Saturday, March 17, 2012

Are Women Seeking Ministry "Demanding Rights"?

Here's an example of another comment I encounter a lot. In discussions of women in Christian ministry, someone almost invariably says something along these lines:

"The call for women in ministry turns me off because it's all about women demanding their rights. That isn't what Jesus taught, about humility and seeking to give rather than receive. Whether or not women should be church leaders, they're wrong to seek it. It all comes from today's 'entitlement' culture, not from the heart of God, that women are seeking power in the church. It's not supposed to be about power."

True-- Christian ministry shouldn't be about power. But it is about power, and it is not women who have made it that way. Church leaders throughout church history have made their positions into positions of power and authority, when they should have been positions of service, lifting up their brothers and sisters in Christ to find their own callings. Until 50 years ago, many church leaders didn't want to share their power with men of other races. And many still don't want to share their power with women. But if they'd realize that it isn't about power, and would lay down their power, maybe it wouldn't bother them so much that some women feel called to minister, not just in the kitchen or nursery or in women's Bible studies, but to the whole congregation.

But the question has to be asked: is seeking church leadership, by its very nature, sinful ambition and wrongful power-grabbing? Because if it is, men shouldn't seek church leadership either.

Do men who feel called into church leadership, seek church leadership? Well, yes-- they do. They talk to their own church leaders, they ask for prayer over their calling; they attend seminaries and request mentoring. And they may be told they're not ready, that they should pray more, serve more, seek God more. But one thing they will not be told is that it is impossible for them ever to be called, and that even thinking that they might be called is stepping out of their place and sinfully seeking a position they are never meant to have. No man has ever, purely on the basis of his maleness, been told, "We have a leadership position open, but you should not apply." And no one, to my knowledge, has ever objected to a man seeking church leadership as if he were out of line just for seeking it. If seeking church leadership, in and of itself, were wrongfully ambitious power-seeking, then no one should do it.

It's easy, really, if you're born into a position where you never have to shout to be heard, to fault those who do have to shout to be heard. But this argument that women who want full-time church ministry are wrongly demanding their rights, is really based on an expectation that everyone should keep their place in an established hierarchy. It used to be considered wrongful power-seeking for members of the servant class to want to own their own homes, or for merchants to want to become part of the gentry. It's the same attitude that used to consider people of color "uppity" if they walked down the street with their heads high and dared to meet a white person's eyes. The gentry were never faulted for seeking the high seats at the table, for those seats were considered theirs by right.

This is what Jesus said about those high places at the table:

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11.

The word there translated "distinguished" is the Greek word "entemos," which means "dear, precious, highly prized, held in honor."  It is used in Luke 7:2 about the servant of a Roman centurian whom he prized highly  It is used of Jesus as the "precious" cornerstone, highly prized in God's eyes.  It is not a word that refers to someone having a high place in a hierarchy, but is more a relational word.  Jesus is not saying, "Someone who outranks you may come to the wedding banquet, and claim your place by right."  He's saying, "Your wedding host may have invited someone more dear to him than you are (such as a closer family member)."  Since this teaching is identified as a parable, Jesus is not speaking of literal guests at a literal wedding banquet, but is counseling His listeners not to be seeking positions of honor for themselves.  This is probably the verse that people have in mind when they say women should not be "demanding rights" in seeking ministry-- but what would Jesus say to the guests at the banquet who are already sitting in the highest seats when the other guests enter, who cling to their chairs with both hands and refuse to surrender them to the "upstarts" who are arriving?   What would He say to the one who, when the host says, "I want my friend to sit there; please give up your seat," replies, "But you can't possibly want that person to sit here!  It's not her place!"

True, it would be wrong of a person who feels called into ministry to exalt themselves and demand to be given a high place. But are women who want ministry really doing this? I have never heard of anyone, woman or man, demanding of a church hiring committee, "This is my position! Give it to me!" Women in reality are not doing anything that men do not do as a matter of course, to seek ministry.

