Why I Changed Lanes On Women In The Pastorate: Part 2

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52 Responses

  1. Babylon's Dread says:


    A teacher of mine once said that a conservative is just a slow liberal. We have all watched you change in some socially left leaning directions for some time now. Is this a natural step in that slow progression?

  2. Michael says:


    Hell, no.

    I am labeled a liberal because of my stands on immigration, refugees, and border issues.

    I had no choice on those matters as conservatives have spread voluminous lies about all three and left me with only liberals to hear me.

    I am a biblical conservative and Stackhouse is as well.

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You don’t think if Jesus had said “you have heard it said that a woman is not allowed to speak from the pulpit or to have authority over a man;, but I say, “hogwash”!!!, they are all equal in ministry!” – that would not have carried some weight in changing the culture?

    Or if he had said, “I did not allow women to be in the ministry because you were a stiff necked people, but now I say…”

    The surrounding cultures didn’t have too much problems with women – look at the temples to Diana etc.

  4. EricL says:

    Thanks for the posts, Michael. I’m still wrestling through the book myself. I’ve been reading it in small bites (usually while waiting to pick up my 1st grader from school).

  5. Steve Wright says:

    In my pastoral studies I was required to write a minimum 25 page research paper (double spaced at least 🙂 ) on the issue of divorce and remarriage for Christians using Jesus’ words as the launching pad. Looking at the many and varied arguments within the Church on the permissability of divorce and remarriage. It was assigned because it was seen at the time as the number one issue of relevance for the Christian life and family in our time.

    It is well traveled ground that divorce was a debated topic of interpretation between two rival Rabbinical schools in the 1st Century (Hillel and Shammai) and Jesus made clear the proper understanding of the Mosaic Law – seeing uncleanness as sexual fornication/adultery – and not the (for lack of better word) “liberal” argument that more or less was akin to no fault divorce (with the man holding all the power).

    Clarifying a teaching that had become divisive with significant differences of interpretation is not, to me, something to do with cultural bias, and irrelevant to the women pastor discussion.

    (In my opinion, offered without malice or bashing and without further comment)

  6. Steve Wright says:

    I will add that the Author of the Mosaic Law and our Lord Jesus Christ are One and the Same God. Something to always keep in mind when He comments on the Law in the Gospels. The Law which is holy, just and good.

  7. dswoager says:

    It would be one thing if say 1 Timothy 2 were in even a relatively open context, but Paul isn’t appealing to to a cultural norm there, or making a comment without context. The specific context is that of creation and the fall (woman deceived).

    I’m actually relatively open to this topic, but the context of that particular passage doesn’t seem to me to allow for that reasoning.

  8. Michael says:

    The entire point of the Sermon on the Mount is that the kingdom of God looks radically different than the kingdoms of men.

    Simply count the number of “you have heard it said” quotes from the OT He turns upside down…

  9. Em says:

    the purpose – the design – of the woman was to be Adam’s helpmate (evidently he needed help right from the start? 🙂 ) … we’ve endured a lot fulfilling that role and there’s been abuse on both sides, but the design was and is a beautiful one

    in these end times, in a society that does NOT understand gender roles, let alone honor them, God has provided women with conveniences – survival tools – to make it on their own – things such as birth control, education, workplace opportunity… IMHO

    for most of us females deep down inside nothing fulfills like being the loved wife of a good man, but the chances of that seem to be dwindling… so i am reading today’s posts and pondering

  10. Michael says:


    There is a lot of interaction with that passage in the book.
    I simply don’t have room here to deal with every argument, but Stackhouse does.

    My whole intent here is to raise curiosity and thought that might lead people to further exploration.

  11. Michael says:


    One more thing now that you have my dander up. 🙂

    It’s not my fault that advocating for the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed, has come to be associated with the American political left.

    I associate those thing with Jesus…and the right and left wing of our political system can both split hell wide open for all I care.

  12. Steve Wright says:

    If the best way to deal with our drug problem is to end the policies associated with “the war on drugs” I would argue the best way to deal with the poverty problem is to end the policies associated with “the war on poverty” – After 50 years it is not exactly like the jury is still out on the effectiveness of these programs.

