Monday, October 13, 2008

MONDAY MUSINGS: Blue Parakeet, part 5

FROM MIKE: Check out this post at Jesus Creed about the release of The Blue Parakeet.

This will be my final post on the book, and then I will put a review on This book will be highly recommended.

The final part of Scot McKnight's helpful new book is a case study about the subject of women in ministry. Entire denominations have dealt with this contentious issue by appealing to the Bible. While Scot does not claim to give an exhaustive study of the matter in this book, he does outline an approach to reading the Bible that can help us approach controversial questions like this.

First, he gives personal background and stories to show how the issue of women in ministry has been a matter of disagreement in evangelical circles. He also sketches the main positions people have taken. These stances boil down to whether we are reading the Bible through the tradition (various forms of patriarchalism) or with the tradition (mutuality or evangelical egalitarianism). He advises the latter as the way that best understands this issue in the light of the whole Biblical story.
It knows the story of the Bible in which Jesus Christ makes men and women one again, in Christ and in marriage. And, in conscious dependence on the Spirit in the context of a community of faith that seeks to live out that oneness, it gives to women the freedom to discern what God has called them to do—whatever it might be, including preaching, teaching, and leading in the church. (p.161)
Secondly, in order to flesh this out, Scot looks at the Biblical material itself and discusses stories and texts concerning women in both Testaments, looking most intently at those passages that restrict women from exercising ministry in the church (1Cor 14, 1Tim 2, etc.). I think he argues convincingly that these restrictive passages must be read both in light of the whole story and in the closer contexts of the epistles in which they are found, and that when we do that, it becomes clear that Paul's restrictions in particular were based on situations in the early church that made limiting women's public ministries advisable.

He concludes:
...we are given a pattern of discernment in the Bible, a pattern that flows directly out of the Story, to listen to what God said in that world so we can know what God is saying to us through our world. (p.212)

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