or other husbands.

    Just some more of my thoughts from my journey,
    Emily

  35. jonathanstone
    July 28, 2008

    Don:
    Thanks for the links you listed on here last week. We have yet to engage them in this thread, but I certainly look forward to digging into them!

  36. Dale P. Combs
    July 28, 2008

    Emily,
    Please, Please know that I am with you in many way on this subject. I do not think women are weak in the manner some would like to portray them. I am very much in sync with how society has treated women. I do not know if that will ever fully change. As far as men who are pushing this issue or as you write Championing for women. I am a proponent of women in ministry. Where my concern lies is in the Biblical order and where men and women are placed in it. The part that you did not address “governing” Does God have an order or not?

    I too boast in my weakness since I too know that God uses it for His glory. I am nothing without him. So we are in the same place there.

    One other item: you speak of submission to “your husband” as if that is the only place you are to be submissive. I know what you are referring to and you are correct. However, do not leave out submission to ruling authorities within the church and outside of that. I remember reading the book Under Cover by John Bevere and he made a statement that I am convinced applies here, “There us freedom in submission, there is bondage in rebellion.” I state this because so many feel that If I can be free of this whole submission to authority thing I can be free. When according to the word, it only leads to more bondage. You have experienced the freedom in your submission to your husband and in your willingness to submit to the ruling authorities with in the church. We all rejoice at our liberty, yet we do not use our liberty for an occasion to sin. We walk in obedience to the will of God. If the C of G decides to change the wording for the Church and Pastor’s council I will adhered to the decision of the Assembly (should it pass the Gen Council). It is better for me to submit to the higher authority. I will allow God to deal with that. My responsibility is to walk in submission to those whom God has placed me under. I believe that you and others would do the same.

    God bless you! This has been fun. Perhaps I will see you folks at the G.A. I’d like to shake your hand. 🙂

  37. Renee Wasula
    August 4, 2008

    Wow, across these COG Blogs, (missionalcog.wordpress.com), there’s a recurring theme that greatly disturbs me. It seems the root of COG problems revolve around authority, position, and control!!!

    Eeeek!!! “Who’s supposed to be in Power!?” Is that the real treasure of the Heart of the COG??? Who’s in control and who’s not?

    When I posted on another blog that I would love to see us have a government system set up under Kingdom principles, I can now understand why I received some of the response.

    Let me clarify, the Kingdom principles that I’m talking about is where a leader is only a leader if another willingly submits. There is no “I’m in this position so you have to answer to me or do what I say” kinda of power struggle. The kingdom I’m talking about is where I willingly submit to someone as a leader because it is obvious that their motives are pure towards my salvation and well being in Christ. The kingdom I’m talking about, doesn’t have anyone assuming authority and taking it and making others submit under the guise of Scripture. That’s the real meaning of using the Scripture for an occasion to the flesh. To use Scripture to promote your dominance is contrary to Scripture itself. The whole Kingdom of Heaven is built on the Word and the willing submission of all to each other.

    Let me take a moment and tell you why my husband and I love our Pastor and his wife so much. My husband and I are have extremely strong personalities. We are very confident (not arrogant) confident. I have always had problems with others automatically not liking me because they thought I was arrogant and snotty, but the truth of the matter was that I felt isolated and rejected – as I grew up not wearing pants, makeup, jewelry, and my idea of feminine was the ugly culottes, knee-highs, and tennis shoes. I was an outcast from the word go and only the ‘freaks’ with the pink mohawks would tolerate my presence at lunchtime at the high school table.

    I am not complaining about the way I was raised. Being different from everyone else spared me a lot of the temptation many high school students handle today. The Lord taught me to appreciate myself and my heritage with or without the approval of others. Yes, I had a hard time during high school, but I don’t regret one moment of it. I ma who I am today because of it. If someone doesn’t like me, it has very little effect on me. That can be a strength at times and a weakness at others.

    When I met my husband, he did something that no other man has ever done. When conversation began and he went to comment on something that I said (I don’t remember what it was), he never dropped his eyes from mine. I am a confident person that can look someone in the eye without flinching. This had never happened before.

    When some says that a woman’s nature is to ‘to rule over males,’ I laugh. Women scream for men who will take spiritual responsibility. The real truth is that for the last few decades, the man has been beat down so bad through the feminine movement and every media sit-com that would have Dad looking like the village idiot (Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of the Hill, the list goes on) that men don’t know their place anymore. What used to be a position of provision, leadership, respect, has become America’s top comedy. The truth must lie somewhere in the middle where feminism that claims we could survive without man and bigotry claims that men are superior. God didn’t create either of these – man did.

