Friday, July 09, 2004

Women Teachers

In my own family, my grandma Beulah is the kindest, most gentle, nicests, and godly matriarch. She is the example of a Christian to me. In fact, women were the real leaders in my church growing up.

A few years ago the church Session on which I sit had to make a decision. Do we allow women to teach Sunday School? Our former pastor took the position that the teaching excluded by 1 Tim 2:11-15 was that of the pulpit ministry. Anything else like Sunday School teacher or small group leaders was okay in his opinion. He felt that those positions did not have the same authority as the pulpit. A situation came about that a woman started leading a video series as a Sunday School lesson. That is when we got a letter from one of the godly elderly women of our congregation. She explained kindly and gently that we should not be allowing this. The Session started discussing what we believed was the Biblical position. I read on my own the following books:

Women in Ministry: Four Views by Bonnidell Clouse, Robert G. Clouse

Clouse and Clouse did not really give a convincing conclusion. I really wanted to be convinced that women should be in ministry. Even though Clouse and Clouse sound scholarly, I was never quite settled. It really did not answer the Sunday School teacher question.

The Role Relationship of Men and Women: New Testament Teaching by George W. Knight

Knight was good too, but there was no answer to the Sunday School question.

Women In The Church: A Fresh Analysis of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 by Andreas J. Kostenberger, Thomas R. Schreiner and H. Scott

Kostenberger and crew took the high road in exegesis; linguistics, archeology, context of the passage, etc... In the end, no answer to the Sunday School question. The real issue addressed was women in pulpit ministry. This was the most convincing work about the women in the pulpit issue. I highly recommend it.

Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch

This book does not address women in ministry directly but is an excellent book. The issues addressed help me come to my final position.

After a long study we came to the conclusion that those who teach Sunday School to men should be men.

A few weeks ago I informed my class of college and career Sunday School students that the women of the class could not lead. My 19 year old daughter was the only one present. One of the young men of the class came to her defense. She told him that she actually agreed with the Session's position.

A new blog recommended by Rebecca Writes addresses women teachers. I also highly recommend Sober Minded's article on Madame Teacher. I think for this issue to be settled, women of the church will have to take a stand. I have a stand, but of course being a guy is a problem. When I read the scripture, people think I'm prejudiced. Neither Rebecca nor Sober Minded have my blight. So write on Sober Minded.
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