Wednesday, May 30, 2007

My Pastor Used to Be a Woman!

Not my pastor! My former pastor is, has always been, and always will be a man. But there is a congregation of United Methodists in Charles Village, MD who can honestly say, "My pastor used to be a woman."

WOW!

Women are spiritual equals with men and the ministry of women is essential to any church. According to the scriptures women fulfilled an important role in the church (Acts 1:12–14; 9:36–42; 16:13–15; 17:1–4, 10–12; 18:1–2, 18, 24–28; Romans 16; 1 Corinthians 16:19; 2 Timothy 1:5; 4:19). Women still fulfill an important and vital role in every church today, but women are not to serve as pastors in the church (1 Timothy 2:12; 3:1-7).

Evidently the United Methodist Church did not get the memo, or they didn't read the book, or something. Once a congregation, or a denomination, begins to compromise on clear Biblical teaching more compromise is inevitable. Take as an example the Charles Village congregation. Read this unbelievable excerpt from the Baltimore Sun:
A year ago, the Rev. Ann Gordon received her routine reappointment as minister of a Charles Village Methodist congregation. Yesterday - after undergoing a sex-change operation and taking on a new symbolic name - the Rev. Drew Phoenix received another one-year contract to head St. John's United Methodist Church.

I was made aware of this story via Al Mohler's blog post. I have linked to it here. I encourage you to read his post, and, if you have time, the articles which he has linked as well.

Repentance and returning to clear Biblical instruction is the only remedy for doctrinal compromise. At least, that was the counsel that Christ gave to the church at Pergamos (Revelation 2:12-17). That next step down from doctrinal compromise is flat-out heresy.

The sentence, "My pastor used to be a woman" has taken on a whole new meaning.

9 comments:

David Pitman said...

Well-said dear brother!

Fresh Dirt said...

I'm always astounded by the Methodists and who they ordain! Wow is right.
However, I have to push back on you a little regarding women serving as pastors. I was just talking with a missionary connection in Laos this morning regarding the training of leaders in their churches. The government of Laos actively persecutes and jails Christians there, especially pastors and evangelists. In these settings, the wives of these pastors must often step in and pastor the congregations in their husbands absence often for 6 months to 2 years-- they are often the only ones in their young faith communities with any biblical foundation and background to teach and lead the congregation. If not these wives, then who should serve in the role?
-Justin

KeepRight said...

The United Methodists are as liberal as the ACLU. This is plain disgusting, and anyone who stays in that church is either not paying attention or not playing with a full deck.

I don't know all the religious or biblical ramifications on whether or not a woman should pastor a church. But people who change genders shouldn't be leading anything.

Travis said...

Justin,
It's good to hear fom you again. I saw your dad for the first time in a long time last week. I always enjoy my conversations with you all.

You describe an interesting situation. My prayers go out to Christians in places like Laos, where the "cultural Christian" does not exist. Having pastors incarcerated is a variable unknown to the Christian equation here in the West. I do not think, however, that persecution warrants a break from clear Biblical teaching; which states that the office of elder is restricted to men.

This situation reminds me of the classic question of "Will God punish those people who haven't heard of Jesus?" The answer comes from Acts 17:30 - God has called all men everyhwere to repent. That is what the Bible says; which means that it is right, just, and always true for every situation.

By saying that women are not permitted to pastor under any circumstances or situation I'm not insinuating that women are intellectually inferior to men. 1 Timothy 2:12 does not teach that women must remain absolutely quiet in church. Indeed Paul had instructed the mature women to teach the younger women what is good. Paul was also thankful for the teaching that Timothy received from his mother and his grandmother. And if I've properly read Acts 18:26 it appears that both Priscilla and Aquila corrected Apollos' poor theology.

Of course men learn from women in some capacity; at least they should, but that does not provide for an alternative to Biblically acceptable church leadership in the advent of persecution. Just as God has designed the home to be led by the husband, so has He designed men to bear the primary responsibility for teaching and leadership in the church; a responsibility that is to be borne by pastors/elders. Which is an office of the church that is restricted to men.

Travis said...

keepright,

Thanks for the input...I think...let's just make sure that we are civil with our opinions.

HeavyDluxe said...

Travis,

Thanks for the comment over on my post... I don't know what to add to what you've had to say since it seems we agree. So... Ummm. Amen!

On the women in ministry issue, I have just a couple thoughts I'd throw out:

1) I'm convinced that Paul's prescription in 1 Tim 2:12 clearly prohibits female pastor/elders.

2) It seems possible, I grant, that there may be 'dire circumstances' resulting in a total absence of Biblically-qualified men to lead a church. In those cases, perhaps female leadership is to be accommodated but it is clearly not ideal.

3) Lastly - I know what Travis is driving at but I think it makes two mistakes.

For one thing, it assumes that just reading God's Word - sans 'exposition' - is an insufficient way to operate a church. And I'd disagree. I love sermons and all, but if a pastor fell dead God's Word can still speak.

In addition, we must be careful that we don't elevate our 'skills' to high. Think about Spurgeon's conversion experience via a "stupid" preacher... All the homiletics/pastoral training in the world is moot without the active work of God in the hearer. Similarly, the most common person can preach with surprising power (if not great 'skill') if God is pleased to anoint their lips.


Well... Them's my thoughts. I'd welcome more interaction!

Travis said...

HeavyD,
I appreciate your input. I agree with the premise that God's word speaks without the aid of a pastor. AMEN! I would add that God's word speaks in spite of this pastor!

Having said that, I still believe that churches need pastors, pastors are to be men only, and those pastors should be "preaching teachers and teaching preachers". I don't think they have to be expositors, but they should be!

You're right to warn us all against elevating our own skills"
. Every man (and woman) among us must "not think of himself more highly than he ought to think". Personally, I'm thankful that all the homoletical/pastoral training in the world is moot without the "unction" of the Spirit, because I have never been to seminary. The only degree hanging on my wall is an Associates in Business Administration from Ivy Tech Community College! I am living, breathing proof of 1 Corinthians 1:26-29.

HeavyDluxe said...

Travis,

I still believe that churches need pastors, pastors are to be men only, and those pastors should be "preaching teachers and teaching preachers".

That's really what I was driving at... I should've added that in those cases where qualified male leadership isn't available, the posture of those filling the gap should be that they are ready to turn over authority as soon as God raises up qualified men.

God set things up the way He did for good reason. And no personal rationalizations are sufficient to set all that aside.

Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion!

J.D. said...

Travis--couldn't agree more with your thoughts on breaking biblical doctrine--it's the whole "give an inch, take a mile" thing. Some co-workers of mine several years ago attended an UMC and invited me to come. I wasn't going to church anywhere at the time. I had been going for several sundays, really enjoyed the preaching, when during a video presentation a female pastor popped up on the screen. I haven't been back since and am now attending a good fudamental KJV church now. Even sadder than the situation with the UMC is what's going on with the Episcopals. How can anyone (CHristian)debate that homosexuality is not only immoral, but un-natural? Can I also say that one of our country's biggest problems are Christians? People who profess to be Christians but bare no fruit, never have, and promote doctrinal sabotage. I've ranted enough--got to go. But before I do, let me say that it was a joy to find like-minded Christians out here in the blogosphere. I didn't know there was any of my kind out here!