To me, the real questions are these: Are we going to let God call women? Or are we going to tell God He can’t? And are we going to let women whom He calls obey? Or are we going to tell them they have to be wrong, that God can't possibly be calling them?

Remember how sure Peter was that he should have nothing to do with Gentiles, because they were unclean? God gave him a vision to show him he was wrong. Acts 10:11-15. Peter knew the Scriptures. And yet he had to let God step outside the parameters of what he had always thought God's will was all about.  Peter was misunderstanding the Scriptures about Gentiles.  What if many of those who think they know their Bibles today, are misunderstanding the Scriptures about women?

In China many women are serving as leaders of underground churches-- and it's not because God can't find any men!  Here in the US, women are feeling God's call to church leadership, and they live their lives in frustration because their churches have forbidden them to answer that call.  Fundamentally, this isn’t about “rights.”* It’s about obedience to God, and openness to His ability to call anyone He wants, be it male or female.

So it comes down to this.  I myself am not called to church leadership.  I am asking nothing for myself.  But if my sisters feel the call of God and want to obey it, I’m going to stand up to those who forbid them, just as Paul stood up to Peter when he refused to eat with Gentiles.  Gal. 2:11-14.

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is not part of the "entitlement culture."  Neither is "Here am I, Lord, send me."  And that's all we're saying-- my sisters and I.

*Not that there's anything wrong with standing up for your rights when necessary.  Paul did it in Acts 22:25.


Kay said...

I enjoyed her story. She died at 33! It amazes me how much "super" saints can accomplish in so short a life span...well I guess she started at 7!

"This appears to be another case where the individual giftings of a particular woman overcome traditional doctrines and church policies." This idea is fascinating. The church does recognize that the Holy Spirit so gifts some women that it would be folly and almost blasphemous to ignore them. Imagine if we only listened to the exceptional men! :)

Kay said...

Well, that was suppossed to go under St.Catherine. I hate Blogger.

Kristen said...

I'm sorry, Kay. I appreciate your comment! If you would copy it and paste it as a comment in the St. Catherine post, I will delete it here.

Ann said...

I appreciate your thoughtful disassembling of this objection that is made to sound spiritual. I personally am always stumped on how to answer such a comment other than "that is so wrong on so many levels". I hate that this objection makes women look like pushy b***es, which it so "innocently" does. In the past, this has definitely shamed me, bound me up, and made me determined not to be "one of those women". Now I am "one of those women" as this idea of equality in ministry has taken root firmly in my mind. It is so clear to me now that women have always been gifted in leadership, but we will be made to feel ashamed in many Christian circles if we state our opinions.
The more I think about it, the more I hate this meant-to-shame comment.
Thanks for giving a straight forward response to help us think more clearly on this issue. It's going to take me awhile, though, to come to the point where I just don't want to walk away in disgust at these comments and mutter obscenities in my head.

A. Amos Love said...


You write...
“But the question has to be asked: is seeking church leadership, by its very nature, sinful ambition and wrongful power-grabbing? Because if it is, men shouldn't seek church leadership either.”

Can’t seem to find “church leadership” in my antiquated KJV. ;-)
Can’t seem to find a “Disciple of Christ” calling themself a “leader.”

Seems Jesus has a unique take on “Leaders” for **His Body.** “ONE”

As a human - Jesus humbled Himself, made himself of NO reputation,
and took on the form of a **Servant.** Php 2:7-8. ;-)

How do “you” reconcile the use of the word “leader”
when “Jesus” told **His disciples** NOT to be called “leader?”

Jesus, in Mat 23:10 KJV, told **His disciples** “NOT” to call themselves
“Master / Leaders,” for you have “ONE” “Master / Leader” “The Christ.”

King James Version -
Neither be ye called masters:
for “ONE” is your Master, even Christ.

New American Standard Bible
Do not be called leaders;
for One is your Leader, that is, Christ.