    Furthermore, to continue these wrongheaded policies is the opposite of advocating for the poor, but it certainly does feed the self-interest of government interests.

    However it is impossible to have such discussions in a nation where if one says Obamacare is a disaster and doing far more harm to more people than it possibly is helping, then one is said to not care about sick people and wanting to see poor people die (a claim made regularly in political circles against anyone who dare utter a word against the program)

  13. Michael says:


    Unlike you, I don’t convert everything to politics and an apologetic for Republican (or Democratic) beliefs.

    I simply agree with Jesus mission statement:

    ““The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.””
    (Luke 4:18–19 ESV)

    Obamacare saved my life so that alone would make it a disaster for you.

    It’s a noble cause, badly executed.

  14. Jean says:

    Michael, in addition to the “accommodation” we see in Scripture pertaining to divorce, 2 other issues worth mentioning in a similar vein are slavery and corporal punishment.

    If you had written these articles 2 years ago, I’d be high-fiving all night.

    I think in the evangelical world Stackhouse may have a better argument than in Lutheranism. We don’t ordain CEOs, celebrities and/or media personalities. Just servants of the Word. So, the idea is that the pastor stands in the stead of Jesus, who was incarnate as a man. But, he only speaks for Christ.

  15. Michael says:


    Thank you…I appreciate your ability to see worth in these different approaches.

  16. Andrew says:

    It may well be that patriarchy has been an accommodation to culture and it’s time to grow up into the fullness of what God originally intended.

    Now if this is true, it seems we need to go back to the creation narrative which Apostle Paul inevitably did. But coming to a different conclusion than what Paul did with the same argument makes us wiser than Paul who wrote a bunch of the NT. I’m not sure I’m ready to go down that rabbit hole but haven’t read the Stackhouse book yet and I am open to various ides.

  17. Andrew says:

    Jean, In Lutheranism how do you explain someone like Nadia Bolz-Weber?

  18. Andrew – “Jean, In Lutheranism how do you explain someone like Nadia Bolz-Weber?”

    I can’t answer for Jean, but I will use your question to say “I rest my case!” — 🙂

  19. Let me say one more thing about Nadia Bolz-Weber – as a conference speaker I think she is dynamite – she is bold, funny and in some ways from her position in the ELCA she has some things to say to us in the LCMS.

    As a pastor – not so much.

  20. Jean says:


    Ms. Bolz-Weber is not Lutheran. Her Synod continues to use the name “Lutheran”, but it left Lutheran theology many years ago. I am not saying that no one in the ELCA is Christian or that there are not some fine individual pastors and laity who continue to be Lutherans, but the leadership and Ms. Bolz-Weber would be the first one’s to admit that they don’t confess or follow the foundational doctrines of the Lutheran Church handed down in the Lutheran Confessions.

  21. Andrew says:

    She sure is a fascinating lady!

  22. MG says:

    1 Timothy 2:11-15
    (11) Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    (12) But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    (13) For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    (14) And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    (15) Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

    Stackhouse’s argument that this is an accomodation to a patriachal culture doesn’t fly given Paul’s logic in 1 Timothy 2.

    Paul does not refer to the culture around them and say “I don’t allow a woman to teach because it would chase people away or distract from the message in our current culture.” That would have been easy to say, and he said things along those lines when discussing issues like meat that had been sacrificed to idols (1 Corinthians 8).

    No, Paul’s argument goes back to Creation. Adam was created first, then Eve. Adam wasn’t deceived, Eve was.

    Additionally, this is treated differently from slavery. Certainly slaves are told to submit to their masters, but slavery is not ever declared to be good. (OT slavery under the Law is more comparable to indentured servanthood than to slavery as we understand it today). Paul never says anything comparable to his explicit statement that “I suffer not a woman to teach”.

    1 Corinthians 11:3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

    Here we’re given some of the theological basis for male headship. It is a picture of Christ’s headship over us. Female headship reverses that image; is the Church, the Bride of Christ, supposed to usurp His leadership?

