It’s been trendy in Christian circles to say things like, “You don’t go to church, you are the church”. A great number of books have been written to show how we should live as the “church” in our non-Christian communities. With this emphasis on “being the church” in your “community”, you might even start feeling bad about gathering in a dedicated building on a Sunday. Home churches seem all the rage.
While I’m overstating the case here to be controversial, what I do hope to show is that we can indeed go to church on Sunday and that we are not “the church” as we live as scattered Christians in our non-Christian communities1. Before you accuse me of heresy please read further.
We live in an age of professionalism and specialisation. If our air-con breaks we phone the air-con specialist. If our child is sick, we don’t go to the GP but the paediatrician – who sends us to another specialist. If the bulb goes in our car’s headlamp, cars today are so sophisticated, we often have to take the car to the specialist at the dealer to replace a simple bulb.
Even in the church, the minister is seen to be the professional. The thinking is that we need ministry done – so we pay the minister to do the ministry. If he does his job well we are happy and might put more money in the thank-offering.
Ephesians 4:11-12 breaks this Christian professional mindset. It says,
(v11) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (v12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…
There is a debate as to whether or not women can hold the office of deacon. Here is why I think they can:
1. It’s biblical
One of the key passages is 1 Timothy 3:8-13 which says, “Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.” (ESV) Continue reading Why women can be deacons
We might be tempted to view churches with big attendance figures or large membership registers as successful. After all, they must be doing something right? Very often it’s the mega-church pastors that get asked to speak at conferences on church-growth and whose services are recorded for TBN. Mega-churrch pastors often write books that share their “secret” with the rest of us mediocre pastors.
Mega-churches may be very successful, but they also may not be.
Why don’t we have any women pastors in our denomination? Why do men lead our Sunday church services? Does Christianity squash women? What place do women have in ministry? The apostle Paul answers most of these questions in 1 Timothy 2:8-15, one of the most controversial passages in the Bible. The whole letter is all about how Christians should conduct themselves in the church (3:15). When reading this passage (as with the entire Bible) we must be careful to distinguish what is cultural (changeable) and what is a general or eternal principle (unchangeable). Continue reading Why women should not be pastors (The gender agenda)