Back in July I linked to this New York Times story about a movement within the Roman Catholic Church seeking to expand candidates for the priesthood to women and married individuals. A college friend asked me to write something on my views of women in church leadership. Before I begin, let me offer some disclaimers. With a topic as complex and controversial as this one, a single blog post is not going to cover all the angles and I’m not going to even try. A series of posts would be better, but even a series would barely scratch the surface. Whole books have been written and organizations have formed that explore the role of sex and gender in Christian theology. Those works go far deeper than I intend to go in this post. If my argument feels cursory, know that it is so by design. Also, I hold my convictions on this topic so strongly that I can be a bit of a jerk to brothers and sisters who disagree with me. To that end, this post might be a good exercise for me to grow in charity and civility. So, here we go.
Allow me to state my conclusions first. I believe that church leadership should be based exclusively on the gifts and calling of God as confirmed by the community. In my study of the Bible, theology, and Church history, and in my experience of being in communities of faith my entire life, I believe that God does not call people into ministry nor bestow gifts for service based on their sex and/or gender. This is all to say that I am convinced God calls women into church ministry and those who are so called and gifted should be able to serve in any church office. There should be no limit on ordination or types of ordination placed on them because they are women. There should be no limits placed on them regarding to whom they can preach and teach or what they can proclaim. I believe with respect to leadership roles in churches, be it lay or ordained, men and women are entirely equal.
Now I will briefly — and trust me, this is brief — detail what I have learned from studying the Bible, Christian theology, and Church history, as well as from my own experience.