Monday, August 6, 2012

Female Pastors: Nature or Nuture?

Allison:
Generally, I have found little awareness among men (and sometimes women) when it comes to the lack of female involvement in leadership positions in the church. One of my male friends actually asked me why, if Egalitarianism were true, that there are not many good female pastors. He had not actually heard any female pastors preach and when I asked him what would be an example of a “good” female pastor his answer essentially came down to one that was in his denomination and held to its doctrines. However, his denomination did not allow women to be pastors in the first place. More than that, they were discouraged. What I wonder is why it comes as a surprise to us that there are not many good female pastors when we discourage women who are drawn to theology, Scripture, counseling (pastoral counseling) and teaching from going to seminary in the first place. Beyond this, they are taught in their churches and often their homes that this is a negative thing and to rely on men for leadership. Nature or nurture?

What fascinates me about this dynamic is that it is self perpetuating. Not allowing or supporting women in seminary means there will be no examples to give any indication that maybe this is not how things naturally are. Interestingly, many who become convinced of Egalitarianism have had examples of gifted women in their lives that challenged them to take a second look at their presupposed theology.

What are some other indications that maybe nurture rather than nature is responsible for the lack of female initiative when it comes to going to seminary and becoming pastors? Well, to begin with, we have examples where secular professions used to be male dominated, but were later associated as being female at different times in different cultures  (nursing and psychology/counseling). In the church women often drastically outnumber men and it is not unusual to find many women serving as pastors abroad. If women are by nature not prone to these things (and many Complementarians today would agree many are gifted in these areas), then why are they doing this in large numbers abroad? And this is not confined to ministering to unbelievers.
For the rest, enjoy it HERE.

--Nick

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