Men and Women in Ministry: How the vote will go #1


I’ve been trying to get my head around the voting at synod on the motion of women in episcopacy and have come up with a rough guide to the various views on the matter.  From these views it can be seen how people should vote.  Today I’ll post on the various views on men and women.  Tomorrow I’ll blog on the nature of episcopacy and then on Friday I’ll combine the two to look at a rough guide of how people will vote [I’m not claiming to know how each individual will vote].  I hope it might help some people get clear about something which the literature floating around has made very complicated. (There’s also an easier to read .pdf version of the following table)

Men and Women in ministry – a very brief summary of a complex subject

There are three quite broad umbrellas under which people view the issue of men and women in ministry: egalitarianism, complimentariansim and hierarchicalism. These three views can be considered beside each other in three ways:
1. status or value;
2. gifts, skills and roles;
3. responsibility or power.

Egalitarian

Complimentarian

Hierachical

Status or value

Men and women have equal value because we are equally created by God and equally redeemed by Christ.[Galatians 3:28-29] Equality of status or value also depends on equality of function or role.

Men and women have equal value because we are equally created by God and equally redeemed by Christ.[Galatians 3:28-29]

Men and women have equal value because we are equally created by God and equally redeemed by Christ.[Galatians 3:28-29]

Gifts, skills and roles.

Men and women have interchangeable skills sets and gifts, therefore their roles can be interchanged. There is no role a man can do that a woman can’t do. Therefore, all offices in the church can be shared between men and women.[Romans 16, 1 Cor 12]

Men and women have interchangeable skill sets and gifts, therefore their roles can be interchanged. All gifts of all people are valued in the church and should be exercised for the building of the Kingdom of God. [Romans 16, 1 Cor 12]

Men and women have skill sets and gifts which can be generalised according to gender. Women function best in supportive and nurturing roles and men do the work of Christ and his disciples, especially in priestly and sacramental duties. [1 Timothy 3:1-13]

Responsibility or power.

Power in the Kingdom of Christ is shown in self sacrifice and service, the laying down of one’s life for the sake of others. The one who will be first must be last, the servant of all.

Men and women can compete for responsibility and power. The best person for the job is given the responsibility.

Men and women submit to Christ, which means not fighting against him. Men and women have different responsibilities with respect to power. Men must love their wives by making sacrifices to ensure their emotional and spiritual beauty and their physical well-being. Women should encourage their men to do this by not competing for power or fighting against them. [Ephesians 5:21-33]. The mystery of marriage reveals the relationship between Christ and his church the watching world. The church is a family where family relationships are modelled so women should not assume a role in which they exercise power over men. [1 Tim 2:8-15]

Men exercise the priestly and sacramental leadership and discipline of the church because Christ was a man and the role is gender specific.[Luke 5:1-11 and Luke 22]

Within each view people differ over details. When reading any literature on this subject it is useful to keep this categories in mind. Note that some people are complimentarian with respect to family relationships but egalitarian in church leadership, which makes the middle box a little too rigid, though it is useful to keep it this way for the sake of this exercise, namely understanding what people think about the gender debate.

Tomorrow I will post on the nature of epicopacy.

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