Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Women in Mind

I have an almost constant sense of deja vu.

That is to say, I have been here before. The Church has been here before.

Whether it is the latest speaker who thinks women should stick to homemaking and having babies, men and women who think women are differently constituted and therefore can't or should not be leaders, or Christians who believe that arguments for women's leadership are new, when one can document them from the time of the early Church, and campaigning and debate started in the Anglican Church in 1930: we have been here before!

Because we have been here before, I become frustrated when it seems that the same arguments seem to go round and round, while all the while there is an increasing amount of scholarship - on both 'sides' of the biblical argument, it must be said, but most of the weight of argument, including a number of scholars who have changed their minds, on the side of those who believe that the biblical case for women leaders in the Church is very strong.

There is debate among younger Christians, influenced by certain US speakers.

There is debate among Anglican women wondering if God is calling them to ordination or to another form of authorised leadership.

There is debate for Anglicans on General Synod because there are decisions to be made about women in the episcopate (women bishops).

And there is debate in many parishes, certainly in every diocese, because those making the decision want to know what is the mind of the wider Church.

So because we are here again, a reminder about useful resources.

The biblical issues about women as leaders are addressed in the book Growing Women Leaders. This book also looks at women leaders in the Bible and through 2000 years of Church history. To buy a copy, click here.

And if you want a good discussion in your church about what the Bible says, why not download the Women in Mind resource: 3-session courses for groups who want to look at what the Bible says about women in ministry. These are FREE to download from the CPAS website: just click here.

I've been encouraged that nearly 1500 people have downloaded one or other of these courses over the past year. If you've used one of them, please let me know, as I would love to refine the courses further, and to encourage others. You can email me at rward@cpas.org.uk.