The Interlinear Bible -
Nor be called leaders,
for “ONE” is your leader the Christ.

Phillips Modern English -
you must not let people call you leaders,
you have only “ONE” leader, Christ.

Today's English Version -
nor should you be called leader.
your “ONE” and only leader is the Messiah.

Jesus told **His disciples** NOT to be called **leaders** and NONE did.

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ,
Php 1:1 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ,
Col 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ,
Tit 1:1 Paul, a servant of God,
Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God
2Pe 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant

**His Disciples** all called themselves **Servants.**
None called themselves “Leaders.” None? None.
None called themselves “Servant-Leader.” None.

If Jesus instructed **His Disciples** NOT to call themselves “leaders”
and someone calls them self a “leader” or thinks they are a “leader;”

Are they a "Disciple of Christ?"
Or, are they NO LONGER a "Disciple of Christ?" Oy Vey!!! ;-)
Or, are they just a **disobedient** "Disciple of Christ?" ;-)

Why isn’t what Jesus said important? ;-)

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice - One Leader

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

Kristen said...

Amos, whether they were to call themselves "leaders" or not, those called "servants" in those scriptures you list did lead. There were church leaders in the early church, and the NT sets up qualificationsfor those leaders. I do not believe those leaders were to consider that they had some God-given right/power to lead (that is, to be in "authority") other than the authority of God's words themselves, but can you deny that the words usually translated "overseers" in 1 Tim. 3 and "elders" in Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5 had responsibilities to lead? True, they were to lead by example and not by command-- but I don't think it can be denied that there is such a thing as church leadership, that God calls certain people to it, and that those who lead are to lead as servants and by example. I believe the New Testament writers assumed that there would be groups of "elders" or "overseers" and "deacons," and not one person leading by him/herself-- but there were leaders in the early church, and God still calls people to be leaders by example and service today.

A. Amos Love said...


I appreciate your response and your reasoning. It’s similar to what I was also taught by “The Corrupt Religious System” I was a part of. And what I believed. Some are called to be “church leaders.” I was ordained. I was in “Leadership.” I desired folks to “Follow Me.” BUT - NO longer...

NOW - I desire folks to know Him, hear His voice, and “Follow Jesus.”

I’ll ask for a little mercy as I attempt to explain what I’m seeing.
And ask you, to ask Jesus, if these things are so...

Because of the “Spiritual Abuse” that comes from a “Mere Fallible Human” believing they are a little more special, a special “Clergy Class,” (elder/overseer/leader) I have a different view today about this so-called “church leadership.” And a different view of the “elder/overseers” found in 1 Tim 3, and Titus, that you mention. I NO longer see them as leaders - BUT - servants. “If” they qualify??? And those are some tough qualifications given by Paul.

If you’re correct and some are called to “Lead? To be “church leaders?” Then some are called to be “Followers.” To follow the “church leaders.” That model doesn’t seem to be working very well today. It’s set up for “Spiritual Abuse.”

In the Bible...
I can NOT find Jesus, telling “His Disciples” to follow a Mere Fallible Human.

I can find Jesus, telling “His Disciples” NOT to be “called “Leaders.”
And NONE did.

I can find Jesus, telling believers to - Hear MY Voice - and Follow Me.

I can NOT find one “Disciple of Christ,”, telling another “Disciples of Christ”
“Lead” one another. - Or - “Follow” one another.

For me, that is “Traditions of Men” that nullify the Word of God. Mark 7:13.

I can find - By love ”Serve” one another. Gal 5:13.

What is popular is not always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is not always popular.

A. Amos Love said...


You mention... “NT sets up qualifications for those leaders.” And... “the words usually translated "overseers" in 1 Tim. 3 and "elders" in Titus 1 and 1 Peter 5 had responsibilities to lead.”

Maybe you’re correct and the “Elder/Overseers” here are “Leaders.”
But - don’t these so-called “leaders” have to meet the qualifications?

