Lately, I’ve heard conversations about women in ministry nearly everywhere that I’ve turned. Some people are for it, and some are not. Often, when people first discover that I am a Christian ministries major, their faces tell me that they either wholeheartedly support my path or they oppose it to their very core. It seems that this path is one that is either celebrated or detested—there is no in between.
There are many scriptures that people use to support their positions, and there are countless strains of denominations and theologies that stand on either side of the frontlines. A simple Google search will reveal countless blogs, articles and Bible verses used to argue for or against people like me in ministry. I’m not here to argue about the presence or lack of biblical support for or against women in ministry; there is not enough paper for me to fully hash out my thoughts.
What I will say, however, is that in June of 2013, at a CIY conference on AU’s campus, I received an undeniable call to ministry. I couldn’t resist the call, though I tried to run from it again and again. Everywhere I went, the call lurked behind me. I heard the Bible verses playing in my head—women were meant to be Sunday school teachers and bake cookies and pies for Christmas fundraisers. They were not supposed to lead churches or preach regularly. That’s what I’d been conditioned to believe.
The cultural location of the Bible was vastly different than the culture of today. Although women are still, unfortunately, treated as lesser than men on a daily basis, we still have many more rights in today’s world than did the women of biblical times.
Just because we have more rights today, does that mean that they are of God’s will? Do women’s additional rights and somewhat newfound roles in the church align with God?
Well, I’ll be honest: I haven’t the slightest clue. However, when you consider the questions posed above on a deeper level, the absurdity of them is truly revealed.
Would God desire equality for the creation that He made in His image? If God created both male and female in His image, then God must also have pieces of female in Him. Over and over again in the Bible, God is referred to as a motherly figure. Would God have created women in His image if he desired for them to be lesser than men?
And, truly, does any of this matter? I would argue that it doesn’t. Women in ministry believe that Christ died on the cross for our sins and rose again three days later. That, my friends, is the only salvation issue that we possess.
No view on women in ministry—or gay marriage or abortion, for that matter—has the power to separate us from salvation. If you do not support women in ministry, that is perfectly reasonable. However, be wary not to turn your theology into a salvation issue for yourself or for others.
Push always for an intimate relationship with the Savior, and stand firm in your convictions. But in all of this, be careful to never stand in the way of another’s path or to tear them down for a theology that is not perfectly in line with your own. Keep talking and keep asking questions, but in every situation, keep away from condemnation. Love one another, and remember that, no matter what you believe about women in ministry, we are here. We are living out the call that we believe that God placed on our lives—and no negative comments, angry words or judgement will stop us.
Nikki is a sophomore Christian ministries major from Mitchell, Indiana.