Following Jesus, fulfilling His mission

Elders: Shepherd the flock of God #2

Elders: Shepherd the flock of God
Acts 20:28-38 28 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood—over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as elders.
No barriers – women and pastoral leadership (symposium) with Dr Lynn Cohick, Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Chicago.
Women in the NT – a middle eastern cultural view Kenneth Bailey
Dr David Scholer, professor of NT at Fuller – Women in ministry

We’re doing a mini-series on elders – what it means to shepherd the flock of God, what that looks like, and the people that take up that role.
As many of you are aware I grew up in the Brethren churches in Tasmania where men were men and women wore hats and were silent.
The Brethren were serious about Christian doctrine, Christian morality, evangelism, and ‘traditional family values’ – meant mostly that the husband was the provider and the wife was full-time homemaker.
Dad was an elder and lay preacher. Mum ran ladies bible studies and taught Sunday school.
At church there was no order of service – anyone could share a word, pray, announce a hymn, read a Scripture – if they were men– all with the understanding that the Holy Spirit was moving the service quite directly.
Often wondered why some men would stand and participate when over time it was apparent there was no gifting or passion.
Wondering why mum who could lead a ladies study could never read the Scriptures in church – better than some of the men getting up.
… women were showing submission by being silent and wearing hats.
1 Timothy 2:11-14 (NLT) 11 Women should learn quietly and submissively. 12 I do not let women teach men or have authority over them. Let them listen quietly. 13 For God made Adam first, and afterward he made Eve. 14 And it was not Adam who was deceived by Satan. The woman was deceived, and sin was the result.
1 Corinthians 14:34-35 which states, “Let the women keep silent in the churches; for they are not permitted to speak, but let them subject themselves, just as the Law also says. And if they desire to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is improper for a woman to speak in church.”

Why do some biblical instructions have ongoing significance and force in their entirety, while the continue application of others is limited in some manner? How do I determine which components of the biblical text should apply today and which should not?
F F Bruce “what criteria can be safely used to distinguish between those elements in the apostolic letters which are of local and temporary application and those which are of universal and permanent validity.”
Stackhouse – often we fail to realise that it is our own interpretations we are defending, not the Bible itself.
We’re so far removed from 1st century church – Judith Hauptmann, essay on ‘Images of Women in the Talmud’, notes Rabbi Eliezer’s view that it is better to burn the words of the Torah than to give them to women.
“Patriarchy” refers to “male rule” and hence “male authority” and describes a very broad continuum of gender role models in which males have some type of gender based authority over females. Stacy
Primogeniture – principle of primogeniture, which the special rights of the firstborn are recognised. “The fact that Adam was created before Eve signifies that he is leader in their relationship.” Keener

For many Bible students, pastors, and scholars the main reason for not allowing women to hold the office of pastor, elder or overseer is primarily based on Paul’s arguments from creation in 1 Tim 2:13-14.
It is maintained that Paul’s not allowing women to teach cannot be limited due to cultural conditions since Paul does not argue from culture but from creation.
He argues from the order of creation (“For it was Adam who was created first, then Eve”) and from the order of accountability in creation (“Adam was not deceived but the woman was deceived”).
Based on Paul’s reasoning, it is therefore concluded that women cannot “teach or have authority over men” in the context of the local church.

“Although many churches would use arguments [from the order of creation] to demand the subordination of women in all cultures, very few accept Paul’s arguments [in 1 Cor 11:8-9) as valid for covering women’s heads in all cultures.” Keener, Paul, women, and wives; marriage and women’s ministry in the letters of Paul.
My belief is that no person should be given any responsibilities of ministry – eldership or otherwise – within the Church because of gender or for the sake of a “point” – equity.
On the other hand, no person, called & gifted by God, should be denied any role of ministry or leadership in the Church because of one’s gender…