1 - A bishop (overseer) then *must be* **blameless**... 1 Tim 3:2 KJV
2 - For a bishop (overseer) *must be* **blameless**... Titus 1:7 KJV

**Hmmm? “Elders/Overseers” *Must Be*...

That *must be* is the same Greek word as: ...You *must be* born again. John 3:7.
Seems to be a small word - but very important. Yes?

*Must Be* is Strongs #1163, die. - It is necessary (as binding).
Thayer’s - necessity established by the counsel and decree of God.

“elders/overseers, *must be.* Hmmm? Very important or...?

**Hmmm? **Blameless**... How important is this word?

**Strongs #423 - anepileptos - inculpable, blameless, unrebukeable.
**Thayer’s - that cannot be reprehended,
(cannot be, rebukable, reprovable, cannot find fault)
not open to censure, irreproachable.

Dictionary - Without fault; innocent; guiltless; not meriting censure.
Synonyms - faultless, guiltless, innocent, irreproachable, spotless, unblemished.

1 Tim 3:2 ASV - The bishop therefore must be without reproach...
1 Tim 3:2 NIV - Now the overseer must be above reproach...
1 Tim 3:2 NLT - For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.

How many, who honestly examine themselves, seriously considering this one **qualification,** (*Must Be* **Blameless,**) can see themselves as **Blameless,** without fault, above reproach, and thus qualify to be an “elder/overseer?”

And if you can see yourself as **blameless:** Is that pride?
And no longer without fault?

The Bible talks about “elders/overseers.”
And **qualifications** for “elders/overseers.” (*Must Be* **Blameless,**)

Can you have one without the other? Hmmm?

This is only one of many tough qualifications.
And there are tough **qualifications** for the children also.

Ever meet anyone, with their children, who fulfills ALL the qualifications? :-(

If they can’t meet the qualifications - are they really an “elder/overseer?”

A. Amos Love said...


Is there any way I get an automatic email for additional comments on this thread?

Thanks. Amos

Kristen said...

Amos, I have no idea how to make Blogger send e-mails if there is a comment on a post you've commented on. I will try to look into it when I can, but I don't think it has this capability.

As for "blameless" or "above reproach," I think this has to do with living the kind of life that would give one a good reputation. I seriously doubt if it means "completely pure of all sin," because if Paul had intended to say that no one would could be an overseer because the qualifications were impossible for any human being to meet, I think he would have just said, "No one is to be an overseer except Christ alone." Instead he says, "if anyone desires to be an overseer, he desires a good thing" at the beginning of 1 Tim 3. He wouldn't have said that if it were fundamentally wrong to want any kind of church leadership.

A. Amos Love said...


Once again I appeal for mercy. I understand your defense for “church leaders” because that is what we’ve heard our entire lives in “The Religious System.” I too defended that belief at one time. After all, I was in leadership. But - “Spiritual Abuse” has a benefit - ALL things do work together for good. It causes you to ask different questions and you have no place to go but to Jesus. And Jesus is the best teacher. Yes???

At one time I also believed “the complementarism view” even before it was called that. Us macho men were to be the leaders. I had only heard from my elder/overseers. And I only looked at some verses and ignored others. I NO longer can go along with the Comp view. And I have strong doubts about so-called “church leaders.”

There came a time when I realized I didn’t meet Paul’s tough qualifications. Hmmm? Now what to do? It took a few years, and the long story has many twists and turns, but eventually I ripped up my papers and decided to “Follow Jesus.” And become a “Disciple of Christ.”

I figured if Jesus said to “His Disciples” NOT to be called “leader.” I would agree with Him and trust Jesus as the “ONE” leader. Those who are “Led” by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Rom 8:14. NOT those who are “Led” by “church leaders.”

I wanted to see what Jesus would do if I would try living in a lowly place - “Servant” - NO longer a leader - and desire to be a “Disciple of Christ.” A student, a pupil of Christ, learning directly from Jesus. Being His Sheep, hearing His Voice, and Following Jesus. John 10:27. It becomes an interesting journey.