    I searched for a long time for a man who isn’t afraid of me. I’m not an iron-fisted female behind a 20 pound iron skillet. I’m an intelligent, confident woman, whose confidence is sometimes misread as cold and unloving. That couldn’t be further from the truth. I’m the one who’s got to have tissue handy at tear-jerker movies. I’m extremely tender-hearted and it’s that tender-hearted passion that fuels my quest to defend the weak.

    I had already been in churches and had settled in myself that I would sit and not participate. I didn’t want to intimidate anyone accidently but somehow, someway it happens. In the last 10 years, I was under pastors that I had to come to terms with in the end were afraid of me. I’m sure they wouldn’t admit it, but they were. I couldn’t ask questions about doctrine, or how things are done without getting some weird reactions – and in one case, a piece of paper shoved at me that was supposed to be the ‘discussion’ on a doctrinal topic. During one email correspondence (couldn’t get it face to face) I was asked, “Renee do you have to be right not to feel rejected?” At this point I realized that the desire to help me press towards truth wasn’t a priority. I replied, “No sir. I feel rejected when someone doesn’t care enough to tell me why I something I did was wrong so that I can avoid it in the future.” I withdrew and went to the Scripture and found “and the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth” and asked the Holy Spirit to guide me as it seemed no one else would.

    Now, I’m pretty well versed in the Word and I meet my husband that day. He didn’t drop his eyes but respected me to keep eye contact while we dialogued with a few others. This guy had only been in the church barely two years and was still struggling with fleshly things. But something that stood out above all others – His desire for God and His Word. He came to me and asked me if I would teach Him how to study the Bible. I made my list of “you can’t ask me out” things and agreed to teach Him.

    Was I wrong to teach him? I didn’t usurp authority over him, he willingly asked me to teach Him the Word. Was I supposed to deny him the Word of God that the Holy Spirit had so graciously given me? GOD FORBID. I didn’t usurp authority over anyone. To usurp authority is to take it and usurping authority comes in many forms – one of which is creating a doctrine that would keep one person over another. The only place in NT that I see rightful power over another occurs is in 1Cr 7:4 “The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.” Ut oh, better tell Paul he made a mistake. He said we wives have power over the husband’s body the same as they have power over ours. Why? because they both render due benevolence. He went on to say that even when you fast, make sure you come back together soon so that satan doesn’t have a place for temptation. Seems to me that this whole power struggle has played right into satans hands. All the stuff going on at GA this week revolves around who’s got authority and who doesn’t.

    Let me show you how a man gains Godly authority.

    My husband and I need a pastor. This guy has to be super tough. My husband, (although I could say I’ve been a Christian much longer than He and I should have made the decision), made a statement one day: “Let’s go to FWC.” Funny thing, he had never been there, it was also on my heart, but he spoke up and made it verbal. I said, “sounds good to me.”

    This is what we found. We found a man who didn’t hold back the Word of God. He makes no apologies for standing on the Word in every way and while his preaching at times seems hard, the heart of the Father flows through him. In the same way a father loves his children to discipline them and train them in the ways of the Lord, this man did the same for his church people. I watched a man who readily admitted he didn’t like me when he first met me, realize in a moment’s notice while ministering from the pulpit that I was a “bird with a broken wing.” I had been hurt, crushed, and chalked up as arrogant and nothing but a problem. This man saw past the strength of my confidence and saw a hurting young lady who longed desperately for someone to care enough to nurture the desire for the Word of the Lord. He saw past everything and saw my heart. For the first time, someone saw my heart the same way I saw my husbands heart. He too had a drive for truth and had been told to “pray about it” so many times from his pastor at the time, that he was severely frustrated because he couldn’t get any instruction. That’s why he had asked me to help him study.

    What would be a rough ride for all, turned out victorious in the end. I had some doctrines embedded deep that needed to be uprooted. He wasn’t afraid to help me dig and those times I ‘stood my ground’ which was nothing more than a reluctance to give up something that I ‘thought’ to be truth rather than the proven truth, he stood his ground in love. So much, that I thought that doctrinal difference warranted our leaving his church.

    Here’s the really funny part of this, we had earned so much respect for this man, we’re attending the other church and some friends of ours came one Sunday. After the service was over, we said, “You know, you really need to go by and visit his church. I know you’ll enjoy it.” And these were friends that had also previously hated me but came to be my close friends after they realized who I really am.

