Skip to comments.Vineyard Votes To Ordain Women As Pastors
Posted on 12/01/2006 9:47:53 AM PST by Alex Murphy
From time to time (most recently last week), the topic of whether or not Scripture supports women pastoring and leading churches comes up.
The topic revolves around 1 Timothy 2:8-15, and two schools of thought come up - one giving consent for women to serve as senior pastors, and one not allowing women to pastor.
The Vineyard, A Community of Churches (formerly known as the Association of Vineyard Churches) now sides with the former school of thought. In a letter sent to Vineyard pastors, National Director Berten Waggoner said that the AVC had decided to ordain women as pastors, while allowing individual churches the freedom to deal with the topic as they see fit Biblically.
The bottom line question was, "Does the national leadership have the prerogative to empower women at all levels of ministry in the Vineyard?"
After a long process which included plenty of discussion at all levels of the Vineyard denominational structure, the Board made its decision:
In response to the message of the kingdom, the leadership of the Vineyard movement will encourage, train, and empower women at all levels of leadership both local and translocal.The movement as a whole welcomes the participation of women in leadership in all areas of ministry.
We also recognize and understand that some Vineyard pastors have a different understanding of the scriptures. Each local church retains the right to make its own decisions regarding ordination and appointment of senior pastors.
The leaders of our movement, including myself and the members of our board are primarily pastor-practitioners and not professional theologians. This has always characterized our movement. Respected theologians and Bible scholars with current or historical ties to the Vineyard have taken opposite views on this issue based on their best reading of Scripture and careful theologizing. Given these limitations, it is not reasonable to expect that this issue could be resolved by Biblical expertise. It is not reasonable to expect that either position could be stated in a way that convincingly addresses all the objections from respected quarters. We can simply assure you that we have approached this decision prayerfully with our best reading of Scripture and spiritual discernment. We share this decision with conviction and clear conscience, but also with humility.
This decision is not a dictate passed down from the national leadership. Pastors continue to be free to handle these issues according to their convictions within the context of their local churches. It is simply a description of how we will act toward women in leadership as we endeavor to lead the Vineyard movement in the U.S. at the national level.
Chuck Smith Jr., in his book Epiphany: Discover the Delight of God's Word, seemed to take a similar position as the Vineyard, before stating "we need to be cautious about using this passage to legislate contemporary church practice, especially the practice of exclusion, until we have enough evidence to draw a more reliable conclusion" (Epiphany, p. 140).
A number of charismatic churches have ordained women. Most evangelical churches and denominations (including Calvary Chapel, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America and such independents as Mars Hill Church in Seattle) take the view that Paul opposed the ordination of women in leadership in 1 Timothy.
What's so difficult that different people have different understandings?
Which part of that is ambiguous?
Two years ago, John Knox in a private conversation, asked my opinion respecting female government. I frankly answered that because it was a deviation from the primitive and established order of nature, it ought to be held as a judgment on man for his dereliction of his rights just like slavery that nevertheless certain women had sometimes been so gifted that the singular blessing of God was conspicuous in them, and made it manifest that they had been raised up by the providence of God, either because he willed by such examples to condemn the supineness of men, or thus show more distinctly his own glory. I here instanced Huldah and Deborah." (John Calvin in a letter to William Cecil, 1559)
A woman is capable of articulating God's glory. But a woman should be designated as a teaching elder or as a pastor only as a last resort, if no man steps up and assumes the responsibility (and who then becomes "derelict of his rights.")
Sadly, we see men forsaking their God-ordained responsibilities in church and in their families all the time.
See Gen 3:16 re:"desire" and compare it with Gen 4:7 re: "desire"
Well, I suppose there is the question as to whether 1Ti. 2:12 is intended to be normative. "I do not suffer" does not necessarily indicate a proscription binding upon all local congregations at all times.
There is a case to be made that it is not. I'm not an advocate of that position, but one could be made.