Now about those qualifications given by Paul... ;-)

If someone doesn’t meet ALL the qualifications...
Which ones are NOT important? Which ones can we overlook?
How many can we overlook?

And - If someone doesn’t meet ALL the qualifications...

Will they remove themselves?

...O my people, **they which lead thee** cause thee to err,
and destroy the way of thy paths.
Isaiah 3:12

For **the leaders** of this people cause thee to err;
and they that are *led of them* are destroyed.
Isaiah 9:16

A. Amos Love said...


Here’s two more qualifications from Titus for “elder/overseer” that most who want to be an “elder/overseer” today *will ignore* in order to obtain - for them - a position of importance. “Pastor/Leader. ” A “position” with - Power- Profit - Prestige - Honor - Glory - Recognition - Reputation. ALL those things Jesus spoke against. All those things that become “Idols” of the heart. Ezek 14:1-11.

Titus 1:6-8 KJV
6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife,
having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not self willed,
not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;
8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, *just,* *holy,* temperate;

2 - Just
Strongs #1342 - dikaios {dik'-ah-yos} from 1349; - innocent.
Thayers - 1) righteous, observing divine laws
1a) in a wide sense, upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God
1a1) of those who seem to themselves to be righteous,
who pride themselves to be righteous, whether real or imagined
1a2) innocent, faultless, guiltless
1a3) used of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting
is wholly conformed to the will of God,
and who therefore needs no rectification in the heart or life

3 - Holy
Strongs #3741 - hosios {hos'-ee-os}
Thayers - 1) undefiled by sin, free from wickedness,
religiously observing every moral obligation, pure holy, pious.

Now that’s three tough qualifications for “elder/overseers.”
1 - Blameless. 2 - Just. 3 - Holy. Yes?

Makes an interesting study - checking out ALL these tough qualifications for “elder/overseers” then checking out those who say they are “elder/overseers” compared to the qualifications. :-)

How many “elder/overseers” have you met that are...
1 - Blameless. 2 - Just. 3 - Holy.? ;-)

And if they don’t meet the qualifications - will they remove themselves?
And be a good example to the flock?

Jer 50:6
*My people* hath been *lost sheep:*
“their shepherds” have caused them to “go astray”

Kristen said...

Amos, in order to understand what you are saying, I think I need to know more about the Disciples of Christ. Do they have any leaders at all? If not, how are the churches run? Who decides how to use the offerings? Who decides when and what special events to hold? Who decides what missions to support, or which charitable acts to do in the community?

Or do the Disciples of Christ not have churches as we commonly understand them-- and if not, when and where do they meet, and who does what in their meetings?

I'm afraid I'm having trouble picturing how there can be a Christian group where there is no leadership of any sort. Can you enlighten me?

A. Amos Love said...


Thank you for these legitimate concerns and questions...
1 - “I need to know more about the Disciples of Christ.”
2 - “Do they have any leaders at all?”
3 - “If not, how are the churches run?”
4 - “I'm afraid I'm having trouble picturing how there can be a Christian group where there is no leadership of any sort. Can you enlighten me?”

My desire to answer your questions - and prove my beliefs - is huge...
And I have lots of verses to back me up. And believers from the past.
BUT - Jesus often answered a question - with a question. Yes?
And - In My Experience...
It’s best when you get it direct from Jesus. For yourself.

I have respected, and enjoyed, the way you dig into the scriptures - and explain them. And you’re boldness to mix-it-up with those who proclaim, “We have the Truth,” “It’s Clear in the Scriptures.” Hmmm? How much is “Really Clear In The Scriptures?” When a topic is important for you - you put in the effort, the research - to check out “if” what others are saying is “Truth For You.”

There are “many verses” where God wants to be your teacher.

Have you asked Jesus for His answers? “His Truth?” To your questions?

NOT what our leaders, “mere fallible humans,” have taught?