    It was this moment, that we said, “Yeah, we’re going back.” We went back to this church and apologized for our behavior and asked forgiveness. He forgave us and helped us press through to truth regarding the doctrine that we had left the church over. A REAL shepherd. A REAL pastor. My husband and I WILLINGLY submit to his leadership FULLY. There no other pastor that has shown such strength in the Word, love in relationship, and wisdom in council. He didn’t take authority over us, we submitted ourselves to His leadership the same way a son or daughter does a parent.

    If our pastor can handle us, he can handle anyone. We even made light of it when a friend of mine showed up at our church one Sunday. “If he can handle us, you’re a walk in the park!”

    To this day, our pastor can call and ask, “What’s Eric doing?” and that’s all he needs to say. Why? because he cared enough to see past us and see the need of the heart. Because the condition of our souls were more important to him than anything else. It’s easy to submit to someone who has your best at heart. Even if the best for you is correction and rebuke. Deep down you know they are doing solely for the condition of your heart and they have no selfish or personal agenda. Submitting to someone who you know is going to protect and watch over you is easy. Tom Sterbens is right… it’s a heart problem.

    Our strong personalities have taken on more Godly characteristics as we’ve seen them demonstrated by our Pastor and his wife. John Bevere is right – there is freedom in submission, and bondage in rebellion. The key however is to whom the submission is given. Submit to man just because he is a man – God doesn’t expect that. Submission to leaders after God’s own heart, that’s what He expects.

  38. Cheryl Bridges Johns
    August 6, 2008

    Thanks Jonathan for your post on women. Alethea pointed me toward your blog. Right now I am in San Antonio for the GA. I came only because I was asked to respond to a paper at the Educator’s pre-conference. I am staying until the seminary reception and then I will fly home tomorrow. I have not registered for the Assembly nor have I attended any sessions as an observer in the galley. Over the years this process has become too painful for me.
    The issue of the full inclusion of women is a blight on the story of the COG, one that in the future will haunt us.
    The Wesleyan Church has just elected its first woman General Superintendent -Joann Lyons, who is a powerful leader who organized Hope International, an aid organization with a 12 million dollar budget. The Nazarene Church has a woman as its General Superintendent. All the while, the COG still prohibits women from leadership on the local level. The Wesleyan vision of sanctification that removes sexism has not found home in the COG.
    I love this denomination and I love ministering both in the seminary and the local church. I love representing our denomination to other Christians. Right now I am in my hotel room preparing for Columbia Theological Seminary’s Smyth Lectures. When I deliver these lectures I will attempt to represent my tradition as one of power, hope and witness. I wish that we could live up to my own words.

  39. Donice
    August 11, 2008

    Wow.Good post with lots of great feedback.
    When this issue of women and their “place” in the church arises, my mind travels back to one of my favorite quotes on the subject. It came from Reinhart Bonke at a CoG General Assembly in New Orleans, LA. I was sitting by a dear family friend whom I called, “Aunt Nell.” (What a wonderful lady!, who has since gone home to be with HIM.)
    Rev. Bonke said, (maybe not an exact word for word but this being the message): “Sirs, if you were drowning in a stormy sea and someone was on a big ship throwing you a life raft, would it matter to you if was a man or woman?”….to which Aunt Nell, replied with a hoot and said to me: “Whoa, hallelujah, stand up for me baby!”
    Just as Sue Monk Kidd expressed in The Secret Life of Bees, by her main character Lily (who was a lily-white girl living in a “colored” world)….”it would be nice if the world had more of ‘colorless’ view. ”
    I’m thinking that’s what the church could benefit the most from and not just the church but humankind…..not worrying about whether we would choose positions based on the qualified male or female but the qualified PERSON. Shouldn’t we choose committees, councils, etc. that can represent the thoughts and feelings of both sexes since both sexes attend our denomination?
    I recently heard a corporate leader (who happened to be female) speak and she was talking about teamwork , leadership, and how to work together to problem solve and find working solutions. She gave an example of a large corporation who took her approach, inviting not just the “heads” of the corporation to a special work meeting but realized the importance of inviting representatives from each level within the company to get a more balanced view and to broaden the horizon for solutions to this particular problem they had in their shipping department.
    At this meeting the problem was raised and the whole team was asked to think of some creative way to solve the problem. The person who came up the best solution, to save the company’s time and money?? The janitor!
    The speaker then pointed out that the janitor had a solution because he had a different perspective on the company daily! That’s what we need to realize. When we box ourselves into thinking that only a certain group can make decisions and find solutions based on their “authority” we are stuck in responding somewhat the same way….over and over.
    Oh well, I have gone on too long. Thanks Jon for the place to chat about it anyway.

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This entry was posted on July 19, 2008 by in issues, sustainability and tagged , , , .
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