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Women in the Church : Points for Discussion

Posted by Remy on July 4, 2009

  1. Women do not get to lead the liturgical worship (liturgical worship in this case meaning: a covenant renewal service climaxing at the table).
  2. Only elders may lead the liturgical worship and only men can be elders. But that doesn’t mean “men” get to lead lead worship. Male genitals do not qualify you to lead the worship.
  3. Anything laymen do in the worship service, women may also do.
  4. The deaconate is not a liturgical role. Anything deacons do deaconesses can also do.

13 Responses to “Women in the Church : Points for Discussion”

  1. Dunno about point 4. In Presbyterian polity this is true, but I tend to thing the Anglicans have a better take in making the deacon a sort of junior assistant to the presbyter.

  2. *tend to think

  3. Remy said

    Would you separate the deacons from the deaconesses at that point?

  4. Yep.

  5. 1. I don’t like “get to.” It has an undertone of “nanny-nanny-boo-boo,” which is related to the envy that is at the root of much trouble re this general issue. A woman can’t think rightly about this unless she thinks, “I don’t *have* to” rather than “I don’t *get* to.”
    3. Disagree, but can’t articulate why. Any man in my congregation may pray out loud, but not any woman. I like that. In a pinch, we might call on an unordained man to preach, but never a woman. I’m cool with that.
    2. Again, can’t put my finger on why I’m not 100% with you here, but masculinity per se does make some difference in roles in worship just as it would in roles if the ship were sinking or the enemy were shooting — there’s a certain kind of generic leadership/servanthood that is innate to the design.
    4. There’s an authority (derived from the session) involved in the office of deacon that is not appropriate for women to exercise.

  6. (Oh, and I was deliberately, if not coherently, out of order there.)

  7. (Oh, and by “leadership/servanthood that is innate to the design,” I meant the design of masculinity, not the design of the male/female relationship.)

  8. Remy said


    1. All aspects of “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” are unintended. In fact, the idea of the post was to try and tidy up the way we speak about who leads worship. It is not men, it is ordained men. But maybe “get to” is the wrong way to say it as well. Appointed to the role. I would even add “temporarily appointed to the role” because elders are not in their eschatological position. Ultimately, they too will be among the Bride as the True Man leads the eternal worship.

    3. Well, I write these tersely for the purpose of discussion, but I could qualify these further. I would say that it is probably less egregious to allow a layman to take a leadership role in worship than a laywoman, but that doesn’t make it okay. Certainly in “a pinch” or in certain unusual cases a layman would be fine, the same is true of women, but this isn’t the standard.

    2. We agree. My point would be analogous to saying “I can play in the MLB because I’m a man”. While that’s true gender-ly speaking, that’s not the main qualification to being a Major League Baseballer. I don’t intend to discount the appropriate gendered appointed.

    4. Maybe I could be convinced to this, but I don’t see it now. Biblically, deaconesses should be commissioned to their role. I don’t think this means that all deacons and deaconesses do the same thing in the particulars, but they have the same office.

    I don’t think I have to say this, but I should add that I’m not the most studied guy on this so imagine me saying at the end of each of these an inquisitive: “Right?”

  9. 2. But I don’t think the analogy applies. A woman who was very good at baseball could (in theory) be in MLB, and a few have played NCAA football. But however she is qualified otherwise, by the mere fact of her being a woman a woman is disqualified from the ministry. There isn’t a gender based qualification, but there is a gender based disqualification.

  10. Remy said

    The analogy works fine taken the direction it was intended.

  11. Are you saying that it isn’t masculinity simpliciter that qualifies one? Masculinity is one of the qualifications, but it isn’t a sufficient condition?

  12. Remy said


  13. Sorry I never got back to this conversation….

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