Stop Talking About Women in Ministry

Stop Talking About Women in Ministry May 21, 2015


We need to stop talking about women in ministry. 

Really, we do.

Because every time we, men, talk about women in ministry we, perhaps inadvertently, place ourselves in the center of the conversation.

We essentially communicate that we, men, are the ones who get to debate the “issue” of women in ministry. We, men, are the ones who are authoritative enough to adjudicate the “matter” at hand. We, men, are the ones who can, in the affirmative or the negative, make the decision and swing the gavel.

It’s not that the church shouldn’t be talking about how our theologies and policies are affecting the gifted women in our midst – we must talk about it! It’s just that we, men, should be clearing out the center of that conversation. We should be clearing it out, to be sure, for the gifted women in question. But I want to take this a step further.

We should be clearing out the center of this conversation for the Holy Spirit.

That’s what Peter did, isn’t it, when he went to the Jerusalem counsel and reported regarding the Gentiles, “And God, who knows the human heart, testified to them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us; and in cleansing their hearts by faith he has made no distinction between them and us. Now therefore why are you putting God to the test by placing on the neck of the disciples a yoke that neither our ancestors nor we have been able to bear? On the contrary, we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

He cleared space for the Holy Spirit in the center of the conversation.

That’s what Peter meant, isn’t it, when a few chapters earlier, he said, “If then God gave them the same gift that he gave us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could hinder God?”

Being a charismatic Christian helps here. Because I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, all of them, as being just as active today as when they were first poured out on all flesh, and our sons and our daughters prophesied. I believe the present reality of the Spirit’s outpouring and gifting is a critical interpretive factor, adding Spiritual Experience to our accounting of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. For the early church, even the Scriptures had to make way for the Spirit at the center – not to mention the Tradition by which the apostles themselves might have decided on all the “matters.”

Who are we to hinder God? That is really the question.

Which is to say, at the center of the church’s necessary conversation ought to be the real presence and power of the Holy Spirit manifested through Spiritually gifted women.


That presence and power should occupy the center in all the spaces where the church is talking. Because the resurrected and ascended Kingled away a host of captives and gave gifts to his people. No, not just men. The Scriptural narrative won’t allow for that

But more importantly, the Spiritually gifted women in our communities and gatherings won’t allow for it either.

And if we, men, stop talking about women in ministry and just get out of the way, we might be able to hear them prophesy.

[Photo: DARKDAY, CC via Flickr]

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jonathan Johnston

    why don’t we just take a black marker to everything in Scripture that doesn’t align with our infinite human wisdom. sounds like a plan to me.

    otherwise perhaps you shouldn’t look to what a man or a woman says about it and, instead, find what GOD teaches about it and He has spoke pretty clearly in His Word that women are not qualified to be elders or preachers. They cannot, by definition, be the “husband of one wife.”

  • Em Anne

    Regarding what the Bible has to say about women we should remember that the views expressed are reflective of the societies treatment and views of women at the time. In Old Testament days women were seen as and treated as property. Men had multiple wives and a Father could even sell his daughter to someone as a slave. It’s clear that ‘virgins’ captured in war were raped (forced marraige) and this was just fine to them. In New Testament times you would have to look at what was going on for them. I don’t know but quite possibly the idea of husband of one wife meant not polygamous? I don’t know. But getting historical context clears up many problems. Sexism has been a problem worldwide for thousands of years. Not surprising that you would find examples of it in the Bible. For instance the injuction for slaves to obey their masters-not exactly a very enlightened viewpoint on the matter.