Reclaiming Womens Leadership in the Church

In a recent article, “Losing My Religion for Equality”  regarding  former President Jimmy Carter and his brave stand for WOMEN especially in the church world is both exciting and encouraging to Christian women (and  women from all cultures and religious backgrounds). Here a man who was part of a religious organization (that discriminates against women) for six decades decides enough is enough. President Carter says, “…my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was however, an unavoidable decision when the conventions leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husband and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.”  As I read his quote, I immediately remembered a chapter “Daughters of Eve”  from a book I’m currently reading titled, “Why Not Women?” by Loren Cunningham and David Hamilton with Janice Rogers. In this particular chapter the authors (with decades of research regarding women in ministry) clearly states that according to the scriptures Eve was not Adam’s property (Lee Anna Starr), in fact she was his companion and helper, which means “equal” (page 96-97).  “God had a great destiny for men and women. When He first laid out His plans He said, “…and let them rule over…all the earth.”  That’s shared leasership, with global implications. As if to underline this, God then “blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.'” God’s mandate was for BOTH of them to rule.”

As we can see God’s original plan was for man and woman (Adam and Eve) to work together as equals and that his plan was one of a joint leadership, and that his plans had “nothing to do with gender”.  He did not say, “Adam, I give you all authority over the earth, including this woman, Eve!” No, he spoke to “them” together, as a couple, as an equal team, “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28. 

When President Carter shared in the statement above, (his disagreement with the religious beliefs from the SB Convention)”…Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin…” I realized that  this belief and false interpretation of the scriptures is both preposterous and untrue.  And even IF it were true, if God had given Adam such superiority over Eve, he would (in my opinion) be the most at fault because he would have failed  God’s instructions to rule and have dominion over the serpent by helping Eve to see that this was pure deception. But as we all know, according to the scriptures that is not the case.  As “equals” in their leadership together, they were both guilty of disobeying God’s instructions to “subdue” “rule” over the “every living creature that moves on the ground” which included the  serpent and his deceptive lies. Let’s not forget that they were together when they shared the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, “The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.” The later of this verse is biblical sound proof that Adam was just as much at fault as Eve!

As a woman preacher and pastor I love the fact that President Carter acknowledges that women are indeed called to serve in the church as ministers, “I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets.  It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.” 

If you would like to learn more regarding sound biblical truths of women in ministry and leadership positions ordained by God, I encourage you to read my blog, “Woman Preach!” I share numerous scriptures that prove God has indeed called and equipped women to represent him as ministers. In my article I also address the issues of women speaking and teaching in the church. This blog is also the inspiration to my upcoming NEW book  regarding the call of women to speak for and represent God in the church and abroad.  Follow this blog and “Woman Preach” for updates of its release. You are also welcome to follow Pastor Nina Tidwell on Facebook.
Thank you and God bless you all.