The Christian Life

Don’t Go Home

I wasn’t going to write about this…

Three people asked me what I thought. Not a ton, just three, “hey what do you think?” So here goes.

I’m not going to post links, I’m not going to get angry. I have a busy day. I’m not going to give the back story, if you don’t know it, so be it, you’re better off.

A lot of years ago, I was finishing Seminary and enrolled in a preaching class. It was a requirement. I was a youth minister at a local church and annoyed I had to take it but willing to pay my dues, in a class of all men and two other women. At the end of the first day our professor, who was young and vibrant and truly fantastic, but also a victim of patriarchal theology, called the women to the front to present “an exciting new option for an all women’s class the following semester.” We didn’t take it. It wasn’t an exciting new option. It was an age-old, oppressive option, one that should NOT have been existent in a school setting in 2004. That preaching class taught me more about practical ministry than any other class, and I am glad I stayed.

During that same time, I worked in a church. A church where, despite it’s Southern Baptist name and predominantly male staff, allowed (edit: ENCOURAGED) me to LEAD worship in the congregation, allowed me to preach to the students I served, and allowed me to train women AND men in the tools of discipleship. I am forever grateful. And spoiled. I know this is not the norm.

I learned to exegete scripture from Kay Arthur, maybe not a name QUITE as household as Beth Moore, but still widely influential. In the 1970s, my grandmother was collating Kay’s first studies in her Tennessee basement to share with other women in her church. There was no way she could have known that my mother and father and her grandchildren would literally learn to break apart and love scripture because of Kay Arthur’s faithfulness to speak, preach, train, and write. Kay Arthur, with a sordid past before she met Jesus, taught my family and scores more how to love the Bible.

I’ve been so so blessed. So many men and women have supported me in my ministry.

Many more women haven’t had half the blessings I’ve had.

When Gospel men tell Gospel women to go home, at this point in my life, you know who I feel sorry for? Those Gospel men, who may have missed a blessing of good teaching, who may have missed a chance to show the world the love that should define us.

When Gospel men tell Gospel women to go home, they are exalting a theology of scripture, who should preach it who should not, over the Gospel. They are drawing a line. They are dying on a hill. When all along, the Good News is the only hill we should die on with Jesus.

When Gospel men tell Gospel women to go home, to stop preaching, stop speaking out, stop talking, to be silent, that their theology is wrong-Gospel women aren’t the ones who are silenced-the Gospel is.

The spread of the Gospel has always been done by men and women. The very first preachers were women. They left the tomb proclaiming loudly that “He Is Risen!”

The man responsible for discipling my grandparents, my spiritual great grandfather-Herb, taught directly out of 1 Timothy 2:5 (NASB),

 For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. 

How did Timothy know Jesus? Lois, Eunice.

When Gospel men tell Gospel women to go home-it’s not the women who will suffer the most. It’s the gospel men.

Kay Arthur used to train people in Chatanooga, lots of people. And then they’d send the VHS tapes out to the world. My dad was in one of those tapes in the 1980s. Learning from a woman. When we were kids, we thought it was so cool, he was obviously famous. Now that I’m a grown woman, I see a humble man, learning everything he could, grateful to know Jesus better because a woman stood there and preached the Gospel.

When Gospel men tell Gospel women to go home, do we throw out their ministry and all they’ve done because of what we deem wrong and unkind theology? No. We pray. We forgive. We keep on because of the grace of the Gospel we love. And maybe we will get to see them learn the freedom of repentance.

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