Our church community is on a journey and right now I am reviewing (on behalf of my fellow pastors) how we apply our Complimentarian Theology to life at RFC (our understanding of God given gender roles).
As Complementarians we believe that church governance (elders/pastors) is a male role, whose qualifications are outlined in 1Tim 3v1-7 & 1Peter5v1-4. Elders/Pastors are men who are the custodians of the 4 D's of church life: they give Direction, set Doctrine, apply Discipline & Display a life worth imitating.
Our position as Complimentarians is not up for discussion.
But how we outwork this at RFC is. In particular the role of women in teaching the gathered church (both male & female).
I have been spending time today in 1Cor11v2-16, 1Cor14v26-39 & 1Tim2v1-15. In chapter 11 women can pray & prophesy (so long as they understand submission). Prophesy must surely include some element of teaching to bring strengthening or encouragement yet in chapter 14, women are to remain silent (context is prophesy & testing). In 1Tim2 women are not permitted to teach or have authority over a man. Clearly Paul is not contradicting himself and so we must be able to hold these in harmony.
We must also affirm that the great commission in Matt 28v12-20 is given to male & female and that teaching is part of making disciples. Lois & Eunice presumable taught Timothy (2Tim1v5) just as Prisicilla, along with Aquila, helped instruct Apollos (Acts 18v26).
The reason I blog on this without drawing any conclusions (yet) is that as pastors we want to let you know we are discussing this aspect of women’s ministry at RFC.
BUT, I am VERY NERVOUS about blogging on this. My fear is that we could turn inward and spend too much time & energy debating this and lose the great sense of momentum that Jesus has given us. Let's not do that!
Yet, I do sense this is a good time to nervously risk this conversation rather than confidently deny our sisters the opportunities to serve in this way.
To help you frame this, read this blog by Thabiti Anyabwile, I found the conversations in the comment section really helpful.