Do Women Make Good Ministers?

Roger E. Olson | 8/9/2017 | Staff
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Do Women Make Good Ministers?

Confession: I grew up in a form of Christian life that had women pastors, evangelists, church planters and, of course, missionaries. The only thing women could not do in church life was, apparently, serve as denominational executives. I don’t think there was any rule against it; it just didn’t happen—except in those few denominations founded by women.

Birth - Mother - Stepmother - Ministers - Gospel

Both my birth mother and stepmother were licensed ministers of the gospel. (I don’t recall whether either one was ordained and neither one served as lead pastor although both worked alongside my father, functionally serving as co-pastors of our churches.) This was a very conservative form of Christian life; we were fundamentalists in doctrine if not in mentality. We called ourselves “evangelicals” and described our form of Christian life as “full gospel,” but we interpreted the Bible as literally as possible (although inconsistently so).

However, when it came to those New Testament passages about women being silent in the churches and being submissive to their husbands, our leaders tended to interpret them as culturally conditioned.

Aspects - New - Testament - Women - Men

After all, there were counter-balancing aspects of the New Testament in which women taught men. I do not remember very much teaching about this matter; it was simply taken for granted that God had gifted women with ministerial callings and skills and it was not our place, as men, to question God’s gifts or callings.

Later, as I left that form of Christian life (Pentecostalism) and entered a new one (Baptist), I encountered strong opinions against women servings as church leaders—except “on the mission field.” I should clarify that this transition was before the explosion of modern or contemporary so-called “complementarianism,” before the rise of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

ABCUSA - Women - Levels - Leadership—both - Churches

The ABCUSA had by then come to accept women at all levels of leadership—both within the churches...
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