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Church job prospects

By Karen Soole, Evangelicals Now

So many voices are crying out about the ordination of women bishops. Many are expressing their pain at discrimination, their outrage at the sexism inherent in blocking progress, blocking their vocation. Into this fray I want to speak too, but my voice feels weak among all this outrage.

I am a natural candidate for ordination. I am a committed Christian who longs to serve Christ with all my energy. I love to teach the Bible, in fact I ache to teach the Bible, to introduce others to the wonders of Christ in the Gospels, to build others up in their knowledge and love of the Lord, to proclaim Christ so that he may be known, and I grieve at the ignorance in this generation of God’s Word.

Not only so, but I am available to begin a new career, my family are growing and, before I know it, will have left the nest. Surely now is my moment to fulfil my heart’s concern — I could go forward for ordination. It would satisfy my longing to teach God’s word and give me a ready platform from which to do it. It would provide me with a clear identity, a defined role and, most likely, a very helpful salary. When I sit in yet another service where the gospel message is fudged and muddled, I scream inside, I could do this better. It is tempting. Perhaps I should, and perhaps I could…

Equal but different

But I should not and will not go down that path, despite its attractions, because it would undermine everything I know to be true of Scripture. I have grappled with the ‘difficult’ passages about the role of women in the Bible over the last 25 years and how I have longed for them to say something other than they do. I have fought and wrestled with them and never been able to find wriggle room to escape two basic principles: that teaching authority in the church is given to a man, and wives should submit to their husbands. I have studied the debates about the controversial Greek in 1 Timothy 2, but cannot escape the clear instructions about male leadership in 1 Timothy 3. I have read the arguments about the changing face of culture, but cannot escape the fact that Paul argues not from culture, but from Genesis.

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