A few weeks ago I was on a Q&A panel at SEBTS for prospective students and I was asked a really good question that sparked my thinking. Before I jump into the topic, let me give you a little background information.
Since marrying the Hubby, I’ve switched churches. When we first started dating, we were at two different churches and neither of us wanted to switch until our commitment was official. Once we were engaged, I slowly started letting go of responsibilities at my church and started “merging” over to Ben’s church. Now that we’re married, we’re fully at his church and I’m working on switching my membership over to his. During this process I’ve been searching for a solid older married woman (30+, but preferably 40+) to disciple me.
A few weeks ago, we heard one of our church’s pastors speaking and I turned to Ben and said, “I want to be discipled by him, but I’m a girl… and that would be awkward.” He quickly agreed. But this pastor is a phenomenal thinker and his knowledge of Scriptures consistently impresses me. I love how he is consistently reading a variety of books and how he relays pertinent information in such a way that everyone can understand. He is such a gifted teacher and I would love to sit under his teaching! Ben and I both agreed, me being discipled by an older man would not be the wisest of situations, but it brings me to my topic… Where are the brilliant female theologians in our churches?
While on the panel at SEBTS I was asked a question about being female at a Southern Baptist seminary. In summary the lady wanted to know whether or not women were treated as second class citizens. Were women viewed solely as future preacher’s wives? I’m not going to delve into that question here, but the short answer is no. But regardless, even if the opposite was true, should we allow an unbiblical idea stop us from becoming good theologians? There is a shortage of good female theologians in our churches and I’m wondering why.
Regardless of your stance on whether women should be “teaching” in the pulpit, in Sunday school rooms, deacons, etc., we can all agree that older women are called to disciple others, the Great Commission is not gender exclusive. So in light of this, I’m trying to process a few thoughts… Humor me and help me develop my thinking.
1. All Christians should be Christian Theologians. We should all be “studiers of God.” If we believe in the Gospel, shouldn’t we all be good learners of the Scripture and strive to think and live rightly in this world, both men and women alike?
If this is true, then…
2. The studying of Christian theology should NOT only take place in seminaries. It should NOT be only taught from the pulpits. It should not only be well understood by men. It needs to be taught in our homes, in our friendships, in our families. This practice must permeate every sphere of our lives. Shame on us if we push off our responsibility to “academia” or solely to men. The Bible is for the rich, the poor, the young, the old, the brilliant, the not-so-brilliant, and for male & female. Each of us have the responsibility to be good stewards of Scripture.
3. Christian women, you are called to study Scriptures and to disciple others. It’s not optional. The Great Commission was not for men alone. If you feel called to seminary and you let a few men who have an inappropriate view of complementarianism get in your way of learning, shame on you. Who cares what they think? You have a responsibility to learn Scriptures well.
Which leads me to point #4…
4. In regards to learning Scriptures well… Ladies, no offense to Beth Moore (and seriously, I mean no offense), but we are fully capable of reading the same books that our brothers in Christ are reading. Our understanding of the Gospel needs to be equally robust as theirs. Be well rounded in what you read.
And lastly, this final point is mainly for me…
5. For those of you who are working through women’s issues in a more conservative church than you’d prefer. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, but make sure your attitude is in the right place. Recognize that you, like every other member, have submitted yourself to the authority of the church. Ask good questions, learn from the leadership that you’ve placed yourself under, and try to develop a spirit of humility. Pride is a dangerous thing and it seems to show itself frequently in Christian debates. Be open to the Holy Spirit changing your heart just as you would pray that the Holy Spirit would change the hearts of your pastors and elders.
Alright yall, those are my thoughts… I’m still growing, learning, failing, and then starting the process again so feel free to reprimand my thinking if I’m off.