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The Ordination of Women
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On Wednesday, July 1, 2009, the General Synod ('Algemene Sinode')
of the Reformed Churches of South Africa ('Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika') decided that,
in the light of the Bible, women may not serve in the pastoral office ('predikante en ouderling') –
"Die sinode het in die lig van die behandeling van die rapport tot die oortuiging gekom dat vroue nie in die besondere dienste van predikante en ouderling mag dien nie."
('The synod in the light of the processing of the report comes to the conclusion that women may not serve in the particular ministries of preachers and elder.')
 
As elsewhere among Christian churches, the liberal wing sought equality of women in the leadership of the church and the conservative wing maintained that this was contrary to the Bible.
So, who is right? –  Both are wrong!
 
Understanding
God's viewpoint on this issue requires –
firstly –  
understanding the unique nature of Christ's Church in the light of Holy Scripture;  and,
   secondly –  
understanding the nature of leadership in the light of Holy Scripture.  
 
 
The logical sequence of this process of understanding is important.
 
Firstly –
The Spirit of God speaking through Paul makes it very clear concerning any gradation, separation, or distinction within Christ's Church. It does not exist before God:
 
 
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh,
we regard Him thus no longer
[neither His Jewish-ness, nor His male-ness].
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."
2 Corinthians 5:16-17.
 
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:28.
The
essence of Christ's Church does not lie in its structure or in its ministry, in its organisation or in its clergy. The essence of Christ's Church lies in its character, which is true to every individual Christian or it is not Christ's Church!
 
•  So, the liberals are right? – No, they are wrong!  
Secondly – Our Saviour and Head of the Church, the Lord Jesus Christ, is also the Creator of all things:  
 
"For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through Him and for Him. ...And He is the head of the Body, the Church..."
Colossians 1:16-18.
Accordingly,
the Holy Spirit through Paul instructs us that consistency before the Angels of God, the eye-witnesses of His design in Adam and Eve, requires that the special distinction of responsibility between male and female must be respected in the practical functioning of Christ's Church.
 
 
"For truly a man ought not to have the head covered, being the [representative] image and glory of God.
But woman is the
[representative] glory of man; for man is not of the woman, but woman of man [Adam];
for also man was not created for the sake of the woman, but woman for the sake of the man
[Gen.2:18];
because of this, the woman ought to have
[the symbol of submission to male leadership] authority on [her] head,
because of the angels."
(Literal Translation)
1 Corinthians 11:7-10 (LITV).
Likewise,
Paul instructs Timothy to apply this principle generally in the Christian Church –
 
 
"Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor."
1 Timothy 2:11-14.
Is
this punitive, because Eve was deceived? No, absolutely not.
 
 
The reference to the difference between male and female in the process of the first sin in human history is used here to illustrate the difference in psychological design between male and female, to emphasise that, although male and female in Christ are fully equal [see nature of the Church above], they are not equivalent.
 
 
The reference to the sequence of Adam and Eve's creation also refers to the designed distinction in social function within the human community. There the next verse refers to childbearing which helped secure a woman's social standing.
 
•  So, the conservatives are right? – No!  
 
The Word of God in its beautiful balance gives us a full answer. The perceived nature of Christ's Church, as referred to above, requires an appropriate response from all who believe God. Jesus demonstrated this when He washed His disciples feet (including those of Judas Iscariot), and this humility of service within Christ's Church was recorded for our instruction –
 
 
"For I have given you an example... If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them."
John 13:13-17
 
The issue at hand is not status or recognition. It is service! In other words, the need determines the response. The welfare of the recipients of ministry is to be the centre of concern with regard to any form of ministry.
 
Bible's Illustration: 
This is demonstrated to us in the Word of God concerning the woman Deborah who governed the nation Israel (Jud.4:4). As noted above, from the beginning the male has held primary responsibility for leadership. But when male leadership fails or is not available, as in Deborah's time, the absolute is the need and not the method of its supply. Hence, the unbelief of Barak (Jud.4:8) is rebuked by God, and the final victory of Israel over its oppressor is given to the woman Jael who was not even an Israelite. This lesson speaks today for those who have ears to hear!
Judges 4
The
need over-rules the method. Where men in Christ's Church fail to provide the leadership needed, there is no excuse whatsoever for not supplying that need if there is a woman available to meet that need, to the shame of the men who, by God's design, bear first responsibility and will be judged accordingly!
 
 
The bottom line in this is that the love of God must rule in Christ's Church!
 
Neither,
structure, recognition, status, education, or any other factor, or its lack, must be allowed to deny the needy the ministry of grace given by God without discrimination among all God's people!
 
• 
So, this is not an issue of liberal or conservative views leading Christ's Church?
 
Yes.
It is an issue of Christ's heart toward His people and therefore – as the love of God determines —
 
 
Let the nature of the need determine the method to meet that need.
This is wisdom.

Church Ordination? The Gender of Leadership Animism in Christ's Church Head Covering?

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