It is written in the prophets, And they shall be ALL taught of God.
John 6:45

Do you believe the Holy Spirit can teach us ALL “Truth?”
John 14:26

Jesus did say; ...Every one that is of the truth “heareth My voice.”
John 18:37.

Out of heaven he made thee to “hear His voice,”
that “He might instruct thee”
Deut 4:36

And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
them also I must bring, and they shall **hear MY voice;**
and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
John 10:16

One Fold - One Shepherd - One Voice - One Leader

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

A. Amos Love said...


Here are some questions when you’re researching “Disciples.”

Because you ask...
1 - “I need to know more about the Disciples of Christ.”

I was taught, ALL followers of Jesus are “His Disciples.” BUT...

In Mark 7:13, Jesus warned us about “Traditions.”
KJV - Making the word of God of “none effect” through your tradition...
ASV - Making “void” the word of God by your tradition...
NIV - Thus you “nullify” the word of God by your tradition...

1a - What does the word “Disciple” mean? From the Bible?
1b - How do you recognise “His Disciples?”
1c - What are the characteristics of “His Disciples?”
1d - What qualifications did Jesus give - to be “His Disciple?”

When Jesus asks “His Disciples,” to go and make Disciples in Mat 28:19-20, He tells them how; **teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.**

1e -What did Jesus teach “His Disciples?”
...... How did jesus teach “His Disciples?
...... (Just read the red in the 4 gospels.)

1f - What did “His Disciples” - DO - that Jesus taught them to do?

1g - Are you one of “His Disciples?” How do you know?

“My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
*their shepherds* have caused them *to go astray*...
Jer 50:6

For ye were as *sheep going astray;* but are now returned
unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Pet 2:25

I’m Blest - I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul...

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

A. Amos Love said...


Here are some questions when you’re researching “The Church of God.”

Because you ask...
3 - “If not, how are the churches run?”

First we have to figure out what “church” is - or ain’t. :-)

After I left “The Corrupt Religious System”
Seems I was always greeted, and asked by other believers...

Where do you go to Church?”
I began to answer: “I can’t go someplace that I am.” ;-)

In the Bible...
3a - What does “Church” refer to?
3b - Did anyone ever *join* “A Church.”
3c - Did anyone ever *lead* “A Church.”
3d - Did anyone ever *go to* “A Church.”
3e - Did anyone ever *tithe to* “A Church.”
3f - Did anyone ever bring their friends to “A Church.”
3g - Did anyone ever apply for membership in “A Church.”
3h - Did anyone ever give silver, gold, or money, to “A Church.”
3i - Are there buildings with steeples and crosses called “A Church.”
3j - Are there any - Pastors - in Pulpits - Preaching - to People - in Pews.

If we asked a hundred, 100, people...
What is the church? Describe the church? Point to the church?

What is “the Church of God?” In the Bible? I wanted to know...

I researched the Greek. Researched what others said it was.
I printed out every verse with the word - “Church.”
Read them all, over and over again. Asked Jesus to show me.

What is popular is not always “Truth.”
What is “Truth” is not always popular.

If it lifts up man - It’s probably a “Lie.”
If it lifts up Jesus - It’s probably a “Truth.”

A. Amos Love said...


Referring to “His Disciples” - You ask...

2 - “Do they have any leaders at all?”

My short answer is - Yes. Mat 23:10...

There is “ONE” Leader - And His name is...

{{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

Kristen said...

Amos, I was actually asking about a group called "Disciples of Christ," which you gave me to understand you were part of. I asked, practically, how these groups work. Instead you told me to do a Bible study.

I'm not asking if you're a disciple of Christ. I'm asking, are you part of the "Disciples of Christ" group?

A Bible study may give me some understanding of the principles on which you operate, but it tells me nothing about how you applies these Scriptures your own everyday life.