    This is not to say that women are inferior in any way. The Bible’s respect for women and appreciation for their value was revolutionary when it was written, and still is in certain parts of the world. But rather, God created men and women to fulfil different roles, for the purpose of illustrating different aspects of His character.

  23. Josh the Baptist says:

    Nadia should perplex all of us. She is everything we think she shouldn’t be, but if you listen to her, she really does seem to have the fire of the Gospel in her soul.

  24. Xenia says:

    I haven’t participated in this discussion because it occurred to me that I don’t really care how Protestant churches arrange themselves because from my POV, they have already departed (most of them) from what I consider to be proper “pastoring.” I believe proper pastoring is liturgical. A priest should hear confessions, baptize babies (and others) unto salvation, call down the Holy Spirit to change the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, etc. Since (most) Protestant pastors don’t do any of these things, what’s it to me if on top of all this they let women get up and attempt to teach the Bible? Have at it, I say.

    As has been noted here, for those who want to be or have a woman pastor, they can find plenty of places that will welcome them. For those who don’t, there are still a few remaining traditional churches that will never have women priests/ pastors.

  25. Jean says:

    “but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.” (1 Cor 11:5)

    What do readers here think Paul meant in this verse, where he appears to assume that women prophesy in church?

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think he means something different than we think he means about prophesies. He may just be speaking of general praying and exhorting each other. Were all the women pastors? I doubt it, but they all probably prayed and prophecised just like the men.

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “As has been noted here, for those who want to be or have a woman pastor, they can find plenty of places that will welcome them”

    Really this is more a political agenda / political correctness than a church agenda. People are not satisfied that women have a huge selection of churches who will make them pastors – it has to be all of them.

    One day, we will get gender shamed into hiring women. It deja vu of the gay movement.

  28. Jean says:

    I don’t disagree MLD, but it is evidence (unless I’m missing something) that he didn’t expect all women to always be silent in church. So, a woman could, for example, be a lector.

  29. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia makes a very relevant point, and one I almost brought up yesterday. I tried last week to make a case that being a pastor is supposed to be far more than the sermon/teaching. I find it interesting that many, many here are fairly critical of the modern evangelical focus on the pastor as simply the teacher, the guy in the spotlight putting the people in the seats with his 45 minute (or longer) in depth message (with a couple songs and an offering thrown into the mix) – and who you never have access to the rest of the week.

    There seems to be fairly decent consensus that this is more wrong than right in America’s evangelicalism.

    Yet, the discussion about women pastors here seems almost exclusively to be about how well they can study and effectively teach just as any men – and there is no question that is true. That they should have their “shot” for the 45 minute spotlight too.

    But as has been noted, there are plenty of places for women to teach within the larger Church structure, including seminary, authorship (The Baker series has a woman author for one of their exegetical commentary and it is excellent).and various places within the local church – as well as various areas for leadership and service, among adult men (not just other women or kids) in local churches and denominational structures.

    Seems like a disconnect to me.

    More and more of the evangelical churches with the lengthy teaching pastor in my area are independent. No affiliation even in a Calvary-like sense, but just independent local community churches. There is absolutely nothing stopping any conservative Biblical female from starting up such a church, just like the men are doing all over the place – from a little home Bible study to eventually a functioning church. She does not have to join a liberal denomination to be a female pastor. If American evangelicalism is all market driven, corporate model anyway, let the market decide…..right? A woman can go to seminary, get a degree, and give it a shot and see if the Lord raises her up. This is America after all.

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think he meant don’t shout out a question in the middle of a sermon or as my wife does at church speak to loudly and say “MLD, wake up, pastor is speaking about your sins, you need to hear this – wake up.!”

    Paul didn’t want to hear that in church. 😉

  31. Steve Wright says:

    So, a woman could, for example, be a lector.
    Jean, As I said, our church a few months ago began congregational reading. We have an intern doing this at present but eventually our plan is to incorporate our younger people in this role and we will have young women and men doing so.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    MLD, In India women sit on the other side of the room as the men in church services. They also cover their heads when they pray with the loose flowing part of their sari.

