Thursday, 10 May 2012

Why Men Should Not be Ordained for Ministry

This is stolen from some blog that stole it from some other blog. Credit as possible at the bottome.
In regards to the whole women in ministry / leadership debate which goes on in some circles of the church, though non I move in.

Top Ten Reasons Why Men Should Not Be Ordained

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

CREDIT: Apparently the top ten list was presented by David M. Scholer on February 20, 1998, at the Fuller Follies at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA. David’s version was taken, with small modifications, from a November 24, 1997 internet communication from W. Ward and Laurel Gasque, who have long been champions of Biblical equality.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Can One Church Handle Two Generations?

Here is a link to an article in The Leadership Journal of Christianity Today. Its well worth a read as it discusses the different attitudes and perspectives of a typically 'boomer' Senior Pastor in contrast with that of his typically 'postmodern/millennial' son who is also a Pastor in the church. The back and forth is really good.

It doesn't answer the question though, can one church handle two generations, or more accurately; these two different perspectives on the gospel and ministry?

I'd say the conversation gets a little more intense away from this interview setting.

What do you think?


Read the article here: Outlooks on Outreach

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


Daniel Kirk, writes about Johnathan Wilson-Hartgrove's latest book Stability here. Worth a read.

His message is simple: there is wisdom in staying put. There is fruit to be borne in committing oneself to a community for a long period of time. There is strength to be had from putting down deep roots.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Jonathan Martin on Women in Church Leadership

Came across this guy somehow the other day, Jonathan Martin. Never heard of him but loved what he had to write about women in church leadership and where Mark Driscoll has it wrong. Loved his conclusions and the spirit in which he wrote. Checked out his church website too (Renovatus) and their manifesto/vision/values really resonated with me. And... not only that they fuse Pentecostal passion and ancient liturgy. Works for me!

His argument doesn't engage in a critique of the biblical texts, though like most of us egalitarian's he'd be more than happy to go there. He writes from a different angle here and it's worth a read. Here.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Forgotten Elements of Leadership in 1 Tim 3:1-7

I’m busy working my way through the so-called “Pastoral Epistles” in preparation for a course I’m teaching in April.  While working through this passage, I’ve noticed that within much contemporary preaching and teaching on the topic of leadership, or at least what I’ve experienced, there has been an emphasis on certain elements within this “list of qualifications.”  What usually gets discussed or debated is the “one woman man” phrase; whether or not all elders have to be “skilled teachers”; and then “managing one’s household”.  It is also taken for granted that those in leadership should not be addicted to alcohol.  But what of the other elements in this passage? 

Firstly, the passage mentions that those who want to be leaders should be people “against whom no charge can be brought” (Barrett, 58).  This indicates someone of impeccable character with no obvious defects in their behaviour.  Then the double whammy of “self-controlled” and “self-disciplined.”  The first word refers “to being restrained in conduct, self-controlled, level-headed,” while the second is a cardinal virtue in the Graeco-Roman world, a characteristic of those who are in control of their faculties and their responses to stimuli or situations.  Such people evoke confidence in their ability to handle crises and make difficult decisions.  Then we have the word “respectable” or “dignified” which was often used as an epithet for honourable people. 

Then, the one I’ve learnt the most about recently, is “not given to violence.”  The word has a wide meaning, including bullying, verbal abuse and physical acts of violence.  To the contrary of this negative aspect of character, leaders are called to be “gentle” and those who “create peace,” as opposed to those who cause “fighting”.  Gentle, “as a human virtue can almost subsume all virtues into itself, coming to mean a “virtuous equilibrium” that expresses itself in a balance between honesty, tolerance, and gentleness” (Towner).  And those who “create peace” or are “peaceable” are those who do not stir up fights, both physical and non-physical, but bring healing and restoration.  It is the exact opposite of what is described in Titus 3:9 and 2 Tim 2:23-24. 

I wonder what would happen if we restored the balance and gave as much attention to these elements of character and life as we did to the other elements.  I wonder what kind of leaders we would produce by focussing on such elements.  I wonder if those who are in leadership positions shouldn’t spend a bit more time reflecting on these elements of their biblical “job description.”  On a final note, Jesus embodies these virtues perfectly, and it is by implementing his character and concern for others, empowered by the Spirit (Titus 3:5-6), that we will be able to be such leaders in God’s household.  

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I kissed a lady other than my wife...

