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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Poll Results

The poll is now over and the results are in. The question I posed in this poll was “Would you take issue (i.e. disagree with) with a woman being the pastor/preacher of a church?” I must admit that I was quite surprised by the end results. I actually thought that the majority of the votes from those within the U.S. would be “yes” and those outside the U.S. would be “no.” However, most of the “no” votes came from within the U.S. and there were a few “yes” votes from outside the U.S.

The results of the poll were as follows: 10 people voted “yes” which made up 36% of the vote. 14 people voted “no” which made up 50% of the vote, and 4 people voted “uncertain” which made up 14% of the vote. I must admit that I voted “uncertain” and I’ll give my reasons a little later in this post. There were only two people who gave a reason for why they voted the way they did—Jazzycat and Chris Tilling. Jazzycat declared, “I voted no [I think she meant 'yes' she would take issue with a woman pastor] because Scripture clearly teaches it... If we start overuling [sic] Scripture, where do we stop. That being said, I don't fully understand why women cannot teach Bible studies with men present.” In response, my assumption is that Jazzycat is referring to the verses in the First Epistle to Timothy where Paul declares, “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man.” (I Tim. 2:12). However, the question arises, is what Paul talking about in these passages only relevant for the first century (at the time Paul wrote)? And if your answer to that question is “no” then my question is how many women in your church cover their heads while in the worship service? Both are taught by Paul so why are both not practiced equally? It is issues such as these that caused me to vote “uncertain.”

Jazzycat goes on in her comment to declare that she would not have a problem with a woman teaching a Bible study to men; I actually see a contradiction here for the one who declares that the Bible teaches that women should not teach men, but yet, we should allow women to teach men the content of the Bible. Most, who argue that the Bible proclaims women should not teach, do so in the context of women teaching men. Perhaps Jazzycat did not mean her comment that way (granting her the benefit of the doubt). Chris Tilling, on the other hand, voted “no” and gave his reasons. Chris declares, “The bible teaches all sorts of things, some of which have been fulfilled/replaced already in the canon. In this case, think of 'no male or female' in Christ Jesus (Gal). Not only that, we have to contextualise what the bible teaches, and not suppose something ontological about women. It's easy for us men to say 'no women preachers'. But the truth is, they are often a lot more giften [sic] than men in preaching. The bible is not a treasury of propositions for us to mindlessly implement in the church. I voted a big 'yes' to women preachers.” Chris brings forth several points some of which were the underlining reasons as to why I voted “uncertain.”

The thing that makes all this interesting is the fact that in the U.S. there is a trend within seminaries today where more and more women are actually teaching classes. Perhaps you might think this is different than being a pastor of a church, but I am not so certain. The reason I say this is that when someone thinks of a preacher, they usually think of a person who preaches or teaches God’s word (the Bible). When “preacher” is mentioned, hardly anyone seems to think of visitations to homes, hospitals, pastoral duties where the person who is the preacher is “helping” in one capacity or the other apart from their teaching capacity; things which many women do quite regularly anyway. However, these female professors in seminaries are actually teaching men the Bible, theology, hermeneutics, languages, etc. I simply do not see the difference here and yet no one is pitching a fit over this. But if you take a woman and put her in a church setting as the preacher then problems arise. It is obvious that many women certainly have the gift of teaching, so that does not seem to be the ultimate issue. What does seem to be the issue, however, is the context in which women teach.

I simply wanted to post some food for thought in response to the poll results. Thanks for participating in the poll, and if you have any further comments please feel free to make them in the comments section of this post.


Blogger Ben Myers said...

For a short time I was attending a church whose preacher was an elderly woman (over 80 years old). She was electrifying -- a vivid and passionate speaker with tremendous energy. When she pointed her bony, arthritic finger, you really knew you had to sit up and listen.

Anyway, I'd much rather hear a sermon by someone like that than a boring sermon by some tedious minister who just happens to have been born a male.

4:56 PM, March 19, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Point well made, Ben.

5:42 PM, March 19, 2006  
Blogger Mata H said...

It has always moved me greatly that the resurrected Christ chose to appear first to a woman, and He charged her with the honor of telling the men the world-changing news that He was resurrected. This is not an act of someone who does not want women to proclaim the Good News.

9:05 AM, March 24, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Mata h,

Welcome! Thank you for these very true and rewarding words. Jesus did in fact reveal his resurrection to a woman first, who then took that message to the Apostles and then they in turn took it to the world.

11:01 PM, March 24, 2006  

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