In a future post, perhaps I will write about the journey that has preceeded my current view of women's ordination. (Spoiler: There was a time when I identified with "complementarianism.") In this post, however, I'd like to share from my current approach to the subject of women's ordination due to its relationship to God's reign of shalom and God's New Creation.
The Narrative Arc of Scripture: Rising Action
The Scriptures begin and end with a vision of God’s reign in which God is glorified in and through a world characterized by shalom—wholeness, justice, peace (Gen. 1-2; Rev. 21-22). In the beginning, this shalom is seen in the garden where God dwelt with humanity. It was there that God gave humanity the vocation of bearing his image in the world, the calling to share in his care for all life. The unity and diversity, cooperation and distinction, of men and women reflects the unity, diversity, cooperation, and distinction of the triune Godhead. However, humanity joined Satan in rebellion against God, sin disordered God’s good world, and the image of God humanity bears became distorted. The world, now ravaged by sin and oppressed by wicked powers, continues to exhibit the effects of humanity’s fall. Patriarchy, the systemic oppression of women by men, is just one example of the many ways wicked powers and sin have corrupted God’s world and shattered shalom.
The Hero Enters the Story: We are Caught up in His Quest
In the incarnation, ministry among society’s powerless, teaching, death, resurrection, and ascension of Messiah Jesus of Nazareth, God has initiated the final stage of his restoration and recreation of our world. In Jesus, God has begun to make the world right again—to restore shalom. From the very beginning of Jesus’s ministry, one of the ways this restoration manifests itself is in his counter-cultural empowerment of women, his granting of women revolutionary dignity, and his summoning of them to be his disciples alongside men. Women are the first evangelists or apostles, called to share the testimony of Christ’s resurrection (Mt. 28.1-10; Mk. 16.1-11; Lk. 24.1-12; Jn. 20.1-18). All those who have heard the good news of God’s redemptive reign (whether men or women), have responded with repentance and faith, and have been regenerated by God’s Spirit are added to and become a new type of society of Jesus, set apart from all other worldly societies (Acts 2.38-41). Through this new society, made up of Spirit-empowered disciples of Jesus, New Creation is flooding into the world (II Cor. 5.17). The church is God’s called-out, peculiar people; it is not conformed to the ways that govern the world. Instead, it is being transformed into the ways of the New Creation—and the church pre-figures the culmination of New Creation in its worship and mission. In the church, all of Christ’s disciples are united, gifted, and empowered by God’s Spirit to cooperate with God in carrying out his redemption mission.
The Hero's Quest is Lived Out in the Church: Tearing Down Strongholds
One of the ways this New Creation reveals itself in the church is through the destruction of worldly divisions and injustices. While in the societies of the world, distinctions such as socio-economic class, race, ethnicity, and gender are exploited to form barriers and oppress the powerless, in the church such distinctions are reframed and divested of any power to divide or harm us (Eph. 2.11-22). God’s supreme demonstration of self-giving love, Jesus’s cross, serves as the paradigm for all relationships in the church. We now voluntarily humble ourselves, serve one another, and celebrate diversity in the midst of our shared unity in Christ by One Spirit. Together, we all share the ministry of reconciliation—reconciling humanity to God and humanity to one another (II Cor. 5.11-21). God’s Spirit is being poured out on both men and women (Acts 2.17-18). We now all share in one priesthood (I Pet. 2.5,9).
Conclusion: The Implications of Shalom and New Creation on Women's Ordination
Therefore, in light of: 1) Scripture’s picture of God’s reign of shalom; 2) Jesus’s revolutionary ministry among women; 3) the work of Christ on the cross to destroy every barrier and triumph over all wicked powers; 4) the church’s location in the redemptive mission of God (already but not yet New Creation), I believe women should occupy every ministry role or office in the church as they are called, gifted, and mature.
Theological Graffiti is the offical blog of T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, urban church planter @NewCityCovenant, designer @NewCityPro, teacher, student, and friend. Discussion is welcome, so long as it is conducted in a spirit of charity. First and foremost, this blog is for self-expression—then community. More About.Me