I am going to discuss the role of women in the church and contentious issues, particularly when the passages such as 1 Timothy 2:11-14, and 1 Corinthians 13:34 talk about women should be silent in church. And slightly discuss the women in the society.
The Role of Women in the Society
Women in the modern society
Women today are coming forth in modern social trends. This feminism may appear too extreme and rather threatening to the male ego, yet the role of women in current society has drastically changed. Perhaps there is some explanation for their actions. Women are now regularly performing duties that were traditionally assigned to males. They are attempting to fight the continuing stereotype established during the earlier part of the century. The pretty image of the perfect fifties wife is rapidly evolving into a more suitable projection to accommodate their new role in today’s society.
More than two generations ago, a girl was expected to abandon her academic pursuits and assume the role of a housewife. She would completely devote herself to the preservation of the female-oriented position of homemaker. As time has progressed, fluctuations in the economy have made it necessary for a woman to obtain a career in order to fit in the society.
Strange as it may seem, the family roles have not changed much in today’s society. While girls and women (not only Polish) have more opportunities in home based employment, the traditional roles of women are still quite evident. They are still the caring provider and nurturer of young infants and children, the comforter for the crying child and the feminine presence of the household. While the husband’s role has diversified into more household chores and the cooking and cleaning up responsibilities, they are still considered the head of the household. In the absence of the man, can the woman really “be like the man”? I think yes. There are women who are capable in finance, Do-It-Yourself fixtures and fittings, even being a capable single parent and bread winner. In this respect, women will have to be like the man. Of course, the woman cannot match the physical strength of the man. The other aspect of “thinking like the man” is a definite no. This is through experience. Women generally look at the details and forget about the overall picture. They have the capability of juggling more than one issue at a time unlike the man. And she is more tempered to her feelings. And because of this, the focus is not there to make a sound judgment. Men on the other hand, are more focus and look at one thing at a time. They are less prone to feelings and therefore they are better at seeing the overall picture. I think for this matter, a man balances up the woman and vice versa.
If we look at the example of a family with the wife who tries to be like the man, we have a situation where the roles are different now, because of the presence of the man. Man, no matter how gifted or ungifted have a certain ability to say that he is the man in the house. And for the wife to usurp his position there will be certain unrest in the overall relationship. This may not be currently evident but it will become an issue at a later stage. Subtle hints are always there and if the wife chooses not to suspect or confront the situation, it will lead to a crisis.
Men and Women in Worship
I will begin by what Paul stated concerning men and women in worship that men should adopt a respectful attitude as they pray and also women should pray with an altitude of respect, just like men. It might be a different thing in that church which Paul was addressing. Women face particular problem, in that it is easy for them to become preoccupied with their appearance and with looks that take time to achieve. It’s true that Descent and Honorable behave matters far more to God than jewels and expensive clothes. Beside if Christian women who posses God’s worship are too concerned about their external appearance they will forget the essential and will have neither the time of doing good deed.
It’s important to emphasize that Paul was not forbidding beautiful jewelry or lovely hair styles to all Christian women of all time was warning against becoming so attached to clothes and fashions and forgets the most important thing that is pleasing God by doing good deeds.
Paul Advice Women to Be Quite During Teachings
This advice has raised much debate among Christians in Africa, especially since the raise of feminist theology that asserts among other things, the right of women express themselves. Certain versions of the Bible have tried to get to get around the problem of translating 2:11 in a more acceptable way while still being true in the spirit of the text. The massage translates this as ‘ i don’t let women to take over and tell men what to do’. This translation assume that Paul give this advice because women were talking positions of authority and even of dominance over men, which was unacceptable in the culture of that day. The requirement for silence in association with teaching may also indicate that the women were talkative during time of teaching and worship.
Paul advice women to be silence not because of inferior, but as a sign of their submission to men and of acknowledgment of men’s authority. They will then be obeying the Oder that God established at creation. In applying this instruction in Kenya today, we need to think carefully about how women express their submission to authorities and to men.
THE ROLES OF WOMEN IN CHURCH IN KENYA TODAY
The role of women in the church is a contentious issue, particularly when passage 1 Timothy 2:11-14 is a regarded as laying down absolute rather than general principles within a particular culture. The focus should fall on the biblical call for all human beings to decern what is the will of God in their live ( roman 12:2) Jesus radical mission of transformation for liberation. Means that women and men are equally called and empowered to participate in the same mission in the church. What women and men do depends on our obedience to the guidance and empowerment of the Holy spirit.
Because of the entrenched culture and sexist attitude and practices, and the male-dominated leadership in many of the churches especially in the Maasai land, women in Kenya church have critical and prophetic role to play in ‘ stirring waters’ and ‘ speaking the truth’ by asserting their God given humanity and gift – not for their own sake of integrity of the gospel. many women in Kenya church have continue to claim their full potential and have taken leading roles. like the Samaritan woman ( John 4:1-42) when women in the Kenya church drink the water offered by Jesus, they go out to witness and spread the word of truth in their homes, villages, communities and churches with determination, boldness, courage and humility. for example the like of Teresia Wairimu, Esther Obasike, Bishop Magret Wajiru and many of great women of God which some have founded churches , preached, taught christian theology seminary schools and translated scripture into different languages in Kenya.
Where the church have listen the voice of the Holy Spirit , they have realize that scripture grant women a place in all ministries of the church. And women have been rightly ordeined to serve in all ministries of the church.
A careful examination of the Bible will yield an understanding of God’s intent for women and men to be full and equal partners to serve and worship Him. Perhaps the easiest point to make and understand is that there are many biblical examples of women leaders. The following women were divinely called to lead, were affirmed by their religious communities, and were specifically recorded in scripture as part of God’s revealed truth. A few examples:
- Miriam – prophet; played major role in Exodus; led worship singing and dancing
- Deborah – prophet; judge; led Israeli troops into battle with Barak
- Lydia – business woman who became a central leader in the Philippian Church
- Priscilla – helped Paul establish churches at Corinth and Ephesus; corrected Apollo’s preaching
- Phoebe – deacon; commended by Paul for her service to the church
If by design God created women not to be leaders, then he would be going against his own order and intent to place women in leadership; but God does not violate His own design.
In the beginning humans were created male and female in equality and partnership reflecting the image of God both individually and together as a plural unit. The sequence of creation does not signify importance or superiority. Adam is not superior because he is first; Eve is not the new and improved model. Instead, Eve is called Adam’s helper. The word helper, however, is not used as an indication of rank as in “a boss and an assistant.” The Hebrew word is ‘ezer and is also used to describe God by Moses in Exodus 18:4 when he says, “My father’s God was my helper: he saved me from the sword of Pharaoh.” Since God is called a helper also, we need to maintain the original elevated biblical definition of this word, and not submit to a culturally lowered interpretation in our understanding of God’s creation design
Adam and Eve are both punished for disobeying God. One of the consequences of Eve’s sin was a distorted relationship with Adam. However, God in his mercy promised a reversal of the fall and restored divine and human relations through Jesus Christ.
Restoration in Salvation: Salvation through Christ reverses or removes the punishment of judgment. Individuals are restored to a relationship with God. While we live in a world where the effects of sin are still playing out, believers are now members of the Kingdom of God where equality in him is restored. But even before Christ, faithful women were already filling places of leadership indicating that one’s relationship with God has an impact that brings about a change on the judgment meted out at the fall.
- The Bible
- Sanley J. Grenz (1950-2005) :A Biblical Theology of Women in Ministry. Wolfhart Pannenberg publisher.