Thursday, June 11, 2009

Guest post

Here's my first guest post - From Harriet. A couple of book reviews and some helpful ideas.
1. The most helpful book I read was called "The Ministry of Women in the Church - Which Way Forward" by Ward Powers (former NT and Greek lecturer at SMBC, also a linguist!). He starts with a broad picture of how radically counter-cultural Jesus' and Paul's attitudes to women were, then goes through all of the relevant NT passages in detail. I found his discussion of 1 Timothy 2 particularly helpful. He points out:

a. The text could faithfully be translated 'a wife' and 'a husband'
b. Most translations add it the heading 'Instructions on Worship' (NIV) etc. but there is no evidence that the context is public worship. In fact, the references to prayer 'in every place' (v8), modest dress (vv9-10), Adam and Eve (vv13-15) and childbearing (v15) all suggest that the context is actually the one flesh marriage relationship in the home.
c. The text bears remarkable similarities to 1 Peter 3, where the same words are translated as 'wife', 'husband' and 'quietness' rather than 'a woman', 'a man' and 'silence'.

2. There is also a good discussion on this in John Stott's book, "Issues Facing Christians Today". I tend to follow the guidelines he formulates for whether or not I should preach in a particular context:

a. Do I believe I am gifted to preach?
b. Am I adequately trained to preach?
c. Am I faithfully teaching the apostolic gospel, as recorded in Scripture?
d. Am I in willing submssion to the senior minister? Has he invited me to preach? Is he happy with the content of my sermon?
e. Am I in willing submission to my husband? Am I showing respect for him in the way I preach?
f. Am I preaching in humility and not seeking glory for myself?
g. Do I have the consent of the congregation to preach?

For these reasons, I preach in the morning services, but not in the evening service. There are some people in the evening service who would not be comfortable to have a woman preach.

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