Cover 2016-06-12

Ron Writes

The Politics of Religion

One of the most frustrating aspects of the election season is the mudslinging. The name-calling and constant spin and twisting of the facts. The misrepresentations are exhausting. There’s an agenda to be pushed and opposing views must be marginalized.

The Christian Chronicle reported on a recent debate sponsored by “Lads to Leaders” on whether women should preach in “mixed-gender worship.” In an accompanying article about women preaching there was an unfamiliar phrase, “gender inclusive.” They stated that 65 churches of Christ in the U.S. were “gender-inclusive,” that is, women read Scripture, offered communion talks and lead prayers in the public worship. Of the 65, it was reported that 32 are also willing to invite women to preach.

The phrase “gender inclusive” clouds the issue. Christianity is gender inclusive. In regards to salvation “there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). Women are fellow heirs with Christ. They are part of the royal priesthood of all believers. Male and female Christians have the same Holy Spirit. To say that churches who call on women to serve through ways God has ordained are not “gender inclusive” is to misrepresent them. There’s not a church that I know that isn’t dependent on the service of godly women.

Too often the differing gender roles are presented as “what women are not allowed to do.” Women have been blessed by God and have just as many abilities and talents as men. It’s just as clear that God has called on men and women to serve differently in worship (1 Tim. 2:9-12; 1 Cor. 14:34-35). As one woman said, “how blessed they are to be a part of a church that values them as a priceless gift while remaining committed to the limits and freedom that God has placed upon them in the Scriptures.”

When asked if we’re “gender inclusive” what do we say? Should our answer be yes, we’re gender inclusive, but not gender rebellious? It’s a term like “pro-choice” that misrepresents the real issues. We are committed to being obedient to Scripture and to glorifying God.