I don’t think it was meant to be a controversial post. Tim Challies was offering tips on how to publicly read Scripture. Good tips. But one little comment has set off a firestorm. In his church, rx only men can publicly read Scripture because it is a teaching ministry.
Complementarians and egalitarians alike rose up in the comments and asked about this. So, he offered some clarification. Oh boy. And all that clarification did was blow up the issue even further.
Scot Mcknight weighed in: Anyone who says reading Scripture is a teaching ministry is just making stuff up.
Chaplain Mike brought it to the attention of the I-Monk community: Women should be allowed to read Scripture publicly. Restricting women from doing so has no theological foundation and will only lead to a lot of overscrupulous nonsense in practice.
Sarah over at Emerging Mummy says she’s done fighting for a seat at the table: Enjoy your table, gentlemen.
And Rachel Held Evans put out a call for women to rise up and prophesy: To those who will not accept us as preachers, we will have to become prophets.
And the conversation continues today as Derek Ouellette suggests that egalitarians commit eisegesis in trying to harmonize equality (feminism) and Scripture. He suggests that egalitarianism collapses all gender distinctions. The majority of egalitarians I know do no such thing. Are there distinctions (biological, psychological, etc)? Absolutely. Is there equality? Absolutely. Does being egalitarian mean sacrificing maleness or femaleness? Nope.
Grrr. Round and round and round we go. The two sides aren’t learning anything from each other. People who believe that women should be allowed to teach, preach, and prophesy will line up and cheer Scot and Rachel and Sarah. Those who don’t will line up and cheer for the other side instead.
I don’t know that there is any more fruitful discussion to be had about this topic around the blogosphere. It just ends up being a way for those who already know which side of the debate they’re on to affirm their position and sharpen their polemic against the other side.
Part of me is tempted to do a self-imposed moratorium on writing about women and ministry issues on CW Theology.
Part of me says, “Amanda are you nuts? Writing about women in ministry brings in the big page hits.”
Part of me wants to throw everyone in a UFC cage and let them fight it out — The last person standing wins.
All of me is tired.