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Sunday, March 25, 2007

The gift that is in you

I should not have read this post - but I did. A pastor's wife wrote and recounted that she has been asked to contribute to the worship service. Should she contribute and, if so, what? The post explores this question. May a woman lead in worship?

The author of the post then quotes from Randy Stinson.
    It would depend on how that particular church understands the degree of authority that she holds over the assembled congregation and the extent to which she provides instruction. Is her position understood as one of authority over the congregation similar to a pastor/elder? Does she provide doctrinal commentary between songs or other doctrinal instruction to the choir or congregation? Does her “leading” involve the exercising of authority over others or, rather, the providing of leadership regarding timing, tempo, music, etc.? Does she direct the church to a particular song in a hymnal and invite those assembled to praise the Lord, or does she engage in more biblical exhortation like a pastor?
The post discusses how a woman may contribute in a musical way and never with an exhortation or doctrinal teaching. And then the blog author concludes with these words 'enthusiastically support your husband with your musical gifts.' But at no time does the woman indicate that she has musical gifts!

How sad it is to be told that God only wants back from us something that we may never have been given. Randy Stinson is teaching that the sexes are different by design at a conference in April.

On a related note, I attended a seminar on the history of psychoanalysis this week. Near the end of the talk the speaker said this.

    What is most important for me is that we each have an 'other' - not someone to help us change - but someone to help us be ourselves. The boy and girl need a caregiver who helps them to be themselves, their true selves, not a caregiver who wants to change them, who wants them to be something they are not.
    Here was a man who all his life was driven by knowing that his parents had not wanted him to be the way he was. How often are Christian men and women told that God, our father, does not want us to be the way he made us?

    What do the scriptures tell us about gifts. First, they are not distributed by sex. Next, God determines how they are distributed - he gifts people by his grace and according to his will. We are to desire gifts, we are to earnestly seek them, we may receive them through the agency of others, but we are not to neglect the gift that is in us.

    The gift, the χάρισμα, is a product of God's grace and favour towards us - it is not of our own doing. We are to seek earnestly to be ourselves, to develop and use the gifts given to us for the common good and for the glory of God.

    There are several different Greek words which are all usually translated into English by the word 'gift'. The two most common ones are δωρεὰ and χάρισμα. It is interesting to see how a few different translations deal with an instance where both words are used in one verse, Romans 5:15. The blue are χάρισμα and the green δωρεὰ.
      ἀλλ' οὐχ ὡς τὸ παράπτωμα οὕτως καὶ τὸ χάρισμα εἰ γὰρ τῷ τοῦ ἑνὸς παραπτώματι οἱ πολλοὶ ἀπέθανον πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἡ χάρις τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἡ δωρεὰ ἐν χάριτι τῇ τοῦ ἑνὸς ἀνθρώπου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς τοὺς πολλοὺς ἐπερίσσευσεν

      But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many KJV

      But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. ESV

      But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! TNIV

      15But [shall] not the act of favour [be] as the offence? For if by the offence of one the many have died, much rather has the grace of God, and the free gift in grace, which [is] by the one man Jesus Christ, abounded unto the many. Darby



    At Sun Mar 25, 04:06:00 PM, Blogger opinion-minion said...

    You have no idea how massively moving it is to find out that someone else who thinks that women can teach/preach. I was sitting here, tears in my eyes, feeling desperate. It is incredible (in the old sense of the word) that every women who dares to voice dissenting opinions is immeaditely marked as an ungodly Jezebel, who wants to rebel against God.

    The only reason I want to teach is because I love to study. I love to teach. I love to share the knowledge that comes from hard study, I want to watch people understand more fully what the Bible says. That's right.

    I become most angry when some male person blithely blathers that women can and should be perfectly happy to teach women and children. OK, so why aren't you satisfied to limit yourself to women and children? What is someone told you that the great, huge yearning of your heart, your passion, was absolutely forbidden to you? You were surrounded by people paranoid about accidently violating supposed rules from God? You're not maliciously trying to hurt or subvert, or harm anyone in any way.

    Please, I say, if you must insist that women cannot preach, than you must also admit that there is sacrifice involved. Real, gut wrenching sacrifice. Quit telling me that it means nothing, while you blithely assume the pulpit every Sunday, totally unaware of the amazing gift that you have. Stop glossing over other people's pain, if you insist on inflicting it.

    At Sun Mar 25, 04:21:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

    First, OP, I have to say that I was so enthralled with your excerpt on Muddle House of the Preacher of Cedar Mountain by Seton. I may buy that book - fantastic writing. Of course, I am so familiar with his other works and with the area he was writing about.

    Next, I appreciate what you have written here, OP.

    Fortunately for me the pain is blunted by the fact that I would rather write than preach. But I reject the notion that women should not interact on par with men.

    I am shocked to read books funded by conservative Christian organizations that purport to present an exegesis of biblcal passages and are instead full of errors.

    Should I as a woman not attempt to set the record straight?

    Read instead about some of the women that have preached. Have you seen my post on the seal of apostleship or Catherine Booth.

