Women in missions, ministry and leadership…
I am reading Why Not Women? A Fresh Look at Scripture on Women in Missions, Ministry, and Leadership. The book is co-authored by Loren Cunningham, the founder of YWAM, and David Joel Hamilton. Lancaster Mennonite Conference is recommending the book as a resource for study on this issue. I think I may do several posts on this topic. Just to get the ball rolling, I will include some excerpts from the first chapter below.
Many Christians fear women preachers because they associate such change with radical feminism. But I agree with Pastor David Johnson from the Christian Missionary Alliance who said, “All my life I heard that [the acceptance of] women preachers was a spineless accommodation to feminism. However, the elimination of women from ministry is actually a sinful accommodation to a culture that isn’t all that different from the male-dominated Jewish culture Jesus came to blow up. It’s not that feminism is affecting the church—it’s the church which has allowed culture to rob it of Christ’s redeeming work for women.”
JESUS PUT WOMEN IN THE SPOTLIGHT
In the three greatest events of Jesus’ life, His birth, death, and resurrection, women were in the spotlight.
…we will examine the ancient world’s belief that the father was the only source of life for a young child. The ancients believed that male semen contained tiny human beings that had been formed in a man’s head. This belief led to the Greek “headship” concept. The woman was only the “soil” for the miniature human to grow in until birth. Of course, if you think of women as nothing more than dirt, you will treat them like dirt.
God took that idea and stood it on its head by having Jesus be born with only a woman as His earthly parent. Mary was the only source of Jesus’ DNA.
In the Old Testament, people were commissioned—ordained for ministry—by the anointing of oil. Samuel anointed David in secret. Samuel’s anointing of David was the outward sign of God’s calling David to do something significant.
Who anointed Jesus? It was two women. In the last week before his death in Lazarus’ home, Jesus was anointed by Mary. A few days later, another woman entered a house where Jesus was dining. She poured the entire contents of an alabaster jar containing expensive ointment over His head.
After the Resurrection, Jesus again honored women, appearing first to Mary Magdalene. Women were the first to find the empty tomb. Jesus told them to go and tell the others that He was alive. So women were the first to hear Jesus’ command to go and tell.
WOMEN MISSIONARIES—TAKING ON THE HARDEST JOBS
By the beginning of the twentieth century, there were forty evangelical missionary organizations led by women. Armies of women missionaries went out, not only evangelizing but also starting hospitals and schools, including an eight-thousand-student university in Korea and one of the best mission-run medical schools in the world in Vellore, India. Women missionaries were the first to translate the Bible for hundreds of language groups. And they did it in the most rugged, remote places.
Forty thousand of the fifty thousand house churches now in China are led by women.
When we look back on what Jesus did to release women and what the Holy Spirit has done in periods of revival and missionary fervor, we must determine to do everything in our power to release those whom God is calling today.