Women, Church and God’s Kingdom

A few years ago my family needed a new church. So we were looking a couple of non-denominational churches in our town. The problem was that I quickly learned that none of them allowed women in leadership positions. But, as my husband pointed out, it’s not like I was looking to be made pastor. And we aren’t going to agree on everything. So I figured we could give them a shot. The problem became that at each of them I had the same experience. As I was sitting in service, something in me kept saying, “get up. Leave. Walk out.” Finally, it was more like a scream and I couldn’t ignore it anymore. So I walked out and didn’t return to any of them.

When I did that, a wave of utter peace came over me. I realized that it had been the Spirit in me which was telling me to leave. And I knew that never again would I be able to look at the teaching of the unique submission* of women as something we can agree to disagree on. Like Jesus said, anyone who, having put their hand to the plow turns and looks back is not worthy of the Kingdom of God. God had already lead me out of humanity’s old ideas about women and trying to ignore that to sit under churches which were perpetuating what I had been lead out of was like looking back.

The reason the issue of women in leadership, the church and family is such a flash point is because it gets to the heart of the challenge of what it means for the Kingdom of God to be made manifest among us. It’s not just a matter of the interpretation of scripture or rules governing churches, but is a potent sign of how we understand God’s Kingdom ways. Are they improved versions of our ways? Or is God calling us to utterly abandon our ways in favor of an entirely new Kingdom’s set of rules? What we’re seeing here is actually a spiritual battle between the stronghold of of the enemy’s ways which have reigned for so long and the coming Kingdom of God. (Yes, I know it’s not nice or charitable to say that fellow Christians are actually fighting for Satan on this issue. But as you will see below, I do believe it’s well justified. And I don’t mean to say that they are evil. We’re all just learning to grow up, after all.) Continue reading