My Library


Blog powered by Typepad

« There is a line of women | Main | 25thingsforadvent and more ... »

November 26, 2012


Chris Kidd

I thought this was a very helpful piece. It was interesting to read Juliet Kilpin's comments on this situation that in the BU women ministers account for 10% but in the CofE it is approx. 33% so the BU still has a way to go.


Thanks Andy, a balanced and insightful response

Phil Roberts

I'm an Anglican who was pleased with the vote last week. I have no problem with women presiding at communion and no problem with biblical preaching (I object as much to unbiblical preaching by men as well as by women).

However, by and large in the society that we live in - Women are willing to be led by men or women, men are not willing to be led by a woman. Yes, my best boss ever was female. So how many men will be enthused to come to church because it is led by a woman, how many neutral and how many turned away? We are a funny bunch us men. I just want as many men in church as possible (and later the Kingdom) and as many women as possible

Andy Goodliff

Phil that is a ridiculous argument!

Keith G Jones

Andy, thanks for this. We BUGB Baptists still fail to positively affirm the ministry of women in our midst in the way we should - Surely the Doctrine and Worship Committee of BUGB ought to have tackled this in the 20 years since David Coffey and I pushed for such a group ? Nevertheless, let's look at the positives - in recent years more women undergoing ministerial formation, Regional ministers who are women, a Deputy General Secretary, a College Co-Principal, three Presidents of the Union, Moderators of Council, Moderator of the Trustees, BUGB Executive Committee Moderators etc ... much better than the CofE. Am against complacency on this topic, but at least let's note that BUGB Assembly and Council (unlike C of E Synod) have been willing to affirm, appoint and support the ministry of women - lay and ordained

Jo Regan

There is lots of affirmation of women in ministry from BUGB but still a lack of females in ordained ministry and on council. When you think of how many women there are in our churches there should be more. The discussion on Facebook only highlighted the need for good teaching on this subject.

Thanks Andy for your recent support and blogs.

Bill Ferguson

Much of what you have to say is very commendable but when it comes to "proof texts", Galatians 3:28 is not a text which affirms woman in ministry but speaks to the fact that the social and other divisions which are highlighted in this verse are swept aside as we are now all one in Christ through faith. It is about status in Christ and incorporation into His body on an equal footing - no matter from where or from what we have come. It obviously has some very significant potential outcomes but it ought to be read in proper context.

Brian Davison

I agree with Simon's conclusion, but I think he's missed what Paul is doing in 1 Cor 11 & 1 Tim 2. He is not quoting the "creation order" and the argument from the apocrypha about Eve being led astray in support of temporary submission, but citing the familiar old arguments then countering them. 1Cor 11:12 negates the old "Adam was formed first" argument and the bit in 1 Tim 2:15 about women being saved through childbirth should have us diving for the greek text, because translated that way it negates everything Paul has taught on salvation!!
A better translation is that they will be restored through the birth of The Child. TO paraphrase: "OK women are put down, according to Eccelsiasticus 24 because Eve brought sin into the world, but follow that line and they are restored to status because Mary brought in the Saviour".

In short, he quotes the old arguments for putting them in their place, rips them up, and tells people to do what is helpful and culturally appropriate in their context, not because it is a creation order, but for the sake of the gospel, which for him, then, is more important than equality rights.

I explain this more fully in an ancient work (1988) and later reflections

Brian Davison

Phil there are good reasons why there are few men in our churches, but none are to do with women in leadership. the men in leadership have not stepped back ans stood in the shoes of their un-churched mates (if they have any) and asked why they would bother entering the door.
It's not about a male of female leader but about whether anyone there has thought about what makes blokes tick.

Steve Woolley

Thanks Andy for this thought-provoking article.

Did anyone see the piece by and the interview with Anne Atkins on This Week last week? She spoke sensibly about her own support for women bishops and her belief that women bishops will be appointed before too long.

However, she supported those in the CofE who being opposed to this measure did not have a clear undertaking to accommodate their position which would enable them to stay within the family of the CofE.

Her comments about the press misrepresenting and misreporting this minority carried a measure of truth in the light of the 'sensational' headlines that followed the synod's decision.
She used her own family situation to illustrate how the point of view of all members of the family of the CofE needed to be heard so that ultimately though not agreeing about everything they could continue to live together.

