Alright, so here’s the deal. J. R. Daniel Kirk called egalitarian pastors to action in getting women in the ministry, suggesting that they should be actively engaged in getting women to preach and teach in their churches. Dan Thompson wanted to know what Kirk was doing about the situation. Mark Stevens called for a bit more sympathy to the plight of the pastor and all that’s involved in the vocation. And now Brian LePort has weighed in by warning against committing what he has dubbed the “ivory tower fallacy,” which is the idea that academics aren’t involved in ministry by virtue of their academicinicity.
So I agree with all of the above on different points. I agree with Kirk that pastors who believe that women should be involved in ministry should “open up space in [their] church for women to preach and teach.” I think Dan has every right to question the academics who challenge the pastors about what contribution they’re actually making. And I really agree with Mark that the pastor’s job is not to be an activist. And Brian is correct to note that not all academics are detached from ministry. A great many seminary professors are also pastors, elders, deacons, etc.
But it’s Mark’s point that I resonate with most. I remember a while back I had mentioned that I taught on women in ministry in my church’s Bible study (at my pastor’s request; I honestly had/have no desire to teach on the subject). One commenter said, “I think the church needs more women in leadership. I think the my fellow evangelicals have missed out on the riches that comes from different voices in leadership.” I replied, “I’d say that I think the church needs as many women leaders as God calls. Same for men. No more, no less. The problem, as I see it, is in leaders leading who are not fit to lead (regardless of gender).”
So what’s the point? The point is this: God calls people (male and female) to ministry and the pastor’s role in all of this should not be to actively seek out women to preach and teach as if that’s their responsibility as egalitarians; rather their role should be in providing a place for anyone to preach or teach whom God has called. So Kirk is right to say that those who want to do something about it should open up their pulpits. Amen. And Mark is right to say that pastors have other things to be concerned with than activism for whatever the hot button issue of the day is.