As a pastor I love women’s ministry. It is an integral part of our church and an integral part of my life as a husband. However recently we posted an article pointing out the simple trajectory that The Gospel Coalition seems to have been featuring just as many women bloggers as male bloggers on their site. I think women’s ministry to women is a very important part of the Christian faith and of the life of any church; however this does not preclude the idea that we should have women blogging alongside of men on any array theological issues. I was reminded of why this issue is so important to me yet again, recently I was on desiringgod.org I noticed the same trajectory as TGC, that is, about 50% of the blogs on John Piper’s website on any given day can be written by women. If John Piper wants to have a women’s segment of his website that would be a very positive thing. However this is not at all what’s going on. In fact the women that are blogging on TGC and desiringgod.org are writing on subjects that have nothing to do with women’s ministry or women’s issues at all— straying away from Titus 2 style ministry. So once again I ask the simple question, is this a good direction for the church? As for John Piper’s ministry, this is certainly a new direction a direction that he had not taken before a direction which took a conscious decision to make and no doubt a conscious weighing of the pros and cons of such a change to public ministry. At redgracemedia.com we have decided not to follow in that direction. Again this is not because I don’t think that women can’t and should not blog (they should), but because I don’t think that women should be given a teaching platform through theological blogs that are not directed towards women’s issues or a women’s audience. I gave the rationale for this decision back when I commented on TGC; but the gist is this: everything that we do in terms of ministry should be done with an analogy to the local church. Just because we are not within the walls of the church does not mean that we are free to make our own ministry parameters so long as they suit our purpose. No, in fact we should always think of what impact this will have on the local church and whether or not we would allow something within the local church. Given that paradigm for thinking, ironically taken from one of Wayne Grudem’s books on the threat of feminism, I don’t think it would be in the best interest of the local church to begin to allow women to disseminate theological content to the entire church either through public teaching or public writing. Maybe I have not come into “the times” of what is now acceptable among many mainstream ministries; but I still cannot help but avoid blurring the lines on the teaching ministry of the church (cf. 1 Tim. 2.11-12).
These lines are being further blurred by the rise of women faculty at Christian colleges and seminaries. Christianity Today recently issued an article asking the question, “Should Christian Colleges Let Female Faculty Teach Men the Bible?” Several opinions were expressed by several voices on this important topic. Not surprising, Craig Blomberg seems to suggest that the a seminary is free to do away with all ecclesiastical restrictions as long as they are not within the walls of the church:
“A college is not a church. It does not baptize, exercise church discipline, have elders and deacons, and so on. Biblical restrictions refer only to office (usually elders) rather than function, and that view simply can’t be fairly transferred to a college or even a seminary.”
–Craig Blomberg, New Testament professor, Denver Seminary
Sadly, someone as respected as Philip Ryken, seems woefully inconsistent when he hopes students can learn from women lecturing in the academy as he himself has; but then stresses that only the church should answer doctrinal questions on oversight:
“I hope and expect our students to learn as much as I do from the lectures, publications, and personal ministry of female faculty members. The academy is not the church, and as a college we support the church best when we leave questions of doctrinal oversight to the authority of the local church.”
–Philip Ryken, president, Wheaton College
The problem with this of course is that, promoting students (including men) to be taught by women faculty is a doctrinal (egalitarian) issue with numerous implications. The simple fact remains that church-like activity should follow the pattern of, well, the church. Grudem also expressed his opinion on the question, “Should Christian Colleges Let Female Faculty Teach Men the Bible?”:
“Mixed-gender theology classes should be taught by men. It is illogical to say a woman should train men to be Bible teachers and pastors when she shouldn’t be one herself. If women shouldn’t be pastors or elders in churches, then they should also not have that role in other contexts.”
–Wayne Grudem, theology professor, Phoenix Seminary
“Mixed-gender theology classes should be taught by men”, now, that was not that hard to say but if someone does not say it more and more steps towards the cliff of full-blown egalitarianism will be slowly taken. If I do not allow women to blog theologically in church, theological blogs outside of church and towards mixed audiences should follow suit— as will be the case on RGM.
Emilio Ramos is the preaching pastor of Heritage Grace Community Church. Pastor Emilio is committed to the expository and exegetical teaching of the Word of God. Emilio is also the author of Convert, From Adam to Christ and the founder of redgracemedia.com- a media ministry devoted to the glory of God’s redemptive grace through Jesus Christ. He and his wife Trisha live in Dallas, TX.