It seems to me that however strong the arguments presented for women in ministry are there are always going to some who are not persuaded! In the CofE and in BUGB, as Christians, we need to be tolerant towards one another so that we can continue to live and work together demonstrating a spirit of love and unity in our diversity.

Inevitably over 40 years of ministry I have personally been blessed by the ministry and fellowship of women and I am grateful to God for them. However, I have been blessed too by the ministry and fellowship of those who do not believe women should be in ministry. I don't want to lose relationship with either of these groups.

Some of the language and attitudes of those who tend one way or the other sometimes seem to be asking me to make a choice as to where I will relate.

Bill Ferguson

I saw Anne Atkins interview and was very impressed by her reasoning and also her castigation of the sensationalist press, and many Christians, who want to see this issue as pitting men against women and vice versa. She showed tolerance, wisdom and love, all things which are in scarce supply in this debate and I commend Steve Woolley for a contribution which displays all of these things.


It is still a massive struggle for women....and in my case as many others was very costly. I do not regret it or the stupidly long journey for one moment though and I guess it has developed in me a real tenacity, courage and patience as well as a more utter dependence upon God.

What is interesting is that I have found that men are increasingly being drawn into the church where I as a woman have been ministering (sole pastor) for the past year or so. It is fair to say that we have not yet had a great 'harvest' amongst the men, but there is definitely a greater desire to explore faith. Further, quite a number of men on the periphery have become more engaged and I am having some great in depth discussions with others. We meet in coffee shops and believe me there is no sense of it being awkward!

As for those already following Christ, this coming Sunday we will be having a bunch of people sharing how they have grown over recent months particularly relating their part in God's mission. About 50% of those speaking are guys.

Maybe the bottom line is that it is a matter of calling, not gender and if people are ready to respond, they will respond no matter whether the person leading is male or female.....because humility calls me to remember that it is not me that causes people respond, but the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit.

Roy Kearsley

It's been great to see the spirit and quality of all these Baptist contributions, from whichever viewpoint. It's a privilege to be part of it. Thanks Andy for starting it off. I've especially appreciated the contributions of Simon and Brian so my standpoint is not hidden at the start. I make two supplementary points only. Galatians 3. 28, I suggest, is very much about women's role in ministry. It is unhelpful to draw a distinction between a grace 'status' and ministry /gift roles. There is no such distinction. In Paul's advice to the Romans (12.1-6) gifting (charisma) is an aspect of charis (grace). Have the grace... have and exercise the gift that grace brings. Indeed service to others with our gift is itself the highest function of grace. In the Galatians passage 'status' is not the main concern. Paul's more concerned about life in the Spirit (see 3.3-5, 5.22,23), and a living union and relationship and freedom in Christ to serve one another (see 3.27; 5.5,6;5.13 and Ch 6) Calling to these is Paul's driving theme. So there's no distinction between a 'status' and roles of service in the Spirit. It’s all one living union with Christ and each other and a common calling to (missional) service to Christ. And on that score, there's no distinction between men and women. Have the grace and therefore gifting, must respond to the calling to serve.

Secondly this fact also bears on the laudable desire to hang on to a good relationship with all of whatever opinion. I don't wish to devalue this or be inflammatory. However, I invite men especially to imagine what it might feel like to be a woman for whom a barrier has already been raised between her and other (mainly male) believers, by the limiting of her gifts and ministry. Moreover, if a fellow female believer's gift, and so full grace in Christ, has been diminished, the pain of that ought to touch, and perhaps even damage, me her brother as well. Of course, I'll want to remove such a barrier without raising any more. But let's not imagine that there can ever be a situation of all-round good, healthy relationships in the Spirit where so much rejection is already being experienced. The quest for unity of spirit may not dodge or deny that harsh reality. This is why so many of us think that barriers to women's full exercise of their gifts are in very serious, foundational, theological territory indeed and are not about merely one more difference that exists between Christians. It can never be this to the women concerned nor even to those who claim to be their co-heirs of the freedom of Christ.


Thanks Roy beautifully expressed and Amen!

The comments to this entry are closed.