Yesterday our family and a couple of other families got together for a picnic dinner at the beach. It was awesome to have friends and friends of friends gathered. After a wonderful evening under the setting sun, with kids and Dads jumping in the shallows, and mums relaxing and chatting on blankets (well away from the water) it was time to return all the starfish to the ocean and head home. Friends of our friends packed up first and began their farewells. Kisses were exchanged between our friends and their friends. I however was expecting a wave or a nod or a ‘see you next time’ especially as I did not know this couple that well. However I was approached and it was immediately obvious that the ‘farewell kiss of peace’ was about to be offered.

Now this is an extremely biblical and Christian practice, take a look...

Romans 16:16 — "Greet one another with a holy kiss"

1 Corinthians 16:20 — "Greet one another with a holy kiss"

2 Corinthians 13:12 — "Greet one another with a holy kiss"

1 Thessalonians 5:26 — "Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss"

I Peter 5:14 — "Greet one another with a kiss of love"

There is something beautiful and wonderful about a kind of friendship or even simple appreciation of the ‘other’ where greeting and fare welling is accompanied with a purely agape kiss. Amongst many other characteristics it is one of the beautiful parts of the Mediterranean cultures of Italy and Greece etc. Obviously it can be distorted, but at its best it is a wonderful affirmation of the value and worth of others, be they long time friends or people you’ve just met at a picnic at the beach. I love it.
The only thing is... it’s not something much practiced in my circle of friends.

(Though I do know of one friend who on moving to Australia greeted with the kiss explaining it as how people rolled back in NZ. Then on returning from Australia greeted with a kiss explaining it as how people rolled back in Australia. Nice work!)
The long and the short of it is that I’m not an expert of the “greet one another with a holy kiss.” Do you go left or do you go right? Is it like road rules? Keep left at all times? What about if you are about to kiss someone who drives on the right hand side of the road? You’re going to have a collision.

In my naivety it turned out we had a half crash and I ended up kissing a lady half on the lips that wasn’t my wife. (Though my wife was right there and was next in line for a kiss). It was all very straight forward, beautiful really (in the most innocent sense), and we said our farewells. I quickly turned to my wife and our friends exclaiming how; “I hope she’s not going home enraged, complaining to her husband that I feinted left but went right at the last moment! I’d prefer not to have a black eye coming my way at the next family picnic.”

All in all it wasn’t really uncomfortable at all and it was a reminder that people are precious. Life time friends are precious. New acquaintances are precious.

God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and he created Eve. As well as that, God gave humanity each other, a whole community of people to journey with and stand with and have stand alongside you in the journey of life. That’s beautiful. Appreciate the people around you today.


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Proverbs 31 Woman

In the book of Proverbs, true proverbs, in the sense of short little sayings or little one liners of wisdom, are mainly found in Proverbs chapters 10 through 30.

Proverbs chapter 1-9 and then Proverbs 31 provide nice bookends that wrap around these pithy little wisdom sayings. They're not so much an introduction and a conclusion but they do serve to give a nice shape to the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 1-9

Chapters 1-9 are big long speeches from a father to a son encouraging him to walk the way of wisdom rather than the way of folly. The father encourages his son to become intimately involved with woman wisdom whose lips contain wise words, who is a tree of life that leads to blessing and peace. The son is told to stay clear of woman folly, the adulterous woman, the strange or foreign woman; her lips may drip with honey but in the end they lead to destruction.

Things culminate in chapter 9 where the son is to chose who he is going to have dinner with. Who is he going to become intimately involved with, Woman Wisdom or Woman Folly?

Woman Wisdom's invitation to dinner - Proverbs 9:1-6
Woman Folly's invitation to dinner - Proverbs 9:13-18

Proverbs 10-30

Chapters 10 - 30 are quite different though. Chapters 10 -30 is a collection of hundreds of proverbs that give us little pictures and examples of what the way of wisdom is or looks like, and what they way of folly is or looks like. They cover all sorts of different areas in life. There is no particular order to them. Random pieces of advice for life circumstances that are often random and unpredictable.

Chapter 31

Then we get to chapter 31, particularly the noble woman section of the chapter in verses 10-31, what’s this all about? How is it that this passage brings a conclusion to or wraps up Proverbs as a whole? How do these verses work as a bookend that round out Proverbs so nicely? This seems a big ask of the Christian wife! Or is it something else? Potentially it's a big ask of the Christian wife!
I’ve seen in the margin of one female friend’s bible the words ‘scary’ written (as well as a bit about finding a bargain underlined). One female preacher I know joked about not preaching on the Proverbs 31 woman as she is too intimidating. She’s been described as overwhelming with her burning of the candle at both ends to the point that surely no-one can be like her.

