Adler  taught us how to read a book, so in my “reading” it was obvious to me the Editorial Team of Theology of Leadership Journal  was strongly Dutch. Names like Huizing, Hamstra and Schuringa sound like families of my Dutch high school in Denver, Colorado. Nothing against the Dutch, especially since I am 50% Dutch (My mom was 100% Dutch, with the last name Rozendal). We all liked to say often, “If you ain’t Dutch, you ain’t much!”
Not sure if many people know this, but the devotional called Our Daily Bread  comes from a Dutch denomination called the Christian Reformed Church. A few of my Pastors growing up were contributors, and I have met with Jesus through those pages on countless occasions.
Now, to the heart of my Blog. I want to ask your patience as I work through an important topic personally. An issue that has captivated me during the first year of our DMin program is the topic of WOMEN IN MINISTRY. This summer I read dozens and dozens of position papers during our time away from each other on this topic. By now, you probably know that I lean complimentarian, but possibly not as far as you think.
This position in our Elite 8 Cohort involves risk! I have endeavored to keep an open mind, and have tried to properly engage Jake, as his dissertation interests are closely connected to egalitarian. I very much hope that I have not offended or mistreated anyone in our good group, especially our more than capable and brilliant women, which I believe Jean, Jenn, Trish, and now Colleen certainly are.
During our first Zoom chat of our second year together, referring to Howell’s Weak Enough to Lead , Jenn brought up the amazing thought that there was no concept of leadership before the fall, that in the garden sin produced the structure of hierarchy.
This got me thinking so much, and after I read the article she quoted, I immediately decided to blog on it. So, here goes…
Some background for the reader: I have had wonderful and not so wonderful female pastors, even back in the 1960’s at Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver, we were way ahead of our time in this issue of women in ministry.
My CRC high school had this position:
“All congregations in the Christian Reformed Church in North America may allow women to serve in the office of minister, elder, deacon, or commissioned pastor. The CRC recognizes that there are two different perspectives and convictions on this issue, both of which honor the Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. In keeping with their understanding of the biblical position on the role of women in ecclesiastical office, churches may declare that women may not be delegated. All duly elected and ordained men and women may be delegated to synod, but officebearers will not be asked to participate against their convictions on this matter.” 
I attended two universities, both Nazarene, who have ordained women since their founding. The Nazarenes are part of a group called THE GLOBAL WESLEYAN ALLIANCE, 14 denominations closely aligned doctrinally. The town in which I was called to be a Pastor had no Nazarene church, but they had one from the Evangelical Church (one of the supporting groups of George Fox University), and a member of the GWA. Interestingly, we are the ONLY member denomination of the 14 NOT to ordain women. We commission, license and encourage women in all areas of ministry, except in the area of ordained itinerant elder. It is one of our distinctives, but not something we lord over from the pulpit.
The three main Biblical concerns I have with women as ordained elder come from these three Scriptural foundations:
- Spiritual Authority – Paul says in I Timothy 2:12, “I do not permit a woman to teach or assume authority over a man…”
- Headship – Paul says in Ephesian 5:22-23, “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.”
- Helpmeet – Biblical roles were established early, in Genesis 2:18 says, “it is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him.”
Before someone says Paul’s context was simply cultural, I would ask if we get to throw out the entire books of I and II Timothy because they don’t apply to our cultures, including how to organize church and how to pastor a flock?
Before someone says headship only applies to marriage, I would ask if churches were mistaken for 1800 years the Biblical accountability for men to lead spiritually, or have hundreds of qualified leaders been dead wrong when they implore men to step up and lead?
Before someone says all roles are exactly the same for men and women, I would ask why we have both male and female genders, was it only for procreation? Even in the Trinity, we see the Son and Spirit surrender to the authority of the Father.
I decided to look into Willow Creek Community Church, a leader globally in the area of egalitarianism. I know they are broken now, due to moral failure, but nonetheless they have been on the cutting edge of this issue. To my great surprise, I found one of their leaders, with the official title of Pastor to Men, wrote a book called Noble Journey: The Quest for a Lasting Legacy . In this book, Craig Glass writes:
“Are men necessary, other than the purpose of sperm donation? We are different physically, psychologically and spiritually. Unfortunately, men’s leadership has been anything but sacrificial and loving. However, men’s roles are to be a covering, authoritative (not authoritarian), and as a servant leader. A man’s nature is to be protective, to be careful not to wound women, as many men have done, rather to earn her trust and lead well, as her spiritual warrior.”
LGP8, please help me! Gently if you would, dialog with me. I am trying to understand, in fact I have leaned in often to hearing other viewpoints. Please respond, if you wish, to the three Biblical points above…
 Adler, Mortimer Jerome, and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book. Simon & Schuster, 2014.
. Theology of Leadership Journal, Vol 1 No 1, 2018. http://theologyofleadership.com/index.php/tlj/issue/view/v1i1/v1i1
. “Our Daily Bread Ministries.” Edited by Haddon Robinson, Our Daily Bread Ministries, 2018, ourdailybread.org/.
 Howell, James. Weak Enough to Lead: What the Bible Tells Us about Powerful Leadership (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2017). 98-100.
. Timmermans, Steve. “Women in Ecclesiastical Office.” Christian Reformed Church, 2018, www.crcna.org/.
 Glass, Craig M. Noble Journey: The Quest for a Lasting Legacy. Chicago: Peregrine Press, 2017.
 Ibid., 151-166.