Well it’s Sunday once again and I decided to tackle a controversial subject among church leaders as well as parishioners on women in ministry. Because of the in-depth research required and Biblical support, this entire session will be written in four (4) parts that will be posted on as many Sundays.
A few years ago, the African Methodist Episcopal Church elected Vashti McKenzie as the first women Bishop. Over the years, I have come to realize that some pastors and Bishops do not allow women to even come into their pulpit let alone to preach. I believe that God can call whomever He chooses, and if He can call 12-year old Samuel and 16-year old David to His service, He can surely call, appoint and anoint women in ministry. First, I want to make a general statement: The Bible cannot be read like a novel or storybook and we must view scripture in context and consider—what is being said, by whom, to whom, and in what context. I also believe that some who may be reading this blog will strongly disagree with me but they can discuss their views in their blogs. To understand God’s intentions, we must go back to the very beginning of creation to understand His original purpose for both man and woman. But before we make that journey, however, we should lay the proper foundation and answer the last question first – Can we rely on what the Bible tells us?
LAYING A BIBLICAL FOUNDATION (KJV)
2 Timothy 3:16, 17 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” The Apostle Paul wrote to his student Timothy that all Scripture was given by inspiration of God.
2 Peter 1:20, 21 – “Knowing this first, that no prophesy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” So, according to Peter, holy men composed the books of the Bible as they were “moved” by the Holy Spirit.
Based on 2 Timothy 3:16, 17, and 2 Peter 1:20,21, what do we know about the Bible?
- The Word of God;
- God inspired;
- Written by Holy Men;
- Profitable (or valuable) for doctrine (principles/guidelines);
- Profitable for reproof (scolding or telling people when they are wrong);
- For instruction in righteousness; and
- For correction.
We also know that the Bible is divided into two parts – Old Testament consisting of 39 books, and the New Testament consisting of 27 Books.
A covenant is a “contract.” The books of the Bible are divided according to two blood covenants or contracts: old and new.
The Old Covenant was between God and Abraham (Genesis 15) and covered Abraham’s descendants through Isaac and Jacob.
The New Covenant was with Jesus as both parties, God and man; the sacrifice and the mediator (As you may know, a mediator is someone like an attorney who works out the clauses to a contract with both parties) and ratified by the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 8:6-13), and extending God’s plan for reconciling man to himself to cover all races, nations and cultures (Galatians 3:23-29).
“Testament” or “covenant” also can mean what we today call a will—a last will and testament. So in that sense, the new covenant is the spiritual way in which Jesus is willed the entire blessing of Abraham (Galatians 3:14) to those who become born again under the new covenant and are also children of Abraham (Galatians 3:7). In addition, He willed to us redemption for our Adamic sin natures that enables us to become new creatures of creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and have eternal life with God, the Father.
With Abraham, God “cut” a blood covenant to cover Abraham and his descendants until Jesus would come (Genesis 15:7-21). The Ten (10) Commandments and the other health, civil, and religious laws that were given to Israel some 400 years after the Abrahamic covenant spelled out certain principles God laid down for them to live by and by which the Israelites were to obey because of the covenant. This became known as “the Law.” The Law was God’s written word for that period and the standard by which man lived in order to receive the blessings or curses of the covenant. In any covenant, there are “assets” or good things that go with keeping it. Breaking a covenant or contract, on the other hand, means trouble, which in Biblical terms means receiving curses (Romans 2:15). Under the New Covenant, the Law or God’s standards are “written in our hearts” which means we have the Holy Spirit within us to remind us of right or wrong. This is called “living under grace.”
Some critics of the Bible say it is simply a collection of man’s writings. Others believe it is a great “literary masterpiece” but not the “Word of God.” Those are the people who do not believe there is a God. Others believe God’s Word is in the Bible but that the entire Bible is not God’s Words. However, scholars have proven that the Bible is accurate in its depiction of historical events that have been documented elsewhere, so the rest of it should be considered true as well, in spite of the critics. On the other hand, even if none of the Bible had any secular evidence, we still should believe it rather than the world’s knowledge, because it is the Word of God and is reliable. (2 Timothy 3:16,17 – “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
So now that I have laid a foundation in establishing that we can rely on the Bible because it is the Word of God, we can now proceed with answering our main question: What Does The Bible Say About Women in Ministry.”
PART II NEXT SUNDAY
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