Martha & Mary: Not Primarily About Quiet Times

Martha and MaryThere’s a well-known passage found in Luke’s gospel. It’s the short account of Jesus and the disciples’ visit to the town of Martha and Mary. The account is found in Luke 10:38-42:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When this text is usually taught and preached, there is one point that takes prominence: We need not get caught up in doing so many things for Jesus, but rather we are personally called to sit at his feet so that we might listen and learn from him. So let’s take time to schedule in some kind of personal devotional time of reading Scripture and prayer.

Something of that nature.

And this is not terribly off-base, knowing our call to listen to and seek the Lord. But I’m not so sure this is the primary message of this little portion found in Luke’s gospel.

Rather, here is what I think we should consider as the central point. Continue reading

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Challenges to Complementarianism

Screen-Shot-2013-05-07-at-7.25.09-PMOver at the Jesus Creed blog, Scot McKnight has highlighted a paper by David Cramer entitled Assessing Hierarchist Logic: Is Egalitarianism Really on a Slippery Slope? The paper challenges some of Wayne Grudem’s thoughts found in his work Evangelical Feminism: A New Path to Liberalism?

Many will know that Grudem is a complementarian, connected to the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. The concept of complementarianism teaches that men and women were created equally before God in person, but distinct in roles. Complementarians believe that one of the main ways we see a contrast in roles is through God’s appointing of men into leadership, both in the home and in the church.

Before briefly mentioning some of David Cramer’s thoughts, I want to point out something that Scot McKnight notes in his own post. He states: Continue reading

The Promised Follow-up Response to Complementarians (Part 2 of 2)

imagesLo and behold, this is the final post in my brief series on the role of women with regards to leadership in the church. It started with my interaction with the recent ruling of the Church of England with Tom Wright’s follow-up article to this ruling and has now moved into a 2-part series in which I am interacting with some of the major challenges that I have read from complementarians (those who believe women should not be appointed as pastors/elders/bishops).

In part 1, I looked at two important points:

1) Paradigm-shaping passages: This is where I discussed how and why I believe Bible passages such as Gal 3:26-29, Gal 6:15 and 2 Cor 5:16-17 become very significant in understanding not only the roles of women but the whole social order. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the subsequent in-breaking of the new creation order has re-oriented absolutely everything in regards to the world’s social constructs.

2) Dealing with clear passages: I addressed some of the passages that complementarians identify as clear markers as to why women cannot serve as pastors/elders/bishops. Those Bible texts are ones like 1 Tim 2:8-15; 1 Tim 3:2; and Tit 1:6.

But now it’s time to move on to my final 3 points: Continue reading

The Promised Follow-up Response to Complementarians (Part 1 of 2)

UnknownBack at the end of November, in an attempt to join in the discussion surrounding the Church of England’s vote to not allow women bishops, I posted an article, mainly interacting with 1) Tom Wright’s response to this vote and 2) some of the responses of varying complementarians to Wright’s response. My chief arguments were that: a) I think many complementarians missed the central point of Tom Wright and b) I agree very much with Wright that the resurrection of Jesus Christ changed everything in regards to the social constructs of human beings, not only with our salvation, but also ministry-gifting and calling.

I also appreciated Jeff Dunn and the Internet Monk blog reposting my article, which provided lots of comments and discussion.

In all of the interaction via my article, the Internet Monk blog, and even Facebook, I had greatly desired to write a follow-up post (or two) in an effort to engage some of the objections to egalitarianism, or that women should be allowed to serve in the role of pastors/elders (or bishops, etc). I had hoped to do this before the year’s end, but such was not possible.

Therefore, here are the two promised follow-up posts. While I know that a) I won’t be able to interact with every challenge raised and b) I am very aware that my thoughts will never stand as the final word on the topic, I do hope these 5 major points will stir complementarians to consider some biblical and theological points which they might have not done so previously. The first 2 points will be in this post, the last 3 points will be in a forthcoming post. Continue reading

Follow-up to Complementarian Challenges

woman-preacherRecently, by a narrow margin, the Church of England came to the decision that women could not function in the role of bishop. They were allowed to be pastors-chaplains (or vicars), but not bishops, at least not yet. I shared some reflections here, engaging with NT Wright’s well-written response, as well as complementarian reactions to Wright’s article. Though there was some good interaction here at The Prodigal Thought, there was a high volume of comments following the repost of my article at InternetMonk.

Secondly, I also followed up with an article of why I believe our beliefs around the role of women in church leadership should not be considered a ‘gospel issue’. What I mean is that I believe this is a secondary issue of doctrine, not primary, and thus I do not believe it worth breaking fellowship and collaboration across churches and ministries because one is either complementarian (allowing only male leadership) or egalitarian (allowing for both male and female leadership).

Noting some of the comments and feedback posted here, as well as interaction on both Facebook and InternetMonk, I had desired to post either a one or two-article follow-up to some of the objections to egalitarianism. Continue reading