I am not asking you about how you interpret the Bible. I'm asking you how you apply the Bible-- and if you are part of the "Disciples of Christ," I'm asking what it looks like when a "Disciples of Christ" group meets-- what they do in their meetings, and how they decide what general direction they are going. If you would rather I just looked up the Disciples of Christ online for myself, I guess I can do that. But if you are not part of the "Disciples of Christ," then I still won't know anything about how you live out your interpretation of the verses you want me to look up.

I understand that you believe most Christian groups are part of "the Corrupt Religious System." So what do you do that's different? Can you enlighten me? Or is this too personal a question?

A. Amos Love said...


Sorry. I miss understood your question.
NO - I do NOT belong to a group called “Disciples of Christ.”
I’m referring to “His Disciples” written about in the Bible.

Where I’m living now in “The body of Christ,” - mostly small groups not part of “the Religious System.” Some two’s and three’s, one group of three men, monthly, for over 10 years, sometimes it grows to seven or eight, men and women. We meet mostly in restaurants and will be together 4-5 hours. Time flies and we call it eterna-time.

One group of 10 to 15, men and women, meets weekly in someones home, for over 6 years. NO “Titles.” NO “Teachers.” NO “Leaders.” Just brethren coming together. Hopefully like Jesus taught His Disciples in Mat 23:8-12.

Where I’m living now in “The body of Christ,” - the gender issue you battle - “Comp. or Egal”- does NOT exist. Roles do not exist. Hierarchy does not exist. As His - Disciples - brethren - believers - we do NOT exercise, or assume authority over another believer. Mark 10:42. All are responsible to hear from Jesus for themselves.

And yes to we do disagree, argue, and fight over different beliefs and interpretations of scripture. And we can still remain friends. We’ve all been wrong before, all have been deceived, all have changed their positions, and realize we have much to learn in Jesus. No one feels responsible to have to know it all. Or be in charge. We desire to be “Led” by the Spirit.

In Christ we are “ONE.” “The Church” is “the body” of Christ. NOT a building, an organization, an institution or a corporation. Keeping to “The Traditions of men” is not the point.

Where I live in “The body of Christ” it’s about - Who knows Jesus? Who is Hearing “His Voice?” Who has a living Christ within? Who has the Spirit of God dwelling in them? Who has been taught by God? Who has a revelation from God? Who is exhibiting “the Fruit of the Spirit?” Who is moving in the “Gifts of the Spirit?” Male or Female. Young or Old.

This is what’s important. ALL can “hear from God.” ALL can, and are expected to, participate.

1Cor 14:26
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, **every one of you** hath a psalm, **hath a doctrine,** hath a tongue, **hath a revelation,** hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

It’s NOT about “Who” does the teaching, But, “Who” has a revelation from God, male or female.

It’s about recognizing and disearning the Spirit that dwells within the person.
The Spirit of God? Or, the Spirit of the world? Or, ....

1Cor 2:12
Now we have received, not **the spirit of the world,** but the spirit which is of God;
that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

1Cor 3:16
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

When it’s the same “Spirit of God” dwelling in male and female - does gender matter?

In, Jesus, He is the head of the body, (the ekklesia, the called out ones) “the Church.”

We are all ”ONE” body. We are all “ONE” in Christ.

Kristen said...

Amos, thanks for sharing that. I see your point, and I think you've found a very good way of doing church. I agree that there needs to be far more joint participation by everyone in meetings of the called-out ones. I think where we differ is that I think yours is a good way to do church, but that it's not necessarily wrong to have larger groups, and larger groups end up needing some form of leadership. I do make a distinction between leadership and authority. I don't think Christians should be seeking, or exercising, authority over one another-- but I see nothing wrong with people who have gifts of leadership, actually leading-- so that the group as a whole can accomplish something more than just meeting together and sharing or arguing over Scripture. I think shared, collaborative leading is better in general than one sole person leading. But I just don't see the intent of the NT as discouraging or forbidding all forms of church leadership.

We may just have to agree to disagree on that.

A. Amos Love said...


Appreciated the conversation - and your passion.

Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another:
and the LORD hearkened, and heard it,
and a book of remembrance was written before him
for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:16

Anonymous said...

Kristen (with Amos),
I just saw this by Traveller on Roger Olson's blog in a 3-16 reply to your 3-15 comment. A little earlier today I was thinking quite a bit about Amos' comment on TWW, similar to some here. Hope it's ok to post a larger block-- just curious what you think,
" I would also note that, in my view the concept of “servant leadership” is not derived from Jesus or the Bible but from the secular world of business. The word was coined by a former IBM executive name Robert Greenleaf in the 1960′s. It does not begin to appear in Christian writings until the 1990′s when the corporate model of leadership began to really grow among churches. Indeed, I would suggest that Jesus was a servant, not a leader, at least not in any way commonly thought of today. Again, leadership by definition means one person taking charge and creating a vision and making decisions. Not only is this not servanthood it is also not what God intended between women and men in marriage, the family or the church. The Bible seems to more clearly delineate a partnership between women and men in all matters of life."
Dave A A

Kristen said...

Dave A A, I appreciate your comment. I think that by virtue of being a teacher, Jesus was exercising some leadership. After all, after He washed the disciples feet, He said, "You call me Master and Teacher, and rightly so, for so I am," or words to that effect. But I agree that He was not acting, in the washing of their feet, as "servant leader," but only as a servant, and the example He was setting was for our leaders to be servants, leading by example not by authority.

Anonymous said...

I suppose key words in his comment were, "not a leader, at least not in any way commonly thought of today."
As an ex-"leader" myself, I relate strongly with Amos and his sentiments. As a very recently ex-complimentarian, I greatly appreciate all you've written. The first I read were your comments on the inane Jackie Kennedy article at TGC.

Kristen said...

Dave, I like Amos's ideas very much too. I'm glad you found your way here from TGC. I very rarely comment there, but I felt I had to come to the defense of my sisters who were being treated by some commenters like disobedient children. I'm glad you found the arguments for the suppression of women "inane." Men like you, who are willing to listen to the other side and re-examine complementarianism, give me hope.

Mr. Peterson said...

"I can NOT find one 'Disciple of Christ,', telling another “Disciples of Christ'
'Lead' one another. - Or - 'Follow' one another." - Amos

1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV) Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ

Kristen said...

Mr. Peterson-- Paul said "follow my example," not "follow me." Jesus is the one who said, "follow me." Paul was interested in helping people follow Jesus, not in being followed himself.

Renee Axtell said...

This is a fascinating discussion, especially in light of Tony Jones's recent blog post "Don't Call Me 'Pastor'". I commented there and on Twitter, saying that I think it's interesting that just when women are able to claim the title "Pastor" in significant numbers, the men no longer want it. He dismissed me using the hashtag #reactionarytweets, which to me ranks right up there with being called a "hysterical woman."

Tony's dismissal of my concern fails to address the issue of how titles and/or the lack of them affects gender equality in church leadership. In many cases, women aren't taken seriously unless they have a title. It's easy for a male pastor to give his up, because his status in society entitles him to be taken seriously no matter what. Women don't have that luxury. That makes the title necessary for women in ministry, to ensure that our leadership will be valued and respected.

What are your thoughts?

Kristen said...

Renee, I've been thinking about your question, and I do think you make a good point. I for one am quite happy if people like Tony Jones don't want titles and the trappings of religious authority. But if he's going to eschew these things, he also needs to recognize that he does so from a place of privilege-- that it's easy to eschew a title when the title is the only thing you lose thereby.

I would love to see a world where no Christian leader has a title-- but also where female Christian leaders receive the same honor as male Christian leaders. "Let those who work hard at preaching and teaching be counted worthy of double honor," Paul said. But as long as female Christian leaders receive, instead of double honor, suspicion and rebukes for "selfish ambition" or "not accepting your place" -- then male leaders who give up their titles are really giving up very little compared to female leaders who never had them in the first place.