Just a few years ago I became very bothered by what I was reading in Galatians about Paul’s dialogue with Peter in front of the church. He called what Peter did “hypocritical” to the Gospel. His famous Gal 3:28 “Neither male nor female” passage actually comes off of his Jew and Gentile discussion. Even though Peter affirmed that Gentiles had full standing before God as fellow heirs in Christ, He was giving a different message by his actions (not eating with the Gentiles). We are limiting the gifts (female leaders) God has given to us.For the rest, enjoy it here.
We are not allowing their full participation. We are being hypocritical to the Gospel we proclaim. I did not know what to do with this realization. Frankly, I liked taking a more apathetic stance. I liked making it all about me in my heart (“I don’t want to be a pastor”). It was safe. It was comfortable. Not caring all too much also made me safe from being dismissed as “emotional” (*because everyone knows you can’t be reasonable and have visible emotions). Now what I was reading in the Bible was challenging this. If it was true that what we were doing in our churches was hypocritical to the Gospel, much more was at stake. For a while I still avoided coming out with how important I thought this was. I dwelt on the slavery issue since “slave nor free” is also in Gal 3:28 and it was safe to talk about something almost everyone agrees is wrong in hindsight. I looked at how Quaker Christians dealt with that issue in their time. Slavery was the Christian norm in their society, how did they come out and challenge it? More like, how did they bring themselves to? Many wanted to be quiet for the sake of unity. Eventually, I realized that I had to go with what I thought Scripture was convicting me of. I had to be more verbal about this issue and I had to push back more.
Many people here at Trinity know me as the person who talks about theology of gender all of the time. It might surprise many people to hear that this is not where I wanted to go with my life or what I wanted to spend so much time on. I still wish I didn’t have to. At Biola I had delved so deeply into questions surrounding the Biblical Canon, Apologetics, general theology, and church history. I still love those subjects. Now so much time is dedicated to theology of gender topics and while I love doing theology and planning events there is an ugly side of it all that I have been learning about–stuff one would expect to find only in the political arena but are happening in our churches. In addition, I am having to let this be personal and to look around and see the damage that has been done to other women and men in the church. God wants us to make other people’s problems our problem. I didn’t see the damage before even though it was all around me (maybe I will blog more on specifics later).
What is this damage?
What have been the unintended consequences?
Better yet, what is the church missing out on?