    The best way to read my other posts on women leaders is to click on the label "women leaders" at the bottom of the post and read all the posts that show up in this series.

    At Sun Mar 25, 07:42:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

    Opinion-minion I hear your pain. When men tell women what they cannot do as if our words, our gifts and our thoughts might somehow contaminate men, women come out looking suspiciously like second-class citizens. This view does give some men a lot of pain too because, oh my goodness, what would happen to them if they found themselves in a position to have to listen to a woman?

    One of those unfortunate men who may have had a lot of pain because of me is Randy Stinson. Poor guy! Want to hear about his pain? Okay, I'll tell you. A couple of years ago I did major research on the women's issue and from that research produced a script and a DVD series called "Women in Ministry Silenced or Set Free?" In the DVDs I used CBMW's audio tapes and contrasted their teachings with a verse by verse exegesis of the hard passages of scripture and the end result was that CBMW's position is unsupported by scripture using the original words, the original grammar and the ideas already expressed in the hard passages (in context) before the "difficult" passages.

    So here is where it gets interesting (or painful!) I wrote CBMW to see if they would like to review copy of the DVD set. They answered back that they would very much like to review the DVD set (especially since it was refuting their view). Randy Stinson is the one who viewed the DVD because he is president of CBMW. Poor dear. I guess he didn't know that the teaching would be coming from a woman and watching the entire DVD was just too much for him! After CBMW had the DVDs from February 2006 until late summer of that year, in answer to my request for a review or comments regarding the teaching, I was told that Randy Stinson could only get through a portion of the teaching and then ultimately he threw the DVDs in the garbage. Apparently his conscience could not stomach any woman's teaching so unfortunately he was unable to provide any refutation. I do not know how far he got in the DVD set but CBMW has never countered any of the arguments.

    It is especially noteworthy that CBMW claims that no egalitarian has ever answered why Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2 that Adam was created first and Adam was not deceived. Well, if Randy Stinson had listened as far as my third DVD in the 4 DVD set, he would have known that they can no longer claim that these verses have not been exegeted by an egalitarian.

    So just so you know that some men do have pain too when they are forced to listen to women teach. For some it assaults their male ego and apparently Randy Stinson has one of those male egos which is very, very delicate. His ego is so delicate that he can't listen much to a woman's teaching even if it is for the purpose of refuting her.

    It brings to mind the verse that says that the eye cannot say to the hand "I don't need you." Apparently Randy can say "I don't need you" because he isn't about to let a woman teach him anything. It is just so sad.

    At Sun Mar 25, 08:04:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


    I wholeheartedly agree with your thesis that men who wish to subordinate women most likely have a lot of pain in their life.

    However, unless a man has told me in so many words and given me explicit permission to talk about it I don't usually mention it to others.

    I appreciate the spirit of your comment - don't get me wrong.

    However, I have myself a very delicate ego, in fact, most of us do. Therefore, I try to restrict my criticism of others to what they have written and published.

    On the other hand, I might criticize someone in private. I am guilty. I am very human.

    We also should not presume as to why a person might throw something in the garbage. I have been deleted so far by about 6 conservative blogs. I wouldn't want to attribute motives to the authors - they just did it.

    But yes, the facts are that the CBMW and those writing for it do publish articles whose theses disagree with the facts presented in the footnotes.

    At Sun Mar 25, 09:21:00 PM, Blogger Cheryl Schatz said...

    Hi Suzanne,

    While I do agree that many men have a lot of pain in their lives and many have a poor self esteem so that they need to push others down in order to feel better about themselves, I was writing more or less tongue-in-cheek regarding CBMW's inability to watch the DVD. I do not believe that Mr. Stinson was hurt by watching the teaching. Instead his teaching and that of CBMW has done much to hurt women and stifle the use of their God-given gifts. I should have stated a little more clearly that CBMW is responsible for encouraging men to push women aside and these men are not the ones who are being hurt. I find it amazing that CBMW can come against women teaching the bible to mixed groups and now are even claiming that egalitarians are coming against the gospel just by being for women's freed to teach God's word - see

    It is my contention that Christians should be respectful to one another especially when there is an area of disagreement. However having said that, I do not dispute with anyone expressing their pain in strong words. If men are going to restrict women in using their God-given gifts, then they need to be "man enough" to listen to her pain. Jesus requires us to love one another as we are members of the same body. I do not see the love coming from CBMW that should be there for their sisters in Christ. I am not criticizing you at all for the way that you write nor the way that you express yourself nor others that express their pain. Complementarians need to hear this and take note. They also need to start looking at women as valuable to men in the body of Christ.


    At Sun Mar 25, 09:50:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...


    I am now listening to the clips you provide one by one. I thoroughly appreciate all the work you have done.

    I have been shocked at what I have heard so far. It is terrible to think that some people will live out their lives in this kind of culture. It is very disturbing.

    Thanks for all your work.

    At Mon Mar 26, 01:55:00 AM, Blogger DavidR said...

    "God determines how they are distributed - he gifts people by his grace and according to his will."


    David Reimer


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