    I think the reference to the Corinthian letter and the specifics there (many very cultural) is off the mark given the women pastor key passage is in the pastoral epistle of 1 Tomithy.

  33. Jean says:

    MLD and Steve,

    I don’t disagree with you, but the reason I am bringing this up is because later in the same letter Paul wrote:

    “As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.”

    On the face of it, there is a contradiction. In various conversations, although not on this thread, some people latch on to the verse about women prophesying in church, while others like this verse better.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Steve, I agree. I tried to say that with the slavery issue – just because slavery was once not frowned on and now is has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not women can be pastors. The only answer I get back is the slippery slope stuff.

    There is not a single issue that has been brought up here that relates to the topic. It relates only to that topic.

    The accommodation of problems is a real issue. Because women have been abused in the church, the way to right the problem is to make them the boss … or it seems that is the message,

  35. Michael says:

    The message is that I believe you can make a viable case for women in the pastorate without being accused of disbelieving the Scriptures or rebelling against their authority.

    There is no campaign here to demand that all sects ordain women.

    There is no campaign here at all except to advocate for thought and consideration of the matter more closely.

    There are excellent theological arguments on both sides…I just want them both heard.

  36. Steve Wright says:

    In 2001 we (our small Bible Study of which I was the teacher), started a church with me as the pastor. After being the one to search for months for a location, we finally found and rented a place to meet on Sundays, created a name and filed it with the State, opened a checking account, bought some premise liability insurance, got our tape ministry going and someone to print bulletins, and made friends with a local donut shop and coffee house. 🙂

    We were wholly independent, this was NOT a Calvary Chapel.

    Any woman could do the exact same thing in America.

    Oh yeah, it was wonderful, and also extremely hard, sacrificing work, especially for yours truly who, as such a pastor, was basically the one doing 90% of the above listed work. The donuts, coffee, set-up, all of the stuff in addition to the pastoral job of teaching, praying, counseling, funerals etc.

    I was also working a fulltime job and taking no salary from this start-up, while my wife was raising our son at home.

    That is where I imagine a wrinkle if a woman with a young family wanted to do the same thing, but I am sure if there was a will (a call) there would be a way.

    I agree with MLD, this is not about freedom or opportunity…this is largely about everyone else affirming what presently they do not wish to affirm. And THAT is where the connection to the gay marriage issue in our culture is found. The pressure to affirm as proper what one is convicted by their faith is not proper. Sure two people of the same sex can commit to each other and live a great life together. Sure a woman can oversee the church and no doubt do a skillful job in a Christ honoring fashion. However, some of us think both are improper and not according to God’s will. Not saying they are equal in their improperness, but improper they are. It is a conviction and if one does not share that conviction then like Josh said last week, they should go forth either to a likeminded denomination or independent and serve the Lord.

  37. Steve Wright says:

    My last comment, last paragraph not directed at Michael

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Burleson said that if you evaluate vocation by gender instead of gifting, you are wrong. Sounds like a line in the sand to me.

    But as I have said several times, it is a lost issue – women are pastors. This is why I am careful who I commune with (The Lord’s Supper type of communing – not the general fellowship type.)

  39. Steve Wright says:

    Our secular world, and the media, government etc. will never ask of a church, do you baptize babies? Do you speak in tongues? Or any other theological issues of the kind and expect a certain answer.

    They will (have begun) to ask, Do you ordain women pastors? And those who do not answer in the affirmative will be seen as bigoted and not given the consideration that there are theological arguments on both sides. You see some of it here in the comments (other thread). Churches like mine, MLD’s, Xenia’s (to give three very different examples) are keeping half of the Body of Christ down and robbing the whole Body of their gifts. That is not a comment acknowledging doctrinal difference charitably.

  40. Michael says:

    I’m still looking for the place where I said any group should change their convictions.
    The women I have spoken to about this matter have no desire to force themselves into any group that won’t have them.

    I’m convinced that many of the ways of “doing church” are soon to end.

    There will be a new move of God just as there have been through history.

    Perhaps it will be in that new wine that women will be given full participation in the church.

