Where I live there is a sports radio station that I enjoy listening to, one of the sayings which has made its way into my vernacular is the word “tired head”. The definition of this word is a discussion that you have been through multiple times and would rather just move on from, but instead you get pulled back into it time and time again. My guess is because I am a minister in the Southern Baptist Convention most would assume they know where I fall in this discussion, and because of that would probably bet a good deal of money that this conversation would give me tired head. Well, you would be right that I am tired of this conversation, but not for the reason you might assume.
Let me give you a little background of my life. My parents were divorced when I was very young, I lived with my mom and she was the defining influence in my life. I moved in with my dad when I started high school because my mom had some serious medical issues that precluded her from being able to take care of my brother and I. (she is fine btw) In moving in with my dad, once again his wife was a very strong force in my life and she guided me well. When I married my wife, it was her mother who prayed fervently for my salvation. My wife is the smarted and hardest working person I have ever known. I have a extremely healthy view of the importance of women in my life.
You see my wife compliments me, she completes me, and hopefully I do the same for her. We are equals in every sense of the word. Neither of us make a big decision without consulting each other. You can hear let me check with Susan come out of my mouth several times a week. So when we were assigned this weeks work, Two Views On Women In Ministry, there was no doubt in my mind where I felt I would fall in this argument. But, reading through our essays for this week gave me extreme “tired head”. I have had to spend more time going and checking biblical references for this book than I have had to in a long time.
Part of the reason I get worn out with this topic is, from my point of view there should not be any arguments about wether or not women should be in ministerial positions of leadership. If you look to scripture for your guidance, as all believers should, it is replete with women in leadership positions. You have Deborah in the OT, she was a judge the precursors to the Kings of Israel. There are numerous queens in the OT, the Queen of Sheba, the Queen of Ethiopia, Esther, all of whom were revered for their leadership. In the NT, the women who traveled with Jesus as part of his group of disciples, you have Priscilla a deacon in her church, named before her husband might I add. These are but a few of the many.
For times sake I want to focus on two essays for my discussion. The two I picked out were by Linda Belleville and Crag Blomberg. Bellville argues for an egalitarian position of women in leadership in the church, while Blomberg takes the complementarian position. Bellville, in making her argument lays out an impressive array both scriptural references and using word studies of both greek and hebrew to make her point. At some point in her essay though, it becomes a monotonous read because of the overwhelming work put into it. Her essay probably would have been better suited for a text book rather than a popular book. This by no means is me saying it was not well done, but I can see many getting lost and just quit reading because of the style. While Bellville could be accused of possibly misusing some of the text to fit a narrative, I actually only found one, that caught my eye. She makes an argument for Miriam being on the same authoritative plane as both Moses and Aaron when she writes “She was held in such high regard as a leader that Israel would not travel until she was back at the helm”  Numbers 12 is not an instance of leadership but of punishment, the tribes did not set out because they hungered for Miriam’s leadership, rather they waited on her punishment to be finished before they moved on, this is not a great piece of scripture to lay ahold of for the argument. Other than that Belleville does a good job arguing for women in leadership.
Interestingly, within Blomberg’s argument, he backs most of what Belleville has argued with the exception of the position of head pastor. He lays ahold of this position being singled out for men only by working through both 1st Corintians 14 and 1st Timothy 2. His arguments are for a natural reading from both while Belleville does some acrobatics with the Greek. Whether or not one agrees with his approach, his argument is easy to follow and in light of the difficulty to follow Belleville’s argument may find more support.
I asked several women in my church this week, as an offhanded comment, what they thought of women in leadership in the church. They said, we do lead, you just don’t see us because most of the work of the church is done by females anyway. I sat back and pondered this while working through meetings with the VBS coordinator (female), missions outreach meeting (all females), church beautification and clean up group (all females) and the worship team, (half and half) and realized women are the backbone of my church. Why should they not be represented as deacons as well. I have committed to working with my group of deacons to push forward a change in our by laws to allow women to be nominated and then we go from there.
I know this is not the most well researched post I have done, but you will please excuse me, this has been a crazy week.
 Gundry, Stanley N., and James R. Beck. Two Views On Women In Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005. 51.