Need some input

My wife and I moved to take jobs in September, 2008. When we moved, we started a search for a new home church. We quickly settled in where some of our friends who lived in the area attended. There are many things about this church that we love, specifically the church’s focus on creating small communities within the large community and a strong emphasis on no strings attached service to the surrounding community.

But there’s been a huge sticking point for us, one that’s come to the forefront of our minds over the past two weeks because of a recent sermon series – the roles of men and women in the church (and to a lesser extent, in the home).

Put simply, our church toes the traditional Evangelical line as it relates to gender roles, i.e., that men should assume all leadership roles and women should submit to men as leaders. Over the past two weeks, one of our teaching passages included extensive discussions of the church’s position in his sermons.

My wife and I are firmly committed to the idea that Egalitarianism is the only tenable, viable option for the church’s future, and we advocate for that idea whenever possible. I don’t expect to change my church’s mind. They are firmly committed to the Bible and their interpretation of it here. Similarly, I am not open to changing my mind on the issue; it’s nonnegotiable for me and for my wife.

The question I do have, though, is this: Is this issue something we should leave our church over?

We honestly don’t know, and we’ve wrestled with it for over two years. Were we to leave, we’d struggle to find a church as focused on serving the community as this one. Further, we don’t know that we’d find a church as committed to Egalitarian ideals as we are. Undoubtedly, we’d be “homeless” for a significant amount of time.

I’m writing about this here because I value the opinions of those who have chosen to follow this blog. I’d appreciate any perspective you may have in the comments.

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5 thoughts on “Need some input

  1. I was never involved with a church that I didn’t have at least some theological disagreement with, some were deal breakers, some were not. I never joined any denomination, because I didn’t believe in promoting the division of the body of Christ.

    In regards to your dilemma, I guess it all depends on how serious they are about it, and whether or not they become critical of you and your wife.

  2. I think it all depends on what you see your future in that particular church as far as equality for Ashley and any desire she may have to teach, but more importantly for your future and what you want your kids to see and live. The question that also has to be asked is if they aren’t open to women teaching or leading are the suppressing anything else in the church that God may want to be able to use but are not “allowed” to. Leaving but having no home to go to is not a great thing to do either, maybe doing some searching around (which I suspect you have) to find a church that more fits what your looking for. I pray you find what you’re looking for.

  3. I think that a careful, contextual reading of Paul might indicate that the role he is indicating for women is somewhat liberating compared to the standard of his day. If that is truly the case, it is a bit asinine for your church to move backward on an issue that Paul was trying to move forward…sorry if that is a bit blunt. Any church that uses scripture to increase prejudice or discrimination of any sort against any demographic of society (that isn’t defined by a sinful nature…although even there the church should act with great caution and humility) has probably done a really poor job of exegesis and hermenuetics, I would argue. Therefore, only you can decide if this issue is worth leaving a church over (justifiable either way), but maybe another issue is what else have they got wrong that could tip your decision even more? A difficult decision and circumstance, sorry.

  4. I too would struggle with such a teaching. My wife and I are equals in ALL aspect of our lives together. There are aspects for us where I take on a definitive leadership role as an aspect of what works for us being one in front of God. Past teachings that we have sat under contrary to this has served as nothing more then a point of division for us. Anything that does not edify and raises you up as one as part of the Christian body warrants attention and resolution.

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