John Stackhouse on women in ministry

A little while ago I mentioned a book recently published by Zondervan called How I Changed My Mind About Women in Leadership.

John Stackhouse was one of the contributors, and over at his blog (just back from a break) he has posted his full chapter. Well worth reading in full, but here are the key reasons he changed his mind (not in chronological order):

1. He encountered good arguments written by male scholars.

2. He found the arguments of the egalitarians far more convincing than those of their counterparts.

I found that this reading of Scripture makes more sense of more passages than the alternatives—along with the important fact that it also makes more sense of church history and of our contemporary experience in a culture that, for once, is actually trying to treat men and women equally.

3. He was helped by the fact that these men were both scholars and evangelicals. They provided, that is, not just arguments, but examples to follow. “Their egalitarianism gave me a kind of permission to consider egalitarianism for myself.”

4. He was impacted by many women scholars such as Patricia Gundry, Letha Scanzoni, Nancy Hardesty, Alvera Mickelsen, Gretchen Gaebelein Hull, Catherine Clark Kroeger, Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen, Ruth Tucker, Janette Hassey, Elaine Storkey.

5. His continuous experience of meeting female Christians who were the spiritual equal of men.

Indeed, they seemed the equal of men in every way pertinent to leadership in church and society, and also to partnership at home.

6. And in addressing Christian men he says that:

We men will not change until we want to change, and one of the most powerful motives we will have for changing our minds is to alleviate the suffering of the women we admire and love—suffering that is obvious to women but often unseen by us men …  We men need to hear from women about what it’s like to be demeaned, disrespected, or dismissed. Yes, we can be told by other men to shape up, and that can help. Men certainly have responsibility here to speak up on behalf of their sisters, on behalf of justice, and on behalf of the greater good that accrues to everyone as women are treated properly. But we will respond more readily to exhortations from both sexes if we feel it, and feel how important it is. We need this powerful impetus to compel us to undergo the strain of actually changing our minds and hearts. Otherwise, we naturally will stay where we are, in the convenient and comfortable paradigms we have inherited.

2 thoughts on “John Stackhouse on women in ministry

  1. I left this comment over at stackhouses blog.

    I am depressed that you cannot find a resolution to Tim 2 . I am even more depressed that you have let this lack of understanding to allow you to believe what you do. This seems to me to be the cruncher passage. We are all aware that it has major problems but surely (whatever else it might teach) it at least teaches a difference between the sexes???
    I hear what you are saying about trying to do the best job of interepreting that we can do but that to me seems like a cop out. I would rather wait till we understand and keep the tradition we have inherited till then.
    I should add that i attend a church with women ministers and i enjoy their preaching. The debate in one manner seems preposterous to me- of course women can lead!! But i am keenly aware that could just very well be how the world around me has trained me. My issue with this issue is more to do with what i percieve as “possible” kow-towing to cultural norms. Many of the arguments that i have heard from egal’s could just as easily be used to justify sex outside marraige be it gay straight group or animal. I also could never get past why Jesus had 12 disciples all of whom were men. Anyway thats me. God Bless.

  2. And if I may respond to this comment, I’d just like to say that on Stackhouse’s blog he then states that he covers his theologically-based position more fully in his book “Finally Feminist” according also to his blog so please don’t write off the guy before reading his arguments in full! Thanks.

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