    In any case, I will still continue to honor and respect the beliefs and traditions of my Reformed, Lutheran, Orthodox, etc, brethren.

  41. Em says:

    more and more what makes sense to me is that the role of a pastor isn’t what we’ve made it to be…

    i’m not so sure that he should be the one up there every Sunday morning teaching – he should be qualified to sit in the front row overseeing the teaching – perhaps when it is necessary to do so, subject them to the “foolishness” of preaching…

    liturgical services avoid the problem in some ways … (a homily is not really teaching – IMO)

    that’s just where this discussion has led one old pew sitter … 🙂

    i am quite certain that evangelicalism, fundamentalism and whatever “ism” is functioning in a time and place to draw men (generic) to Christ – to redemption of their souls – is quite acceptable and used by God – whatever gender loves and serves

    as i understand it there was a time in history where the common man, the really poor and destitute weren’t really welcomed to sit in the pew on Sunday, hence they began to form their own awkward gatherings to satisfy their spiritual expressions of love for God – hmmm …

    there’s an opportunity for a scholarly fundamentalist evangelical (yes, we do have them) to write a book? ‘Christian Elitism Down Through the Ages’ 🙂

    wow – this ramble has really rambled this morning

  42. Em says:

    MIchael posted his #40 while i was rambling – yeah, that’s what i meant … i think

  43. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To be fair Michael, when I speak about my view of communion, baptism the liturgy etc, I am forceful but I never come out and say anyone should change their convictions, view or position… but that’s what I mean. 😉

  44. Michael says:


    That’s not what I mean.

    I think there is value in all these traditions…and I could be wrong in my own convictions.

  45. Andrew says:

    If American evangelicalism is all market driven, corporate model anyway, let the market decide…..right? A woman can go to seminary, get a degree, and give it a shot and see if the Lord raises her up. This is America after all.
    Wrong! Steve, I’m not sure if you are being sarcastic and poking fun at American Evangelicalism that you are part of or if you are dead serious and think you actually are giving wise counsel to want-to-be woman pastors. What constitutes success in your eyes of the Lord raising her up?

  46. Xenia says:

    The other night I called my pastor about a situation that was brewing with someone and I felt quite out of my depth as to what to do. He knew the whole story and we talked awhile. See, I couldn’t carry this burden but he could. He carries a lot of similar burdens. I could not do this, neither could his wife, neither could any woman I know. (I am sure there are women who could.) Men and women are different. My pastor doesn’t have a lot of patience with crying babies. I have an enormous amount of patience for crying babies, as does his wife and most women I know. Men and women are created differently. Being a pastor involves more than giving a good teaching or even conducting a flawless liturgy. In a very real sense, a pastor has to carry the burdens of his flock in a loving yet dispassionate way.

  47. Steven Wright says:

    Andrew. My “counsel” for would-be women pastors actually interested in what I might think ought to be obvious by now. Don’t. That’s my counsel.

    If someone wants to argue with me about it, then my counsel is, go ahead. You don’t answer to me.

    If someone complains about opportunity, then my post above applies. She can do what many, many men have done and continue to do.

    (Amen to Xenia #46)

  48. Josh the Baptist says:


  49. Steve Wright says:

    Oops…that’s still me. I had to set up a new device and I must still be in full registration mode 🙂

  50. Josh the Baptist says:


    Wasn’t he that mumbling comedian from the 80’s?

  51. Andrew says:

    Steve, I get what your saying but what do you say about men wanting to start a church? This pioneering spirit of just give it a shot is the Calvary Way. My question though is how do you measure success or for that matter failure? Is it where God guides he provides? Because this saying applies equally to both men and women.

  52. Steve Wright says:

    This pioneering spirit of just give it a shot is the Calvary Way
    Actually Andrew, I think the Calvary way usually involves a sending church, a pastor who has been serving in that church being sent forth to plant….I am speaking of totally independent churches with no connections. That is why I used my own situation as an example. I wasn’t sent by any Calvary. A woman could do the same. Nothing stopping her from it….

    And I don’t believe or measure “success” – in any way shape or form. Just be faithful to whatever and whoever God has called one to service.

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