Ultimately the woman of Proverbs 31, this noble wife, is the personification of wisdom. Not the personification of the Christian wife. She is the human embodiment of Woman Wisdom whom we learn so much about in Proverbs 1-9. The Proverbs 31 woman isn’t about the ultimate wife, it's about what wisdom will do for your life. Proverbs 31 is a depiction of wisdom not of a wife. She is the contrast of the adulterous, foreign, strange woman of Proverbs 1-9. Don't sleep with the adulterous woman of Proverbs 1-9 whose lips drip with honey. Take the noble woman of Proverbs 31 as your wife and become intimately involved with her. By personifying wisdom as a noble wife the author is able to give concrete rather than abstract examples of what wisdom will do for your life.

The author is able to show us in a practical way what wisdom looks like when it begins to be worked out.

3:14 - more profitable than silver, better returns than gold
31:10 - worth more than precious rubies
6:6 - learn from the ants don't be lazy
31:15 - she is up before dawn preparing
14:21 - blessed are those who help the poor
31:20 - helps the poor and needy
3:35 - wise possess glory
31:23 - her husband is well known
24:14 - find wisdom, have a bright future
31:25 - laughs with no fear of the future
15:7 - lips of the wise give good advice
31:26 - words are wise and kindness in instruction
1:7 - fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge
31:30 - woman who fears the Lord will be praised

So we see this nice shape to the book of Proverbs with Proverbs closing out with a final picture and powerful illustration of what wisdom looks like - seen in the noble wife of Proverbs 31.

Don't be intimidated by the Proverbs 31 woman, be inspired!

In 31:10 it says a noble woman who can find? Lots of commentators wonder if this is a cheeky question. Who can find her? Where is she? A mystery? Doesn't exists! No one can find, she doesn't exist but is rather an ideal.

Tremper Longman writes, in his commentary on Proverbs, the description is an ideal and should not be used as a standard by which to measure or critique women.

Christine Elizabeth Yoder writes, Proverbs 31:10-31 remains a portrait of the most desirable woman, an image of the ideal wife intended for a predominantly male audience... She embodies no one woman, but rather the desired attributes of many.

The reality is there isn't enough time in the day to be the Proverbs 31 woman. She is simply an ideal of what wisdom could look like in your life. Woman should grow in wisdom like the Proverbs 31 woman and SO SHOULD MEN!!!

As men grow in wisdom they should grow to become more and more like the Proverbs 31 woman.

* It's a virtuous or capable wife or husband that is worth more than precious rubies.
* A virtuous wife is trusted and enriches her husband's life.
* A virtuous husband is trusted and enriches his wife's life.
The language of Proverbs 31 is gender specific because the author is using gender specific imagery to convey the message. In understanding the message for us today though we have to understand that it is wisdom that makes a wife a virtuous and capable wife and wisdom that makes a husband a virtuous and capable husband.

Activate wisdom in your life!

Too often people fail to activate and use wisdom in their life. They wait for a sign. Too often people sit around waiting, waiting for a word from the Lord, waiting for a ‘spiritual’ encounter to motivate them to engagement, waiting as they put out a fleece and look for a sign.

Of all the ways that Proverbs could close out, of all the ways that a book addressed to young men could finish, it finishes by paralleling wisdom to a fine wife.

- Wisdom; not a tall tree growing in a forest.
- Wisdom; not like an aged wine.
- Wisdom; not like a box of chocolates.
- Wisdom; not a grey beard, wrinkly skin, poor eyesight.
Nope - wisdom is like a wife, a noble wife, a companion with whom one journeys through life with. Wisdom is a companion for life like a noble husband or a noble wife is a companion for life.

Wisdom will prepare you for whatever is around the corner.

v.15 - up before dawn to prepare
v. 18 - lights burn late into the night
v. 21 - has no fear of winter
v.25 - laughs with no fear of the future
Whatever season, situation, or circumstance life brings at you, wisdom prepares you for whatever is around the corner. Not in the sense that all your t's will be crossed and your i's dotted but in the sense that whatever comes, wisdom will allow you to walk that successfully.

BearGrylls has a program called Man v Wild, in it he is...

- dropped out of helicopters
- knife, flint, drink bottle, national geographic polar fleece
- cross between MacGyver and Dr Doolittle
- doesn't have everything sorted before they drop him into the Andes, the Amazon, or the Arctic
- doesn't have a sleeping bag, tent, food, irb
- make a sleeping back out of a sheep carcass
- stuff moss down his top to keep warm
- drink his own pee to get hydrated
- eat worms, and beetles, and komodo dragons that he catches with his bare hands
And of course... he survives!

Wisdom is like that. It doesn't give you exactly every tool or instrument or piece of equipment that you might need for whatever the future might bring. It is though the God given ability to sort things out even though you might not have this that or the other thing.